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View Full Version : 3rd party 85mm f/1.4 lenses



adam75south
04-17-2009, 10:50 AM
i came across these lenses on b&h last week. i can't find any sample shots on them though.
Anyone know anything about these lenses? it looks like they're probably made by the same company under different brands. if they have decent sharpness and bokeh i think they could really be some useful little portrait lenses.

thoughts?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/600851-REG/Vivitar_85MMC_85mm_f_1_4_Series_1.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/614836-REG/Bower_SLY85C_85mm_f_1_4_LENS_f_CANON.html

adam75south
04-17-2009, 10:57 AM
because this is what i'm thinking. i've always loved the headshots where nothing but the eyes are in focus. i don't like the perspective you get from a 50mm, and you have to get way too close with the 85mm f/1.8 to get that effect. so i'm thinking you might actually be able to pull it off with one of these $350 lenses instead of getting a $1200-1700 f/1.2 lens.

cdifoto
04-17-2009, 11:38 AM
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=650972

eagle17
04-17-2009, 11:38 AM
This is the one time I say you more than likly will not be able to sell these lenses for close to new prices.....

bower lenses are not well made, I found a few posts asking for info about the manufacturer because of defects... if you go to the bower website you will notice many of the links are broken and the site looks to be unfinished.

I would stay far away from these lenses...

btw you can get this type of shot using a close up lens screwed onto the filter ring of a standard lens...

gilly
04-17-2009, 11:43 AM
hmm, I just don't like the chances of those babies being usably sharp wide open like the Canon 85. And if they're not sharp wide open, kinda defeats the purpose doesn't it?

What about the 135 f/2? Would a head shot at that focal length wide open give similar results? At around $900 it's not in the same ball park as the 1.4's you've pointed out, but it's still a heap cheaper than the 1.2, and a lot say it's about as sharp as it gets. I've been thinking about one, but I just don't know if I'd use it that much over the 70-200 2.8 IS.

eagle17
04-17-2009, 11:44 AM
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=650972

Sham-WOW! all I have to say about that... :)

gilly
04-17-2009, 11:48 AM
Those are some impressive shots wide open. Kinda blows my argument away!

cdifoto
04-17-2009, 11:48 AM
What about the 135 f/2? Would a head shot at that focal length wide open give similar results? At around $900 it's not in the same ball park as the 1.4's you've pointed out, but it's still a heap cheaper than the 1.2, and a lot say it's about as sharp as it gets. I've been thinking about one, but I just don't know if I'd use it that much over the 70-200 2.8 IS.
Here's the 135L wide open. Not full frame though.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a304/cdifoto/bridals/2009-03-22-0124.jpg

eagle17
04-17-2009, 11:53 AM
Here are some more reviews of other lenses not exact but some are closer to your price range than the canon L

http://slrlensreview.com/content/view/421/131/

gilly
04-17-2009, 11:54 AM
Nice Don! See that to me is pretty damn hard to beat!
That with the 1DII?

cdifoto
04-17-2009, 12:19 PM
Yeah that's the 1D II. Her left eye isn't in focus though so you'd have to stop down a bit to get both at that angle. Probably f/2.8 or even f/4.

adam75south
04-17-2009, 02:00 PM
wow. those shots are better than i expected. i think this lens will be KILLER for people that do video with their dSLRs.

adam75south
04-17-2009, 02:11 PM
so far, i think this is the only shot i've found from this lens mounted on a canon(50d) and it's underexposed.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3627/3342189091_b6351e2db5_o.jpg

michaelb
04-17-2009, 02:22 PM
Check this out...scoll about half way down the page....

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=654126&page=4

Unless you really need f/1.4 I'm not sure this new Vivitar offeres much more than the Canon 85 f/1.8 or the 100 f/2 and you give up AF.

adam75south
04-17-2009, 02:47 PM
oh i read the whole thing.

the ONLY thing i'd use it for would be 1.4
i'd really be curious to see some f/1.4 headshots with it.

Mark_48
04-17-2009, 06:08 PM
Try plugging f/1.8 and f/1.4 into DOFMaster, with both your crop and FF bodies and see if it's worth the money for the fractional stop difference. Actual mileage on real life shots may vary, but there doesn't seem to be a bunch of difference looking at the numbers.
http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

How about something like this.....
http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=35&sort=7&cat=2&page=1

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12064-USA/Canon_2516A003_Telephoto_EF_135mm_f_2_8.html#revie ws

Not an L and not quite f/2, but not bad. I bought a used one off POTN at a good price and I'm pretty happy with it. The soft focus does give you an added option and even though it can be done in PS, the lens soft focus just seems a bit different.

Dark Cobra
04-19-2009, 11:19 AM
Years ago I had a Canon 85mm F1.2L on my SLR and while it's a gorgeous piece of glass the images were just too soft for my taste and I would not again spend that kind of money for such a limited mission piece of glass (fine as it is). I was more happy with the 85mm F1.8 or the 135 F2.

cdifoto
04-19-2009, 11:48 AM
Years ago I had a Canon 85mm F1.2L on my SLR and while it's a gorgeous piece of glass the images were just too soft for my taste and I would not again spend that kind of money for such a limited mission piece of glass (fine as it is). I was more happy with the 85mm F1.8 or the 135 F2.
You probably missed focus most of the time. The 85L is anything but soft.

