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Canon Ef 85mm F/1.8 Usm Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens - 85mm - F/1.8 (2519a003) Reviews
Canon Ef 85mm F/1.8 Usm Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens - 85mm - F/1.8 (2519a003)

Canon Ef 85mm F/1.8 Usm Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens - 85mm - F/1.8 (2519a003)Added to our catalog within last 30 days

Sharp. Lightweight. Responsive. These are just a few adjectives that describe this terrific portrait-length telephoto lens. With a powerful ring-type USM and fast f/1.8 aperture, subjects zip into focus in the viewfinder. It is great for all types of work calling for moderate telephoto power, but c... <more> 

Canon Model: 2519A003

$488.61

27 in stock
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Average Customer Rating:
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(based on 38 reviews)

100% of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Customers most agreed on the following attributes:

Pros:

Super-sharp Images (24), Fast Auto-focus (21), Superior Build Quality (16)

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Awesome lents

By Murr5 from Portland, OR on 08/06/2015

Just purchased this lens and am using it with a Canon 5D Mark III. Very impressed with the results. Love the shallow depth of field and the speed. Very light weight lens. With the affordable price and great quality, this is a must have lens.


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<3

By Anonymous from South Carolina on 07/10/2015

I love my 85mm 1.8. It was affordable and helps me with producing over the top photographs.


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great lens

By train driver from Myrtle Beach,, S.C. on 03/27/2015

I have wanted this lens for almost two years, it was worth the wait. I am not a professional by any means but this lens is great. I use it for street photography and have taken the best photos of my life


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85mm for Indoor Basketball

By wildlifedigicam from Bay Area, California on 02/03/2015

This review is mostly for the crop sensor shooters. I read that this 85mm is a great lens for shooting indoor basketball in the basket area. After purchasing this lens to go on my 7D, I learned that I was unable to shoot from under the basket. It seems this lens works great for the full frame bodies, but on the crop sensor cameras such as my 7D, this lens did not work for me. It is zoomed in too much on the crop sensor cameras. A great overall lens, but it does not help me for shooting basketball under the basket.


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Great lens

By Anonymous from Iowa on 11/14/2014

I really like this lens. It is sharp and fast, and well priced. I use it for sports, weddings and portraits and it does a great job. Rapid focus and sharp images. I have noticed some blue fringing on a few images and IS would be a plus. I like it for low light images.


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Great sharp lens - AF switch gets moved a lot

By bburk from Salt Lake City, Utah on 06/27/2014


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality

Cons:

Bad Af Switch

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This lens is great quality. Crisp and sharp. My only complaint is the AF switch. It is build different than most Canon lenses. It protrudes out from the camera significantly where most lenses the switch is flush. Many times I have done photos and toward the end of using the lens noticed the AF switch got bumped to off either while on my hip or in my camera bag. When using this lens always remember to check the switch because it always bumps off. Canon, please make all future lens AF switches flush.


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My Main Thang!

By JPhotos from Memphis,Tn on 04/26/2014


Pros:

Superior Build Quality, Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

My first primes lens was the nifty fifty (50mm 1.8) . I absolutely loved it. My next lenses had to be the 85mm 1.8 lens. I read the reviews and decided to get it. Wow! This lens is so sharp and focuses very accurate and quickly. Now given... my 50mm 1.8 is very impressive, but this 85mm 1.8 takes the cake for me. My portraits have a smooth and creamy back ground at 1.8 and it's tack sharp. This lens was well worth the investment for me. Thanks Canon ...


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Superb prime lens for crop frame Canon

By Steve from Chicago, IL on 03/07/2014


Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought this prime 85 mm f1.8 lens on the advice of a couple of website reviewers who raved about the quality. They're absolutely right and this is now my favorite prime lens. What you get is a razor-sharp focus in a focal length that, for a crop frame camera (e.g. T3i) is telephoto enough to do some serious portrait work at a comfortable working distance. Edge sharpness is excellent, and at f1.8 it's fast enough for most lighting conditions. Build quality is excellent, and the price at Canon's refurb shop makes it a steal. Buy this lens.


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If you have a Canon DSLR ...

