Very unique and capable lens

Started 2 months ago | User reviews
Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
Very unique and capable lens
9

"A close-focusing 85?"

When Canon announced they were readying an 85 Macro to bolster their RF line-up I immediately got excited that this could be a real problem-solver for my wedding photography bag. 85mm lenses (used mostly for portraits) are notoriously poor at close focusing. Meanwhile, 100mm macro lenses are often too long for interior portraits. Could this new lens replace both my EF 85L 1.4 IS and my EF 100L Macro into one value-priced close-focusing short telephoto? Answer — YES.

LOVE — pleasing images, akin to the EF100L but at ƒ2.0 offer noticeably more subject isolation. Fast AF in good light. Surprising lightweight — I’ve shot 6 weddings with this lens and my mind still is not used to how light it is. I’ve been using both the 85L and 100L for so long I predict how much resistance my fingers will receive pulling the lens out of the bag. This is so light it doesn't feel like a lens at all.

MEH — the RF lens finish is neither love or hate with me. While I prefer the look and feel of the older EF USM primes (specifically the 85 1.8) but this is ok.

BE AWARE — the much align STM autofocus is fine for personal shooting and I don’t find it to be a deal-breaker for how I shoot at events but some might. If you routinely shoot an 85 in very dark situations (drunk dance floor with no lights), you’ll be disappointed at how much this hunts and how long it takes to acquire in eye-tracking mode. I don’t reach for an 85 in super low light (prefer other focal lengths) so this is fine for me. It’s surprising as the old EF 85 1.8 was one of Canon’s fastest focusing lenses. Again, for personal shooting, travel, and decent light shooting this is an incredible value and unique problem-solver. Pros should rent/borrow first to see if they can work around low light challenges. Also, for wedding photographers you will need to crop a little when shooting rings as it's not a full 1:1 macro. A little crop on the both the R6 and R5 look fine. I can live with the compromise.

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Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM
Macro prime lens • Canon RF
Announced: Jul 9, 2020
Lee Baby Simms's score
4.5
Average community score
4.5
Canon EOS R5 Canon EOS R6 Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM
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Squatch00 New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Very unique and capable lens

Well said. I have a few RF lenses now and I'm finding that this is the one that's most often finding itself on my camera these days. I took my favorite picture of my dog with it, and recently got to play with shooting some miniatures that my friend paints. I've been really pleased with it each time I use it.

I remember being a little unsure about my purchase initially, but now I might just rank it as my favorite lens when adjusting for value. The thing is surprisingly versatile and packs a punch!

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Eddie Rizk Contributing Member • Posts: 912
Re: Very unique and capable lens

Thanks for the review.

I love my EF 85 F1.4.  But I'm giving serious thought to replacing it with the RF 85 F2, primarily for the macro focusing.  I love the macro focusing on my RF 35 F1.8 and my EF 24-70 F4.  I like it enough that I sold my RF 24-105 F4L instead of my EF 24-70 after shooting both with the R for a while.

You mentioned the EF 85 F1.4, then discussed the differences with The EF 85 F1.8.  Was one of the two a typo?  If not, how does the RF 85 F2 compare to the RF 85 F1.4?

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That's my opinion, and it's worth what you paid for it.
Eddie Rizk
The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.
Formerly "Ed Rizk"
My email was hacked and unrecoverable along with all associated accounts, so I got permission to create a new one.

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OP Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
Compared to the 1.4 and 1.8

We have two copies of the EF 85 1.4 IS and previously owned two copies of the EF 85 1.8 USM.

Regarding IQ ... compared to the 1.4 ... the new 85 was a tad less contrast, but MUCH less purple fringe (yay).

The Macro's a far easier lens to live with. So light, it's a joy to juggle in a day's shooting.

Compared to the old 1.8 ... well, there's no much comparison really. The new lens is in a different league optically, but lacks the old USM's lens whip-snap AF

Eddie Rizk wrote:

Thanks for the review.

