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Thread: Can the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II Lens be used for Sports Action Photography?

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Can the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II Lens be used for Sports Action Photography?

    Bryan just posted an article, Can the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II Lens be used for Sports Action Photography? This has been the subject of discussion here and elsewhere. Bryan's conclusion is 'yes'. That echoes his review of the lens, actually.

    However, it's worth pointing out that in his review of the lens, his sports testing was on a 1DsIII, and for this recent article, he is using the 1D X. Chuck Westfall has stated, "...the EOS-1D X achieves a higher lens motor drive speed with select L-series USM telephoto lenses than the 5D Mark III because of the 1D Xs more powerful battery pack." Personally, I've noticed that the 85L II does focus more rapidly on the 1D X than on the 7D or 5DII. I wonder...would the same conclusion that the 85L II can be used for sports/action photography be reached if one was using a non-1-series body?

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    if you send me yours to try i can test it on a t4i lol
    Stuart Edwards
    1DX Mark II , 6D , Samyang 14mm f2.8 ,Sigma 85mm f1.4A , 24-105mm f/4L IS , 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II ,100-400 f5.6L II , 300mm f/2.8L II , EF 1.4x III , EF 2x III, 430EX II

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    One of my favorite shots to do at the beach is too have models running and splashing in the ocean. My favorite is when the they run right at me, I put my 1DsIII's AF in servo and with 85 @ 1.2 and click away. It locks on and stays on the model. It looks very cool to see all the water splashes with varying degrees of OOF and then the ones that are in focus look very cool.

    Not always the fastest moving subjects but it gives me a lot of sharp sharp keepers.

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    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith B View Post
    One of my favorite shots to do at the beach is too have models running and splashing in the ocean. My favorite is when the they run right at me........
    That would be one of my favourite shots as well, especially if they were Victoria Secrets models......it would probably be OK if I didn't have my camera with me too....
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    Chuck Westfall has stated, "...the EOS-1D X achieves a higher lens motor drive speed with select L-series USM telephoto lenses than the 5D Mark III because of the 1D X’s more powerful battery pack."
    Of the lenses Chuck Westfall is referring to, the 85mm would be on the low end of the amount of glass that has to be moved to focus. Not to mention the amount of power to drive one of the large telephoto's IS.

    I hear few complaints about the 7D used for sports mated to a 300mm f/2.8L IS, 500mm or even 600mm. I doubt the 85mm would eat more power than these lenses.

    Possibly if we knew someone who had a 7D, 1D X and a 85mm F/1.2 he could do a few comparisons. I wonder who we know around here has all of these

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve U View Post
    That would be one of my favourite shots as well, especially if they were Victoria Secrets models......it would probably be OK if I didn't have my camera with me too....
    I bought the wife a T4i with a kit lens for her trip to Florida. She texted yesterday and said she was at the beach and there were girls sunbathing naked.
    I guess I should have sent her with one of the telephoto lenses as well. All I got were crummy cell phone pics from several hundred yards away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    I guess I should have sent her with one of the telephoto lenses as well. All I got were crummy cell phone pics from several hundred yards away.
    If you had the 85/1.2, you'd still be in trouble. At the distance you'd need to be, you'd be close enough to get slapped. And, who cares about bokeh with the subject matter, eh?

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    I love the 85 1.2L II for indoor sports (volleyball mostly) b/c I can get action stopping shutter speeds and good IQ w low enough ISO's to keep noise at an acceptable level. I have used it with the 5DMK II, 5DMK III and 1Dx. The 1Dx does seem to help w the focus speed (non scientific assessment), but the biggest difference in these bodies for this application is by far the improvement in the AF system and ISO noise in the MKIII and 1Dx versus the 5DMK II. The big advantage in the 1Dx over the MKIII is the frame rate - I just get a lot more captures of the ideal moment at 12 fps. As usual, technique matters (and mine can always improve). With the 85, I tend to track a single player and not try follow the ball from pass to set to spike - the AF is really too slow for this to work in my hands. Other lenses (135 f2 and 200 f2) can be used to track the ball movement - assuming the photographer can frame properly to follow the action - the lens AF speed is typically not the limiting step with these. Overall, I have learned to work with the relatively slow AF of the 85 1.2L II and find it a key component of my indoor action photography. And - you have an awesome portrait lens to catch non-action moments as well. Tight portraits at f1.2 are just amazing.

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    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve U View Post
    ...it would probably be OK if I didn't have my camera with me too....
    So you could frolic around splashing water in a skimpy bathing suit with them? I can see you doing this too
    Mark

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    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clemmb View Post
    So you could frolic around splashing water in a skimpy bathing suit with them? I can see you doing this too
    Heheh
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

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