SLRGear.com: Interactive Lens Reviews and Opinion.
Digital Camera ReviewsDiscuss lenses in the SLRgear.com Forums (separate login!)



Reviews Views Date of last review
49 251544 11/3/2013
Recommended By Average Purchase
100% of reviewers $361.85
Reader Review Rating Averages
Readers' rating for
Construction Quality
Readers' rating for
Image Quality
Readers'
Overall Rating
spacerspacer
8.92
spacerspacer
9.53
spacerspacer
9.45
1canon85f18.jpg


Keywords: Canon EF Tele Prime 35mm USM Tested


Gromit

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 8
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Gromit
Review Date: 11/3/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, build, speed, compact size
Cons: Bad purple fringing at 1.8

Having sampled the delights of the Nifty Fifty on my EOS 7D, I thought that it'd be fun to go slightly longer and get the 85/1.8. I wasn't disappointed.


Bad bits first...


Purple fringing can be quite bad at f1.8, plus the lens is very edge-soft when wide-open.


Good bits, as there are loads of 'em...


Once stopped past f2.5 it blossoms into a wonderful bit of photo-taking glass. USM is fast, the bright viewfinder also a major bonus. In terms of sharpness and richness of colour/IQ it beats my 24-105L easily - in fact the combo of 50/1.8 & 85/1.8 has really got me thinking to I really need the 24-105L? I'm thinking not - just the 'red ring snob' in me makes me keep the L glass.


Very highly recommended - just don't take pictures of chrome/silver-plated stuff at f1.8!
dugong5pm

Registered: October 2012
Posts: 51
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by dugong5pm
Review Date: 6/3/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, build quality, USM, price
Cons: none

I always love how 85mm looks for portraits. This one is my favorite 85 for canon system. I prefer this lens to the heavy & sluggish big brother (f/1.2)-though the 85/1.2 is an exceptional lens.


It's fast enough for almost everything. It has the goodness of an 85 lens. Build quality is nice, and it has USM too. It focuses fast and accurate, even in dim lights.


It would be nicer if it's get an IS motor. heck, for the price, this is the perfect 85mm lens (at least for me)
hdhani

Registered: March 2013
Posts: 14
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by hdhani
Review Date: 3/26/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $325.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, bokeh quality, weight, 58 mm filter thread, manual focus override
Cons: corner sharpness wide-open

This is one of my favorite lens... before i replaced it with 100L mm macro. For the price, the build quality is good, if not outstanding. Focus ring is decent, but there other lenses with better focus ring. The focal length is great for blurring background, in which this lens shine even though it cannot matched the bokeh quality of 135L, but hey it's far cheaper. At 85 mm (which translates to 136 mm on APS-C body), this lens is not the most versatile.
Filter thread size is easy to find; 58 mm and not the most expensive out there.
This is a great lens, if you need 85 mm lens. The 85 mm f1.2 does cost you a fortune!
sjp010

Registered: May 2012
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by sjp010
Review Date: 5/21/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $360.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great IQ, great AF, great build, great value
Cons: That Canon hasn't managed to replicate this lens at 50mm

This is really a great lens. I remain blissfully unaware of what life is like for 85L shooters, but I have a hard time imagining how much better it really can be. I guess an extra stop is important, but for 4x the cost I don't think I'll ever try it - the 85/1.8 is too good in so many categories.


I really wish Canon could construct a lens of this quality at 50mm.
acmeman

Registered: March 2012
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by acmeman
Review Date: 3/24/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: price, image quality, bokeh
Cons: none

For a cheapish EF prime on a 1.6x crop this is a nice focal range for portrait, nice bokeh. Also useful for Landscape, build quality is good for a non L, its a prime just get it already.
kaci

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 10
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by kaci
Review Date: 4/15/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, overall IQ, bokeh, price
Cons: nothing

Amazingly sharp from f2.8 in center and from f4 in corners on 5d. Beautiful colours, contrast, bokeh. At 1.8 little bit CA. AF is uncompromising = super quick and accurate. Close to the Canon EF 135/2 L. A must have lens for portraits. Definetely.
kellenfujimoto

Registered: May 2010
Posts: 1
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by kellenfujimoto
Review Date: 10/28/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $270.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, Fast AF, Great FL on APS-C, 58mm filter thread
Cons: Terrible hood, Purple fringing

I love this lens! Light, fast, and a great focal length - it's a smooth and efficient tool in my arsenal.