By Beyond Boudoir from Portland, OR on 08/05/2013


Pros:

Small And Light, Fast Auto-focus

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

If you have a Canon DSLR with an accurate autofocus system, I recommend this as your first prime lens. Even before you by a 50mm prime. It is delightful to use at large apertures to create lovely bokeh. It really excels as a portrait/people lens. The focus system is lighting fast, quiet and very accurate. It spends a lot of time on my 5D Mark 3. You don't always need big, heavy "L" lenses to do the job. This little lens frees you to be more creative and it is just plain fun to use. You may see reviews referring to chromatic abberation wide open. Yes it is there, but it is minimal and doesn't show up in normal photography. You really have to set up a special shot just to find it. It is completely absent if you stop down one F-stop, but why bother? I wish Canon would make this with IS, then it would be the perfect prime lens for me.


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Don't Believe the Negative

By KennyDNY from Long Island NY on 04/06/2013


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Good Value

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

All I can say about this lens is AWESOME! Sharp when you want, shallow DOF when that's important! I don't see a reason to pay that much more for f1.2 but who am I to say?


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Great Portrait lens/ indoor sports

By Jim from Undisclosed on 02/09/2013


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Fast Auto-focus, Great Without Is, Superior Build Quality

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I Just got the lens 2 weeks ago. I upgraded from my Rebel T3 kit lens. I think this lens is great for portraits & indoor sports were you are shooting fairly close to your subject. The lens is super sharp, & is great in lighting situations like a gym or indoors. I have not tested it in extreme low lighting situations. Some might not like this lens because it does not have IS, but I think it is not needed. The auto-focus is fast. The build quality is better than I expected. When taking it out of the box you could practically tell by the weight. After buying this lens, I never even want to look at a kit lens again.


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Look alive 85!

By Hopps from CA on 01/17/2013


Pros:

Great Color Rendition, Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This is a must have lens. I love the colors and the super fast & accurate auto focusing.


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GREAT EVERYDAY LENS

By denver beans from DENVER CO on 12/22/2012


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Superior Build Quality, Super-sharp Images, Pro Image Quality

Cons:

Lens Is Almost 2 Light And Short For Eos1ds Mark3

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

VERY FAST FOCUSING.GREAT TRACKING LENS ALSO.STURDY ALSO.SUPER RESOLUTION WITH 1DS MARK3.85 MM.PERSPECTIVE IS GOOD FOR TAKING ANYWHERE.GREAT FOR WIDE F-STOP PORTRAITS.


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Amazing lens for the money

By Ultrafox from Somerset, Ky on 06/12/2012


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Great Bokeh, Fast Auto-focus

Cons:

No Lens Hood

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

If you don't want to, or can't afford Canons 85mm 1.2L lens, but want an 85mm, this lens is perfect. For what you pay, this lens delivers amazing performance. The bokeh this lens produces is creamy good. The autofocus is surprisingly fast and accurate when shooting fast moving subjects, even when coupled with the 5D Mark II. It is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the 85mm 1.2L. The build quality is still pretty solid though. It is also great in low light. If you are on a budget, you can not beat the performance and quality you get from this lens for the price.


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Finally came into its own

By mtnredhed from Undisclosed on 05/08/2012


Pros:

Great Value, Sharp, Fast

Cons:

Doesn't Buy Me Coffee

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought the lens years ago, and to be honest, never really found it's niche until recently. Too long for landscape and a little too short for wildlife. I just recently started portrait work, and dang, this is THE H&S lens. I can dial in DoF to pretty much whatever I want. Its plenty fast for existing light. If I set the focus point on my 7D to be the person's leading eye, and stop down just a little, it's perfect. Even better yet, its a steal, price wise. AF is fast too.


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A Great Lens - Mega Bang for Your Buck!

By Daniel from Medford, Oregon on 02/06/2012


Pros:

Fast Tack-sharp Affordable

Cons:

Lens Hood Not Included

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This lens is a joy to use. Very rapid focus, tack-sharp images and decent build quality. At f1.8 image quality is very good with wonderful bokeh. I use this lens mostly indoors to shoot available light portraits. If you're torn between this lens and the Canon 50mm f1.4 I would choose this one for a couple of reasons. First, this lens uses a Ring Ultrasonic Motor, which simply stated is the best of the best. The 50mm f1.4 uses the extra-small Micro USM, and while that's a much better motor than what's in the 50mm f1.8 II, it's still not as durable as what's found in the 85mm f1.8. Second, this lens gives the photographer a comfortable working distance. I use a Rebel T3i and found that the 50mm is great for full body shots, but for portraits you have to get close, really close. If you shoot portraits close-up and tight then the 50mm may be a bit too short. My only complaint about the 85mm f1.8 is that a lens hood is not included.


