Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Review

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.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens on EOS 60D - Top View

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is relatively inexpensive but yields very good image quality. It is reasonably sharp wide open, but really shines from f/2.8 on.

Wide open, vignetting will be apparent even on a 1.6x FOVCF body. Full frame body users will see some vignetting remaining at f/2.

Open the 85 f/1.8's aperture wide and watch the background blur away. The bokeh (background blur quality) - helped by an 8-blade aperture - is very nice. Of course, taking a relatively close portrait photo at f/1.8 makes keeping both eyes in focus difficult.

Contrast and saturation are very good.

Utilizing ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens focuses fast and quietly.

Build quality of the 85 f/1.8 is quite good. The size is small, the weight is light. The 85 f/1.8 is a lens you can use to get great pictures while getting few stares.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens on Camera Comparison

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens No Hood | Hood
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens No Hood | Hood
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens No Hood | Hood
Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T* Lens No Hood | Hood

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is often compared to the Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Lens These two lenses are nearly identical to each other in most facets. I suggest using the focal length as the differentiating factor between them.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Comparison

Positioned above from left to right in their fully retracted positions are the following lenses:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Lens
Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens

The same lenses are shown below in their fully extended states with their lens hoods in place.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Comparison with Hoods

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Compared to Similar 85mm Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T* Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens

The same lenses are shown below in their fully extended states with their lens hoods in place.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Compared to Similar 85mm Lenses with Hoods

An application where the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens shines is indoor and low light photography. The 85mm focal length and wide aperture make the 85 f/1.8 a great church or stage lens. With its wide aperture and fast focusing, the 85 f/1.8 works well for indoor Sports.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Product Images

Select View:  MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    Rotated        Compare >

This focal length is very good for portraits, and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens makes a good portrait lens - excelling at head and head/shoulders portraits when mounted on a 1.3x or 1.6x FOVCF body. The wide f/1.8 aperture can create a dreamy OOF (Out of Focus) background blur.

85 f/1.8 on Canon 60D - Top View with Hood

I didn't find myself using the 85 f/1.8 very much after getting the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens. Although 1 1/3 stop slower, I found the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens to be far more versatile.

The bottom line is that the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens is simply a very nice lens at a reasonable price.

Bringing you this site is my full time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

Buy Now  ►  I highly recommend B&H Photo – Shopping here supports this site!    Rent Now  ►   View Sample Pictures

My Recommended Retailers
Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my own purchases. Get your Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens now from:
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
the Canon Store (new or refurbished)
* Buy Now - $50.00 rebate available from Jul 6 - Aug 30
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
Rent the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Do you need/want the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens for only a short period of time? Or, would you feel more comfortable buying after having a hands-on trial period? Consider renting. Renting is fast and easy. The rental companies I recommend below are excellent to work with. Schedule your rental now:
LensRentals.com
LensProToGo
(Using these links for your rental supports this site)
The Tip Jar
This site and my family are dependent on your support. Can you help right now?

Please share this page!

Help  |  © 2003-2014 The Digital Picture, LLC  |  Bryan CarnathanPowered By Christ!