I love my EF 85 F1.4. But I'm giving serious thought to replacing it with the RF 85 F2, primarily for the macro focusing. I love the macro focusing on my RF 35 F1.8 and my EF 24-70 F4. I like it enough that I sold my RF 24-105 F4L instead of my EF 24-70 after shooting both with the R for a while.

You mentioned the EF 85 F1.4, then discussed the differences with The EF 85 F1.8. Was one of the two a typo? If not, how does the RF 85 F2 compare to the RF 85 F1.4?

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Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
SteveinLouisville
SteveinLouisville Contributing Member • Posts: 839
I like it but...

I am probably trade it as partial payment on an RF 70-200 F4.0L.

thunder storm Senior Member • Posts: 6,753
Re: Compared to the 1.4 and 1.8

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

We have two copies of the EF 85 1.4 IS and previously owned two copies of the EF 85 1.8 USM.

Regarding IQ ... compared to the 1.4 ... the new 85 was a tad less contrast, but MUCH less purple fringe (yay).

Is this also the case having the EF f/1.4 L  stopped down at f/2.0 or f/2.2?

The Macro's a far easier lens to live with. So light, it's a joy to juggle in a day's shooting.

Compared to the old 1.8 ... well, there's no much comparison really. The new lens is in a different league optically, but lacks the old USM's lens whip-snap AF

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I love 50mm (equivalence)

 thunder storm's gear list:thunder storm's gear list
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OP Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
Re: Compared to the 1.4 and 1.8

Great question. Yes, if you have heavy backlighting (a common wedding shooting technique) you'll see it on the EF 85L 1.4

By comparison, the same backlit shot with a 135L wide open won't yield any purple fringe (sometimes a little green fringe, but it's far less noticeable).

The old EF 85's were horrible with purple fringe. The 1.2 and 1.8USM models couldn't be shot below ƒ2.8 without seeing it. The newer 1.4 L was an improvement, but it's still there. So far (knock on wood) I have not seen any fringing on the 85 Macro. But, the season's just getting started — lol.

I have no interest in carrying either of the ginormous RF 1.2 85's so this is good as an 85 as I'll get in the RF era.

thunder storm wrote:

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

We have two copies of the EF 85 1.4 IS and previously owned two copies of the EF 85 1.8 USM.

Regarding IQ ... compared to the 1.4 ... the new 85 was a tad less contrast, but MUCH less purple fringe (yay).

Is this also the case having the EF f/1.4 L stopped down at f/2.0 or f/2.2?

The Macro's a far easier lens to live with. So light, it's a joy to juggle in a day's shooting.

Compared to the old 1.8 ... well, there's no much comparison really. The new lens is in a different league optically, but lacks the old USM's lens whip-snap AF

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Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
thunder storm Senior Member • Posts: 6,753
Re: Compared to the 1.4 and 1.8
1

Thanks.  I would love to have some smoother bokeh, but if it comes with more fringing - no thanks.

I understand that half way macro capability is important for you.

For me it's less important, and sometimes I wonder if the RF Samyang 85mm f/1.4  could the better compact 85mm option. I don't need to shoot it wide open, just a bit smoother bokeh would be nice.

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I love 50mm (equivalence)

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OP Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
I think you're correct

If you don't need the close-focus, then by all means head towards the Samyang. I've read great reviews.

Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
tdbmd Regular Member • Posts: 489
Re: I think you're correct

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

If you don't need the close-focus, then by all means head towards the Samyang. I've read great reviews.

Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

I recently purchased a R6.  I have been doing some shooting with a borrowed EF 85mm f1.8 USM and have really liked the results for portrait type shots.  Do you find the RF 85 f2.0 to be superior?  I have used the 85mm f1.8 for indoor sports, but maybe the AF on the RF 85 is not up to that task?

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OP Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
For some things, yes

Some have said the legacy 85 1.8 USM is the fastest focusing Canon lens ever made, and that's its strongest attribute.

