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4.8 out of 5 stars134
4.8 out of 5 stars
Price:£237.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 9 April 2008
I have owned this lens for 12 months now and take it with me when I'm photographing every time.
I use it mainly for portrait shots, which gives ultra sharp shot of the subject and good background blur behind the subject with vibrant colours. This lens is as good as it gets without having the 'L' standard, but remarkably as good.
Every wedding/portrait photographer who owns a Canon camera should have this lens in his or her arsenal.
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on 22 December 2010
After hesitating on the purchase; I finally made the jump and bought this famous lens.
Although it is really great, I was prepared for the fact that my sensor is cropped x1.6; it still does takes some practice to take pictures.
By this, I mean that to take a portrait you are comfortably close but indoor if you want a whole person in the frame, you have to be around 6/7m (20/23ft)away from your subject.
I tried it in twilight light and could take pictures at ISO400 f1.8 really easily with no apparent shake on my 400D.
One minor issue with the auto focus: from time to time it struggle to lock on and is chasing a bit, I sorted this issue by using central AF single point auto focussing.
To resume, great indoor lens for portrait, great lens for low light and great lens for outdoor set-up such as wedding or detailed nature.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2014
I've used this lens for a while on various APS-C and full frame bodies the 85mm focal length is a popular one for full frame portraits, but even on an APS-C body the just over 135mm equivalent makes it a good candid lens too.

The main advantage of the lens is the speed which is a fast f1.8, albeit not up to the super fast (and considerably more expensive 85mm f1.2 lens) it's more than useful for users with a very reasonable asking price. The lens has been around for a while (Since about 1992 design wise, but works just fine on digital bodies)

My quick summary of good and weaker points

Good:
+ Excellent value for money, this is within the reach of everyone in a way some of the more exotic lenses are not
+ Very good out of focus rendering/blur, smooth at larger apertures and very easy to push the background out of focus
+ Sharpness is good even wide open at f1.8, even better stopping down a little but very usable even wide open
+ Decent build for the money, it's not L glass build but metal mount and satisfactory plastics used
+ Flare rarely an issue well controlled
+ Very fast autofocus with full time manual focus at any time

Not so good:
- Some CA purple fringing on higher contrast areas, this goes away stopping down it's not excessive for such a fast prime lens
- Vignetting/Fall off at f1.8 on a full frame body, reduces quite a bit at f2.8 and is a non issue at smaller apertures (not a problem on crop bodies)
- Minimum focus distance is 85cm which isn't ideal for close up work, but it's about normal for a lens of this type (close enough for portrait work)

For serious portrait shooters this is a very good buy esp at this price it's an important lens to have for a number of reasons the lens speed makes it easy to "put the background out" with blur and the speed also comes in useful for lower lighter shooting.

You can use shorter focal lengths for portrait work (50mm lenses can work ok on crop bodies) however it can be very handy to have the compression effects of longer focal lengths for portraits. I have no real complaints about the lens even though there are higher priced offerings out there f1.8 offers enough speed for most users.

As the lens has no IS you will have to take a bit more care for lower light shooting, I find I can get 1/60s or a bit slower shutter speed usually with no problems, good technique helps here bracing your arms into your chest helps steady it in dimmer conditions.

A very good lens overall and a must have for portrait shooters
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on 22 January 2013
I did a lot of research before I bought this - whether to spend the huge wad of cash and go for the f/1.2 L version, or this f/1.8, £300 "cheap" version. In the end, I decided the image quality of the f/1.2 wasn't worth the additional amount of money, and went for this one.

Do I regret this decision....? Not for a moment. This is a truly stunning lens - especially for its price. I have used it so often - mostly for portrait sessions - but also just for random street photography and it never fails to impress me. The focussing is quick and accurate - and I just LOVE viewing images at 100% on screen to see the razor sharp eyelashes and detail in the photos it produces.

Colours are vibrant, and the f/1.8 aperture allows for gorgeous creamy bokeh, though I tend to use it mostly around f/4 which is, I think, its sweet spot... I would not hesitate to recommend this lens. It's utterly brilliant.
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on 8 November 2007
This lens HAS to be the finest non-L Canon prime lens of them all.
Superfast, superaccurate autofocus, creamy bokeh, intense vibrant colours and contrast, pin-sharp from edge to edge, I have no hesitation in recommending this lens to any serious Canon photographer.
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on 1 May 2009
This is one of the best bargain lenses going no question.

I've had a play around with this lens which was a recent purchase and for the price I am blown away. The build is great as is the focus ring - very smooth. Certainly as good as it gets with Canon's mid-level lenses.

But let's not dawdle - we're really all interested in image quality and this lens delivers big time. It's really sharp wide open and the vignetting is not too bad - not as bad as the 50mm 1.4 wide open that's a fact. I'd have no hesitation using wide open at any point - the only other lenses I can say that about are the 135mm f/2 L and the 24-105 f4 L. Used wide open the lens produces blur that is very smooth indeed and coupled in with the fact this lens has an 85mm focal length and it enables you to isolate subjects from a background at a decent distance.

The minimum focusing distance is 85cm, a little longer than I would have thought but the lens still enables the most fantastically narrow DOF effects you can think of.

Size wise it's probably only 15mm longer than the 50mm 1.4 and is therefore easy to pack into a kit bag.

Things do sharpen up when stopped down as with most lenses - but again for most real world applications you'll never notice the improvement if all you're doing is printing up to A4 at home say. All this means is that the lens will deliver at 1.8 and simply gets better from there on in. You can use it with confidence at any setting.

I really can't fault the lens at all. For the money it's superb value. AND, if you have a cropped body sensor camera it acts like a 136mm lens. For me, I have a 5D and 40D and it acts as an 85mm on the 5D and a 136mm on the 40D both - very desireable focal lengths to have with a f1.8 aperture.

Just buy it.
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on 14 April 2009
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is an extremely fine piece of hardware which really shines for portraits. Definitely a must have in low-light conditions or when you seek a very short DOF.
It is solidly built and stands close to lenses of the Canon "L" series. It focuses fast most of the time.

Overall, I strongly recommend this item, along with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens.
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on 2 April 2012
Although I haven't used this a huge amount since buying it, I am already really impressed. The DoF is incredible and the bokeh which results from the 85mm/f1.8 combo is smooth and deep.
The lens itself is really well built and balances well on my 30D (with battery grip attached). 85mm gives a pretty narrow viewing area, even compared to the 50mm a lot of us use, so be advised you won't be snapping many pictures with this in confined spaces. But get a bit of room going where you can step back and create some depth and this thing is pure gold.
I have uploaded two picture to the gallery.

EDIT: I forgot that I had reviewed this, and feel I owe anybody who reads this an update. I ended up trading this lens in after about six months due to serious front focusing issues.
review image review image review image
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on 19 September 2015
This is a cracking little lens.

I did a comparison between this and my Canon 24-105 f/4 IS L @ 85mm and the differences are shocking. This lens is so much sharper and has much nicer bokeh. At f/1.8 it's a teeny bit soft in the middle (which may actually be quite flattering for portraiture) and there's quite a bit of vignetting, but stop down to f/2 - f/2.2 and it's lovely. By f/2.8 it's beautiful.

There's so much more detail in the edge of the frame compared to the 24-105 - not that it'll make much difference if you're shooting portraits as the edge and corners would most likely be blurred anyway, but, in the instance where you have the subject in the edge of the frame it'll be pin-sharp at f/2.8 with hardly any vignette. In comparison, the 24-105 at f/4 has so much vignette that it's really noticeable compared to the little 85mm Canon and the edges are mush.

I'd have absolutely no worries with using this at f/1.8 - especially considering vignette can pretty much be eliminated in Lightroom / ACR - but for me it's at its best at f/2.8. This is where it really shines if you ask me.

I bought this during Canon's £35 rebate scheme so I ended up only paying £200 for this lens. £200! That's a true bargain for something that does something so well. Great colour and contrast across the frame. Perfect for portraits.
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on 9 May 2010
Cracking lens, sharp even wide open and it gets sharper stopped down! Creamy bokeh, quick and accurate focusing, internal focusing so front element does not protrude or rotate, great build quality, very nice size and weight. A bit of purple fringing in difficult lighting stuations.
It makes a good portrait lens, I use it on a cropper. Get one, you wont regret it.
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