One of my presents to myself this holiday season was the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II lens (reviews here, here, and here). Though newly acquired I won't be taking this monster with me to Italy; but I did manage to play with it for the last week.
I can't offer much more insights than what has already been said about this lens; it produces great images but is insanely heavy and focuses really slowly. I did want to show just how narrow the depth of field is at f/1.2, hence the picture.
One of the things I see often of people (usually amateur photographers) who first use this lens (or any other really fast lens) is to drool over how much of the background is smoothly blurry. Though interesting at first (and maybe for a couple of images) I personally don't feel that a picture with a very blurry background and buttery smooth bokeh in and of itself makes that picture interesting.
Since this lens is considered by many to be the ultimate portrait lens for the Canon EF lineup, the first thing I shot with it was portraits. Here is the first picture I took of Kim with the lens (she wasn't impressed by its massive size) wide open. On Sunday, I did a little shooting in the backyard and ended up with 3 pictures I liked (one, two and three (the last has obviously had some Photoshop work done on it, with the CS3 Beta of course :) )).
One of the other important things to realize is that even if you have a fast lens, many times you still need a flash. I took these two (one, two) pictures earlier this week with the 85L and the 430ex flash which I think helps balance the exposure.
Kim and I will be leaving for Italy tomorrow and will return on January 5th, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 85mm f/1.2L II, f/1.2, 1/640s, ISO 100.