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FYI - This is the second 85 1.2 on ebay in the last month or so. The previous one was strictly buy-it-now priced at around US$3000. I was tracking it and am quite sure there were no takers at that price.
Hi Austin; So how would you characterize the improvement? Is it just "wide open", so that distracting background elements can be blurred in an even more attractive way....or is it maintained through a broader range of apertures?
..and the mysterious bokeh characteristics..?
Are there any special applications (eg dimly-lit situations, such as a jazz club..)?
And how does it compare to the Canon 85/1.2 in FD mount?
In short, what exactly are the performance characteristics that justify the huge premium it commands relative to the already excellent 85/1.4 and the Canon 85/1.2? Are images available that would clarify this?
> Why the excitement over an overpriced lens that is only 1/2 stop > faster, is heavier and needs more costly filters than the 85f1.4 which > is a beautiful lens.
I have found that the 1/2 stop can mean the difference between getting a shot and getting a fuzzy shot. Why the 1.4 over the 1.8 then? Also, the additional 1/2 stop gives a different out of focus background than 1.4, and the lense it self also gives different OOF background at the other stops as well. Some people may think this OOF rendering is more pleasing than the 1.4. That, in no way, means the 1.4 isn't a superb lense, as it is...but the 1.2 is different, and for some people, those differences are worth the money.
Hi there. Yes, those points make sense and it is down to each artist to select their tools...but I looked up a chart of C/Y lens performance at the following link and the rating for the 85mm f1.2 is poor...it's at the end after the zooms, and well down on the 85 1.4...I remember the fuss over the Canon 50mm f1.0 L lens and it didn't perform that well wide open if I recall rightly...but it was touted as the fastest lens available and that appeals to some.
I think that if you already have an 85 1.4, then spending the money on 100 rolls of film and processing would be a wiser investment for your photography than buying a faster lens...
I used to have an 85 f1.4 Planar some years ago but now I have an 85 f2.8 Sonnar. I have to say that I think from memory that the 2.8 is sharper. It is (subjectively) very sharp. It is also very compact and handy. OK it's slower but the other advantages outweigh the speed advantage of the 1.4 and maybe the 1.2, not least of which is the considerably lower cost. Having said that, the 1.2 would be a lovely thing to own simply because it would be a lovely thing to own.
I'm starting to sound like a stuck record with this comment, but the 85/1.4 is very soft at wide apertures. While I can't shed any light on the comparative performance the f/1.2, if it improves on the regular lens by any appreciable margin then it would seem worthwhile for those lucky and wealthy enough to own one.
Personally I'd find it a bit of a stretch at the kind of money that is being asked, especially when you consider the kind of paper-thin DoF that you'll have when shooting portraits at big aperture settings (the f/1.4 lens is already challenging enough to focus). Fast short lenses are a lot more useable, if they are sharp at their widest settings. The Zeiss 35 f/1.4 lens is brilliant in this respect, as are the Canon L f/1.4 wides (I can vouch for the 24 and apparently the 35 is a good one too). I'd probably hunt down a Zeiss 55/1.2 if they weren't so costly, too.
I've used my 85 f1.4 wide open and it is very sharp...and easy to focus...I see the main benefit of the fast lens as providing a bright image in the viewfinder rather than being able to shoot wide open...it's not as sharp as my 100 f2.8 makro though, unsurprisingly. My 35 f1.4 is sharp wide open too...that lens is a blessing...if they would make one for the new N mount I might go for the new system.
I see the bidding on eBay for the 85 1.2 is now over 2000 dollars with 8 days to go...one could buy a new 85 1.4 and pay for 100 rolls of tranny film and processing for that money...or get the 85 and 35.
Its just as you mention ist: My 35 f1.4 is sharp wide open too...that lens is a blessing...if they would make one for the new N mount I might go for the new system. The lack of the 1.4/35 is my personal KO-criterion for the N-system.
The two 1.4s are a splendid combination ! And don't underestimate what you can do with a 35! But the thread is about the 85, so my opinion is: - I cannot follow the contributor who says it is not good wide open. Maybe you do not use a shade? A shade is always required, especially at 1.4. - But it is in some situations not easy to focus: I didn't compute it, but I have in mind, that at a distance of 2m and an aperture 1.4 the depth of field is just about 1 or 2 mm. In "normal" conditions the lens is very easy to handle because of its size. For my purposes I do not see a need of the additional 1/2 step. I have a set of 67mm-filters which fit on my 3.5/200, 1.4/85, 1.4/35 and with adapter 2.8/25. So the 1.2/85 doesn't really fit into the line. It was maybe mainly made as a collector's item, so I would leave it to the colletors and for that price I would buy the 1.4/85 and another ZEISS-lens (1.4/35, 2.0/28 - which is very cheap on ebay.de nowadays).
Yes, I'm referring to the EF lenses. I've seen good things written about the 35/1.4 but I'm very happy with the Zeiss so I don't feel the need to spring for the Canon too. I love my 24/1.4L though, and when my 300D turns up it will give similar coverage to a 35mm lens.
To you guys jumping to the defence of the 85/1.4, please don't take my comments badly, I'm not trying to say the lens is a dead loss, even wide open. However, I've tested two ex&les, and both of them were noticeably soft at f/1.4. It's actually a pleasant enough look, with gentle halos around hard contrast boundaries that give the image a dreamy quality. But there is absolutely no comparison with the sharpness that this lens can provide at f/4, say. Take a look at the MTF figures on photodo.com and you will see that they accord with these observations. In my tests I found the 35/1.4 to be MUCH better at full aperture, while the 50/1.4 share's some of the 85's softness. Maybe we just have different standards of what we consider sharp, but I suspect if you make some objective observations (test shots, focus bracketed, of the same subject at f/1.4 and then tighter apertures) you will see what I'm on about. The results of my own tests are available at the end of the following thread on Photo.net:
>>I looked up a chart of C/Y lens performance at the following link and the rating for the 85mm f1.2 is poor...it's at the end after the zooms, and well down on the 85 1.4...I remember the fuss over the Canon 50mm f1.0 L lens and it didn't perform that well wide open if I recall rightly...but it was touted as the fastest lens available and that appeals to some.<<
Well, I prefer to *use* lenses rather than rely on tests from a non-existent link. I'm fortunate enough to have used an 85mm 1.2 and it is very good, trust me, certainly the sharpest of the Zeiss 35mm lenses that I've used...it makes the 85mm 2.8 (a very good lens) look like a third party lens thrown in with a Canon Rebel at Ritz Camera, and it's certainly superior to any zoom I've used. It is softer wide open, but so is just about every Zeiss lens I've used that is 50mm or longer.
Whether any lens is worth over $2000 is another question, and indeed, I'd recommend a medium format system for most people, rather than a pricey lens that for all its magic still produces an image on a tiny negative. And if portable and affordable are desired while retaining damned good sharpness and contrast, a Contax G2 and two or three lenses is an outstanding choice.
But with that said, the cold reality is that lenses like the 85mm 1.2 are rare, and if you spend $2K+ on the lens today and auction it tomorrow, next week, next year, or next decade, it's likely to sell for the same amount or more unless you've taken very poor care of it.
I actually think the 85mm 1.2 is somewhat "reasonably" priced for a limited availability lens, given the prices that some other lenses fetch, both new and used from Contax, Nikon, and Canon...not to mention the big L. If you want to see a rare lens that does fetch stratospheric prices, check out the current eBay auction for the rarely seen 200/2 Aposonnar: