The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is a brilliant lens that is often used for portrait photography. This well-built model has a great set of features and provides immaculate image quality. In this review, we look at the lens features, its performance, and how it shapes up against other similar models:
First, let’s look at the basic specifications and features of this L-series lens. The Canon 85mm f/1.2L II USM benefits from the standardized features of the Canon L-series lenses – superior build quality, exceptional design, and improved resistant coating. The following are the basic specifications of this lens:
- Weight: 1025g
- Max Length: 84mm
- Viewing Angle: 24, 16, 30 degrees (Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal)
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
- Minimum Aperture: f/16
- Image Stabilization: No
- Lens Hood: Yes – ES-79 II
As you can see, this lens is quite heavy – it does add considerable overall weight to your DSLR camera. This is due to the materials used, and the lens element. Regardless, the quality is fantastic and the weight isn’t really an issue. Also, note that this lens can be equipped with the ES-79 II lens hood – this could be beneficial to protect the glass and reduce the potential of distortion.
One of the main benefits of the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is its superb build quality. L-series lenses are a step-up from standard Canon lenses and have additional features that improve their durability and resistance. The following are the main design features:
- Resistant to dust and moisture
- Super Spectra coating
The super spectra coating ensures brilliant color balance and the enhancement of contrast. Furthermore, this coating reduces image ghosting and lens flare – two common forms of distortion. This lens looks fantastic and is a high-quality device. Moreover, the design is highly functional – you can use this lens with confidence, and it should last for many years of intense usage.
Concerning performance, this lens is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows you to create magnificent photos with virtually no distortion. However, on the other hand, the lack of image stabilization for some is a sore point.
There is no denying the basic quality and performance of this lens. The image quality looks superb. Furthermore, this quality holds true regardless of the aperture used. There is no distortion or softness at either end of the spectrum.
If you want to take professional portraits, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is one of the best choices available. This is what the lens specializes in and what it excels at. Of course, it can be used for a range of other photography too, and it is a decent “walk-around” lens to carry. However, if you wanted a general-purpose kit lens, something like the Canon EF 24-105mm could be a better choice.
When using this fixed-focal-length lens, you are forced to think about the subject and composition more. You cannot simply change your zoom to create a different perspective. It is immersive photography – to get better shots, you must move and alter your position. Essentially, using this lens will improve your own photography skills and composition too.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM vs. Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC USD
Now that you have a greater understanding of what this lens has to offer, we must look at how it compares to similar models on the market. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM has several contenders and one such model is the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC USD. Tamron is a well-known manufacturer of high-quality lenses – they offer a myriad of alternatives to top Canon and Nikon lenses.
At first glance, the main difference between these two lenses is the maximum aperture – f/1.2 for Canon, and f/1.8 for Tamron. This does make quite a difference despite the relevant small change. Obviously, the Canon lens offers greater flexibility and can also cope slightly better with low-light shots, and faster shutter speed.
In addition to this, Canon L-series lenses are generally viewed as better quality to Tamron. Tamron provides excellent image quality, but the Canon 85mm f/1.2L uses higher-quality materials and is a more robust and sturdy lens.
|Comparison||Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM||Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC USD|
|Dimensions||91 x 84mm||84 x 91mm|
The main drawback of the Canon lens is the absence of image stabilization. In contrast, the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 does have built-in image stabilization. It uses Tamron’s VC (vibration compensation) system which helps reduce motion blur and camera shake.
We still pick the Canon 85mm lens, however – it generally ranks as a high-quality option and the image quality it is capable of producing is magnificent. Furthermore, the higher maximum aperture of f/1.2 is a big bonus and provides photographers with greater flexibility.
Should You Purchase the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM?
In not so many words, yes! The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is an essential lens that fits neatly in-between wide-angle lenses and zoom lenses. If you intend to create professional-grade portrait photography, the 85mm is the perfect choice for Canon full-frame DSLR cameras. It has all the benefits of Canon’s L-series lenses – precision design, fantastic handling, and durability.
Furthermore, the maximum aperture of f/1.2 offers excellent flexibility and allows users to utilize fast shutter speeds in low light scenes. If you can afford the expense and intend to make photography your career, this L-series lens is certainly worth the purchase. The only downside is the lack of built-in image stabilization – this could cause issues when working at extreme apertures.