I really hate the lens hood. I broke one of the clips the first day, and while I still keep it on, it is a constant nuisance. Yeah, it's got fringing wide open, but it's a small price to pay for such an excellent lens.
steveygti

Registered: May 2010
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by steveygti
Review Date: 6/6/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $378.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very fast AF, super quiet USM, crisp/clear IQ, Beautiful Bokeh, affordable
Cons: IQ becomes slightly soft at f/1.8 ; missing the 'L' symbol & 'red ring'

The image quality is the best bang for your buck with this lens. I use it on a T2i and the results are always astounding. This lens is perfect for a photojournalist who takes street photos or vertical portraits. The bokeh is superb. I dont have images to share at the moment since i havent uploaded them yet. However, the customer images at
Amazon are what sold me into buying this 2derful lens! Check out these images:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00007GQLU/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all



If you are looking for an affordable prime lens with excellent image results, then this is the lens for you.
jt354

Registered: May 2010
Posts: 9
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by jt354
Review Date: 5/21/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, lightweight, compact, ring USM, 58mm filters
Cons: Soft at f/1.8, MFD

All things considered, this is a great lens at a very reasonable price. Build quality is similar to the 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.8, and 100mm 2, which is to say good, not great. The focus ring turns smoothly and the lens features a metal mounting ring, but the barrel is cheap plastic.


At f/1.8, the 85mm is soft -- IMO unusable for anything but portraits, admittedly the lens' intended use. Sharpness increases rapidly as the lens is stopped down, and is usable by f/2.5. Autofocus is quick and fairly accurate, I've used this lens for basketball and tennis with mixed results. Probably the most frustrating characteristic of this lens is the minimum focus distance of .85m. I've often wanted to move closer to a subject, only to find that the lens will not autofocus at the intended distance. Thus, I replaced it with the 100mm macro in my kit and haven't looked back for any application.
PhilUKNet

Registered: April 2010
Posts: 5
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by PhilUKNet
Review Date: 4/25/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, small, cheap, excellent image quality, fast AF, reliable, consistent
Cons: None

I bought this lens on a whim to give me something new to play with because a new 'L' lens I'd ordered hadn't shown up. It has since become possibly my favourite lens.


It is now the fastest lens I own, and the only lens with which I find that 1/8000 shutter speeds sometimes aren't fast enough. It can be used in very low light.


The image quality is nothing short of amazing. With some recent portrait work, I did a direct comparison with this 'old' lens and Canon's latest EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens.


The shots using the new 100mm macro lens were good, but the ones using the 85mm had the edge.


It is extremely sharp and produces wonderful colour, contrast and bokeh. The AF is fast and accurate. With the wide aperture I don't find myself wanting or needing IS.


The minimum focusing distance is 2.8ft, but add an extension tube to reduce the minimum focusing distance and you have a cheap - but very competent - entry level macro lens.


Even with 100% crops of macro shots using a 25mm extension tube the 85mm f/1.8 loses none of its sharpness.


With portrait work now, this is my first choice lens - even though I have 'L' lenses to choose from.


I really can't praise it enough, and the more I use it, the more I like it.


However, it is pointless trying to describe a lens using words and graphs. The only way is by looking at sample images.


