We use the Canon non-L EF 1.8 85mm and it's the most splendid lens I've ever put on a 35mm camera. Often, if I've got the camera and am going shooting for the day and only want to take one lens, I'll take the 85.

Now, I assume you're putting this on a film body. Back when I did digital capture, I found the 85mm combined with the 1.6 field of view crop factor was a bit too long for many portraits, especially studio ones. In that case, I used our other favorite, a Canon EF 28-135 IS. I would have preferred to have something like a 65mm 1.8, but we didn't have one.

I just checked on eBay and someone's got a new one for 359 that looks like it might be a good deal:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...824750245&rd=1

-KwM-