Originally posted 2015-12-30 00:44:00.
While I have the Nikon 200mm F2.0 VR I wanted to do a quick test to compare the bokeh of the portrait lenses I have on hand. These are the Canon 70-200 F2.8 VR2, arguably the best 70-200mm F2.8 in the market, along with the Fuji 56mm F1.2 and 90mm F2. Until recently I had the Canon 85mm 1.2 and the Canon 135mm F2.0. I have sold both with no regrets. The 135mm F2.0 was redundant since I prefer the look of the 200mm end of the 70-200mm F2.8 which has stabilisation thrown in as well. And the 85mm F1.2….since its release in 2006 I have owned 3, and sold them all. It’s a lens I have always wanted to like but the sluggish AF and number of missed focus photos while shooting at 1.2 has finally tainted any love I felt for it. When it nails AF its wonderful, but when it doesn’t clients blame you. I shoot for a living, so happy clients are my priority and any gear not making money gets sold. An 85mm F1.8 or 1.4 is a faster focusing, easier handling and all around more useful lens. I am kicking myself now as I had an 85mm 1.8G handy and completely forgot to shoot with it…duh!?!
Testing methodology needed to be something typical of what I would encounter in real life. I decided to photograph Santa since contacting a model in the middle of the night was not an option. And after all I want you to look at the lights on my Christmas tree and compare them shot for shot, while I kept Santa at roughly the same size in the frame. Working distances varied with the shorter lenses however both the Canon 70-200 and the 200 F2.0 VR were mounted by their tripod foot on the same tripod which was not moved. The shorter Fuji lenses were shot at a closer distance, which is what I would do had I been shooting a person.
Cameras were the D750, 5Dmk3 and X-T1. They are ranked here in order of autofocus speed. The X-T1 struggling to focus at anything close to the other 2. Apertures were set at the maximum. White balance was set to auto on all cameras but in post processing I set them all to the same white balance as the cameras were all different.