Canon Announces 85mm f/1.4 and Three Tilt-Shift Lenses

Canon’s 85mm f/1.2 has been a popular lens with portrait photographers for years, but an f/1.4 has been conspicuously missing from the lineup until today. This morning, Canon officially announced the EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM, boasting excellent skin-tone reproduction, high resolution, fast and silent focusing, four stops of image stabilization, and creamy smooth bokeh in a (weather sealed) smaller, lighter package than the f/1.2. Since Sigma’s popular 85mm f/1.4 ART series lens has been recognized as one of the two sharpest lenses made (its manual-focus Zeiss counterpart is sometimes considered sharper), Canon’s stabilization may tip the scale in it’s favor if its resolution is in the same ballpark. The Sigma costs about $1200, while the new Canon will cost about $1600.

Along with the new 85mm lens are three tilt-shifts, the Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Macro, Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8L Macro, and Canon TS-E 135mm f/4L Macro. Primarily popular among architectural and commercial photographers, tilt-shift lenses have also become popular with landscape and some portrait photographers. These lenses are Canon’s first Macro models, each capable of reproducing their subjects at 1:2 magnification (ie, the projection of the sensor is half the size of the object itself).

Price and Availability

The Canon 85mm f/1.4 should be available just in time for Black Friday shopping in November, as should all three of the Macro TS-E lenses, according to the Canon USA press release. As mentioned above, the 85mm lens has an MSRP of $1599, and it’s currently available for pre-order from B&H. Don’t want to wait? The legendary bokeh of the Canon 85mm f/1.2L is still available for only $300 more.

All three of the tilt-shift lenses will cost $2199, each.

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  • I’ve been looking at getting a fast 85mm and have been curious about this new offering from Canon. I have also found it interesting that with all of the new 85mm lenses hitting the market, I rarely hear about the Samyang/Rokinon SP 85mm f/1.2, which is meant to be sharper than the Sigma f/1.4 Art and at least as sharp as the equivalent Zeiss. But in the realm of stabilized fast 85mm lenses, I feel strongly that the best bang for buck is still the Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 VC. Although slightly softer in the corners and edges wide open than its contemporaries, it comes in at $749 new and is looking seriously attractive. And, as always, I appreciate all of the insights, Matt!

    • I agree wholeheartedly about the Tamron… it’s a really sharp, excellent lens for the price, though of course it won’t give us the same shallow depth of field and bokeh of an f/1.4 or 1.2 lens. I didn’t find the Samyang 1.2 to be in the same class as the Sigma ART or the Zeiss (I’m not even sure it’s as sharp across the frame as the Tamron), but it is also a very nice lens. I think I’d prefer to have stabilization and autofocus for when I need them, though.

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