LensTip.com

Lens review

Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM

8 March 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • well-made casing,
  • very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • good or decent image quality on the edge of APS-C sensor and full frame,
  • lateral chromatic aberration corrected splendidly,
  • low distortion,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • sensibly low vignetting on APS-C,
  • fast and efficient autofocus,
  • good price/quality ratio.

Cons:

  • noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • modest accessory kit,
  • lack of repeatability of particular specimens.

The Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM is a lens almost 20-year-old. Looking at its achievements we must admit its age makes itself felt. The lens doesn’t break any resolution records, its anti-reflection coatings are not of the highest quality, it doesn’t feature any low-dispersion glass elements and maybe because of that it doesn’t manage to correct the longitudinal chromatic aberration well. On the other hand it does provide really sharp images in the whole (or almost whole) range of apertures, it boasts a quick, efficient autofocus which cooperates well with newer Canon bodies and, what’s the most important thing, its price/quality ratio is quite good. When the Polish zloty was strong you could buy it for about 1,000 PLN and with such a price tag you could easily turn a blind eye to all its faults. Now it is a bit more expensive but still it remains a very sensible option for all these who want to have a useful, fast portrait lens with an autofocus in their arsenal. The popularity of this instrument stems from not only its good performance but also from the lack of competition. If you own a Canon reflex camera and you want to have an 85-mm lens with an autofocus you must either buy the device tested here or spend three times more on the Sigma 1.4/85 or purchase the 85L model with f/1.2 aperture and pay an arm and a leg for it. When it comes to semi-professional and amateur usages the tested Canon 1.8/85 copes very well; small wonder many people don’t see the point of splurging on the Sigma or the L-series Canon lens.


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Sample shots

Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.22 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.95 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.43 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.58 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.87 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.89 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.3 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.66 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.79 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.97 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.14 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.8 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.46 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 10.36 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.86 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.44 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.6 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.57 MB
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.69 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.82 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3504×2336 pix, 2.23 MB




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