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posted on Mar 31, 2010 at 4:08AM

Head-2-Head Lens Review: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM vs. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Introduction: The Matchup

By Ted Dillard


These two lenses represent a fairly classic “battle for speed” between two optics from a single manufacturer. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens sells for an MSRP of $419.95, and is a standard short-telephoto Canon workhorse. It has excellent sharpness, nice size and weight, a good “bokeh” effect (the way in which a lens renders out of focus areas, a key performance factor for short-focus portrait lenses), and a very reasonable price point.


Canon's more exotic 85mm prime, the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, buys you an additional stop of exposure latitude, superior build quality, extremely high resolution, and what is described as a “silky-smooth” bokeh effect. Sporting an MSRP of $2199.95, and nearly twice the size and weight of the EF f/1.8, we evaluate whether Canon's "L-Series" glass warrants the near $1,800 upgrade.



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