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Customer Review

93 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent lens, put a red ring around it, March 7, 2006
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This review is from: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed (Camera)
This was my second prime lens, the first being the "I-am-prime-too-50/1.8" lens and I specifically bought this to shoot a badminton tournament (and more for the future). FYI, badminton tournaments are definitely 1.8 situations at ISO 1600 and no flash permitted. And what a lens!

The focus is absolutely sharp, crisp with gorgeous bokeh to make the subjects stand out. I took photos of professional badminton players (USA rank 1-5) and emailed it to them. Even though I am a serious amateur, they replied back saying the photos were gorgeous and amazing, and loved it. I shot the complete tournament at 1.8 ISO 800/1600 and have absolutely pleasing results.

On just one or two occasions, the focus was hunting, but I would put that down as a one off occasion as there was aboslutely very challenging situations - moving subjects in low light. The focus is quick and absolutely smooth, no noise at all.

The lens is compact, not at all heavy and is perfect portrait lens. My only disappointment is that it comes without a hood, and even if I buy a Canon hood, it does not have the same look as other (say, Tamron 28-75 2.8 hood is a really good looking hood) hoods.

The relationship between the background and the foreground is something that impressed me with this lens, especially for an 85mm focal length. The lens makes the subjects stand out and you dont need to stop down for sharpness. I know I am going to keep this baby at 1.8 at all times in future.

This in concert with my 50 1.8 for wider angle situations like awards and group snaps, the photos are absolutely stunning. The reviews I received for my photos are pretty good, thanks to this lens with my 20D.

I am sold on primes now and will probably end up buying more primes than zoom lenses. Go on Canon, put a red ring around it!

Definitely 5 stars.

Other lenses considered before this purchase - 85/1.8, 100/2, 135/2L and to a small extent, 200/2.8L. Finally chose the 85/1.8 due to the 1.8 and the effective focal length on 20D with 85mm. No buyer's regret, I am very pleased with my purchase now.
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11 Mar 2009
This is a comparison of 85/1.8 and 135mm/2L.
Ive had this lens for 3 yrs now and have taken so many portraits with this, simply put, amazing results every single time. Never been able to find fault with this lens or the images. Image quality has been consistently awesome, consistently 5 stars. The only lens that bests the images from this lens is my 135/2L, but that is of an entirely different league and shouldn't even be compared to this lens. Merely stating that for academic interest. Even then, the three places that the 135mm beats the 85 mm are
1. Sharpness - 85mm is very sharp, 135mm/2L is simply a notch above.
2. Saturation - 85mm is good, 135mm/2L is much better, image has a pop. But then again, 85mm has half a pop too!
3. Bokeh - Again, 85mm has a lovely bokeh, esp @1.8 and 2. However, the 135mm is in an entirely different league, one simply cannot, should not compare.
Now, the $350mm lens compared to the much more expensive, much higher quality lens worth $925 is completely unfair. However, I would give the 85/1.8 4 stars assuming the 135mm is the gold standard with 5 stars.
If this review second rates the 85mm, that is certainly not my intention. I have consistently enjoyed shooting with this lens and will continue to have a lot of fun.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 23, 2010 8:56:20 PM PDT
Mary Capps says:
Enjoyed the info. since I'm planning on ordering the 85mm myself. Your review was a good read and helped me make up my mind to go ahead and order it, but.....since this review is for the 85mm lens not the 135mm lens, what was the point of giving so much of a review on the 135mm? And it did second rate the 85mm. :) Personally I think the L series has become more of a status symbol then anything else. Canon is making a fortune just using a little better glass (which doesn't always guarantee excellent pictures) and selling to people that need the white lens or red ring. The L series standing out from the rest is the one reason I have not bought one actually. I like to 'blend' since getting jacked is easy enough as it is. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2011 1:51:58 AM PDT
Thank you sooooo much for this review!! I have been reading loads of reviews trying to figure out whether or not to purchase the 135L f2 or the 85 1.8. I was leaning more towards the 135L but have heard plenty of rave about the 85 also. This review is the one that finally confirmed the 135L f2 as my next lens purchase. Thanks again! Also, my website is leadimagephotography.com so feel free to check out who/what company you helped out!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2012 11:40:38 PM PST
Gaussian says:
Much of the raving about the 135L has to do with justifying (to self) the higher cost of the 135. It's human nature. "I paid more for the 135 ..it must be because it's better than the 85-- even though my eyes can't tell the difference".

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2014 1:19:21 PM PDT
There is a reason the L lens are designated as such. The 85 1.8 has a few flaws - but it is a very fast lens, suitable for indoors sports (think basketball), reasonably compact & very good overall. I had both this lens & the 135 for years. The 135 is smoother overall, and there is a distinct bokah difference and, of course, is a much longer telephoto; I used it much more than the 85 myself. That doesn't mean the 85 1.8 isn't a very good lens, just that it has a different purpose. A wonderful bargain & exceptionally useful lens.
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