Canon - EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens - Black

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens: Get sharp, clear photos with this Canon medium telephoto lens that delivers vibrant color and clarity with fast, quiet focusing. The 85mm focal length draws attention to your subject and transforms the background into a soft blur for professional-quality portraits and impeccably detailed close-up shots.

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Canon - EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens - Black - Larger Front
Canon - EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens - Black
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Overview

What's Included


  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens
  • Owner's manual

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
99% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (306 out of 312)

Features


Compatible with select Canon cameras

For use with Canon EOS cameras. Also compatible with EOS M cameras (mount adapter EF-EOS M required, not included).

Medium telephoto lens gets you closer to your subject

Allows you to capture intricately detailed images without getting too close to your subject. Concentrates the focus on a narrow field of view for vivid close-up shots.

85mm focal length

Beautifully isolates your subject from the background. This versatile focal length blends depth and dimension for stunning portraits, action shots and low-light images.

f/1.8 maximum aperture

Performs exceptionally well in low-light settings and allows remarkable depth-of-field control, so you can softly blur the background and draw attention to your subject.

Ultrasonic motor (USM) ensures smooth, precise focusing

Utilizes ultrasonic vibrations to focus the lens, resulting in smooth, silent and precise autofocusing.

2.8' minimum focusing distance

Accommodates 58mm filters

Accessories included

Comes with lens cap and rear lens dust cap.


Customer rating

4.8
99%
would recommend to a friend

Expert rating

4.8

Pros

Cons

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great value and quality!

