Canon 85mm f1.8 - first impressions and a word on primes

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Antithesis, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So I just sold my 24-70 F2.8L in lieu of some primes. For some reason, that lens just didn't have the wow-factor that a lot of L's do have. I don't know if I had a bad copy or something, but the images coming out of it weren't as sharp and contrasty as I would expect from a $1200 standard zoom.

    So, I've decided to move onto primes for my standard focal lengths (but I'll never get rid of my 70-200 :heart:), and I'm already very happy with the decision. The 85mm F1.8 is an awesome little lens. It's sharper than my bosses 50mm f1.2 (@ $1500) and has the same beautiful color rendition that the L-primes and some L zooms have. It seems sharp from corner to corner at F1.8. It gets a little sharper when you stop it down, but not by much. It renders out of focus parts of the frame absolutely beautifully. I can recommend this lens to anyone for hands-down value.

    Also, there has to be something said about primes and their effect on your composition. With a zoom, I tend to just sit there and try to frame and crop in-camera without moving or really doing much at all. With a prime, you have to move around and you start to think more critically about how to frame an image. The 85 keeps you pretty far from your subject and you tend to fill up the frame. The minimum focusing distance doesn't let you get much closer than about 4 feet. The 20mm that I've recently picked up is exactly the opposite. You have to get super close to your subjects to even fill up the frame and the minimum focusing distance is very small, like 3-4 inches.

    I'll post up some pics in a few.
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Sounds great! I look forward to seeing some images. That's a short tele even on the 5D -- what mid-range prime are you going to get?
     
  3. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah the 85 f/1.8 is great. Today I threw the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8 in my cargo pocket and was thrilled to have such great glass at such easy access.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Welcome aboard as another shooter who has seen the potential in primes. You are right.... shooting primes really brings you back to a focus on composition. I find so much more enjoyment in primes although there is still a place for zooms. My personal experience with several Canon primes bought and resold, the ones that stuck around (until a recent switch to another system) was the 24 f/1.4L, 85 f/1.8, 50 f/1.4, and the 135mm f/2L. These are the 4 that stuck with me a long long time....
     
  5. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My apologies for the atrocious editing. My computer went down this morning due to a couple mischievous kittens and a glass of milk :confused:. These were all edited on photoshop express, and my oh my, is it a garbage program. Wouldn't let me do anything and the white balance adjustment makes the image look absolutely terrible.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, I had the thrifty fifty back when I had a Nikon and it was an awesome little lens for the $75 I paid for it. I'm not really new to primes, and this focal length is pretty close to what the 50 was on a DX sensor.

    I'm borrowing a 50mm f1.4 from a friend next week to see how much I like it. If I like it, I'm going to buy it off him.

    And yeah, I've shot with the 24 f1.4, and it is an incredibly sharp lens. I don't plan to get one just because I have the 20mm, and I prefer a little more wideness to a little more sharpness.

    More pics coming, again, sorry for the horrendous color balance and exposure.
     
  7. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    More pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. randym77

    randym77 TPF Noob!

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    Aw, what a cutie. Worth the milk incident. :wink:

    I've gotten to really like primes. I just got a Canon 35mm f/1.4 yesterday. (Since I use a 40D, it's roughly equivalent to a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera.) I don't care for flash, so the extra speed makes it worth it for me.
     
  9. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've got a Canon 85mm 1.8 on the FD mount, a truely spactacular lens on full frame film.
     

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