Sony Versus Canon: How Does the Sony 85mm f/1.4 Compare to the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2?

Photographer Manny Ortiz has been pretty impressed when testing the Canon EOS R, especially in light of the recent firmware upgrades to the eye autofocus. In this short video, he puts two premium prime lenses under the microscope, pitting Sony’s 85mm f/1.4 lens attached to his Sony a7 III in direct competition with the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 attached to the EOS R. Which will he prefer and why?

Regular viewers will be more than aware that Ortiz is a big fan of bokeh and fast glass, and the RF 85mm f/1.2 from Canon certainly made him excited. As Ortiz acknowledges, there was something of a honeymoon period once this super-fast prime was made more usable with Canon’s new autofocus, but would it be enough to drag him away from his Sony a7 III?

While the Canon lens is faster and significantly more expensive, the outcome might take you by surprise. If you’re interested to see what Ortiz is talking about, he’s made two of the raw files from his shoot available so that you can have a tinker: download them here.

Which images do you prefer and why? And do the raw files leave you with the same conclusion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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20 Comments

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Great to have RAW files. I'm downloading them now. f1.4, f1.2, to me the difference won't make the $1k difference worth it, but then, I don't do much portraiture.

Jon The Baptist's picture

TL;DR the Canon is significantly better wide open.

Keith Mullin's picture

Did you watch the video?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I did and opened the files too. The logo on the hat is significantly cleaner and does not have a cast on the Canon. But "as shot" over all, the colors are pretty good on the Sony

what about all that green fringing on the sony tho?

David Boyars's picture

I wouldn't know the difference if you had these next to eachother in a gallery. My take is use which cmaera handles best

I am a bit surprised with the conclusions .. based on the raw files with PSCC 2020 .. I find more details in Canon file even if the file is a bit blurred. Based on youtube snapshots .. the Canon comparisons are almost every time with better focusing and more details ..
So un PSCC I have some doubt there is a case with a worse RAW file from Canon than the rather noisy and blurred Sony and 100% comparison.
DOF in the raw files is very different too.. F1.2 vs F1.4 makes a big difference to see.
Anyway it looks like perfect samples of Dual Pixel'AF ..
Here are my snapshots extracted from the youtube video
https://newworld666.prodibi.com/a/9jd59kkoyk0ly0j

Maksims Ter-Oganesovs's picture

Still using Canon, and I think it is the best photography cameras

Dana Goldstein's picture

Considering that this is his "About Me" on his website, I'm not entirely surprised by his conclusion (despite very obvious green fringing): "

Hey! My name is Manny Ortiz and I’m a Portrait photographer based out of Chicago, IL. I create free online tutorials on Youtube and shoot with Sony Mirrorless cameras."

Francisco Hernandez's picture

Manny's a friend of mine and I can tell you it's more than likely outdated. He's using a profile pic from years ago. Keep in mind not everyone updates their website every day. He used to be a Sony ambassador but got out of that to keep a broader view on Canon and Nikon as well and test their mirrorless offerings. He likes what he likes and makes these videos to help out.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You should suggest to him to keep his website up to date to keep these overzealous conspiracy theorists at bay. :)

Vesa Lindgren's picture

Green fringing and sharpness are not arguments for this lens/body comparison, Sony files just are better 😁

EL PIC's picture

I would not trust any Single author on Fstoppers.
I give consideration to price and the performance stated on sites like Fred Maranda ETC that are based on the views of many photographers.

The Canon looks sharper to me.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Without pixel peeping, just viewing normally on a 27" monitor, I can see little difference as far as sharpness and detail. The fringing on the Sony is not as noticeable. Though, the background blur on the Canon is definitely noticeable.

When pixel peeping, forget about it. The Canon wins hands down. I am pretty amazed how much detail it has at f1.2 and literally zero fringing.

At the end of the day, in my reality world, would I spend $2700 for a humongous 85mm. No. For now, Sony's other 85mm (inexpensive $600 f1.8) is working for me.

David Boyars's picture

I feel the real takeaway for this video is expensive lighting makes a bigger difference

Really glad he dropped the RAW's- the photos aren't remotely comparable. One pops, one doesn't. One holds detail when zoomed in, one doesn't. One has green fringing in the bokeh, one doesn't.

Seems like a pretty obvious attempt to get the ambassador checks flowing again.

Ross Alexander's picture

With that small degree of difference, there are a minuscule amount of times that any difference as small as that would matter. And you only have to miss focus by the tiniest amount and any gains you have made by choosing the supposedly sharper lens, you have lost in an instant!

What client is going to notice these tiny differences anyway? Maybe you would like a new fancier and marginally sharper lens, but you are not the one buying your photos.

For me, I always want the best, but I don't pay the high price of when a lens has only just been released. Case in point, I bought the Canon 11-24mm L lens. It was £3,000 when it first came out. I bought it a few years later second hand for £1600! New it is available for £2000 now.