I have a host of lenses I like to use on a regular basis. I fiddle here and there with most of them not letting them gather a whole lot of dust. Since upping the bar to a full frame I have found it interesting the actual lenses I use for the stuff that matters. So I began getting the itch of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) again. It may be that the camera that I have wanted was just announce or the fact that I have been itching for a lens for some time, but now am second guessing if I want to get rid of an old lens that I have and replace it with something a little better or possibly something totally new. It's tough to distinguish, but I have been watching a lot of test videos of comparisons so I went through my stuff and didn't really have anything like this from my gear and how I shoot. Now granted, I love my Canon 70-200 f/4 L IS. It is the sharpest lens out there for a zoom. I love it, but it doesn't get me to 2.8 which would give me lower light ability. Now, I have lived with this lens for a long time and really don't feel the need to change, but I was interested in what 200mm compression looked like up against the lowest apertures on some of the other lenses I had. Thus, I am going to give a go with a poor mans test of non-L lenses for my general thoughts and if I really want that shiny new 85 or a crusty old 135. So, here are a couple shots of comparison. I made my middle and littlest help me, which even though they got to blow dandelion seeds all over the yard, it didn't make them very up beat about the process. I guess that 5 minutes could have been better spent.
So I tested 4 lenses. I have a 50mm 1.4, which is a really old lens and I would anticipate Canon upgrading any time in the near future. I love mine. It is very sharp even at 1.4 which most aren't. I got a good copy. I tested the 85mm 1.8., again, consumer lens but I really like mine. Then tested one of my favorites, the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens (not the IS version). This lens is also crazy sharp and I have no need for IS on this lens. I have never had the need to spend the extra $500 for the pretty red ring and IS. Lastly, I tested my 70-200 f/4L IS at 135mm and 200mm just to see what it would look like and the bokeh (background blur) that would be shown. I tried to maintain the same composition in all of the photos so I could see what the background was going to look like. I think it did a pretty good job to what I was thinking. Here is what I came up with.
85mm @ 1.8
100mm @ 2.8
135mm @ 4.0
200mm @ 4.0
The 200mm and 135mm area definitely show the compression of the background a make it to almost nothing. I really wonder what f2 would look like at 135mm. That is a lens I have looked at for a long time. May have to borrow one and see what results I get. I also really like the way the 85mm looks. Still gives the roundness and less compression than the longer distances, but a nice blur with some inclusion of the background. Now the lens I have been itching for is the 1.4 version of this lens that you can actually use at 1.4. Canon does make a version with a 1.2, however that baby is expensive and for what I do, I can't justify the price.
The reason I am more interested in the 85 version, is I used to shoot primarily on a crop sensor with my 50mm. If your shooting canon, the crop sensor has a 1.6x field of view of a full frame, meaning what your actually seeing is the lens distance x 1.6. So my 50mm was actually much more like the 85mm lens on my full frame.
I think this little test made up my mind...now I just need to win the lottery.