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Does Canon’s 85mm Lineup Need An Update? | An 85mm F/1.4L With Stabilization May Arrive In August

By Holly Roa on July 18th 2017

There’s a lot of speculation (somewhat substantiated) that Canon is releasing a new 85mm, and a 1.4 at that. While we don’t generally deal in rumors here, this one deserves some thought, and the talk of an exciting new addition to Canon’s 85mm family said to be announced at the end of next month.

CanonRumors has been reporting for some time that we will see an image stabilized 85mm f/1.4L lens in the very near future and have updated that statement with a solid timeframe – end of August 2017. Canon shooters have quite a few options ranging from basement-priced bargain third-party lenses to top-of-the-line options whose price tags dwarf even Canon’s own top-shelf 85mm f/1.2L II, so let’s consider where this fabled 85mm f/1.4L may fit in the lineup.

Few 85mm lenses offer image stabilization, though as it edges into telephoto territory there’s no reason not to, so that would be a major differentiating factor here. Tamron makes an image stabilized 85mm f/1.8 that has been well received which sells for $749. The new 85mm f/1.4L would offer a first-party answer that’s a little bit faster. We’ve yet to hear a potential price point for this lens, which will certainly play a role when weighing options.


Canon’s own lineup of 85mm lenses currently consists of a basic 85mm f/1.8 and their legendary 85mm f/1.2L II, so the 85mm f/1.4 will surely fall between the two on the price scale, though that’s not saying much considering the $369 – $1899 range as currently priced on B&H.

It will also be interesting to see how it measures up to another legendary lens – Sigma’s 85mm f/1.4 ART lens. That lens can currently be had for $1,199 but does not offer image stabilization. Once more, once we have that price in front of us we will have a better idea of what Canon’s 85mm f/1.4L‘s truest competitors will be.

Are you looking forward to an image stabilized Canon 85mm f/1.4L? Why or why not?

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Seattle based photographer with a side of videography, specializing in work involving animals, but basically a Jill of all trades.
Instagram: @HJRphotos

Q&A Discussions

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  1. ken mace

    With the 35LII, Canon has surpassed the IQ of the Sigma ART and also virtually eliminated CA in a wide angle lens which has proven difficult in the past. When you consider the focus inconsistencies of 3rd party offerings, you have a clear cut winner over the competition. 

    If Canon have been able to accomplish the same feat with the 85 plus add IS then we also have a clear cut winner IF they have also been able to offer this lens with fast AF. 

    I currently own the Sigma 1.4 (Non-ART) and use it only for portraits. For any moving subjects I still have the 85 1.8 for its snappy AF and for being a very sharp lens at 2.5 or smaller (at least my copy).

    With the lenses that Canon has been releasing, I am pretty hopeful that I can soon have only 1 85mm in my bag that can do everything very well and saves me time in post correcting CA.

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  2. adam sanford

    With this new lens, people should not think ‘middle’ price point between the f/1.2L II and f/1.8.  Consider:

    1) This will be — to my knowledge — a world’s first image stabilized
    f/1.4 full-frame lens.  Canon will make a big deal out of this.

    2) This is rumored to be a huge pickle jar of a lens like an Art or Otus — think of it like the 35L II as the response to the 35 Art.  Effectively, the f/1.4L IS will be to sharpness what the f/1.2L II is to bokeh.

    So I see this new lens as a peer to the f/1.2L II, not a second fiddle to it.  It will not be cheap at all.  This will be in the $2k neighborhood, one would think.

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  3. Jonathan Brady

    I’ve been waiting for this lens to replace my 85L II, hoping it would be something akin to the 35L II in AF performance,  image quality, and keep the subtle rendering qualities of the 85L II. But I also realized that the spread of AF points on Canon DSLR will still limit the composition possibilities (without recomposing). So, just yesterday I picked up the A7rii and now I’m looking for the Batis 85mm (or the 100 STF) to see if that combo is going to work for me and my portraits. . If it does, it’s simply a matter of Canon being just a tad too late, for me, anyway. If it doesn’t, then I’ll definitely snag the 85/1.4L IS. 

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    • Yucel Yalim

      Gotta agree w you… Canon’s focus points are way too few and way too centered… an issue  worst with latest  addition 6DII… 

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  4. George Moulyneau

    I for one sure do but will likely keep my f/1.2. This new f/1.4 stabilized with the new Canon tech goodies will surely end up glued on my 5Dsr to be used as a 85-200mm f/1.4… (crop factored in). Can’t wait to know more about it. Just hoping that weight and size will be significantly less than the Sigma.

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    • adam sanford

      I recognize what you’re saying — you can crop a high res shot to serve as a zoom — but you realize you don’t get *200mm f/1.4 depth of field*, right?

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