Mark Wallace Reviews The Canon 85mm 1.2

Do you have an extra $2000 laying around? If so, I would suggest coming to Dubai with us, but you might also want to buy Canon's premiere portrait lens, the 85mm 1.2. Mark calls this lens "the magic lens" because of it's incredibly shallow depth of field that can make almost any location look amazing. For a similar look check out the critically acclaimed 85mm 1.4 by Sigma.

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I like my 85L but I think it's overrated and overpriced. F1.2 is good for that extra shallow DoF but it is not as fast. It is T1.4 and that extra light is made in camera CPU. I didn't shoot with 85/1.8 or sigma 85/1.4 but I wouldn't be surprised if these lenses were as good for less $.

I'd argue that the Sigma 85/1.4 is better, even when disregarding price. Severe light fall-off (as you mentioned), no proper manual focus (focus-by-wire) and severe longditudinal CA (purple fringing) all make the canon 85L technically worse than the sigma 85. And the 77mm filter thread on the sigma is also pretty convenient (maybe not so much any more, since 82mm is becoming the new 77mm).

I didn't mean vignetting. The T-stop of the lens is 1.4 If you will cover lens-camera connectors with a tape and camera will not know what lens is attached, the pictures will be darker. Cameras CPU recognizes the lens and corrects the exposure in a firmware.

 I still argue that it is light fall-off. If the physical aperture is
71mm, and the glass is still of high transparency (not sure what the
proper terminology is), then the light is lost because of the
construction around the glass, and not because of the glass itself.

If we have a full construction diagram or patent, it would be easier to see if this is actually the case.

suppose I should have been more accurate (or damning!), and said that
the light fall-off seems to be so severe that it affects the entire
frame, even the centre.

 I really don't know what are you argue about...

We agree on everything except terminology.

The guy basically snaps pretty lame portraits... shallow DoF will only get you so far. Dull background lost in bokeh is of course much better then the same background caught within a much wider depth of field, but it's still DULL ;D And an expensive lens will never make up for lack of creativity or interesting background.

Plus, similar effect can be achieved with 85mm f1.8 or 50mm f1.4, as shown in attached image... 

 similar....not nearly the same.

Obviously the video is not aimed at you as the target audience.  Mark is not just some "guy"... he is an AMAZING instructor with hundreds and hundreds of quality videos on every facet of photography. Get over yourself please, your post is ridiculous as a response to the video

Bogdan Radu's picture

he is just another guy trying to make a buck in this crazy industry...teaching amateurs about gear and technical stuff... nothing else..

Yep, I hear that a lot. But here's the real me:

Now that is something really good. I never intended to insult anyone, and if by any chance I have offended anyone, then I am sorry.

So you're saying that reasonably priced gear used creatively produces more interesting results than expensive gear used mindlessly?

Creative use of flash, ambient light and environment! Also like the way you cropped in post (instead of framed it in the field), so that the snowflakes create a ring around the subject.

Zach Sutton's picture

I absolutely love my 85L. It focuses sharp, its bokeh is incredible, and its build quality is among the best. I'm not sure why everyone is hating on it in the comments here...

George Socka's picture

would have been interesting to compare a shot at 1.2 and 1.8 At 10 feet on a 5DII DOF at 1.2 is 3 inches, 1.8 is 5 inches. Unless those background plants are right behind her head, that would seem to be pretty much the same. So $1300 or so for a little red ring.And a lens shade compared to the 85 mm 1.8

Mikhail Davydov's picture

Canon 85/1.8 has huge CA issues at 1.8 till 2.8, but it blazing fast lens. IMO Sigma 85/1.4 is the best choice for portraits it fast, sharp at 1.4, not overpriced and there is no juicy CA at open aperture.

Nicholas's picture

IMHO, the canon 100mm Macro L IS is one of the best bang for your buck lenses out there. It is fantastic as a portrait lens (for crop sensors, I admit it can be tight). The IS, combined with the close focusing abilities of the macro, make it so versatile a lens. I'm so glad I purchased this and saved my money left over that would've been spent on the 85 1.2. Nothing against the 85 1.2 at all; I only mention the 100L into the topic to consider it as an alternative choice.

Mikhail Davydov's picture

With 100mm and above you can work easily on the street only and even on the street it is not convenient to work. If you take full length portrait with >100mm you have to shout to tell your model what to do. Especially if you work on busy street. With 85mm is easier to work - nice compression and f/1.2-1.4-1.8 helps a lot.

Very informative. Thanks for posting. The 85mm 1.2 is a little out of my price range for my needs but I still enjoyed the video.