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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.


I currently shoot mostly zoom lenses, I tend to find that they're useful as I have the ability to cope with the unexpected at a wedding.

However, I also have a 100mm 2.8L macro lens, which I've used for portraits and which I do like. I'm after a bit more creamy bokeh than I get with the zooms though so I'm looking into primes.

I've seen and read a lot of good stuff about the 85mm, especially the 1.4 / 1.2 variants. Given I have the 100mm, is it worth looking at 85, or should I be looking at the 50mm 1.4s of this world (Sigma Art, mainly)?

Many thanks for your thoughts!


  • Are you a Canons shooter?? I am not but I hear so many good things about their 135, I wish Nikon had one. 
  • If its canon I didn't think they had an 85mm f/1.4, thought it was just f/1.2 and f/1.8.
    Got the f/1.8 and love it.

  • I do shoot Canon; my choice was the 85mm canon 1.8 or Sigma 85mm 1.4. I took a punt with the Canon. Despite me trying to justify sending it back, I can't - it's great. Definitely worth having around at the cost involved.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Not all primes have "creamy bokeh". 
    Some zooms have better bokeh than primes. Don't fall into that trap. 

    (Also, don't fall into the trap of confusing shallow DoF with bokeh.)

    Now, about your lenses - did you settle on the 85mm f/1.8 - it's a serious little lens, especially for the price. 

  • Thanks Neil, my wording wasn't great, perhaps 'creamier bokeh' would have been better...

    I did settle on the 85mm 1.8 Canon, due to cost, but I am mightily impressed with it. It is a very creamy bokeh and 85mm's shallow dof is great.

    In fact, it is that which has really put me off the little Olympus E-M10 as a travel camera, since with the pancake lens for pocketability, basically everything is in focus. I tend to use DOF in composition quite a lot, so it has me thinking...!

    I also did a test with that 85mm, just to see clearly the difference between it and my 100mm, and I used my 24-70 2.8 L II as a comparison. Its bokeh is smoother than the 100mm L, and showed me your zoom/prime point very clearly!
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