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Lens review

Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM

14 August 2009
Szymon Starczewski

10. Autofocus

The manufacturer assures us that the newest EF 85L is characterized by a very quick, very accurate and a very silent autofocus mechanism. It is supposed to be quicker 1.8 times than in the previous version of this lens. Cooperating with the EOS 1Ds MkIII the autofocus is indeed working at full blast – it is silent and quick. The problem is that running through the full focus scale requires the 250 degrees turn. As a result, the passage from close to infinity or backwards takes 1.5 seconds. That’s quite a lot. For example a 85 mm lens f/1.8, working on the same 1Ds camera, runs through the scale in 0.5 second. No comment. Especially that the EF 85 f/1.8 minimum focus is 0.85 meters and the 85L minimum focus – only 0.95 meters.

After connecting with the EOS 20D camera, the autofocus is even slower. Running through the full scale takes over 2 seconds but it’s still very quiet.

When it comes to accuracy, all depends on the body the lens cooperates with. The cooperation with the 1Ds MkIII is splendid. The lens’s parameters make the depth of field really shallow so every mistake would be clearly seen. The result of 3% of misses must be considered very good. Nobody will be surprised by the fact, that the accuracy results for the 20D are worse. Here, the number of misses increases to 11% so the lens can be neither praised nor reprimanded.

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One more thing is worth notice. The EF 85L on the 1Ds MkIII, didn’t need any calibration and it was very accurate. In turn the EOS 20D doesn’t allow an independent autofocus calibration and it’s a pity because the lens had a slight frontfocus tendency while working on it.


Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM - Autofocus

Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM - Autofocus