Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM – An excellent portrait lens with acceptance price

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM quick review:
– Quality: Good
– Released: 1992
– Price: ~ 350$
– Used for: Portrait, landscape, architectural…
– Who need: Entry-Level photographer.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Introduction

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Released in 1992, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is still continued development today even it isn’t a luxury serial lens (L serial) and don’t have Image Stabilization. Lens used technologies since 1992 but now it’s still not out-of-fashion. So what made  Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM being great?

The first point to make it a great lens is image quality. With the price only about 350$ but  Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM deliver very good images in many fields: Portrait, landscape, architectural, sport, macro…For entry-level photographer, to buy a L-serial lens is a big problem. So many of them choose  Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM which is cheap but good quality. This Lens is very popular today, you can find from the internet many portrait images were taken by EF 85mm f/1.8 USM.

– Good sharpness and contract.
– Nice color
– Fast and accurate focus
– Low distortion
– Small size and light weigth
– inexpensive

– Too much Purple fringing

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Specification

USM: Using Ultra-sonic motor for focusing

Focal length
85mm on full-frame body
107mm on crop 1.3x body
138mm on crop 1.6x body

Maximum aperture

Filter size

Minimum focus distance

74.68 x 71.77mm


ET-65 III.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Reviews

Portrait photo

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM was designed for portrait photography, so there are no suspicion about the images it delivered. It’s sharpness, contract, nice color, nice blurring background and bokeh…Within price ~350$,  EF 85mm f/1.8 USM almost no competitor even Canon 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM (a multi purpose lens) which is same price but not as good as  EF 85mm f/1.8 USM for portrait.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

However, to comparing with higher lever lens as Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L or Canon EF 50 f/1.2 or Sigma Art 35 f/1.4…the color, sharpness, contract and resolution are quite a bit lower. Plus, It’s have purple fringing too much.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Landscape/ architectural

It have long focal length 85mm but it can deliver quite good landscape photo with high resolution and low distortion. It’s even better quality than landscape lens Canon 24mm f/2.8 (released in 1988, price ~350$) and same quality with 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 STM. But to compare with pro-landscape lenses as 17-40mm, 16-35mm, 35mm f/4, Sigma Art 35mm…it’s more lower.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM provide 8 points star effects when you photograph the strong light.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Sport/high speed

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM can shoot for some sports with small yard like ping pong, badminton, tennis, futsal…The focusing is quite fast and accurate. It don’t have IS but the large aperture help you shoot with high speed.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM


Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is not good lens for macro. It’s not really high sharpness, contract and resolution. So for macro photo it is not a good choice.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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