    Posted
    nkpstudios
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 II USM lens is a moderate weight (15 oz), very well built lens. It does not come with the appropriate hood, the Canon ET-65 III. You get both a lens cap and a mount cap, all packed inside tight conformal foam to protect the lens during shipping. There's also a very brief manual and the usual warranty paperwork. The lens offers AF and manual focus, and allows manual focus even when AF is set to on, a very useful feature for low-light and other challenging focus situations. This is a USM lens, and as a direct consequence focus is fast and precise, just as you'd expect. The AF/Manual switch is in a reasonable location, close to the camera body. There is a range indication on the barrel of the lens behind a transparent window which serves to keep dust and debris out of the workings of the lens. Manual focus is controlled with a broad, easy to manage textured ring about mid-body on the lens. During focus, nothing external on the lens body moves or rotates, so there are no complications for using polarizing filters, and no concerns about the lens "pumping" air and so causing dust contamination in either the lens or camera with use. The lens lacks any form of image stabilization. IS is showing up in more and more lenses, though for the price... perhaps this is one of the justifications for building IS into the camera body. I'm sure that this design wouldn't be anywhere near its current price point with IS added to the build. One last point is that since the lens is a fairly fast design, perhaps there is less overall need for IS (though that argument falls completely apart the first time you *do* need it!) It takes a 58mm filter, though I highly recommend the use of the ET-65 III hood rather than a filter; filter use should be limited to polarizers, neutral density filters and so on, rather than keeping a filter on the lens with the idea of protecting it. Here's why: filters create a flat surface over the end of the lens that can (and often does) create low-level reflections. These are most apparent in low-light shots, but they are almost always there. In the case of a UV filter, no other benefit is gained (UV can't get through the lens system anyway) other than physical protection. The hood, however, keeps the lens out of harms way quite effectively, and it increases contrast and reduces flare at the same time by preventing light from entering the lens at high angles of attack. I have shot with both hoods and filters, and after decades of experience, I have to come down firmly on the side of hood technique. It only takes one shot ruined by a filter reflection to wake up to this reality; and hoods never, ever compromise an image. They're simply the best way to go. Finally, the hood for this lens is inexpensive, well worth the extra few dollars it costs. Aperture is controlled by an 8-blade system. The available f-stops range from f/1.8 wide open to f/22.0 fully stopped down. MTF (sharpness) peaks at f/5.6, and vignetting is almost gone by that setting. On my camera, an EOS 50D, resolution loss from diffraction effects begin at f/7.6, so in many ways, the "sweet spot" for this lens for me lands naturally at f/5.6. On a camera with a lesser sensel density such as the 40D, diffraction doesn't set in until higher f-stops, but you're beginning to lose sharpness from other effects, so I'd still call the sweet spot as f/5.6 (which also provides a fairly extensive depth of field) for shots where detail is the primary consideration. For portraits, you'll want to go right for f/1.8 if lighting conditions allow in order to take advantage of the shallow and pleasing DOF isolation this lens is famous for; background blur is very soft yet very strong, while the in focus region remains deep enough to keep the important features of the face in focus from ear to nose. The loss of MTF at f/1.8 is noticeable, especially once you get a feel for how the lens performs at f/5.6, but in my opinion, the compromise is perfectly acceptable in a portrait context. There's another benefit as well; at 85mm, and especially on a crop body like the 40D or 50D, this lens allows you to get some distance from your subject which tends to make them more comfortable, while giving you the modest compression that is the hallmark of any telephoto lens. Portraits "pop" and backgrounds blur away with commendable speed. Head-and-shoulders work will put you at about eight feet, and as the lens can focus down to just under three feet, this gives you considerable control over framing without ever running into a limit imposed by the lens design. This is also a truly excellent lens for not-very-wide field astrophotography, although at critical focus and maximum aperture, chromatic aberration will make itself felt on the brightest stars, which you will then have to compensate for. I have successfully used this lens to capture the the Orion nebula, Andromeda galaxy, Triangulum galaxy, and a number of other astro objects that range from the easy to the difficult, all using no more than a standard (non-tracking) tripod, this lens, and the EOS 50D. On a crop body, 85mm (136mm effective FOV) is definitely the place to be to compromise between star trailing and magnification, and the f/1.8 aperture allows fast enough exposures to eliminate trailing at ISO 1600 and above. I carry this lens nested in a large camera bag (a Tamrac 5612 Pro 12, *highly* recommended); I rarely put the lens on the camera until I am ready to use it, and when I am done, I take it right back off, cap it, and bag it without wasting any time or motion. I do both the assembly and disassembly "blind" in the bag, using the bag top to shield the camera and lens from the wind and environment as best I can manage. The lens has a raised alignment dot that makes blind assembly practical. It's the size of the overall investment that drives this behavior, of course; both the camera and a lens like this deserves -- demands -- good care and that is just what I try to provide. Physically speaking, this lens isn't as large as you might think. Canon did a great job of packing a lot of glass (nine elements in seven groups) into a decent form factor of 3" diameter by 2.8" long; even with the hood mounted, this lens provides a fraction of the intimidation factor of, for instance, the 70-200mm f/2.8L. But at 85mm, it can still "get in there" and catch a lot of action without forcing you to crop to extremes. It's light enough that you can shoot for quite a while before fatigue sets in, an issue that will rear its head in any situation that goes on a while, like a wedding or a play (and that low-light capability is great for stage work, where a flash annoys literally everyone.) Plus it is black, and so looks more like it is designed as part of the same camera system, unlike the L's with the white bodies. That's also less distracting in a dark theater. I can honestly say that this is definitely one of my favorite lenses. I have a fair collection of primes to compare it to, some of which are L glass, and I've got some great L zooms as well; yet for portraits, I inevitably turn to this specific lens as it outperforms everything else I own in the successful shooting methodologies I find myself returning to over and over. Frankly, at the price, I think it is perfectly fair to characterize this lens as a "must-have"; if you're ever going to shoot a portrait, trust me, this is the lens you want (even over the 85mm f/1.2L, which has far too narrow a depth of field for most reasonable portraiture, though you can't beat it for light-gathering.) Like Canon's 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, the 85mm f/1.8 is one of those where you're left scratching your head as to why it doesn't have an "L" designation. It is an outstanding performer. If Canon were to re-do this lens, I'd like to see them add image stabilization, and perhaps some modern anti-CA elements, as this is the one area where this lens occasionally bites the photographer in high-contrast situations. Until that day, though, this lens is unmatched by anything else in Canon's line for price/performance, and I can't imagine anyone ever regretting its purchase.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Love this lens

    Posted
    sjyeager
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    My wife and I purchased this lens to be used at a low light wedding. We purchased it for the wide aperture, and the 85mm length, allowing us to now be right on top of the ceremony. This lens worked beautifully. Love the depth of field we are able to create, and the beautiful bokeh that comes with it. The images come out crisp, and clean every time. One thing to note, for those who may not know. When using this type of lens, you will not want to solely relay on your camera's auto focus. A manual touch is sometimes required to ensure that your subject will be in focus. There were times when my AF said it was in focus, and I had to adjust it slightly to get everything as clean as I wanted.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Excellent lens for the price

    Posted
    erinmy
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I wanted a good, affordable lens for portrait photography. I wasn't ready to go top-of-the-line but needed something efficient. Some friends suggested the Canon 50mm or 100mm. So I did my research and found that the 85mm was not only in-between the two suggested to me, but also had very high ratings and was extremely affordable. When the lens arrived, I immediately took it from the box, attached it to my Canon T3i, and started taking pictures right away. Within an hour, I had it completely figured out and was taking some of the best photos I've ever taken. It was just too easy and so much fun to use. It's a bit heavier than any of my other lenses, but because of the quality of the lens, I don't mind the weight at all. I highly recommend this lens, especially for beginners.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Medium Telephoto Lens