A few of my sample images can be found here:


http://phil.uk.net/photography/canon_85F18.html
marde

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by marde
Review Date: 3/16/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $464.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: A nice lens for portrait, good shots even with CANON 500D E58 and ASP-C for macro
Cons: Dry weather use only. See review

Excellent ratio performance /price until weather condition becomes adverse rendering the lens useless due to fog deposit on glass inside the lens.
It seems that USM auto focus is acting as a pump.
That did not happen to my "L" lenses; still working all day long in the windy fog of Asir Mountain last month.
jackyyuen

Registered: March 2010
Posts: 1
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by jackyyuen
Review Date: 3/15/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $360.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Share at f2.0, very sharp at f2.8, light weight, strong build
Cons: doesnt come with lens hood

I use it with my Canon 5D Mark II for portrait. Image quality, contrast & AF are better, faster then my 24-105L


If you are serious of image quality, this is a cheap solution for Portrait with this range.


Sample photo I have as following


http://alohaeveryone.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/20100218_Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-II_model_01971-480x719.jpg
SETI

Registered: April 2007
Posts: 20
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by SETI
Review Date: 1/27/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $360.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight,lighting fast AF,sharp
Cons: no

With no doubts it's the best Canon price/quality lens. Great bokeh included =)
Barry

Registered: September 2009
Posts: 6
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Barry
Review Date: 9/12/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Absolutely perfect. No lens compares at this price.
Cons:

The only thing missing on this lens is the red ring. I have taken shots with this lens on my 300 and now my 350 and almost all are keepers. The shots I erase are because of composition, not quality. As I use it mostly for portrait work, on a tripod, IS is not an issue.
And it is an EF lens, so when I upgrade to a 5D, I will still be able to use it.
Highly recommended.
Pugwash9

Registered: August 2009
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Pugwash9
Review Date: 8/12/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $526.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp well built bargain lens
Cons: A liitle soft at 1.8

I agree with all the positives that folk have to say about this lens. I use it with a 40D. If you are looking for a lens of this focal length stop reading reviews just go and buy it.
rfwilliams

Registered: August 2009
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by rfwilliams
Review Date: 8/7/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $325.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, and cheap
Cons: Wide open it is not too sharp

After buying the 100mm f/2.0 and falling in love with it, I decided to get the lens everyone was suggesting for a good cheap prime, the 85mm f/1.8.


While I am not disappointed with the lens, I see it as a 85mm f/2.2 because that is where the lens really becomes usable. Now f/1.8 or f/2.0 are not terrible, and if the light is so off that I have to use it or get a blurred shot, I will open this lens to the max and take the shot. But if I can get by with it I always use f/2.2 for the max aperature setting and I become very happy.


If I could get the sharpness of f/2.2 with the bokeh of f/1.8, I would consider this lens unbeatable.
RadiantLite

Registered: June 2009
Posts: 16
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by RadiantLite
Review Date: 6/12/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great value, fast focusing, compact and sturdy, great color and contrast, sharp at f/2.8 and beyond
Cons: soft below f/2.8

Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM is probably the best value Canon lens. The quality of the image is very good, big aperture allow low light hand held shot and create a shallow depth of field. The auto focus is quiet and very fast.


Build quality of this lens is very good, feels very solid and definitely a step up from kit lens. It is relatively short and light weight compared to general purpose lens (3.0" x 2.8", 15.0 oz. / 75.0 x 71.5mm, 425g).


Application of this lens will be portrait, indoor sport (basketball, volleyball), art performance and candid photography.


Using this lens for soft and sharp images


Wide open at f/1.8, this lens is soft but create a very nice 'bokeh' great for girls portraits.


at f/2.8, the center of the image is very sharp, my favorite setting for general portraits and sports.


at f/4 and above, the image is very sharp edge to edge, especially f/8 where you get the maximum sharpness.


There is nothing that I can complain about this lens at this price point because it has very good built quality, excellent in low light especially freezing motion, and awesome for portraits. It worth every penny. I recommend this lens in addition to your general purpose kit lens.


