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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars164
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on November 19, 2015
I tried the lens for all of two hours before deciding without any doubt to return it. Autofocus is a must for child portraiture and the speed of this lens is just way too slow. The bokeh is every bit as dreamy as everyone says, but my subject was always just out of focus or not sharp at all when in focus. For professional child photography this just isn't something I can live with. See attached photo for example of beautiful bokeh and out of focus fast moving target.

UPDATE - to be fair, I included an example of how the few sharp/good bokeh images turn out. They are about 1/25 if you are shooting toddlers. I returned the lens and ordered the 50mm 1.2 and could tell immediately that it is vastly better for my purposes.
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on November 12, 2015
I love this lens! It's hard to pick between this one and my 70-200 for being my favorite, but it takes a very steady hand (depending on distance obviously) to get sharp focus at f1.2. If you get your focus locked and lean forward or backward by half an inch, you'll miss your shot, so don't be afraid to take multiple shots until you can really get comfortable with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2015
I write this review from the perspective of owing a copy of another member of Canon's great trinity of primes - the 135 f/2L.

I had a chance to use this lens for a long weekend primarily as a portrait lens, but also as a general low light lens. Compared to the 135, it felt heavier, and a bit more unbalanced on my 5DIII. The two stop advantage and the shorter focal length made it much more useful as an indoor lens; I was able to get great pictures handheld using regular room lighting - something that would have been impossible using the 135L. The shorter focal length was a distinct advantage; aside from the ability to use slower shutter speeds, it gave me much more flexibility in using background and foreground elements as part of the composition. It also was a help when I wanted to get more than one person in the frame.

In terms of the picture quality- color rendition and bokeh are both superb; the increased ability to use the foreground and background elements, and the razor thin depth of field allows the subject to assume a three dimensional look that I have not seen even on the 135L. Even stopped down, out of focus light sources retain a rounded as opposed to a polygonal shape. Looking at the photographs, a friend of mine commented that they had a distinct cinematic look.

As others have commented, this lens will be very demanding of your technique and the capability of your camera's PDAF system. Fully half my shots were atleast slightly out of focus, even with the relatively good AF system of my 5DIII. The ones that were in focus though, were some of the best shots I've taken. In comparison, the 135L focuses faster and far more accurately and is accordingly a more versatile lens.

For its intended use as a portrait lens, there is simply nothing else in the Canon repertoire that can touch it; as good as the 135L is, there is no question I'd pick this lens if I had both in my bag and needed to shoot portraits. It and the 135L illustrate perfectly why, even with superb zooms in the 11-200mm range, there are situations where shooting with primes will be far more rewarding; there is no zoom, not the 24-70 f/2.8LII or even the 70-200 f/2.8LIS II that will come anywhere close to giving you the look this 85mm does. If your shooting needs include portraiture, and you have enough disposable income - or can justify it as a business expense for your line of work - this lens will not disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2015
Wow, what a great piece of glass! The bokeh is outstanding. I had the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens and though it was nice, I sold it because it was too heavy to enjoy using on a regular basis. I found myself using it less and less. While the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II is heavy, it is not as heavy as the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. I previously borrowed the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II and then decided to buy it. It is a joy to use. I am used to working with large apertures so I knew what to expect in terms of demands of precision on the part of the photographer and the need to slow down and get some high quality, outstanding photos rather than a bunch of average photos. In my opinion, the bokeh of the Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II is nicer and smoother and the depth of field appears to be shallower at f/1.2 than the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS was at f/2.8. This is a true portrait lens!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2015
Amazing lens. Takes a bit of getting used to the super thin depth of field but once you do...the ideas are to die for!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2015
This lens will test you as a photographer. It's unforgiving, the results can be sublime, and it's worth every penny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2015
If I could give this 10 stars, I would. Seriously, it's that good.

As with a lot of other folks, I fell in love with the 50mm very early on in my photography "career." However, I fell in love with it on a crop-sensor camera, which means I was really falling in love with a 75mm lens, which I'm just going to go ahead and say is pretty damn close to 85mm. Anyway, my point is that I've loved this general focal length (give or take 10mm) for a while and to now be able to use this lens legend has been life saving. Not only is it incredible and sometimes an altogether lifesaver at 1.2, it is AMAZING at every other aperture that I've used it at as well. Candid shots, family portraits, couples portraits, reception shots, etc. I shot my first wedding with it this past weekend (had the 1.8 version previously) and I found that I kept putting it back on my camera every time I switched out. It's just my go-to, for lots of reasons.

I will agree that the focus speed is slow, but not a snails pace like some other reviewers have said. And really, with the size of this thing, it makes sense that it isn't super speedy in this department, and you know what, I'm ok with it. It is true that I do not reach for this lens first if I'm going to be shooting fast moving kids or action sports, but it's great for pretty much anything else. I just love it and can't say enough.

If you've been lusting after this lens for a while like I did, don't shy away. Keep saving up and make it yours when you can.

One other thing I guess you could classify as a "con" is the weight of it, as others have said. It's a beast, but a beautiful one at that. Every time I pull it out around other people, they all exclaim about how cool it looks and how big it is. It is really beautiful, I must say haha. I think I should name it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2015
I actually had the opportunity to buy this one used for about $1400.00. This studio in my area had 3 of them and I met with the owner who has an amazing reputation. He had used the lens for 1 wedding and put it back in the box. This lens is the sharpest lens wide open out of the other Canon fast aperture "L" lenses. The bokeh and image quality is out of this world. This has been my go to lens for portraits and fashion shoots. However, my main bread and butter is WEDDINGS. In respect to the fast pace of a wedding date, this lens does tend to perform poorly. It is VERY slow to focus and if your camera doesn't have a good spray of focus points, it will be very difficult to have a sharp image. It is nearly impossible to use the focus/recompose technique when shooting at 1.2. The DOF is just way to narrow. I have been able to use this for a few getting ready shots, and even a few slow moments during the ceremony...but for fast action, def get a 70-200 2.8 or another lens that can focus quickly. Other that that, I LOVE THIS LENS!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2015
Great lens - however is it worth the $1600 price difference from the 85mm 1.8? No. Sure it'll go down to 1.2, which is awesome, if you are a statue taking a picture or have a tripod. As a wedding photographer I can't do this. I rely on movement and this lens doesn't allow it. The quality is great but honestly I see hardly any difference in quality between this lens and the 1.8 lens for $350.

By itself I give this lens a 4-star. It's super sharp, the big drawback is the loud motor! It's annoying as crap and it's not very fast when trying to focus. So when I compare it with the cheaper 1.8 lens, I give it a 2-star because in my opinion the 1.8 lens is better... again, as a wedding photographer.
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on June 3, 2015
No need to write a review, all the hype is true. Very slow to focus, I'm thinking it's because the DOF can be so shallow, they set it up that way for accuracy. Great portrait lens. Not for action shooting, weddings, etc. Too slow to focus. I knew that going in, I got it just for portraits.
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