HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?

Started Nov 23, 2012 | Discussions
shutterthug
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HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
Nov 23, 2012

I'm a professional headshot photographer and have been using the 85L on my 5D2 for years.  I typically shoot handheld, f/3.5 @ 1/320sec under my usual lighting setup.

I'm not really hurting for IS and am OK with the focal length of the 85L, but I rented the new 100mm Macro today for some food work and it got me thinking: I don't really use the 85L in "God mode" (wide open f/1.2) for any of the work that pays the bills around here.

So I'm wondering if the faster autofocus and the Macro capability might not be worth considering as a replacement.  Funny, I've really grown attached to the heft of the so-called "Canonball" and see the world at 85mm (a problem I know I need to correct, just admitting it's my comfort zone).

Any thoughts, gang?

—m

www.michaelcavotta.com

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amosf
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

You'll have to do some comparisons and let usknow

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MirekE
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

The 100 is lighter and not so bulky and therefore nicer to handhold. The AF is considerably faster (with limiter) and side by side the 100 is as sharp or sharper, if that is a concern. I had the 100 only shortly, but it was my impression that it is more resistant to veiling glare.

It is hard to explain, but the 100 has somehow more "modern" or clinical look, but I am sure you already noticed it if you rented it. I would not be surprised if you decided to get it.

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Lynn David Cole
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Have you tried the 135 f/2 L?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

Since you don't care about IS, it seems logical that the 135 f/2 L would be a logical choice for head shots if you are using a full frame camera.

I have the 100mm f/2.8 IS L on order and will use it primarily for nature macros, but I will also use it for the occasional head shot. I personally think that IS will be very useful for candid night shots.

I too will be very interested in your conclusions.

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MAC
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

100 L on FF is the lens imo.  I love mine on 5d- half body, head shots and macro - handheld

85L is wasted money at F3.5.  That lens sings f1.2  - f2.

read the reviews at dpreview, also at photozone.de.

I use some skin softening LR presets with my 100L and the finish in PSCS with layering for sharpest eyes.

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shutterthug
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to MAC, Nov 24, 2012

MAC wrote:

100 L on FF is the lens imo. I love mine on 5d- half body, head shots and macro - handheld

85L is wasted money at F3.5. That lens sings f1.2 - f2.

This is what's been at the back of my mind.  Sadly, f/1.2 at the distances I'm shooting doesn't make for great headshots.  DOF is crazy thin at close range.

read the reviews at dpreview, also at photozone.de.

100L is solid in the reviews all around, just wondered if anyone else out there had both to compare.  Like a previous poster wrote, I may have to make that determination for myself.

I use some skin softening LR presets with my 100L and the finish in PSCS with layering for sharpest eyes.

I don't do any softening and have a hard time imagining the 100L being much crispier at f/3.5 than my 85L.  But we'll see...

Thanks,

—m

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shutterthug
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to amosf, Nov 24, 2012

You may well be right!

—m

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shutterthug
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to MirekE, Nov 24, 2012

MirekE wrote:

The 100 is lighter and not so bulky and therefore nicer to handhold.

Definitely noticed the weight savings in the hour I played with the 100L, but it was tripod-mounted for food work so not as obvious an advantage since I shoot headshots hand-held.  Gotta say, there's something I like about the heft of the 85L on the 5* bodies.  Kinda like the difference between a steel-frame handgun versus a polymer-type.

The AF is considerably faster (with limiter) and side by side the 100 is as sharp or sharper, if that is a concern.

You think a significant difference in sharpness at f/3.5?  Wish I'd had time to do a side-by-side test.  Regardless, sharpness isn't really an enemy with my work.  I could see it being a possible issue for some glamour portraiture, but not for my commercial headshots.

I had the 100 only shortly, but it was my impression that it is more resistant to veiling glare.

Help a dummy out?

It is hard to explain, but the 100 has somehow more "modern" or clinical look, but I am sure you already noticed it if you rented it. I would not be surprised if you decided to get it.

Unfortunately, I was shooting macro on some tasty-looking Korean hot wings with kimchianaise sauce and didn't have a chance to see how it handled faces.  Another time maybe...

Thx for your input!

—m

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gdanmitchell
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

shutterthug wrote:

I'm a professional headshot photographer and have been using the 85L on my 5D2 for years. I typically shoot handheld, f/3.5 @ 1/320sec under my usual lighting setup.

I'm not really hurting for IS and am OK with the focal length of the 85L, but I rented the new 100mm Macro today for some food work and it got me thinking: I don't really use the 85L in "God mode" (wide open f/1.2) for any of the work that pays the bills around here.

So I'm wondering if the faster autofocus and the Macro capability might not be worth considering as a replacement. Funny, I've really grown attached to the heft of the so-called "Canonball" and see the world at 85mm (a problem I know I need to correct, just admitting it's my comfort zone).

Any thoughts, gang?

—m

www.michaelcavotta.com

I know several folks who use the 100mm f/2.8 (old and new versions) for just this sort of work, liking the slightly longer focal length and the additional utility of being able to do macro work.

I suspect that you know enough to make your own decision here (among the evidence is that fact that you aren't raving about being able to get "narrow DOF for portraits" and are instead shooting around f/3.5), but you should know that others regard the macro lens as a fine portrait lens, too.

\

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shutterthug
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Re: Have you tried the 135 f/2 L?
In reply to Lynn David Cole, Nov 24, 2012

Lynn David Cole wrote:

Since you don't care about IS, it seems logical that the 135 f/2 L would be a logical choice for head shots if you are using a full frame camera.

Sold a 135L to acquire my 85L.  Great lens as well, but it's a touch long (I like being close to my headshot subjects when I work with them) and wouldn't afford the added versatility of macro capability for my food work—hence the question, can I get more of what I need out of the 100L?

I have the 100mm f/2.8 IS L on order and will use it primarily for nature macros, but I will also use it for the occasional head shot. I personally think that IS will be very useful for candid night shots.

IS may be wonderful for me, too.  Time will tell.

I too will be very interested in your conclusions.

I will be sure to share with the group when I've come to a conclusion.

Cheers!

—m

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shutterthug
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to gdanmitchell, Nov 24, 2012

gdanmitchell wrote:

shutterthug wrote:

I'm a professional headshot photographer and have been using the 85L on my 5D2 for years. I typically shoot handheld, f/3.5 @ 1/320sec under my usual lighting setup.

I'm not really hurting for IS and am OK with the focal length of the 85L, but I rented the new 100mm Macro today for some food work and it got me thinking: I don't really use the 85L in "God mode" (wide open f/1.2) for any of the work that pays the bills around here.

So I'm wondering if the faster autofocus and the Macro capability might not be worth considering as a replacement. Funny, I've really grown attached to the heft of the so-called "Canonball" and see the world at 85mm (a problem I know I need to correct, just admitting it's my comfort zone).

Any thoughts, gang?

—m

www.michaelcavotta.com

I know several folks who use the 100mm f/2.8 (old and new versions) for just this sort of work, liking the slightly longer focal length and the additional utility of being able to do macro work.

I've grown to love where 85mm puts me in terms of proximity to my headshot subjects.  It "works" for the kind of personal branding work I do.  Adding 15mm should be an easy adjustment for the added macro capability and faster autofocus.

I suspect that you know enough to make your own decision here (among the evidence is that fact that you aren't raving about being able to get "narrow DOF for portraits" and are instead shooting around f/3.5), but you should know that others regard the macro lens as a fine portrait lens, too.

Appreciate the vote of confidence, Dan.  You're right on one thing, though: Too many people assume because a lens is capable of shooting at f/1.2 (and you pay a hefty premium for the privilege), that it's some secret path to amazing shots.  I, for one, find the fall-off WAY to steep with this lens anywhere close to wide open, even in straight-on headshots (my favorite kind) where both eyes should be in focus and frequently aren'y when total DOF is measure in scant mm at the <4' ranges.

Thanks for your input, Dan—and just to prove that I may NOT know enough to make my own decision, I will admit that replacing the 85L with anything less than another L lens would have been an affront to my ego

—m

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hullodare
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

Your headshot work is outstanding. I spent some time looking at your web site and the imagery is superb.

The 100L is a sensational lens for portraiture and headshot work. There is zero distortion from the lens. Zero. It is absolutely razor sharp wide open. Stop it down to f/3.5 or f/4 and to my eyes I have never seen a sharper lens. It's a joy to hand hold. The IS does come in handy. Even if you don't use IS now I predict you will fall in love with it quickly. It's THAT good. I really think you should give it a try for a few headshot sessions. If you don't fall head over heels in love with the 100L I would be very, very surprised.

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tonyjr
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

1st I am on a 7 D and this is a hobby .

I use the 70-200 mk ii for candid head shots at 1/320 or above 400 ISO f5.6 or F 8 . This is generally in low light . Smile for the camera is different than a natural / happy smile .

Yes the IS and 2.8 make a big difference - at least for me . I checked out the 85 , just did not like it .

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shutterthug
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to hullodare, Nov 24, 2012

hullodare wrote:

Your headshot work is outstanding. I spent some time looking at your web site and the imagery is superb.

Thank you very much, Tom.  I find your use of color and composition very moving, and really appreciate the compliment.

The 100L is a sensational lens for portraiture and headshot work. There is zero distortion from the lens. Zero. It is absolutely razor sharp wide open. Stop it down to f/3.5 or f/4 and to my eyes I have never seen a sharper lens. It's a joy to hand hold. The IS does come in handy. Even if you don't use IS now I predict you will fall in love with it quickly. It's THAT good. I really think you should give it a try for a few headshot sessions. If you don't fall head over heels in love with the 100L I would be very, very surprised.

I think I'll rent the one I played with yesterday for an extended period of time and see how it feels.  I'm so optimistic based on feedback such as yours that I've already photographed my 85L (and its seldom-used 35mm cousin) for sale.

Stay tuned!

—m

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MAC
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

shutterthug wrote:

MAC wrote:

100 L on FF is the lens imo. I love mine on 5d- half body, head shots and macro - handheld

85L is wasted money at F3.5. That lens sings f1.2 - f2.

This is what's been at the back of my mind. Sadly, f/1.2 at the distances I'm shooting doesn't make for great headshots. DOF is crazy thin at close range.

read the reviews at dpreview, also at photozone.de.

100L is solid in the reviews all around, just wondered if anyone else out there had both to compare. Like a previous poster wrote, I may have to make that determination for myself.

I use some skin softening LR presets with my 100L and the finish in PSCS with layering for sharpest eyes.

I don't do any softening and have a hard time imagining the 100L being much crispier at f/3.5 than my 85L. But we'll see...

Thanks,

when you look at the dpreview flash lens review tool for the 100L on FF, the 100L is the sharpest lens they've ever tested between F5 - F 6.3. You control your background and subject placement. Consider these razor sharp settings On the 100L. Also for portrait, of the three lens settings, use the center switch setting. When you get out and about, for still life, you can easily shoot sharp at ss 1/15. For people standing ss 1/40 is piece of cake. With 4 stop IS i have gone down to ss 1/8 and gotten sharp shots with still life.

Good luck


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MirekE
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 24, 2012

The AF is considerably faster (with limiter) and side by side the 100 is as sharp or sharper, if that is a concern.

You think a significant difference in sharpness at f/3.5? Wish I'd had time to do a side-by-side test. Regardless, sharpness isn't really an enemy with my work. I could see it being a possible issue for some glamour portraiture, but not for my commercial headshots.

I remember the 100 being slightly sharper in corners. It was my overall impression from various types of shots. Here is a side by side test (approx. 300ft, actual pixels from 5D2) where it might be even the other way around.

Center:

http://www.elsners.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/85100135center1.jpg

Corner:

http://www.elsners.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/85100135corner1.jpg

I had the 100 only shortly, but it was my impression that it is more resistant to veiling glare.

Help a dummy out?

I got some shots with the 85 where sun caused veiling flare over the whole frame or part of it. The 100 seemed more resistant to it.

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msbeezy
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to MirekE, Nov 25, 2012

I have all three of these..85, 100, 135...as well as a few more..50 1.2, 35, 24....

Anyways since the question was about the two that's what I'dd add my .02 to

Firstly yes the 100 is a stellar lens for head shots..providing you're provided adequate distance.

Secondly the 85 is a stellar lens for head shots too !! It presents a completely different presentation tho I'd say,,,dreamier,,sexier,,with the creamier softer background.

I'd say it comes down to the final look look you're after...like if it's a business profile...grab the 100..if it's a studio portrait of wife for hubby thing...the 85 is your friend..

My girls..

100L IS @ 3.2

85L Vll @ 1.2

And this is what can happen if you don't watch your f with the 85 and go for the gold with 1.2...too thin to get both eyes

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foggy
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to tonyjr, Nov 25, 2012

My suggestion probably won't work for at least 2 reasons but I'll put my ideas on the table anyway. 1. you like the 85mm look on a full frame in your work. And it just works for you. What you are looking for is faster focus. You also need macro for some of your work.

My suggestion for a lens is not an L lens so there is the issue of ego as you said. I look at that as a challenge that for you is only handled if you meet your needs in your photography. The lens I'm talking about is Canons 85mm 1.8 lens, the 1.2 L is a tad sharper, has more contrast etc. But the improvement over the 1.8 is so small that if you did see a difference between the two lenses output, it would most likely be human error. On the 1.2 the soft creamy bokeh is a scoosh more pronounced at settings above 1.8 as compared to the 1.8 lens. You shoot around 3.5 so this should not be an issue. What the 1.8 has is much faster AF, fast enough to use in some sports events.

The 85 1.8 uses 58mm filters so less mass to the elements so faster AF with USM motor. For macro a thought would be use Canons 2 element diopter filters the 250 and 500D they are hard to find, easier in 58mm. But they also stack if you put the 500 on first. You lose no light as you would with an extension tube. They also add no distortion, they do not lessen the quality of the lens they are mounted on.

The 1.8 is not up to L build quality but is very good. The cost right now is $359.00 till 12/1/2012 in the states. So it is a deal as far as price.

Well that’s my thoughts what say you..?

Foggy

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Rick Knepper
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to shutterthug, Nov 25, 2012

shutterthug wrote:

I'm a professional headshot photographer and have been using the 85L on my 5D2 for years. I typically shoot handheld, f/3.5 @ 1/320sec under my usual lighting setup.

I'm not really hurting for IS and am OK with the focal length of the 85L, but I rented the new 100mm Macro today for some food work and it got me thinking: I don't really use the 85L in "God mode" (wide open f/1.2) for any of the work that pays the bills around here.

So I'm wondering if the faster autofocus and the Macro capability might not be worth considering as a replacement. Funny, I've really grown attached to the heft of the so-called "Canonball" and see the world at 85mm (a problem I know I need to correct, just admitting it's my comfort zone).

Any thoughts, gang?

—m

www.michaelcavotta.com

There's no match for the 85L's smooth color and contrast.

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Dan_168
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Re: HEADSHOTS: 85L 1.2 or 100L f/2.8 Macro IS USM?
In reply to Rick Knepper, Nov 26, 2012

Rick Knepper wrote:


There's no match for the 85L's smooth color and contrast.

-

The 85L II and 135L are my regular portrait kit, didn't like the 100L for portrait at all, it's a nice macro lens though.

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