Optically, there's really no comparison. The newer model is from another world in regards to sharpness and close-focus ability, all without a hint of purple fringe (CA) in high contrast shooting. It's only deficit is it's focus system. Fine in good light, hunts a bit after dark, and is downright frustrating using MF in macro mode.

If you like the older lens and don't notice the purple fringe or softer corners, stick with it!

tdbmd wrote:

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

If you don't need the close-focus, then by all means head towards the Samyang. I've read great reviews.

Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

I recently purchased a R6. I have been doing some shooting with a borrowed EF 85mm f1.8 USM and have really liked the results for portrait type shots. Do you find the RF 85 f2.0 to be superior? I have used the 85mm f1.8 for indoor sports, but maybe the AF on the RF 85 is not up to that task?

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Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 7,890
Re: For some things, yes

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

Some have said the legacy 85 1.8 USM is the fastest focusing Canon lens ever made, and that's its strongest attribute.

Optically, there's really no comparison. The newer model is from another world in regards to sharpness and close-focus ability, all without a hint of purple fringe (CA) in high contrast shooting. It's only deficit is it's focus system. Fine in good light, hunts a bit after dark, and is downright frustrating using MF in macro mode.

If you like the older lens and don't notice the purple fringe or softer corners, stick with it!

tdbmd wrote:

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

If you don't need the close-focus, then by all means head towards the Samyang. I've read great reviews.

Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

I recently purchased a R6. I have been doing some shooting with a borrowed EF 85mm f1.8 USM and have really liked the results for portrait type shots. Do you find the RF 85 f2.0 to be superior? I have used the 85mm f1.8 for indoor sports, but maybe the AF on the RF 85 is not up to that task?

The AF on the RF 85 F2 is fine for indoor sports. I shot two test sequences of a car and a cyclist approaching me. Every shot was sharp. If it's fast enough for a 30mph car, it's fast enough for indoor sports, so long as the lighting is reasonable. But if the lighting is so low that the focus would struggle, you wouldn't be able to get good results anyway, because the ISO would be too high and the shutter speed would be too low. I have shot basketball in college arenas, where I was getting 1/1000 at F2.8 at ISO 3200. Even three or four stops below that, say in dimly-lit high-school gyms, would be plenty bright enough for the 85.

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tdbmd Regular Member • Posts: 489
Re: For some things, yes

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

Some have said the legacy 85 1.8 USM is the fastest focusing Canon lens ever made, and that's its strongest attribute.

Optically, there's really no comparison. The newer model is from another world in regards to sharpness and close-focus ability, all without a hint of purple fringe (CA) in high contrast shooting. It's only deficit is it's focus system. Fine in good light, hunts a bit after dark, and is downright frustrating using MF in macro mode.

If you like the older lens and don't notice the purple fringe or softer corners, stick with it!

tdbmd wrote:

Lee Baby Simms wrote:

If you don't need the close-focus, then by all means head towards the Samyang. I've read great reviews.

Wedding Photographer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Every great photograph was taken with a camera worse than yours

I recently purchased a R6. I have been doing some shooting with a borrowed EF 85mm f1.8 USM and have really liked the results for portrait type shots. Do you find the RF 85 f2.0 to be superior? I have used the 85mm f1.8 for indoor sports, but maybe the AF on the RF 85 is not up to that task?

Thanks for the information.  Most of the time when I use the EF 85 f1.8 for sports, I am not using it fully open, more like f2 or f2.2 and with JPEGS, so maybe I would not notice some of the wide open issues with the older design?

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tdbmd Regular Member • Posts: 489
Re: For some things, yes

Thank you for that insight.  Very helpful.

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OP Lee Baby Simms Contributing Member • Posts: 929
depending on the sample, yes
1

I've only shot 3 variants of the EF 85 USM, but all 3 behaved differently wide open. Mine was very bad with CA, while the other 2 I shot with seemed softer in the edges.

 Lee Baby Simms's gear list:Lee Baby Simms's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6 Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +10 more
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