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Best 85mm lens of all?

Ed Hurst , Nov 03, 2009; 06:11 p.m.

I am aware of the much discussed pros and cons of the two Canon offerings, but can anyone offer comparisons with all 85mm lenses? For example the Zeiss C/Y mount options? What's the highest resolution across the frame? Flare resistance? Aberrations? Etc.



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Ken Papai , Nov 03, 2009; 06:30 p.m.

Not much of an answer--but I am VERY happy with my EF 85 1.8 (and my 70-200 a 85 mm 2.8). Everything and more -- those lenses deliver. The image below is a 100% crop shot with the 1.8 lens the other day.

100% crop from 40D (10MP), 85 1.7 at 1/1300, f/6.3 thru a window, L. JPG.

Connor Stride , Nov 03, 2009; 06:50 p.m.

From all that I have read - the 85mm 1.2 mkII has always come out on top.

Some side by side comparisons and extensive tests with res, flare and CA data
can be found here http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/

Alan Bryant , Nov 03, 2009; 07:06 p.m.

More reviews...

85/1.2 II - (link)

85/1.8 - (link)

Zeiss - (link)

All of them are good, and in particular they're all essentially perfect when stopped down. If you're shooting at f/5.6 just get the cheapest.

Colin Carron , Nov 03, 2009; 07:13 p.m.

I think you should consider whether the opinions you are asking for are not just distinctions without a difference. It is difficult to think of any prime lens of around this focal length from any leading maker - and from a few non-leading makers - that are not in the very to excellent bracket. Given thiat they are all in the same class it is unlikely that using one rather than another will make any appreciable difference to your photography. (But my personal favourite was my old Nikkor AI 85mm f1.8).

G Dan Mitchell , Nov 03, 2009; 08:05 p.m.

I second Ken's comment on the 85mm f/1.8. Mine is a tremendous lens and for my purposes there would be no good reason to trade it for the f/1.2 L.


Jack Nordine , Nov 03, 2009; 08:18 p.m.

If you do not absolutely need 1.2 or 1.4, then the relatively inexspensive 85mm 1.8 will probably work well for you.

Ken Papai , Nov 03, 2009; 09:11 p.m.

The 1.2L's of course kick ass, however they are large and the elements are slow to move (focus). The 1.8 is a TOP LENS for the money -- around $450 I think?

Stephen Cumblidge , Nov 04, 2009; 12:34 a.m.

I really like my C/Y 85 2.8. It is extremely sharp, compact, great build quality, and it cost very little. It is one of the better deals for an 85 IMHO. Also, what you want to do with said lenses is important. If someone gave me a Zeiss 85 1.4 or a Canon 85 1.2, I would like them more on a technical level, but I would not have randomly taken them to a park to photograph my daughter playing :-)

Mark Anthony Kathurima , Nov 04, 2009; 09:40 a.m.

The 85 f/1.8 is next on my lens hit list :)

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