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Portrait Lens Upgrade from Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM to ?

CobraChemist
Apprentice

A few years ago, I bought my wife a portrait lens (Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM).  Her birthday is coming up and I would like to purchase an upgrade, but other than price I cannot tell what would be considered an upgrade.  Some current options are the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM or the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM or the EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM.  She mainly uses the lens for outdoor portraits of young children (avoiding flash photography).  Suggestions?

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

The EF 100mm F/2.8L Macro IS USM will have an equivalent angle of view of 160mm. Which may make it become difficult to pictures with. Since it would be more narrow than the current 85mm lens (136mm on APS-C). Your wife has an APS-C camera which means that the image sensor applies a 1.6x crop to all lenses. This makes lenses appear longer on an APS-C camera vs a Full Frame camera. When I was shooting APS-C I used the EF 50mm F/1.8 STM lens for portraits. A 50mm lens would be a portrait lens for APS-C. Then an 85mm lens would be great for head shots on APS-C. The EF 135mm F/2L USM lens is used for head shots on Full Frame. 


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

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ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

In her case anything above 85mm is not a good choice. 85mm is itself really too long for a Rebel or 80D, IMHO.

i have the 50mm f1.2 and i love it. It is a difficult lens to master but if you do it’s fantastic. A 35mm f2 is a real nice lens, too.

if she doesn’t have a 70-200mm that’s a good choice.

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

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9 REPLIES 9

deebatman316
Elite
Elite

What camera does she have the lenses you listed are designed for Full Frame. Which isn't a problem. If she has an APS-C camera the angle of view would be narrower. Compared to a Full Frame or 35mm film camera. For instance an 50mm lens would provide an angle of view of 80mm. When compared to Full Frame. Also an 85mm lens would provide an angle of view of 136mm. When compared to Full Frame.


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

CobraChemist
Apprentice

She has a Canon EOS 80D and a Canon Rebel T5i.  Thanks!

The EF 100mm F/2.8L Macro IS USM will have an equivalent angle of view of 160mm. Which may make it become difficult to pictures with. Since it would be more narrow than the current 85mm lens (136mm on APS-C). Your wife has an APS-C camera which means that the image sensor applies a 1.6x crop to all lenses. This makes lenses appear longer on an APS-C camera vs a Full Frame camera. When I was shooting APS-C I used the EF 50mm F/1.8 STM lens for portraits. A 50mm lens would be a portrait lens for APS-C. Then an 85mm lens would be great for head shots on APS-C. The EF 135mm F/2L USM lens is used for head shots on Full Frame. 


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Have you tried asking her?  There is nothing more fun than a camera gear shopping spree. 

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

I would ask her, but 1) she likes surprises when opening gifts, and 2) she is about as literate about cameras as me, thus we would both be on this forum.  Thanks!

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

In her case anything above 85mm is not a good choice. 85mm is itself really too long for a Rebel or 80D, IMHO.

i have the 50mm f1.2 and i love it. It is a difficult lens to master but if you do it’s fantastic. A 35mm f2 is a real nice lens, too.

if she doesn’t have a 70-200mm that’s a good choice.

 

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

shadowsports
Legend
Legend

@CobraChemist,

This is a very thoughtful gesture and gift idea.  I have an EF 85mm f1.8 and am very familiar with its sharpness and soft bokeh. 

Do you have a budget in mind for her gift?  Here is why I'm asking.  There is nothing wrong with an 80D, or a T5i, besides its age. 

The 80D has 45 AF points, where as the T5i has 9.  The T5i is a "starter" camera, the 80D is more advanced.

shadowsports_0-1716044049939.png

9 AF Points

shadowsports_1-1716044214817.png

For portraits and slower moving subjects the number of focus point becomes less important.  More however does offer greater flexibility, accuracy and focus speed.  

Here's where I'm going with this.  The EOS R8 with a Canon EF to EOS R adapter.  

Her T5i is 11 yrs old.  The 80D is now 8 yrs old. 

Here is a side by side comparison of the 80D and R8

Canon R8 vs Canon 80D Detailed Comparison (cameradecision.com)

Note that the R8 with adapter can use any EF lens out there.  Including her 85mm f1.8.  It will also accept RF mirrorless lenses, without adapter.  Now lets take it a step further.

If you look at the side by side above, you can see how much more capable the R8 is over the 80D.  Please review the list for yourself.  Yes vs. No and what the R8 provides over the 80D.  My point is that the 80D is at the top of its game, and adding a lens given her use will be similar to trading an apple for an orange, which also won't be conducive for the type of photography she does most.

A full frame camera will.  It exceeds an APS-C body for portraiture photography.  Besides having more focus points, better light gathering capability, etc., a full frame sensor also offers a more shallow DOF (depth of field) allowing her to isolate her subject from the background.  This is probably the number one reason to use a FF body for portrait photography.   

Here is a good 3 min read about the differences of full frame compared to APS-C.  It also highlights what Demetrius mentioned above in regards to FOV (field of view)

APS-C vs full-frame - Canon Europe (canon-europe.com)

Pricing.  Consider Canon Refurnished store.  This is a great way to save some money.  You get a camera in "new" condition at a reduced price.  It comes with the same 1 yr warranty as new.  Its condition is imperceptible comparatively to new.  I routinely buy Canon refurb and without hesitation.  The only difference is the color of the box a product comes in. The R8 Refurb is out of stock currently, but depending on when her birthday is, you can keep an eye out.  I would gift or sell the T5i, and consider keeping the 80D as a back up, or sell it as well to offset the upgrade.  

Canon Refurbished Cameras & Accessories | Canon U.S.A, Inc.    

Here is an example of new:

shadowsports_2-1716046435870.png

If you are wondering why I've put this recommendation together for you.  I did so because I believe the R8 in this case would provide a much higher value from an upgrade standpoint over any lens you could gift her given the type of photography she does.

~Rick
Bay Area - CA


~R5 C (1.0.6.1) ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10, 430EX III-RT ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw/MF656Cdw ~Pixel 8
~CarePaks Are Worth It

CobraChemist
Apprentice

I will save this solution for my next gift purchase - six months from now, I won't be racking my brain for Christmas gift ideas.  Thanks!

zakslm
Enthusiast

You mentioned the 100mm f2.8L Macro so I'm assuming that the macro capabilities are something that interests your wife.

I don't own this lens and I don't think it's available new any longer, but a lens that really interests me is the EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM.  You may wish to look into it.  It splits the difference between the 50 and 85 and gets some nice reviews.  Perhaps someone else reading this thread that owns or has used the ES-S 60mm macro could give their opinions and thoughts?

Also, the 85mm f1.4L IS USM would seem to me to be a good upgrade in that the IS would probably come in very handy for outdoor  portraits of young children using exisiting light.  It is physically larger and more than twice the weight of the 85mm f1.8 USM and receives excellent reviews.

Good luck!

 

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