Check out sample photos and other review at http://www.radiantlite.com
Badmono

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 15
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Badmono
Review Date: 3/10/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $280.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cost - Cost - Cost - Oh did I mention the VFM this lens has
Cons: Only missing the red 'L' ring

What a very pleasant surprise this lens turned out to be!!
Sharp - Great IQ - Great Bokeh - Very fast focussing, and it's small and light. It easliy focusses on a downhill ski racer. I use to use a 135 F2 'L' when shooting Skiers, but it's usually too long a focal length when fitted on a 40D. The 85mm cured that problem and at a bargain price. I normally use it at F2.8, and at that aperture it's 'L' prime sharp.
Not much else to be said really.
>
A real surprise - a lens bargain that every canon owner should have in their bag.
>
A good1st prime lens for all 'Zoom owners' to upgrade too.
>
Only minor niggle I had to pay extra for a lenshood:-( but when you think of the new lens price it's still an outstanding bargain - well done Canon:-))
Canon-Nikon-user

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 14
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Canon-Nikon-user
Review Date: 12/4/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast AF, very compact , verysharp, very cool color , almost distortion-free.
Cons: CA .

best bargain lens if you need this forcal length.


it is sharper than most of other lenses , I also have used the Nikon 85f1.8D and I think both are good but the Canon AF is much better due to its Ring USM.


I dont see any reason to pay a lot more for the 1.2L2 lens when this cheap lens is so good already.


the best candid street lens IMHO.
pepstein

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 5
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by pepstein
Review Date: 6/25/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sturdy internal focus design, sharp over a wide range of apertures
Cons: Some chromatic aberation when wide open

An excellent portrait lens on a full frame body. Quite sharp all the way from f/2.8 to f/16. The ultrasonic ring motor is both fast and quiet, and since focusing is entirely internal, the lens is inherently sturdier than lenses with extending front elements. This is one of my favorite prime lenses for full-frame Canon bodies. It is compact and light enough to be very comfortable to use.


I don't have the 100mm f/2.0, but apparently it's similar both mechanically and optically, so I'd consider that lens as a good alternative, if you prefer a slightly longer focal length. Another option to consider is the 100mm f/2.8 macro. While the macro has better sharpness, I find the wider apertures of the 85mm to be useful in some situations.
MrAdventure

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 6
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by MrAdventure
Review Date: 6/6/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Quality Build, Low Weight, USM and fast Auto Focusing, Fast Aperture
Cons: Haven't found anything that can't be corrected in post processing

I purchased this lens after reading many of the opinions here, and reviews. My first time out with the lens was an outdoor concert which it handled well. I have course have to learn how to zoom with my feet. The second outing was a bike race. Once I figured out that 2.8/3.2 are best for fast moving action, the pics were sharp and spot on. For portraits and bokeh shots, this lens is great. No problems there at all. The 28-135mm IS USM sits in the bag now, and th 85mm spends most of it's time on the 30D body.


Image Samples:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallchocolateguy/2556868900/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallchocolateguy/2554585711/in/photostream/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallchocolateguy/2548649953/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallchocolateguy/2539021435/
zoomfreak

Registered: December 2007
Posts: 9
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by zoomfreak
Review Date: 12/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: freakishly fast AF, extremely sharp , excelelnt flare resistance, inconspicuous look
Cons: CA.

get it if you need this forcal length.


there is no better lens than this , I sold my 70-200f4LIS to get this one since I needed a inconspicuous , samll lens for street and PJ work.
lextalionis

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by lextalionis
Review Date: 11/17/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $275.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fraction of the cost over the f/1.2 L and nearly the same results!
Cons: Was so good I couldn't help spend the $275 on it even though I really shouldn't have.

I wanted a good portrait lens at an affordable price. I find this lens to be a real pleasure to use. The bokeh is soooooo dreamy...I love it!


