8 pros and 8 cons of the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L II USM lens.

Nothing fancy. Just a chat about the superb Canon 85mm lens with an honest opinion about where it’s not so good. Please comment if you have any experience with this lens. You never know, I might be doing it all wrong. :-)

The points for each are as follows.


1. If you can nail the focus, the image quality of the lens is outstanding.
2. Very well built and manufactured as expected from the L lens series.
3. Very fast allowing use of fast shutter speeds & low ISO in low light.
4. Sharp wide open at f/1.2
5. Lens hood supplied is extremely effective and simple to fit.
6. Looks physically impressive (bragging rights ).
7. 85mm focal length is a sweet spot for portraits to avoid
8. Images taken with this lens have a unique look.


1. Focus accuracy. Micro adjustment may be needed and even then it’s not consistent.
2. I needed to change the way I worked with this lens to get good results. Can be off-putting after spending a large sum.
3. Really heavy (1kg).
4. Rear element is flush to the metal and very exposed.
5. Chromatic aberration is very apparent when using large apertures.
6. 85mm good for portraits but is long for smaller spaces. Fine for studio use.
7. Not weather sealed despite it being an L lens.
8. Slow to focus as it drags the hunk of glass around.

Hopefully you’ll find this useful if you’re considering buying, using or renting the Canon 85mm. It definitely is unique in many ways…not all of them good. I bought my lens from Wex as I’ve always liked the customer service level, particularly when spending this much money.

A Few Sample Images – Canon 85mm

Rod Portrait - Taken on Canon 85mmMiles Portrait - Taken on Canon 85mmHolly - Taken on Canon 85mm

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