    Posted
    Cezramone
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    .I added to my Rebel T3i kit. This lens is great for natural light portraits and outdoors low light situations. The lens focuses sharply and it produces a nice blurry background.I love to use it indoors and during late afternoons .I use it for recreation also but I find it a little bit difficult to manage during extremely sunny days. The autofocus is fast . When taking it out of the box you can practically tell by the weight that the build quality is better than expected.It gives lots of character to your Rebel and you can use with the most expenses cameras also

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great Lens

    Posted
    Dorey
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I do quite a bit of work as a photographer & have slowly been expanding my lens collection. Camera gear is obviously quite expensive, so I've been trying to save money by purchasing lenses that are great, but maybe not praised as much as some of the more popular professional ones. The 85mm 1.8F from Canon has been a great lens for the price - perfect for portraits, some work on weddings, low light conditions, and even some live music photography. It's sharp, clean, quiet, & has proved to be quite a wonderful addition to my small, but growing lens collection :) I'd recommend it for anyone who needs an 85mm lens, but doesn't have thousands of dollars to invest in the more expensive ones like the 1.2/1.4.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A "must-have" lens

    Posted
    DeltaDLW
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    Bought this Lens for my 70d and it has provided high quality photos for portraits and outdoor / street photography. Now with the 5d mark iii I feel it is being fully utilized. Unless you are strictly going to shoot at 1.2, this is a great lens to shoot wide open and even narrow. Focal length is great for not distorting the subjects and adds enough bokeh to the image. Love the shallow depth of field, speed, and very light weight. Such an affordable lens is def a must get for your list.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Ideal for portrait

    Posted
    abajandas
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    Its the ideal lense for a budget shooter, as 85 is a beautiful portrait range, and with the 1.8F, you can really capture a lot of emotion and DOP by pushing that blurred background. The only thing I would have loved is the image stabilization, but for a prime lense purchase guide on a budget I highly recommend this one, the 24mm and the 35mm. Focusing is pretty fast, much faster than my 24-105mm, so for video where I need to quickly shift focus its pretty good. The only downside for video is that the motor is still a little loud for my taste, and it pulls back and forth to land the focus. I don't always like that effect, but at least it does it fast enough.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Canon did it again

    Posted
    Matt

    This lens should cost at least $600. Sharpness is 9.5/10, auotofocus speed 9.5/10, distortion 9.5/10, bokeh 9/10, color/contrast 10/10. The only downside is it is noticably heavier than the Nikon 85mm 1.8 and the Nikon looks/feels way better, though, I do like how this lens balances well with my 5D3. Also this lens has a small amount of purple fringing. I plan on using this lens to get into family portraits and fashion/modeling portraits and I think the quality of this lens makes it more than capable.

    I would recommend this to a friend

What experts are saying

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars with 6 reviews

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The analysis of all aggregated expert reviews shows that the reviewers are positive about design, reliability, price and usability.
  • The-Digital-Picture.comBryan Carnathan on November 11, 2013
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Review
    Looking for a good value in a small, light, great performing, fast lens ? Try the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens.Full Review
  • photodo.comphotodo.com on October 27, 2011
    REVIEW: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Interchangeable Lens Review
    This medium telephoto lens from Canon sports a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and ultrasonic silent focusing that is performed internally for around £315.Full Review
  • ePHOTOzine (UK)Rating, 4.5 out of 5July 21, 2011
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Review
    Gary Wolstenholme reviews the medium telephoto Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Interchangeable lens.Full Review
  • Practical Photography (UK)Rating, 5 out of 5June 7, 2011
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
    Canon offers two 85mm primes in its EF lens range – the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is compatible with Canon D-SLRs that feature EF and EF-S lens mounts.Full Review
  • LensTip.com (UK)Szymon Starczewski on March 8, 2011
    Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM
    If you own a Canon 35-mm reflex camera nowadays your selection of classic portrait 85 mm lenses is really large. The list can be started by the expensive but splendid EF 85 mm f/1.2L USM II – a lens you would look for in vain in other systems. IfFull Review
  • photozone.deRating, 5 out of 5Markus Stamm on June 21, 2005
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
    The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is one of Canon's classic portrait tele lenses. In the APS-C DSLR scope the field-of-view resembles a 136mm lens here. The lens features a ring-type USM AF drive (rear focusing) with full-time manual focusing inFull Review


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