I have high-resolution photo samples taken with my Canon 30D here:


Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Sample Photos


-Lex
sivrajbm

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 12
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by sivrajbm
Review Date: 10/30/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $315.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, beautiful bokem
Cons: Hood attachment

Fast apeture, fast focus, sharp @ 1.8, Beautiful blur.
I really like this little gem. It makes an excellent portrait lens. The hood is a must to cut flair and and richen colors and contrast. Excellent lens everyone should have one in their bag.
random

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by random
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $560.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp & contrasty, very fast & quiet ring USM, very useable wide open, great bokeh w/ an 8-bladed aperture, reasonable price
Cons: slight CA at max. aperture, not at its sharpest wide open, also some vignetting at wide apertures even on a cropped sensor body

Pros: Very sharp & contrasty, very fast & quiet ring USM, very useable wide open, great bokeh w/ an 8-bladed aperture, reasonable price.


Cons: Slight CA at max. aperture, not at its sharpest wide open, also some vignetting at wide apertures even on a cropped sensor body.



One of the sharpest lenses I've used, and the very wide maximum aperture makes this lens usable in low-light situations where using flash is not an option. In my experience, it seems sharpness peaks at around f/2.5-4, it improves little when stopped down further. The 8-bladed aperture results in a very nice, non-distracting bokeh for portraiture, although 85mm maybe a little too long when used indoors on a 1.6x FOVCF body. Overall, one of the best bang-for-the-buck primes in the Canon arsenal.
amelo14

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 10
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by amelo14
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cost, sharpness, weight, quality of bokeh and colors, fast AF.
Cons: CA at 1.8! Nothing else.

It is no wonder this lens is highly respected by the Canon community. Although it does not have any special glass, it is amazingly sharp and produces a very beautiful bokeh. What is simply amazing, is its price. This prime is also lightweight and therefore can be easily added to your bag without having your back (and wallet!) suffer the consequences.


The DOF at 1.8 is quite narrow, but in general the focusing is excellent. The CA at 1.8 is troubling, but easily fixed by software. By f4 the lens already peaks and the quality of the colors produced is surprising. This lens is cheaper than the comparable 100 f2 and can be used with either Full Frame or 1.6x sensors. There is just no downside here.


You can check many images taken with this lens here:
http://www.pbase.com/cameras/canon/ef_85_18u
John H Maw

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 15
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by John H Maw
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good optics, fairly compact
Cons: None

This is my favourite Canon prime lens. Fairly compact, very good optics (even wide open) and quick and quiet in operation. It is not heavy either, which is an advantage when carrying lots of gear for long periods. The only worry is that the little catches on the lens hood seem a bit small and weak, but I have had the lens and hood for quite a few years now so maybe the impression is unfounded.
ychen

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 5
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by ychen
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, sharp, fast, fast, amazing bokeh, small, light , cheap
Cons: ca at harsh lighting

the best lens for portraits u can get for that price.
subject in focus simply pop out of the picture. creamy bokeh, very fast AF.
working with a prime lens forces you to move your feet and look for your shot. this also enables you to find compositions you wouldn't get in a zoom lens while you're standing in place.
a very creative lens that manages to get emotions out of the pictures.


there is CA under harsh lighting but it doesnt affect the overall result which is too good for any CA to ruin :-)
Wolfini

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Wolfini
Review Date: 1/5/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, AF, weight, size, price - almost everything
Cons: CA at harsh contrast edges, tendency to overexpsose outdoors

Now THIS is a lens after my taste Smile


Very very sharp even wide open - I really don´t notice any improvement by stopping down.


Great color and contrast. Creamy bokeh.


Fast and very accurate AF.


Very compact size and relatively light weight.


I love to use this lens for portraits in studio settings, but also at informal gatherings to pick out faces from the crowd (I use it on a 30d). It´s also nice as a small tele solution for landscape shooting. It even combines nicely with my Kenko 1,4 TC - although some contrast is lost there, but the sharpness remains great, especially stopped down a little.


