The Canon 85mm f1.9 first-generation lens was produced by Canon in 1951, with a full brass body, heavy hand but solid workmanship, fresh and sharp images, and a fully open aperture that is usable.
Canon’s RF era product line is named “Serenar”, which means “clear and quiet”. The name “Serenar” not only matches the pure, white, silvery appearance of this series of lenses, but is also very convincing when used to describe the color of the photos taken with this lens set.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Capy has a heavy generation lens, weighing about 606g, with 20 super deluxe aperture blades.
The advantage of the multi-aperture blades is that no matter what level of aperture is used for shooting, the spot can maintain its round shape, unlike most lenses that shrink the spot and become polygonal.
The biggest difference between the Canon 85mm f1.9 I and Canon 85mm f1.9 II is probably in weight.
The Canon 85mm f1.9 I is 605g, while the Canon 85mm f1.9 II is significantly smaller at 410g, but the number of Canon 85mm f1.9 I lenses on the market seems to be much greater than the Canon 85mm f1.9 II, and the price is much more affordable.
In terms of optical performance, Capy has been quite satisfied with the shock and enjoyment that the Canon 85mm f1.9 I has given me. If you can share your experience with the second generation lenses, please feel free to leave a comment on this website or send a private message to Capy.
How to adapt to Mirrorless Camera
Canon 85mm f1.9 is an LTM mount.
You may have seen L39, M39, etc. on the Internet, but how can there be so many different kinds? And what does it mean?
LTM： Leica Thread-Mount, Thread means thread in Chinese, Mount is the bayonet, so LTM means this is Leica’s dedicated bayonet (RF period), the diameter of the bayonet is 39mm.
L39： needless to say, L on behalf of Leica, bayonet diameter of 39mm.
M39： Leica is the top of the camera technology indicators (now is the noble indicators), countries are scrambling to follow suit, Russia also imitated a camera brand called Zenit, the diameter of the bayonet is also 39mm, but change the name to M39.
The conclusion is that, regardless of LTM, L39, M39, in fact, all refer to the mouth of 39mm, are referring to the same thing means it, is obviously the same thing, but there are many ways to call this feeling.
Capy in the following paragraphs are collectively referred to as L39.
Then how to transfer Canon 85mm f1.9 this L39 mount lens to your baby mirrorless camera?
Here is a simple way to Google “L39 to your camera’s mount name + adapter mount” on the good.
For example, if your camera is Sony, Google “L39 to Sony e adapter mount”.
For example, if your camera is Sony, Google “L39 to Sony e adapter”. If your camera is Canon R5, Google “L39 to Canon RF adapter”, and so on.
The closest focusing distance of Canon 85mm f1.9 is 1m, which is too long, so use L39 to Leica M adapter ring + M to L macro adapter (can be shortened to about 0.6m)
Using macro adapter let the lens transformed into a lens can take pictures of flowers and plants without pressure of the magic tool.
Lens build quality
The lens is an all-glass lens, made of brass, very bright and eye-catching, solid workmanship, the parts feel very close to each other, a very good sense of unity, not like some poorly made old lens rotating loose problems.
The focus ring and aperture ring are also made of the same material, and the feel of rotation is not inferior to that of rubber skin, Capy personally feels that the brass focus ring has a better feel and does not feel sticky after a long time.
However, although the brass looks hard, it is actually easier to see the scratches when looking at it up close than the usual black lens.
In addition, the reflection of silver in the sun will become more dazzling, especially the 85mm lens body is long, the whole root in the sun has actually reached the realm of blinding …….
The actual metal is definitely the focus of attention, and the chance of colliding with others is minimal.
Lens hand feeling
Handle feeling on hand
The weight of the lens is 605g, which is not too heavy by modern lens standards, but in the world of old lenses I personally think it is already a small fat house level.
600g is about the upper threshold of a lens that Capy feels willing to take out of the house, any heavier, and it will be taken to press noodles.
In fact, instead of caring about the weight, it is better to focus on the balance.
The balance of the camera (or simply put, the grip) lies in a few things
Lens weight The weight of the camera How good is the grip, can grip solid, firm grip
The key to a solid grip is that your “pinky should have a place to put it and not be left hanging”.
