Summary: Over the course of my ownership the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM has been quite impressive. Despite its color fringing in high contrast scenes, the lens performs wonderfully for almost any composition. It’s fast and accurate autofucus has helped me to capture shots I thought I had missed.
Summary: Canon’s f/1.8 lens flies the flag for the more affordable end of the product range and turns in a very solid performance, suggesting that sub-£400 versions should not be dismissed even when set against four-figure rivals.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM (full format) - Review / Lab Test Report
17 July 2009
Conclusion: The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a very desirable lens and, surprisingly, a very affordable one. Both contrast and resolution are very good straight from the max. aperture. The lens shows some hefty vignetting at f/1.8 but beyond it's not really a big problem anymore. Neither distortions nor lateral CAs are something to worry about in field conditions.
Conclusion: The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a very desirable lens and, surprisingly, a very affordable one. Both contrast and resolution are very good straight from f/1.8 and excellent at medium aperture settings. On APS-C DSLRs there's only a moderate degree of vignetting at f/1.8 and beyond it's a non-issue. Neither distortions nor lateral CAs are something to worry about in field conditions.
Conclusion: With the exception of purple fringing in harsh contrast situations the lens performed extremely well. If you're looking for a near-perfect portrait lens - well, stop here - you've found it! Naturally the lens has also a life beyond portraits. It's also nice for compressed landscape shots and all aspects where you need to seperate your main subject from the background by using a very large aperture. The silky smooth bokeh (background blur) is a nice extra here.