All the leaves are brown

I still can’t get enough of my 85mm lens – after years with zooms in the f3.5 upwards speed class, beeing able to sharply differentiate by focus and to include informative background without letting it get too prominent is a welcome experience. And it leaves me wondering why lenses like this have become so rare and consequently expensive, if available at all. In the good old film days, when the Mamas and Papas sang “All the leaves are brown”, those f1,8, f1.4 50mm lenses became popular – and cheap. They were the bread and butter lenses, and some of them were of outstanding optical quality. For the DSLRs building a f1.4 50mm lens should not have become more difficult, on the contrary: the smaller image area for an APS-C sensor should have made it possible to produce smaller and cheaper lenses with the same quality. But instead the zoom fever set in, and part of the high-iso discussion we see now, is fired by the low speed of the lenses.

And fast primes, if we can get them, sell for mid- to really high prices. Only for those brands that did not see major changes in the lens mount, the 2nd hand market offers alternatives.


  1. That 85mm lens certainly has a wonderful bokah…smooth, gentle and consistent edge-to-edge. It’s understandable why you’re taken with it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *