Lens review

Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM

14 August 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

8. Vignetting

Taking into account the fantastic fastness of the tested lens we were very curious how it would manage vignetting.

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

The small matrix wasn’t demanding at all – the frame corners light fall-off is only visible near the maximum aperture. By f/1.2 it amounts to 27% (-0.91 EV) and by f/1.4 it reaches 23%. The problem disappears completely as soon as by f/2.0 where the vignetting is only 9%.

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

Full frame is another story, though. At the maximum aperture we must deal with the brightness loss as big as 51% (-2.1 EV). By f/1.4 the problem decreases but only slightly because we still get 43%. A significant improvement is noticed only by f/2.0, where the vignetting decreases to the level of 22%. The aberration is eliminated completely only by f/2.8 where its level is just 5%. How to comment on such a result? The 50% vignetting level is making a big impression on our readers, used to APS-C matrixes results level. There, we’ve complained a lot if the aberration reached 30-40%. Full frame is something totally different, though. The sensor is huge so, when it comes to fast lenses, the 2-3 EV vignetting should be, in fact, considered a norm. For the fast portrait lens as the 85L, its influence will be seen but it is not necessarily always a problem for the photographer. Many people add some vignetting on purpose, to infuse their pictures with some mythical art – here we have this effect for free…The situation is worse when we don’t want the vignetting. We can get rid of it using a computer application but, firstly, brightening by 2EV causes proportionately more noise and, secondly, we can’t retrieve the lost image quality by brightening.

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