Canon 7D, Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens ISO 100
Left side: 1/1250 sec at f/1.2
Right side: 1/125 sec at f/4

Today I tested out the Canon 85mm f/1.2L and 50mm f/1.2L lenses. I thought I’d share some initial thoughts on the 85mm (I’ll post more on the 50mm tomorrow).

My first reaction to the lens is that it’s pretty heavy and it’s got a lot of glass in it. Looking straight at the front of the lens it almost looks like there is nothing BUT glass in the lens, which is always a good thing.

I wanted to use the lens in an environment that I shoot in often, so I styled a sandwich and put the lens to the test. I shot this photo on a tripod and wanted to see the difference between it’s widest aperture (f/1.2) and the aperture I shoot most often (f/4). The depth of field at its widest aperture was way too shallow for my taste when shooting food (see the two images on the left) and it also introduced a significant amount of chromatic aberration (a.k.a. “purple fringing”) around the in-focus area.

Another thing I noticed was that I couldn’t get in close enough. I like be able to get in tighter on my food shots and the image above shows the closest distance I could get in on this subject. I don’t want to get in “macro” close, but just enough so I can highlight different parts of the food instead of showing the entire plate.

Now, this isn’t a complete and scientific review, it’s just a few observations I made while shooting today. I’ll share my thoughts on the 50mm f/1.2L in tomorrow’s post.