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Great for Indoor Sports

By Jim from Minneapolis, MN on 02/06/2012


Pros:

High Quality, Very Sharp Pictures, Solid Build But Not Too Heavy, Fast Focus

Cons:

No "is"

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

The 85mm 1.8 is a "must have" lens for indoor sports! I've been progressing in my photography skills and knowledge and moved up about a year ago from a Canon S5is to a Canon 60D (love both cameras). I have been working on getting good pictures of my 3 kids in their gymnastics competitions. The problem is that these are low light (no flash allowed), fast action situations, and I generally have to shoot from some distance away. It's a tricky combination. I did a lot of reading, and decided to get the 85mm 1.8 lens for shooting gymnatics. Wow! What a great decision. I absolutely love this lens. I'm shooting wide open at 1.8 and at least 1/500th shutter speed, usually 800 to 3200 ISO (depending on lighting). I'm getting the best pictures of my life. Other parents are surprised at how I can catch the action shots and even those with their own cameras are starting to ask me to take a few pics of their kids for them. This lens focuses lightning fast! I can follow the action in focus even on events with a lot of change in depth of field, like floor exercise. This lens does not have IS (Image Stabilization), but I don't really need that at the shutter speeds I'm using for sports. If you need to take pictures of indoor sports, you need this lens! I also highly recommend the 50mm 1.8 lens which I purchased as well for those shots where I don't need quite as much zoom. I use the 18 - 135mm lens for all my regular everyday shooting. So happy with these purchases! Canon, thanks so much for putting out these great lenses for us non-pros who aren't quite ready to move up to "L" glass. I love being able to grow with my camera and the huge variety of lenses available for all price ranges and skill levels! If you have kids in gymnastics, I promise the 85mm 1.8 lens will be a "memory maker" for your family. You will love the pics you get!


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Affordable Portrait Lens

By undrgnd40 from Minnesota on 11/30/2011


Pros:

Sharp Images, Fast And Accurate Focus, Solid Feel

Cons:

No Lens Hood Included

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought this lens solely for portraits, and I am very happy with the results. All the images are razor sharp with great control over background blur. Works great indoors and outdoors. It's lightweight and solidly built. This lens has a nice feel to the focus ring, and autofocus is quiet and fast. I only wish it came with a lens hood.


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Excellent Portrait Lens

By adp photo from Las Vegas, NV on 10/30/2011


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Lightweight, Fast Auto-focus

Cons:

Color Fringe

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

The EF 85mm f/1.8 was the first lens I purchased outside of the 18-55 kit that came with my Rebel T1i. Before this lens, I had experienced nothing like the amazing sharpness and silky bokeh that a wide aperture prime lens such as the 85mm f/1.8 can produce. Focusing is extremely fast with its USM motor and the build quality is excellent. The only downside was the purple color fringing going on in extreme contrast situations. Unfortunately, I had to sell it for personal reasons but I would definitely buy it again once I get the chance. I highly recommend this lens.


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It's Still In My Lenses ARSENAL

By Dyluck4 from Georgetown, Indiana on 09/06/2011


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Sharp Images In Low Light, Superior Build Quality, Fast Auto-focus

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This was my 3rd Lens purchase when I first started, I was so surprised when the quality was supreme in comparison with the advertised photo. It takes excilent fast shots in low light and yes you need to know your camera to make these Lenses work properly like any Lens, as it is light wieght it works well for me occasionally with my 1Ds mark lll, and previosly with my XTi and XSi that I still have. I use this allot with my other 7 great quality Canon Lenses, so with that I do have a comparison to go by.


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Fantastic Portrait Lens

By Jalexa from Michigan on 06/17/2011


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This lens is beautiful. It has a solid build, even if it isn't "L" build. The IQ is fantastic, giving crips shots or dreamy backgrounds when needed. It's also FAST. I've used it for my son's basketball games, indoors with no flash and dim light, and I've come away with fantastic freeze action shots.


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A Great Hidden Value

By Graybeard from San Antonio, TX on 06/15/2011


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Fast Auto-focus

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

A great lens on my 7D. I have had it about 5 months now and still think it is one of my best. I absolutely love the close-up images it produces of my grandchildren inside in available light. I especially like the control of DOF it provides. The bokeh at wider apertures is smooth and creamy. Although I have a few zoom lenses, I have found this lense, with just a 1.4 teleconverter, is often alot more useful at indoor events.


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Just what I was looking for

By Linda from Pennsylvania on 03/04/2011


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality, Great In Low Light, Fast Auto-focus

Cons:

None

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought this lens for candid shots at dog shows. Even though it is a little long on a cropped camera, I just stand back a little further to shoot. The lens is very fast at f1.8, and it allows me to take a better photo in the not so ideal lighting of indoor dog shows. I can now use a faster shutter speed to stop the action. Thanks Canon.


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Great Price/Value

By sy from colorado on 02/28/2011


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Light Weight, Fast Auto-focus

Cons:

Minimum Focus Distance

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This lens is super sharp. F1.8 is very thin. It's compact and light weight. USM is quiet and fast. 58mm filter size. Minimum focus distance is a bit too long. I wouldn't say it's L quality built but it's absolutely much cheaper than EF 85mm L.


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Best I own?

By sami from MO on 11/14/2010


Pros:

Supersharp, Distortion Free, Fast Focus

Cons:

Benefit From Is

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This may be the best lens I own. And that includes 3 'L' series lenses! While this may not have the largest aperture, smallest DOF, or the build-quality of an 'L', it is just as free from distortion and maybe better. I've been using this lens for nearly 3yrs now in a variety of situations: portrait in and out of studio, landscape, and 'nature' photography with wonderful results. The background blur is great and it is 'razor-sharp' . For the price, you cannot go wrong here. The only feature it lacks, is IS, but how many of us use it handheld as I do or at very small apertures?


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L Quality paying less money

By Lalo from Colombia on 11/06/2010


Pros:

Sharp, Build Quality, Fast Auto Focus, Image Quality

Cons:

No Is, Lens Hood

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I've been using the EF85mm for more than two years. More recently attached to a Mark II 5D and all I can say is that is like having a L quality lens for less money. Pictures are sharp, the auto focus is very fast, and it's excellent under low light situations (it's a f1.8!!). I bought this lens when my daughter was born and portraits are really really good. It's my new workabout lens and when I see the results in Lightroom the majority of pcs have at least one or two stars, so hard to delete the bad ones. Canon should work on having a good hood for this lens. Image Stabilization is not necessary. It's like having a "L" lens, but paying less money.


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My favorite portrait lens

By Pete from Salt Lake City on 09/12/2010


Pros:

Lightweight And Small, Aperture, Excellent Build Quality, Useful Focal Length, Inexpensive, Superb Image Quality

Cons:

No Image Stabilization

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I use a 5D MKII, and most of my lenses are top of the line L series. But when it's time for an indoor portrait without a flash, I usually reach for my EF 85 1.8. It has great image quality and aperture, in a small and light package. The auto focus is silent, accurate, and quick. Superb bokeh. This lens is similar to the EF135 L, but smaller, cheaper and has a more useful focal length (at least for me.) It easily fits in a jacket pocket, balances the camera perfectly, and the price is right. I rarely miss IS at this aperture and focal length. You can't go wrong with this one!


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perfect brand

By 7bteeen from Undisclosed on 05/18/2010


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Fast Auto-focus, Superior Build Quality

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I think this is the best telephoto brand for canon because it's very clear and fast.


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awesome and affordable lens

By tag2x from san gabriel, california on 05/10/2010


Pros:

Awesome Bokeh, Super-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

i put it on my t2i and it works like a charm! its like a L series lens with out the price tag. awesome blur it really makes the subject pops out. sharp sharp sharp!!! this should be included on a kit lens. its a very fun lens to have. its a must have for your collection of lens


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My go-to lens.

By kristallin from Milford, CT on 04/15/2010


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I've been using the EF 85mm f/1.8 for a little over a year now, and it quickly became my go-to lens for any kind of shoot. From shooting ducks and geese down at the river to boats in the local marina to working with models (my main use), I've never been let down by this lens. Quick to focus (with the occasional miss in low-light situations), super-sharp images, and great contrast, I couldn't ask for more. Lens distortion is minimal, and my shots turn out great. I've used this lens with several Canon EOS systems, ranging from the old Rebel XT through the 40D and 50D all the way to the 5D Mk II, and this lens is a perfect match for any camera, APS-C or full-frame sensor. I love this lens!


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(:

By DJ from Houston, TX on 04/02/2010


Pros:

Super-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This lense takes brilliant pictures. The reviews before mine were correct, and this lenses focus is incredible. I took absolutly gorgoues portraits with it, and i even took pictures wih it downtown at night, without messing with any non-auto settings. A few things i dislike about this lense is the 85 mm, I mean it kind of seems useless for canon to make this 85 mm, if your shooting a football game you would be on the field with a telephoto, so I dislike the 85 mm, I had to scoot back or be a fair distance to shoot a subject of mine. & the auto focus misses occasionaly. Its not a big problem however if you know how to use your MF. Plus the AF is fast and quiet. But other than the distance (which i was unaware it was a fixed lense when i bought it online) this lense is absoluty fantastic.


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just right

By Bob from Central Illinois on 03/05/2010


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality, Fast Auto-focus

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought this lens for my granddaughters volleyball games and couldn't be happier. I can stop the motion or blur it if I wish. The dim lighting in the gym was giving me fits before I purchased this lens. Thank you Canon for a great lens. The fast and amazingly quiet auto-focus is the greatest.


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Crazy Lens

By Nate from Valley Center on 01/20/2010


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Superior Build Quality, Super-sharp Images, Fast Lens, Usm

Cons:

2.8 Ft Minimum Focus Distance

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Great Lens for a 14 year old. Extremely Fast. Quite AF. Produces very good depth-of-field and out of focus backgrounds. very sharp across entire f-stop range.


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Most-Bang-For-The-Buck

By Funky_Tunes from Jakarta, INDONESIA on 10/21/2009


Pros:

Super-sharp Images

Cons:

No Is

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

It's a must for all Canon DSLR / EOS User. For the past 4 years, this lens is the most brilliant tools in my lens line up. No matter what the occasion are, vacation or commercial shot, fashion or children, this lens pays it all. Almost all of my masterpiece session were involving the EF 85mm f/1.8....You don't have to pay L series bucks to get their quality, this is it, the alpha & the omega in matter of lightweight prime lens. Amazingly sharp, even at maximum aperture ( I often selected 1 stop down from the max f available, about f/2 or f/2.8 to get maximum Image Quality ) It's light, it doesn't spread too much attention like the rest of the L series, & it gets the job done! The only thing missing from this lens, is Image Stabilizer. But hey, it's light enough, I'm not too worry about it. If Canon decide to release the IS version of this lens, I'm the first person in line to order it. Anyone starting a new hobby or pros searching for value solution in their lineup, I recommend you to buy the EF 85mm f/1.8.


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Fine portrait and product lens

By EOS4me from Los Angeles, CA on 08/07/2009


Pros:

Good Value, Superior Build Quality, Fast Auto-focus, Super-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Excellent image quality with good bokeh in a workhorse focal length for 3/4 portraits and product shots. Used in conjunction with an EF 135 2L USM makes a fantastic portrait setup for heads and enviromental portraits. Sharp and handy focal length reasonably priced fast quiet focusing. Not an "L" lens in terms of construction quality but "L" class image quality with very good solid build quality that will last a long time. I owned this lens for over 5 years and used it along side an EF 135 2L USM for portraits and products.


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Excellent lens!

By Ang from Anaheim Hills, CA on 04/23/2009


Pros:

Incredibly Beautiful Background Blur, Fast Auto-focus, Superior Build Quality, Artsy Pictures, Super-sharp Images

Cons:

