The very best 85mm lens, independent of system

Started Jul 10, 2014 | Discussions thread
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yardcoyote Senior Member • Posts: 6,600
The very best 85mm lens, independent of system

OK, experts in all the different camera systems. Here's a question for you, and another to follow it up.

What is the very best all purpose 85mm prime lens out there? I'm not talking a true dedicated portrait lens, but a lens you could walk around with if that was your favorite focal length. It should be fast (at least f/2.8, and f/2 is better) but f/1.2 is not necessary, and I'd be willing to sacrifice a huge max aperture for reduced size and weight. Optical quality and quick, reliable autofocus a must. Also interested in recommendations for great 55mm (or so) crop sensor lenses if you have one you depend on for everything.

Second, what body would you recommend to bring life to this paragon of lenses? Could be new, could be a classic to buy used. Almost certainly a DSLR, since a bright, full coverage pentaprism OVF is a must. Pro features not required-- no need for continuous shooting, battery grips, thousands of focus points. Just a solid, reliable basic body with the standard automations, excellent high ISO performance, and good handling qualities. Think artist, not sports or wedding photographer.

Anybody else have a one lens kit like this, built on a single excellent prime of whatever focal length? Anybody want to tell me I'm crazy ahead of time?

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