Test Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 (Canon)

Test Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 (Canon)

Fourth lens from Yongnuo, this 85mm is finally here. Let’s see what it got inside…

Edit May 27th 2019: The Nikon version if finally here, check it out!

Presentation of the Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8

Let’s start with the packaging: the black and gold cardboard is quite impressive. This is the first time I see a 85mm this close, I was expecting to be a little more compact. To give you an idea, it is closer to a 15-85mm in terms of size / volume than a 50mm f / 1.8. Yeah, it’s massive.

Unboxing YN85mm F/1.8
Unboxing Yongnuo 85mm F/1.8

Nice surprise, the inside of the box contains, in addition to the lens, a transport cover/protection, as well as a lens hood. It’s always nice to have this kind of accessories included in the price (I can not help but think about Canon that bills $30+ any lens hood).

The lens is impressive, and seems quite solid (compared to the 50mm f/1.8 Canon or Yongnuo). It weighs 1.01 lb (460g). The inscriptions YN85mm F1.8, ø58mm and “Made in china” line the front of the lens. There is also the AF/MF switch for auto-focus, and a focus window.

The focus ring, located slightly on the front, is wide (0.7 inch) and feel pleasant (kind of rubber). Count between a quarter and a half turn to go from the minimum to the infinite .I must admit that I am surprised by the “hardness” of the focus ring. I would prefer that it slides a little more fluidly.

The lens hood is all plastic, with a matte finish on the inside. It clips on the lens in any position, and is free to turn around the lens. The lens cap can be easily removed and removed even with the lens hood. A negative point, the visor does not clip upside down, on the lens, for transport for example, a shame when you’re used to it.

The transport cover is similar to those delivered with Yongnuo flashes, a fleece fabric with the advantage of great protection during the transport / handling phases, and as a disadvantage a larger size compared to holsters and flexible covers.


There is now quite a few 85mm lenses on the market, from a hundred bucks to almost two thousands. Here are a few examples:

So this Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 is very welcome in this price range ($150-$200). And it is autofocus ! Now it’s time to see what’s inside.

Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 Specifications

  • Optical formula: 6 groups / 9 elements
  • Minimum aperture: f/18
  • Minimum focus distance: 85cm
  • Weight: 1.01 lb (460g)
  • Filter diameter: 58mm
  • Price: $175

Field test

I’m not going to try to do extensive experiments such as DxO Mark, or other benchmarks, I’m just going to give my feelings, do I like it, am I satisfied with the pictures I took, did I see any problems, will I keep it or not, etc.? I realized I spent too much time looking for extensive review, checking everything to be pixel perfect, but in the end all that matter is if your picture triggers an emotion.

On my first outing with the YN85mm, I was not so convinced, but time and light were not optimal. The four pictures below are from this first photo outing.
Then I had the opportunity to do a second outing (the last 4 photos below), and I took more pleasure this time. When conditions are good, the photos are more than correct.

Here are some examples of photographs taken with a Canon T3i (600D), out of the box in JPEG/JPG format. The pictures have only been cropped, and resized to 1600 × 1027 pixels.

At first (first outing) I had strange sensations: some pictures exposed oddly, a shutter that seems slow, while the trigger was at 1/100s or 1/160s. And sometimes, the auto focus that moves alone when the camera is at rest (the noise surprised me, I wondered what was happening).

You can see some chromatic aberrations in some cases, but nothing catastrophic. You could also see very soft photos and blurred in some areas (landscape photos), but for the photos of people, street photography, portrait, actually the result is rather convincing.

I made some “comparisons” with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 (non L). I thought that the 15mm focal difference would be more noticeable, but in fact the two lenses frame pretty close. This test does not mean much, but it allowed me to make an opinion, taking as an example a lens that I like and use a lot. It allowed me to compare the sharpness, and the colors.


What to say in conclusion? Mixed opinion, I would say that this 85mm a good lens for this price range, with a few accessories (lens hood and carrying cover) included. It will suit a lot of people, the construction is beautiful, auto focus is noisy but nevertheless quite responsive, the price is great, etc…

Personally I will not keep this Yongnuo 85mm f/1.8 because my 50mm f/1.4 and my 100mm f/2.8 are enough for me, and this lens can not bring me much in this focal range. But if you are limited in budget this is a very good deal I think because there are not many options at this price.

Useful info:

For more information, I invite you to read Amazon comments.
That’s really useful most of the time before making a purchase decision.
If you want to buy this product, thanks for using the following affiliate link, it will help me grow this blog.

Don’t forget to check all the lenses from Yongnuo. Also be sure to keep your Yongnuo products up to date by visiting the firmware page.

Please note that the YN85mm f/1.8 is now available on both Canon and Nikon version.

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