14 January 2009

The lens you take...

I was talking to a friend the other day about lenses and we had a difference of opinion - until I explained myself more clearly. We were talking specifically about the EF85mm f/1.2L II lens. An absolute beauty of a lens and one which I owned for a while until I sold it and replaced it with an EF85mm f/1.8 USM. He was, to be honest, incredulous. He has and loves his f/1.2 lens and while he conceded that he also loves the 85mm f/1.8, he just couldn't see the rationale behind the apparent 'downgrade'. 
So I explained.... I'd bought the 85mm f/1.2L II lens for a steal. It was a really great price, bought as part of a deal with another lens. I used it and loved it. But then came the day when I had to travel abroad. I started packing my bag. In went the camera body, in went the 35mm f/1.4L, in went the 135mm f/2L, I then picked up the 85mm f/1.2L, weighed it in my hand and put it back down again. While I loved the lens and it's results, I didn't love it enough to carry that weight around (for those that don't know the lens, it's a little over 1Kg). 
If I shot weddings or lots of studio stuff, then there'd be no question. I'd have kept the lens. The fact is I do shoot those subjects now and again, but not enough to justify it. What I do do though is walk a lot with lots of camera kit. For me, the 600g saving is quite a lot and the optical quality between the two is not sufficient to warrant it. That and the faster focusing of the 85mm f/1.8 lens were the deciding factors for me. 
Now my friend did make a couple of valid points - the f/1.2 lens gives you a look you just can't achieve with 1.8. It also has a different look even at f/1.8. It's not that it's better or worse, just different. And in low light, the extra stop can really save your bacon. 
Now, if money was no object, well, I'd have both and just pick and choose as I needed to! 

If you're wondering about the title of this post, it was our joint conclusion: The lens you take is better than the one you leave at home....

So, which would you choose and why? Tell us in the comments.....


1 comment:

Unknown said...

The 85mm f1.8 without a doubt.

The price killed it for me, especially with the fast focussing of the f1.8mm. As you say you'd have both and use the f1.2 when it required it.

Now wouldn't it be nice if there was an 85mm f1.4 - that would be the perfect compromise ;)