I added a smallrig cage handle to Capy’s Sigma fp for example, which increased the weight of the camera body, but also allowed the weight of the camera and lens to be balanced a bit, so that it would not be top-heavy. In addition, the rabbit cage handle allows my little finger to press against the wood, greatly enhancing the grip on the camera. Steady it.
Focus and aperture
In terms of focusing, the brass focus ring feels very good as mentioned earlier.
In addition, the Canon 85mm f1.9 has a very long focus stroke, similar to that of Capy’s Nikon ais 55mm f2.8 macro lens, which means that from the closest focus distance, according to Capy’s normal rotation range, it takes about 4 rotations to reach the infinity position.
The advantage of this is that precision focusing can be achieved to a very accurate degree, the disadvantage is that street photography will be a little too late when focusing.
By the way, another small drawback of this lens is that the filter ring of the front lens will also move with it when the focus ring is rotated, which will be more confusing for lens users who want to go on the CPL, because the original CPL position is also rotated after focusing and needs to be readjusted.
The aperture, there is no doubt that the 20 aperture leaves beautiful to make me cry.
lens filters, hoods
The lens filter is 48mm, a relatively rare size, and the original manufacturer has a dedicated hood, but the seller did not provide it when Capy bought it, so it may be relatively difficult to find.
I installed a 48mm to 52mm filter adapter ring to match my own hood or filter.
The vendor also included a piece of the original 48mm SKYLIGHT brass skylight, which I think is beautiful.
I use Minolta 52mm or 55mm hoods, both of which have a matte lint inside the hood, and the effect is better than the general effect of the hoods with matte markings inside.
The first photo at the beginning of this article was taken using the 48-52+52-55 filter adapter ring + Minolta 55mm hood + CPL filter.
Although the square hood will be more handsome, but the round shape is convenient for the CPL filter.
For this kind of lens with ancient coating, if you want to increase the anti-flare ability and maximize or restore the contrast of the lens, the “Len’s Hood + CPL filter” is a good choice.
“Len’s Hood + CPL filter” is definitely a must-have photographic accessories.
There is nothing to say, the vignetting phenomenon of medium telephoto is not too obvious.
Capy originally wanted to say so, because outdoor photos and look at the photos at home can not see, but the test accidentally found that the lower left corner of the photo will always have a small piece of unexplained vignetting.
After thinking for a long time found that the reason is this ……
The end of the lens protrudes from the structure that was originally intended to be used with the Canon film camera, and the cause of the vignetting in one corner of the screen should be this piece.
Using alcohol drops on the screws and so on dry off after the screw can be removed smoothly.
The beauty and ugliness of bokeh is different for everyone, so Capy simply shares my subjective feelings.
Canon 85mm f1.9 with macro adapter ring, shooting close up is also very convenient.
But under the full open aperture, shooting close objects to choose the background, otherwise the bokeh will be slightly busy.
The following photo belongs to the generally acceptable bokeh performance.
Mainly feel the transition of the lens layers and dark details soft and rich, the ability to depict light and shadow is very good.
Capy is more satisfied with this one, the way it was taken is actually the same as the previous image, the difference is that the light in this one falls right on the subject, so that the flowers can be highlighted and the attention will not be stolen by the cat’s eye bokeh in the background.
This is the worst case of close up bokeh, no light on the subject, the color is coffee dull, full open aperture background two-line very obvious, rust and grass together, there is a dirty feeling.
This is the way to play with old lenses, not a big aperture can hit the world.
The lens has its own ideas, they are the master, we have to follow the hair and pick the right way to shoot.
The bokeh applied to the middle and long distance is quite interesting, the subject can be well separated from the background (3D sense), and the two-line bokeh becomes a rich and interesting background after being distanced.
It also seems to have a slightly rotating sense of flow.
I’ve asked friends who think this photo is a good bokeh and others who think it’s still messy, what do you think?
Canon 85mm f1.9 was produced in 1951, the technology at that time should only have a single layer of coating, so glare and lost some contrast is a conceivable situation.
Contrast and sharpness
Canon 85mm f1.9 is a usable aperture when the aperture is fully open.
This is something that even now only the top lenses from various manufacturers can do.