And the best: it´s cheap, I payed EUR 300 for mine (used). Compare this to the offerings of other brands - Canon is really nice to us here Wink


My only two complaints:
- CA wide open (rather purple fringing?)
- my copy seems to overexpose outdoors, which can be easily handled with -2/3 EC.
jcsoniat

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by jcsoniat
Review Date: 1/1/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Great Color, Fast Focus, Light
Cons: none

Fantastic lens for portraits and other outside work. Kind of long for inside shots on a 1.5x or 1.6x cropped camera. I don't worry about the CA issues because my raw converter program takes care of that for me. Excellent lens all around.
gadgetguy

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 12/31/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: superb IQ, lightweight
Cons: none

The perfectr portrait lens is, dollar-for-dollar, better than it's "L" counterparts for general portraiture. Lightweight, fast focussing, and WOW bokeh.
SteveR12682

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 10
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by SteveR12682
Review Date: 12/30/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great low-light lens
Cons: Tendency for CA wide open

This is a very popular low-light prime lens. It has all the sharpness that one expects from a prime lens and USM focusing is always fast and accurate. The only downsides to this lens are a tendency for CA in wide open shots and a slightly long minimum focusing distance that can be a little frustrating.
boysennumba5

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by boysennumba5
Review Date: 12/28/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $355.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, cost, size, aperture
Cons: APS-C

This is my favorite lens in my arsenal. The lens is usably sharp wide-open and gets better very quickly. OOF areas blur wonderfully, and combined with a shallow Depth of Field, this lens makes a superb portrait lens.


Build quality seems tough, and I haven't had any issues there. The manual focus ring is extremely smooth and has a very good feel.


My only complaint of note is that this lens on an APS-C camera, like a 20D, makes shooting anything other than tight headshots require quite a bit of space. I work in fairly limited studio space, and this makes it a second-choice when shooting even head and shoulders, because I just can't back up far enough.


I highly recommend this lens.
Xtian

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 6
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Xtian
Review Date: 12/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality.
Cons: too narrow now on a sub-frame body.

I take a lot of indoor shots (church events, etc) where the use of flash is inappropriate (don't want to draw attention to myself) so I needed a fast lens for candids of the people. I was starting to feel this lens was not narrow enough on my Film camera, but now that I got a sub-fram dSLR it has become narrower. Not a bad thing but I need to recalculate my distances from my target as I had this lens for about 3 years if I remember.


The sharpness is incredible and for the price you can't beat it. I mostly shoot it stopped down to 2.0 because at 1.8 it is slighly soft.


One thing is that I do notice a little CA when wide open. Nothing to really be bothered about if you're going to be staying on the web or priting 4x6 but it will be noticeable if you get to the actual size.
Focusing is excellent, fast, and quiet. What else from USM?


This is definitely a keeper if you take a lot of candid shots of children/people/etc. Going from FF film to sub-frame digital made this a more telephoto than a portrait lens but... oh well.


I use this 1.8 and a 35mm 2.0 for all of my indoor church shots now. They complement each other well and are fast.


The colors are also amazing. The people always comment how the colors are beautiful and shots look amazing (they come from P&S and they don't know what a good bokeh does to an image). I can only say that I have a good lens as I don't do anything special.


for excellent portrait shots, get a good tripod and the wired shutter release cable, not only prevents shake (with mirror lock up) but your hand won't be all in weird shape (and you'll look slightly cooler).
azrael

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 1
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by azrael
Review Date: 12/23/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $459.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: light, fast, very good AF, build quality
Cons: no hood supplied, some CA may happen,

Very good lens. I bought it for indoor sport (karate), and it is very good for it on a 400D.
Wide open, it is not that sharp, as could be expected : it's better to center and reframe with a editing tool. 400D has enough pixels for it...


I had one or two case of strong CA using it outside and wide open, but never got any when using it indoor, even with white karategi against black wall.


It is just long enough to stay away from action and get nice shots. Sometimes, it is a bit too long, for example if you have to take a group photo.
However, I wouldn't trade it for a zoom, I like it too much ;-)
kwk36

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 5
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by kwk36
Review Date: 12/10/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: light, fast, sharp
Cons: none

Great lens. I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said. It's also a great value. Good price for a lens that performs this well.
razorblack

Registered: February 2006
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by razorblack
Review Date: 12/7/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $405.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast and silent focus, sharpness, reasonable price
Cons: purple fringing

Everything about this lens is great, and definitely worth buying, except for the purple fringing. In high contrast scenes (think trees against white sky, or specular reflections) it is *really* bad. So know to avoid those, and everything will be fantastic.
ralph m

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 3
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by ralph m
Review Date: 12/5/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $348.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent lens, sharp, fast, great image quality, reasonably priced
Cons: none worth noting

You cant ask for much more from a lens in this price class. It is very shap, fast, FT manual focus, USM. Images are very good.. excellent in fact and with the 1.8 it is a pleasure in low light. This one is a keeper in my book. I have bought and sold others but this one stays. I use an XT so it is equivalent to a 136 (approx.) 1.8 lens. I have used it at weddings where the light was very poor and it produced good images.
Tomti75

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 13
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Tomti75
Review Date: 12/4/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, IQ, size, fast
Cons: CA wide open

I don't own the lens, but tried it extensively before deciding for it's longer twin, the 100mm f2.


I liked it very much for it's IQ (sharpness and colors), but also for it's compact size, perfect on the 350D (Rebel XT).


The fast f:1.8 was great for my use (indoor portraits and concert pictures), but this lens was too close to my EF-S 60mm macro, and I finally bought the 100mm which is great.


The only negative comment I could make on the lens is its quite pronounced CA in high contrast zones (purple fringing) wide open, and still visible at f2.8. My 100mm seems less affected by the problem.
Nevertheless, it appears only in some particular situations, and can be corrected in PP.


It is definitely a lens I would highly recommend (like 99% of the users I believe...), even more when you take a look at its price...
dccps

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 13
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by dccps
Review Date: 11/30/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: superb sharpness, color and bokeh, reasonable price for this quality
Cons: none

If you are looking for a moderate telephoto lens: BUY THIS ONE!!! Equivalent to a 135mm lens on a dslr, this is one outstanding lens and well worth the money. At f/1.8, it has the speed for virtually any kind of shooting. I'm not sure why Canon also makes an f/1.2 L, but I doubt you will find much reason to spend $1,400 more for a faster lens than a f/1.8 at this focal length.
jeffn

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 6
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by jeffn
Review Date: 11/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent optics & build quality.
Cons: None

This is a wonderful lens.


I have owned only two lenses that exhibited "Leica" quality images (this "sparkle" or 3-D quality is evident even in 4" x 6" prints)--and this is one of them. (The other one was the Rollei 35.)


Any time I need a short telephoto and a top-quality picture, I reach for this lens.
dreamlogic

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by dreamlogic
Review Date: 11/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $330.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, usm, excellent bokeh, great value
Cons: moderate amount of chromatic aberration, vignetting

usage: mostly portrait photography on a Canon 5D or 1DsMkII.


This is the first lens I reach for when I want to take potraits. The sharpness is very good at f/1.8 (I rarely use it beyond f/2.8) and the bokeh is amazing. The autofocus is fast and accurate, build quality is good. One of the best values in the Canon lineup.


The only significant downside is the chromatic aberration, but it's only a problem in high contrast scenes. There is a fair bit of vignetting at 1.8 (full frame) and it doesn't focus as close as I'd like, but these are fairly minor issues for me.


vs Canon 50/1.4 - 85/1.8 is sharper and has better bokeh. I prefer this focal length for portraits.
freetoken

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 9
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by freetoken
Review Date: 11/19/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: very fast focusing, mostly defect-free images
Cons: not very close focusing

The perfect people-lens for FF and head-shot lens on APS-C.


The AF on this lens has to be among the fastest for any lens of similar focal length.


Wide open the images are just a tad bit soft, compared to Canon's better lenses. Nevertheless this lens has never left me wanting.


Unfortunately a lens hood is not included and when you buy the hood you'll wonder why such a small piece of plastic costs so much.


The only downside is that the closest focusing distance is not short enough.


This is a lens I've used for years and feel it is unlikely to ever leave me.
Jarrad_Kevin

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 11
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by Jarrad_Kevin
Review Date: 11/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, USM.
Cons: Low magnification, far Minimum focus Distance.