No Hood

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros: excellent portrait lens--particularly nice blur if the background is not a single color flat wall. I use it when the background has many things in it and pictures become very artistic. Cons: no hood. I wish it came with one, particularly since in order to get the wonderful distorted backgrounds, it is best to photograph outdoors. In general: I bought this lens about a week ago and have used it since for about 600 pictures. If I tell you that of the 600 I kept 590 as "very good," those of you with some photo experience will think I am out of my mind... but it is true. The background blur is so artsy that even a slightly missed picture can become beautiful if approximately designed (cropped) afterwards. I find that this lens really works best when the subject of thing you photograph is in front of a very busy background. This way the element there create a colorful blur that is very pleasing to look at and increases the 3D quality of the person/object of focus. I found that aperture variations make a very big difference if a mixed background is used but little if the background is one-color flat texture. This does not mean that this lens does not take nice pictures in a flat color room or in front of a flat color something, but the best thing about this lens is how it blurs things in the background. So to get full advantage, make sure you try and busy up everything behind the object you photograph. I was also able to capture excellent shots of subjects from quite far--over 20 feet--with my 5D with great detail and depth and still with sufficient blur for the art effects in the background. I used a circular polarizing for pool-shots and the water and the person (from a little over 20 feet) comes through beautifully. And finally, when two or more subjects are in the picture, this lens only allows the clear focus on one face or the other. Thus I found it best to deliberately choose one face to be very sharp and all others blurred in steps! In this way i was also able to capture one solid sharp face and the other in motion! this is a wonderful affect! Summary: if you can afford it, buy it!!!


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Sharp deal

By apachecraig from Western Washington State on 03/22/2009


Pros:

Fast Auto-focus, Superior Build Quality, Super-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I purchased this 85mm 1.8 lens after readings many reviews. After 1 day of my own tests- this lens is by far the best lens in it's class.


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Textbook definition of bang for the buck

By Blake from Washington, DC on 11/08/2008


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality, Fast Aperture Great For Low Light, Pleasing Bokeh Thanks To 8 Diaphragm Blades, Fast Auto-focus, Great For Macro With Some Rings, Well Balanced On All But The Smallest Cameras

Cons:

Lens Hood Not Included & Expensive, Lens Hood Poorly Designed

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Welcome to the world of Canon telephoto primes. Don't let the low price fool you - the only difference between this lens and professional L glass is the lack of weathersealing. Everything else is professional grade. Ring USM autofocus is faster than anything else on the market, period. Build quality is excellent and feels solid in your hands (it is in fact plastic but you'd be hard-pressed to tell without looking). Resolution is excellent. Like on almost any lens I stop down to f/2.0 or f/2.2 to sharpen up the corners a bit, but this is picking nits. This would be more necessary on a full-frame camera like the 5D2, but on crop cameras like the 40D I have no qualms about shooting wide-open at f/1.8 if I need maximum light-capturing ability. There is some purple-fringing in very high-contrast situations, but nothing that can't be cleaned up in 30 seconds in a RAW converter. The 85 might not be a zoom, but it's still extremely versatile. It's not too big or heavy to put in a small bag & take with you anywhere. You'll get used to "zooming with your feet" very quickly, and you'll concentrate more on making a good photo instead of fiddling with a zoom ring as a result. I use this lens most for low-light work (clubs & concerts) where it's just long enough to get in close but not so long that you have to worry too much about blur from handheld shooting (if you're working in extremely low light, get an ST-E2 or small flash like the 220EX so that you can use the dedicated AF assist beam instead of strobing your built-in flash at your poor unsuspecting subjects). It's also an excellent portrait lens, although on a crop body you may have to work a bit farther away from the model than you'd like if you're going for a "portrait Americain"; it's perfect for faces that fill the frame though. The wide aperture enables you to completely isolate the subject, and the bokeh (background blur) is quite pleasing. One area in which this lens is often overlooked is macro. It's already not too bad as-is, but if you get a couple of cheap macro rings you can do some pretty amazing stuff. I've made a photo of the individual plant fibres in a bug-eaten leaf with this setup. Get ready to use a tripod or off-camera flash as you'll need to stop way down in order to get any useful depth of field with the macro rings on. The one place where it falls short is the lens hood. It has to be bought separately and is not cheap, and the attachment system must have been designed in the '80s. It's hard to put on when you need it & it falls off when you don't want it to. Given the 85's other outstanding aspects though, I really don't care too much about these issues. Given its low cost, the 85mm f/1.8 should be the first thing on any new Canon user's shopping list if you're serious about getting into photography. "It's a crime to go without a prime". If even the 85's budget is too rich for you, get the 50mm f/1.8 (about as sharp, but the AF & build of the 85 are in a different league). New SLR users are often put off by non-zoom lenses, but the whole point of having an interchangable-lens camera is being able to use the right tool for the job (if you're just going to stick with one lens, do yourself a favor & get a RAW-enabled compact instead!).


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