It’s really an incredible feeling to experience such a thing on an old lens, and it makes me laugh even in my dreams.
Most of the reviews of old Japanese lenses on the Internet give the impression of “freshness” and “femininity”.
For example, Takumar 35mm f3.5, Pentax 28mm f2.8, Minolta 85mm f1.7.
I don’t know if it’s because of the coating, but I really felt the “feminine” taste, but I didn’t taste the “freshness”.
But on the Canon 85mm f1.9, or the Canon serenar series, I reacquainted myself with the origin of the term “freshness” for Japanese lenses.
As for contrast, I always think it is hard to describe a clear definition.
Usually, contrast in photography refers to “the contrast between light and dark”.
For example, if you set the contrast ratio in the camera and adjust it higher, the brighter the picture will be and the darker the picture will be.
Foreigners on the description of the contrast is also a bit difficult to understand, google look at foreign evaluation of the lens website, they will say, XX lens in full open aperture contrast is low, shrink aperture will be significantly improved. They are saying what …… so is the difference in where.
Capy think, the use of “micro-contrast” to explain back the contrast is better to understand.
The so-called micro contrast, can be divided into two levels.
The richness of the color transition of the color gradation
Light and shadow transition of the level of richness or not
Is to imagine that if the photo of the color is divided into more detailed, more layers, such as green inside there are divided into super green, ordinary green, not so green so that the more layers of the picture is more refined, the higher the contrast will be.
Light and shadow is also the same, black places if you can be divided into super black, ordinary black, not so black, the more layers divided into the dark parts of the more delicate, the higher the contrast will be.
The conclusion is, to judge whether the contrast of an old lens is high or not.
This can be interpreted as “the richness of the colors and shadows of the lens at each aperture level“.
By this standard, Capy feels that the Canon 85mm f1.9 has excellent contrast at full open aperture (provided it is not facing a strong light source).
Of course, the comparison of lens contrast can be done not only by using different apertures in the same lens, but also by using different lenses at the same aperture.
You can also take different lenses in the same aperture down to compare with each other, so it will be more interesting.
When shooting portraits, the sharpness of this lens is especially good, in that the sharp edge of the stop, leaving you a fresh and bright picture.
1. Good quality workmanship 2. 20 aperture blades 3. full open aperture that is available aperture 4. affordable price
1. close shot of the bokeh slightly busy 2. anti-glare ability is poor 3. 605g weight 4. lens body easy to reflect and scratch
Canon 85mm f1.9是一款非常有趣的鏡頭，中景的表現十分出色。
The Canon 85mm f1.9 is a very interesting lens with excellent mid-range performance.
The lens has good color rendition, and often the results will surprise you more than the view in front of you.
The performance at full open aperture is excellent, with no visible chromatic aberration and negligible green and purple fringing.
If you want to shoot landscapes, aperture stop at f5.6, f8 are good choices, but avoid the occasion of the top light at noon, the sharpness of the lens combined with the high contrast of the top light will make the overall picture look dry.
Of course this lens has its drawbacks, for many people, the biggest problem is the weight of his lens.
The busy two-line nature of the bokeh also caused me some frustration in the close up shots, but in some background situations it became quite watchable.
The unbelievably long focus stroke is a bit of a hindrance for street portraits, but if you want to use it as a movie lens you should be smiling.
Capy highly recommends the Canon 85mm f1.9 if you’re looking for a similar focal length and don’t care about manual focusing.
I think the Canon 85mm f1.9 is a great value, I’ll take it with me and forget about the weight.
Jupiter-9 85mm f2: Russian production, bokeh more violent and wild, embracing its artistry and light spots and field curves and a bunch of incredible lens flaws, the point is, he is cheap, the price is about $160 ~ 200.
Minolta MC/MD 85mm f1.7: Minolta’s famous medium telephoto lens, can create a more rounded bokeh than Canon 85mm f1.9, purple coating so that the tone of the photo has a kind of magic. The disadvantage is that when the full open aperture chromatic aberration (especially the green edge) will be more obvious. The price is about 200~300 USD.
Contax 85mm f1.4: It’s known for its huge aperture. More aberration when open , but every thing become sharp after f2.8.