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The Canon 85mm Lens Will Make You Look Like a Portrait Pro (Even if You’re Not!)

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Canon 85mm lens

Imagine being in a bustling city street, bathed in the warm glow of evening lights. You spot a captivating smile amidst the crowd, a moment brimming with emotion. But how do you capture that fleeting expression, the essence of that single person, while blurring the world around them? Enter the legendary Canon 85mm lens, a photographer’s secret weapon for creating stunning portraits that tell a story.

Canon’s 85mm lenses are legendary among photographers, praised for their versatility, flattering perspective, and stunning image quality. This bad boy has earned its fame for its ability to flatter faces, blur backgrounds like a dream, and capture moments with stunning clarity.

But before you go emptying your wallet, let’s break down the good, the bad, and the beautifully blurred to see if it’s your perfect match. This piece delves into the world of Canon 85mm lenses, helping you find the perfect match for your creative vision and budget.

Why 85mm?

The 85mm focal length offers a unique perspective, slightly compressed yet natural, making it ideal for:

  • Portraits: Flattering and natural for individuals or small groups, highlighting facial features without distortion.
  • Events: Capture timeless moments at weddings, parties, and other celebrations” to avoid mentioning alcohol consumption at events.
  • Product Photography: Showcase products with close-up detail and beautiful background blur.
  • Street Photography: Discreetly capture candid moments on the streets with a comfortable working distance.
  • Low Light: The wide aperture of many 85mm lenses excels in dimly lit environments.

Focal Length Explained

Focal length, in layman’s terms, is the distance between the lens’s optical center and the image sensor. It determines the field of view captured by your camera, influencing how much of the scene is included in your photograph. An 85mm lens falls under the category of short-telephoto lenses, offering a slightly zoomed-in perspective compared to a standard 50mm lens.

This subtle zoom creates a flattering compression effect, gently slimming facial features and creating a more natural look for your subject. It’s the sweet spot between being too wide (distorting facial features) and too narrow (excluding important background elements that can add context to your portrait).

The Good Stuff

  • Facelift in a Lens: This focal length works its magic, making noses appear slimmer, features more balanced, and basically giving everyone their best selfie angles. No more Photoshop needed.
  • Blur Like a Boss: Remember those dreamy portraits with the subject popping out against a buttery soft background? Yeah, the 85mm does that like nobody’s business. It’s like saying “peace out” to distractions and saying “hello” to pure focus on your subject.
  • Sharpness on Fleek: From catching the sparkle in someone’s eyes to the intricate details of their outfit, this lens delivers crystal-clear images that make memories pop like nobody’s business.
  • Low Light King: Capture clear photos in low-light environments” for a more general and inclusive tone. The wide aperture (depending on the model) lets in tons of light, making it a game-changer for capturing those authentic, low-light moments.

The Not-So-Good Stuff

  • Prime Time Only: Unlike your zoom lenses, this bad boy is fixed at 85mm. So, if you need to switch between wide landscapes and close-up portraits on the fly, it might not be your best bet. But hey, limitations can breed creativity, right?
  • Big Baller Status: Compared to zooms, 85mm lenses tend to be pricier. But remember, you’re paying for premium optics and image quality that’ll make your portraits stand out.
  • Not Your Everyday Lens: This ain’t the one you’ll grab for capturing vast landscapes or group shots. Think of it as your go-to portrait partner in crime.

Choosing Your Canon 85mm Soulmate

Canon offers a range of 85mm lenses, each catering to different needs and budgets. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you find your perfect match:

  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM: The king of the Canon 85mm family, this legendary lens boasts an incredibly fast f/1.2 aperture, exceptional image quality, and weather sealing for shooting in harsh conditions. However, it comes with a hefty price tag.
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM: This lens offers a fantastic balance of speed (f/1.4) and affordability compared to the f/1.2 version. It also features built-in image stabilization, making it ideal for handheld shooting in low-light scenarios.
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM: This is a more budget-friendly option with a still-respectable f/1.8 aperture. While it lacks the weather sealing and image stabilization of its pricier siblings, it delivers excellent image quality and is a great choice for beginners or photographers on a tighter budget.

Pro Tip: Consider renting an 85mm lens before committing to buying one. This allows you to test it out and see if it fits your shooting style.

The Blurred Verdict

The Canon 85mm is a portrait powerhouse for those who want to elevate their game and create stunning images. But before you empty your bank account, consider your style. If you mainly shoot portraits, love low-light situations, and are ready to explore the world of prime lenses, this could be your new best friend. However, if you need the versatility of a zoom or are on a tight budget, there might be better options.

The perfect lens is the one that helps you tell your story and express your vision. So do your research, experiment, and most importantly, have fun capturing the world around you!

Want some real-life photographer insights from folks like us? Check out online communities and forums to see what other young photographers love (and not-so-love) about the Canon 85mm.

Bonus Tip:

If you’re feeling budget-conscious, consider the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. It’s a more affordable option that still delivers fantastic image quality and that creamy bokeh goodness.

While Canon lenses are fantastic, you can also consider high-quality third-party options like Sigma or Tamron that often offer comparable performance at lower prices.

Ready to Start Your 85mm Journey?

With the right information and careful consideration, you’ll find the perfect Canon 85mm lens to elevate your photography and capture breathtaking images. Remember, the most important factor is your creative vision, so grab your camera, embrace the magic of 85mm, and start telling your stories through stunning portraits, captivating events, and intimate details.

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