Should You Get the RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS or Non-DS Lens?

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens promises to give you even smoother bokeh than the non-DS 85mm f/1.2L. How do the two compare? Check out this helpful video to see. 

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this great video compares the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM to the RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens. The RF 85mm f/1.2L is already a spectacular lens, but the DS (defocus smoothing) version adds a twist. You may have heard of defocus smoothing in other lenses, where it sometimes goes by names like smooth transition focus or apodization. These lenses work by placing a radially graduated neutral density filter near the back of the lens. This filter gets gradually darker toward the edge, reducing light transmission more and more (normally by about 1.5 to 2 stops at the very edge). This has the effect of creating especially smooth bokeh, particularly noticeable with point light sources. The drawback, however, is reduced transmittance at wide apertures, meaning the lens might behave like an f/1.2 with regards to depth of field, but more like an f/2.5 (T2.5) with regards to light transmittance. They are quite neat lenses, especially if you are a bokeh fanatic; check out the video above to see both versions in action. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments

The heading reminds me of when I ask my kids "do you want a carrot or a banana?" Of course, this is to distract them from the fact they would really prefer a chocolate bar. Funny how often it works, for people of all ages!

"De-smooth-en-ing"? I'm pretty sure that's not what DS stands for. Also, Alvin the Chipmunk dubstep? :rolleyes: