The Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 SSC Aspherical, Canon's first ultra-fast 85mm, is considered by many to be the best 85mm lens Canon has ever made. I can't take sides in that discussion because I have used only this 85mm -- I don't have any experience with any of the 1.2Ls.
Honestly, it takes some getting used to, using this lens. When shooting wide open, the depth of field is so shallow that the slightest movement by either the photo subject or the photographer can render the photo out of focus. I have also found that some fresnel focusing screens can't seem to handle the lens's f/1.2 maximum aperture very well because it is very difficult to focus with these cameras -- for me, it was A-series Canons: AE-1P, AE-1, etc. I don't have this problem with the older mechanical models, such as the F-1, FTb, and EF.
When you have everything set up correctly, the 85mm Aspherical just becomes an amazing optic to use. It is capable of excellent sharpness, while rendering creamy smooth bokeh. Some users believe that one of the reasons why the 85mm Aspherical out-performs the 1.2L version is because the Aspherical has 9 aperture blades, whereas the 1.2L versions -- all of them, both FD and EF -- have "only" eight.
Posted by: Michael McBroom Date of publication: 17.02.2013