Brunei Darussalam

CANON 85MM 1.8 FOCUS TEST

85mm-fortunemag.jpg© Jan Shim Photography  [Download original unedited image]

“No camera or lens review!” I tell myself and often have to remind myself at the temptation of doing so. After seeing what happened to my EOS 20D buddy, Roland Lim, in Hong Kong being one of the early adopters of the EOS 40D and no sooner had he posted his in-depth review, his blog exploded onto many screens that lit its owners face day and night. Indeed, the traffic generated from writing a timely review of a heavily sought-after item has left many blog-savvy users in a rather enviable position.

So today, having picked up my new EF 85mm 1.8 lens from Brunei Canon distributor INTERHOUSE Co. yesterday in-between shoots. This lens is an extremely popular portrait lens with amazing bokehs only to be surpassed by its heavenly priced sibling, the EF 85mm 1.2 L. Despite a number of reports that the 1.8 is soft at maximum aperture, I beg to differ having tested this on numerous occasions–it’s plenty sharp without the L premium price tag.

I shot this image on the EOS 5D at 1/200 f1/8 @ ISO 800 AWB at Interhouse’s showroom, in JPEG and only cropped to reduce file size. No noise reduction or post processing had been applied. Image was shot hand-held using Centre AF point focused on the gentleman under the letter O.

12 thoughts on “CANON 85MM 1.8 FOCUS TEST

  1. Hi. What’s the main difference between the 85mm and the 50mm ?

    Love the bokeh on the 50mm 1.8, would the 85mm really have better bokeh ? I’m planning on getting another lens, maybe 300mm telephoto or 50mm 1.4, maybe should add the 85mm in the list to choose from.

    Thanks for any help given.

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  2. Hi Zul,

    The bokeh on the 50mm 1.8-II is pretty amazing wide open and I imagine the 85mm 1.8 is no less just as impressive. I chose the 85mm after all the smoke has died down and finally convinced myself that it’s the lens to have for portraiture work and low-light work. I shoot with a EOS 5D and the 50mm 1.8-II in all its merits as a very usable lens at f/1.8 (plastic and loud non-USM as it may be), I find 50mm a wee bit too short on the full frame sensor.

    I’ve often heard the phrase “bokehs make or break the picture” and believe it or not, that was not a deciding factor. If it were, I would not have anything less than the f/1.2 MkII.

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  3. Hi Jan Shim, Loves all your photo, can I learn from you? I owned a canon 40d (I know it’s not full frame), I just started this new hobby, among all my lens that I have (efs 17-85 IS, 70-300 IS, and 50mm 1.4), I like the 50mm better. I’m planning to get a ‘L’ lens in the future, for walkaround lens, what would you recommend?

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  4. Hello Addict59,

    The 40D is a fine camera. I know this because I own a 20D and still love the IQ and usability. I would be devastated if the recent swim my 20D took at Temburong river killed it (it’s now in the process of drying inside my dry cabinet where Relative Humidity has dropped from 70% to 50% and it’ll likely take a few more days before it reaches 15% where it’s considered OK to power it up).

    For a walkabout lens, there probably isn’t one that doesn’t involve lens changing. L lenses are pro quality optics. As much as they’re desirable, they were not designed with walkabout convenience in mind. Except maybe the EF 28-300mm f/3.5-f/5.6 L lens, if you can stand the excessive weight, high price tag and less than expected L quality focus speeds.

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  5. Thanks Jan, I’m planning to get the EF70-200 f2.8 IS L, but does the EF70-200 f2.8 L (non-is) is ok? Sorry about your 20D. Well, it’s seems you enjoyed your tour in Temburong, at least can relax a bit from the urban area while breathing fresher air. BTW, I saw the pic of Sony camera mounted with Canon L lens, does it use a speacial adapter or just a custom-made adapter.

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  6. I’m planning to get the EF70-200 f2.8 IS L, but does the EF70-200 f2.8 L (non-is) is ok?

    There’s quite a cost difference between the IS and non-IS version and that is so for a good reason. If you are very sure you’ll never need to use the lens in low light environment esp. indoors where you might need to dip hand-held shutter speed below the 1/Focal Length rule of thumb, then you could save some money. These days I use the 5D almost exclusively with this lens indoors and the IS has served me well.

    Sorry about your 20D. Well, it’s seems you enjoyed your tour in Temburong, at least can relax a bit from the urban area while breathing fresher air.

    The 20D is fine as per my note. Temburong is an eye opener not to mention the therapeutic effects of, as you say, being away from urban dwellings.

    BTW, I saw the pic of Sony camera mounted with Canon L lens, does it use a special adapter or just a custom-made adapter.

    Yes, it’s a custom 35mm lens adapter.

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  7. hi Jan Shim, Ive got two question here. *this may be out of topic since I dont know where to put this question at*

    1. I was just wondering if you do sensor cleaning? If I send it over to you, how much do you charge?

    2. My friend lend me a Sigma 70mm macro lens. Today I went out for my very 1st macro outing. During the 1st few shoots, the lens works fine but soon after that something happens to the lens. Auto-focus cant be use anymore. It seems like the gears inside the lens are loose. Can you help me to check them? or any suggestion about where I can fix the lens? Im so worried until now coz the lens still dosent work with the auto-focus.

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