Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2020


Canon wouldn't be Canon without their extremely fast prime lenses. And why bother with an f/1.4 aperture when you can also develop an f/1.2 lens, right? Meet the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L. Just from the high-level specs, you may think that it's a new incarnation of the EF version but it's actually a brand new design. Besides the "usual" aspherical and UD elements, it also incorporates Canon's BR (Blue Spectrum Refractive) element for superior chromatic correction. We'll see the effect of all this goodness later. One of the more unfortunate side effects of choosing f/1.2 over f/1.4 is, of course, the higher price tag. At 2700USD/EUR it's not for the faint-hearted and if that isn't enough, you can spend an extra 300USD for the "DS" (Defocus Smoothing) version. The DS features an apodization filter for an even smoother bokeh. Unsurprisingly, the RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L is a member of the professional-grade L class in Canon's growing R-mount lineup.

The build quality of the (big) Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L is exceptional. The body is made of a combination of metal and high-quality plastic parts based on a metal mount. Some may argue that it feels a little "hollow" relative to its weight but formally there isn't anything to complain about really. It features a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture. The focus ring operates smoothly. On top of that Canon incorporated a secondary control ring at the lens' front. It can be configured to various functions like e.g. exposure compensation or aperture control - and it even clicks. Of course, all these functions can also be controlled on the camera. A deep barrel-shaped lens hood is part of the package.

The AF performance does, of course, heavily dependent on the camera. The AF speed is good on the EOS R but it's clearly not a sports lens - nor was it intended to be one. The heavy weight of the focus group simply takes its toll here. Canon's USM drive is near noiseless but not as noise-free as nano-USM or STM. Manual focusing works "by wire". The focus action is very precise. Full-time manual override is also possible. Some users may miss a distance scale on the lens but there's one in the viewfinder/LCD. An image stabilizer is not provided but at least Canon's latest gang of cameras features in-body IS anyway.

Optical construction13 elements in 9 groups including 3x aspherical, 1xUD, 1xBR elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.85 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.3)
Filter size82mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather sealing, configurable control ring, fluorine coating

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