First Look at Canon’s Latest RF 85mm F1.2 L USM Lens 

As Canon’s fifth RF lens, the RF 85mm F1.2 L USM, will be unlike any Canon 85mm lens you have experienced. We were able to get our hands on it here at the store and we're extremely impressed. Three things that stood out to us were the minimal chromatic aberration, the stunning image quality and the design of the lens itself.  

Minimal Chromatic Aberration 

With the new lens mount, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens has a bright F1.2 maximum aperture. Given the large diameter Aspherical and Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass elements and the new Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) optics, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens can reduce chromatic aberrations and minimize distortion for great image quality from center to corner throughout the image plane. We tested this out for ourselves and compared the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM to the Canon EF 85mm F1.2 L II USM in the photos below. You can tell that the RF outperformed the EF with virtually no chromatic aberration.  

Canon EF 85mm 1.2 chromatic aberration

Canon RF 85mm 1.2 chromatic aberration


Stunning Image Quality  

Built to be more than just a great portrait lens, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens has a minimum focusing distance of 2.79ft./0.85m and a maximum magnification of 0.12x. No matter your shooting situation; portraits, close-ups or still life, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM can maintain amazingly high image quality, edge to edge with little distortion even when shot wide open. With 13 elements in 9 groups, a 9-blade aperture system and having a F1.2 maximum aperture, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM can produce extremely sharp and detailed images with stunning bokeh.  

The images below demonstrate the sharpness of the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM compared the Canon EF 85mm F1.2 L II USM.

Canon comparison of EF 85mm and RF 85mm

Canon close up of EF 85mm

Canon close up of RF 85mm

A Well-constructed Lens 

Like all RF lenses, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM has a control ring on the lens barrel that can be customized to adjust various settings such as the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more. Placed towards the front of the lens, the control ring has a tactual surface that can be comfortably adjusted with a clicking mechanism that communicates tangible feedback while looking through the viewfinder. An optional service from Canon allows the user to convert the lens to a silent control ring.   

As you can see from the photo below, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM (left), is much larger than the Canon EF 85mm F.1.2 USM II. Satoshi Maetaki, manager of Canon’s ICB Optical Products Development Center, explains:

“In terms of optical design, the total length is measured from the focal plane (the position of the imaging sensor or film). If you compare the EF and RF mounts, the lens mount is closer to the sensor on the RF mount than is the case with the EF mount. Because of this the EF version of some lenses can be shorter as the extra distance is taken up by the longer distance between the lens mount and the sensor in a DSLR camera. This naturally makes the RF version longer in total length to compensate for the difference in sensor-to-mount distance. An easier way to see this is comparing the size of the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM by itself and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM with the Mount Adapter EF-EOS R attached. The difference is now smaller, and this is the difference you see when you mount the two lenses on the same Canon EOS R camera.” 

Canon comparison between EF 85mm and RF 85mm lenses

RF lenses utilize a 12-pin communication system, which was developed to quickly process data. With this system, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens will have accelerated AF, Image Stabilization, digital Lens Optimizer and much more. Through the EOS R’s 12-pin communication system, the in-camera digital Lens Optimizer can counter aberrations and image deterioration, that can be especially prominent in the edges of the frame when shooting at a wide aperture. Along with the 12-pin communication system, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM has the same ring-type as the ultrasonic motor (USM) as the telephoto lenses, which have the most powerful torque of all Canon lenses, providing the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM with extremely fast focusing. 

Along with the advanced lens optics and 12 pin communications system, the Canon RF 85mm 1.2 L USM is a highly reliable and durable lens. Built like all L series lenses; rugged, refined, and precise, it will easily endure the ordeals of any professional use. As a well-constructed lens, it has been designed with dust-and weather-resistant material in the lens mount, switch panel and all rings. To prevent dust and water from getting into the lens, all lens joining sections and switch panels are applied with a sealing. Included in the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens is L series level vibration shock resistance in the lens barrel. With vibration shock resistance assembled into the lens, users will be able to maintain focus in unstable situations.   

Looking at everything this lens has been designed with; a new large-diameter mount with Canon’s UD glass, BR Optics, 12 pin communication system, control ring, and weather-resistant coating, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens will produce high-resolution images of optimum quality in various shooting conditions. The combination of incredible sharpness in the focus areas and the exceedingly shallow depth of field of F1.2, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens delivers unmatched images. This highly anticipated Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens will be released this June at a retail price of $2,699 USD.

Check out what video producer, Lane Peters, thought about the RF 85mm F1.2 when he put it to the test with an athlete on the track, here.  


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