Welcome to my photoblog. I try to keep it updated daily with a new photo from either my personal or professional life. It is not intended to be taken as my professional portfolio (please visit the main website for that), but instead it is more of an informal and fun way for me to share some of my personality and creativity with you. Many of the photos on my blog are available for purchase as fine art prints, please visit the main website and/or contact me if you are interested. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM

Today's shots for the "Photo a Day" project are called Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM. As an added bonus, I've also included a mini review of the lens after the photos.

This is the latest addition to my lens lineup, and I have to say it is one fantastic lens. It is extremely sharp wide open, and gets beyond tack sharp at around f/2.0, but of course one doesn't buy this kind of lens and use it at anything other then wide open. At f/1.2 and with a relatively low ISO value you can get quite usable shots in very low light situations, where you would probably not be able to even get a shot with a slower aperture lens. This lens however is most suited for portrait photography, and was my main reason in purchasing it. Wide open, this lens produces a fantastic background blur (bokeh) which really makes the subject pop out of the shot. I find that the 85mm is the perfect focal length for anything from a 3/4 length to a tight headshot portrait on the full frame Canon 5D mkII camera.

This is the mark I version of this lens, so it does have a pretty slow focusing speed, however I have not had any major issues with this since I do not plan on using it to try and shoot any fast action sports anyway. That's just not what it was designed for. Shooting fast moving children can be a bit trickier with this lens, since it's focus speed is a tad slow for that, but I still have obtained some decent results even in situations like that. Although, for that particular situation I would rather use one of my other lenses which is better suited to the task anyway.

Interestingly, this is the only lens I have ever used that requires it to be on a camera and powered on in order to be able to manually focus. Yes, it has full time manual focus, even when in autofocus mode, however the motor inside which moves the focusing elements requires power to do so, even manually! Although this is not a big issue, it does take some getting used to and remembering to focus to infinity before shutting off the camera. This is because the front barrel does extend a bit during focusing (but does not rotate), and I like to keep it all the way in before packing it away.

It's quite heavy, coming in at 2 lbs, but I find that I actually really like heavier lenses. The lens hood is a clip on type, which rotates freely, but it's completely round anyway so that really does not matter. It also comes with canon's usual leather lens bag.

In any job, it's all about the right tool for the trade. If you are looking for the right tool for semi-stationary subjects and portraits, and want a dreamy silky smooth bokeh, look no further than the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM lens.

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