The AF certainly is fast, but It's not instantaneous. It's Sharp and Very good wide open, but there are CA issues.


The very long minimum focus distance and low magnification is quite annoying if you are a macro lover.


If you shoot sports or other fast moving subjects this is an outstanding lens. It's good for portraiture if you like the focal length.
TomK

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 7
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by TomK
Review Date: 7/17/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $389.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: canon's best lens value
Cons: noticeable CA wide open - frustrating close focus range

This lens does seem as sharp as the Nikkor 85 I once had, but it's a great lens with exceptional build + focus. I really love using it.


Two nagging downsides are ...


1. at f1.8, there's noticeable purple fringing
2. it doesn't offer as much magification as an 135L or 85L making some real world shots an issue ... often, I just want to get closer, but this lens won't go there.


Anyone considering this lens should also consider the 100 usm as well.
louisjaffe

Registered: April 2006
Posts: 4
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by louisjaffe
Review Date: 4/8/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $375.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast, sharp, great for portraits
Cons: none

This is a remarkable value in an inexpensive lens. Great for available-light shooting and portraiture. Bought it to use on Canon 5d, and its image quality seems to be a good match for the full-frame sensor.
fstopjojo

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by fstopjojo
Review Date: 1/1/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: See my site
Cons: See my site

It's an "L" lens incognito...see my site here http://www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/canon85
dohdoh

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by dohdoh
Review Date: 10/23/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $325.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast AF Speed, Great Color
Cons: none that I can think of

The Canon 85 1.8 is by far my favorite lens. It is a good focal length for portrait shooting. You will be able to get very good tight head shots. This is a very good low light performer as well. Pictures a pretty sharp wide open and extremely sharp at 2.8 as well. The bokeh is silky smooth and the picture color is stunning.


If there is any complaint... I have experienced to what appears to be some purple fringing or CA(chromatic abberation) especially on bright areas of the picture. An explanation that I received from other photographers is that is a artifact from the camera sensor itself.


Either way, I feel this is a wondeful lens and is sharper than any other lens that I own. I my current collection is the Canon 17-40L, Canon 50 1.8, Canon 28-135, and Canon 200 2.8L MkI.
photographist

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 2
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM review by photographist
Review Date: 10/20/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrasty, good focal length for portraiture, microscapes & landscapes
Cons: None come to mind

The Canon 85mm f1.8 lens is an excellent and well built lens that delivers the goods. (For the record: I work with both Canon and Nikon lines in my work, so I do have a fairly wide swatch of experience. My preference for one piece of equipment is based more on the occasion, then a brand.)


I pair this lens with Canon’s 1D Mk II and utilize it primarily for portrait and landscape work. I’ve also had opportunity to utilize this set for architectural work, but not too extensive to this point. The 85mm is a great lens, a wee bit heavy (but I like that) for its size, solidly built and frankly, sharp as a tack. In my portrait and micro-scape work, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to use the wider end of the aperture range. I find myself working in the 1.8 to 5.6 range primarily, with f8 coming into play on occasion. In all instances, the image produced is sharp and contrast from corner to corner. Wide open, the bokeh is wonderful and buttery smooth.


As a landscape lens, I have utilized the full range of aperture, and not been disappointed at all. The depth of field at f8/f9 is great and the image is razor sharp. Contrast could not be better with this lens! The controls are easy to operate and the placement of the AF/MF switch is fine. I’ve had opportunity to use the 85’s lower light range brother on occasion, but have never had opportunity to regret going with the 1.8. My personal preference is for the 1.8, but everyone has an opinion.


To sum up… This is an excellent lens and well worth the cost. For portraits, it’s opened up new horizons with me. As a landscape lens and the MkII’s 1.4x EFL makes a great little landscape lens.


Feel free to write with any questions or thoughts you may have.


 






This document copyright © 2009-2014, SLRgear.com, all rights reserved.