Monday, February 11, 2013

Looking through the "Magic Canonball"

The past five days I had the pleasure of testing out a member of Canon's "Holy Trinity" of prime lenses. I'm of course talking about the 85mm F/1.2L II USM. The other two members being the 35mm F/1.4L and 135mm F/2.0L which I will also be reviewing in the future to round out the trio. First of all this is a very special purpose lens and with that being said, it requires some getting used to upon using it for the first time. After mounting this bad boy on your camera the first thing you notice is, it's simply massive and heavy. The large front glass element required to get the fast 1.2 aperture is extremely sexy and pleasing on the eye. After you come to grips with the sheer size and weight, the next thing you notice is shooting at 1.2 can be quite difficult. The depth of field (how much of the photo is in focus) is razor thin. So thin, it's actually quite possible to take a portrait and only have the tip of the nose in perfect focus whole the rest of the photo is blurry. This is a "high risk, high reward" lens, meaning often you might miss a shot due to such shallow depth of field making it blurry. Best advice is to just use continuous mode and take alot of photos. After overcoming said obstacles the next thing you'll notice is the photos this lens produces are simply stunning. When you nail focus at 1.2 it's just so dreamy and hard to get enough of. Autofocus performance suffers a bit from having to move such a huge piece of glass in and out. Autofocus is not terrible but this isn't nearly as fast as Canon users are accustomed to. Manual focus can be frustrating at first with such a long focus throw but it does feel quite nice turning that massive focus ring with one finger. Bokeh from the 85mm F/1.2L is truly stunning. You could do a photoshoot in a dirty nasty alley and as long as you have enough room to work with, it won't matter. Backgrounds simply melt and ooze away into nothing. At the end of the day this lens isn't going to be for everyone that's guaranteed. It's sheer price, size, and ergonomics keep it out of reach for most people. The people considering this lens know who you are. The 85mm F/1.8 lens is a real bargain for the price when compared to the 85mm F/1.2L but there is no denying the mystic and allure that come from knowing there is an F/1.2L version out there waiting to be used. If you're going to be shooting stopped down to F/1.8 or smaller like F/8 you might be better off with the cheaper options. This beast is meant to be shot at 1.2, using this lens at smaller apertures is like buying a Ferrari and only driving around at 10mph, you're having fun but not using it to its potential. All the photos on this post were taken with the 85mm F/1.2L. Canon refers to the 85mm F/1.2L as their "definitive portrait lens" and I simply couldn't agree more. Get your hands on one and enjoy. Enjoy the finer things in life and take lots of photos, you won't regret it ever.


He's carrying some packages

I love how the street light above acts as spotlight to single out the cyclist on the dark road

He asked me if I could take his photo and put "fuck the world." Here ya go buddy

His drunk friend could not resist joining in the photo

He started throwing up gang signs. I started laughing

Something a little different. What do you think?

War Cry

She asked if I could take their photo

Twin sandwiches


Riding dirty

Downtown street soccer

Dude was pretty damn good

Turning on the style


Tired Love

These kids were performing on the sidewalk in front of The Chicago Store downtown.



Shot while driving

He intrigued me

4th ave

Shot while driving

What a gentleman

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