Dark Cobra
04-19-2009, 11:51 AM
Yes, that is the point . . . the point of focus is so narrow with this lens that quite often the result is softness unless you are dead on. This was back in the SLR days when focus had to be manual as well.

cdifoto
04-19-2009, 12:17 PM
Yes, that is the point . . . the point of focus is so narrow with this lens that quite often the result is softness unless you are dead on. This was back in the SLR days when focus had to be manual as well.
But you don't get much more depth of field with the 85mm f/1.8 when all else is equal either, and you get about the same with the 135mm at f/2 when all else is equal. Neither of those lenses is really the solution to the 85L problem. Stopping down is.

I do, however, agree with the notion that having an expensive f/1.2 lens is pointless if it can't be used reliably at f/1.2 regardless of the reason. Of course that also means having any expensive (or even cheap!) lens that can't be used for whatever reason is pointless.

Dark Cobra
04-19-2009, 12:41 PM
My experience was different. I actually got better results with the 85mm 1.8 and the 135mm 2.0 (stepping down or not). We can agree on one thing, the super fast (expensive) lenses are fine if you have a particular need for such a lens . . . I would continue to advise most photographers to save your money.

cdifoto
04-19-2009, 01:28 PM
Probably because they're AF, and fast at that. I'm assuming your 85L was FD mount and your 85 1.8 and 135L are EF. I have to admit I can't manually focus worth a damn.

Dark Cobra
04-19-2009, 01:59 PM
Bingo! I had the manual focus FD 85mm 1.2L on an old Canon F-1 & T90 decades ago. It was a beast to manually focus that lens for me at least. I see we both share the same issue . . . LOL! Anyway, the more modern auto focus lenses must have made things easier because my subsequent EF lenses years later rendered better results for me.

Now the Nikon FM2 & FA SLR cameras I had around the same time often had my 35mm F1.4 lens on them which is also manual and very fast but it gave me little trouble in manually focusing, probably for the obvious reason of increased DOF with it.

adam75south
04-23-2009, 10:49 AM
Probably because they're AF, and fast at that. I'm assuming your 85L was FD mount and your 85 1.8 and 135L are EF. I have to admit I can't manually focus worth a damn.

the 5d II makes it ridiculous easy to manual focus. in live view, you can hit the zoom button twice, i don't know the exact zoom, but i think it's 1:1 at this point...and then you can focus the lens dead on. it's pretty awesome on those hard to focus shots and also video of course, the second you hit record, it goes back to the normal screen, so if you need to adjust focus during a video shot you're pretty much SOL.

it's really odd that i made this thread when i did because i picked up a video job this past weekend...shot a music video for a local teen musician. got to use the 85 1.8 and the 16-35 and had a great time trying it out. also finally put my tripod to use.

Nickcanada
04-23-2009, 11:00 AM
the 5d II makes it ridiculous easy to manual focus. in live view, you can hit the zoom button twice, i don't know the exact zoom, but i think it's 1:1 at this point...and then you can focus the lens dead on. it's pretty awesome on those hard to focus shots and also video of course, the second you hit record, it goes back to the normal screen, so if you need to adjust focus during a video shot you're pretty much SOL.

it's really odd that i made this thread when i did because i picked up a video job this past weekend...shot a music video for a local teen musician. got to use the 85 1.8 and the 16-35 and had a great time trying it out. also finally put my tripod to use.

Wow, make sure to post up the results! I'd love to see that.

cdifoto
04-23-2009, 11:02 AM
Me too. :)

faisal
04-23-2009, 01:56 PM
Me three...... :D

adam75south
04-24-2009, 08:24 AM
Wow, make sure to post up the results! I'd love to see that.

i definitely will. we have some pretty cool shots, i think editing will be the real challenge. i used to edit video back in the day so i can do it...it's just technique and creativity that i lack.

faisal
04-24-2009, 12:20 PM
I've gotten myself a video assignment....something of a corporate video with the corporate shots I'm taking for the company....kinda looking forward to experimenting with a video camera.... :)

Dark Cobra
04-24-2009, 12:37 PM
I'm sure you will do just fine. Congratulations on the assignment. That proves they've got a lot of faith and trust in your ability. Just remember to have fun!

faisal
04-24-2009, 12:41 PM
I'm sure you will do just fine. Congratulations on the assignment. That proves they've got a lot of faith and trust in your ability. Just remember to have fun!

Thanks.....they are giving me full authority to do it how ever I want with some inputs from them... :D

Anyway I have some experience with directing and editing a video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i81LB-7JFw :eek:

gilly
04-24-2009, 01:01 PM
Parkour! Brilliant, I can watch this stuff all day! You'll be right Faisal, at least you've got some experience.