How Much Does Canon's New RF 85mm f/1.2L Lens Improve on the Legendary EF 85mm f/1.2L?

Canon's EF 85mm f/1.2L lens is one of the most well-known and coveted portrait lenses, and the RF version seeks to take that winning formula and improve on it. How does it compare to the EF version? This great video takes a look to help you decide if it is worth upgrading. 

Coming to you from DPReview, this fantastic video compares the new RF 85mm f/1.2L lens to the EF 85mm f/1.2L. The EF version is already legendary; in fact, I crowned it my favorite Canon portrait lens when I compared their best options. Nonetheless, as great as it is, there was room for improvement. First, it was notorious for slow and finicky autofocus, and it was not particularly sharp wide open. Nonetheless, it was a lens that produced often magical results — well known for the 3D "pop" it gave to subjects. The RF version brings with it 15 years of improvements, and the result is highly impressive, likely making the mirrorless option another winner. In particular, the wide-open sharpness looks highly impressive, no small feat for a lens with such an extreme maximum aperture. Check out the video above to see how the two lenses compare. 

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3 Comments

Richard Kralicek's picture

I went for the Canon FD 85mm f1.2 L lens, second hand of course (I bought a rather expensive more or less unused one) for my EOS R. It's half the weight, dreamy as hell, suffers from flares and low contrast against the sun, but one can turn this downsides into features.
Of course, ultimate quality is different, but it does it's job and at half the weight of a new 85/1.2 at a third of the price ... I couldn't resist. Wouldn't want to carry those newer AF lenses a whole day, but this old beast is just perfect.

The RF seems to be a master piece. And priced as a masterpiece (ouch !). As stated in the end, if you don't mind the shortcuts of the EF, it can be a good bargain on a mirorless.

I use the EF 85 f/1.4 feature wise, better than the 1.2. I hope the RF is really better, sadly the price is beyond reasonable.