The Ultimate Portrait Lens? A Review of the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM

So far, Canon's RF mirrorless lenses have generally received a lot of praise for their optical quality and performance. The RF 85mm f/1.2L USM is the company's mirrorless version of its beloved 85mm f/1.2L lens for the EF mount, and it offers a bevy of improvements over its predecessor. This great video review takes a good look at this powerhouse lens.

Coming to you from Dustin Abbott, this helpful review takes a look at the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM lens. I have owned the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM for years, and I honestly can't think of anything with which I have a stronger love/hate relationship. It is slow to focus, frustrating to use, and I miss a lot of shots due to its fickle nature, but the images it produces have a very unique character that is addicting. Still, it is quite soft wide open, and along with the aforementioned issues, there was a lot of room for improvement, and it seems like Canon really stepped up to the plate with the new RF version. Of course, the downside is that Canon's mirrorless lenses are not cheap, and this one is no exception. Still, if you are looking for top-notch image quality in lens designs that push boundaries, they are quite intriguing. Check out the video above for Abbott's full thoughts. 

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5 Comments

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Look, I love Canon but F%#*ing Nora; the new RF lenses are ridiculous in size. I'm not a fan of 3rd party glass but they really have left room for Tamron to take advantage of reducing the size and weight. I didn't mention Sigma because clearly Canon has taken a page from their playbook.

Tony Northrup's picture

Haven't made a review but I love the lens. It doesn't handle backlighting as well as I would hope, though; flaring gets uglier than the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM. But overall the Canon is very sharp and eye AF works great with the EOS R... and if you want an 85mm f/1.2, you'll also want AF, and it's literally your only modern choice (the original Canon was terrible).

I have used original 85mm f1.2 L II on my GFX50s and it does lot better than what it did on my 5dmk3. So I would add that dSLR focussing is also to blame. GFX50s is only contrast based but still gives pretty good results at f1.0 equivalent DoF.

Daris Fox's picture

As noted, the f/1.2L also works better on 1 series bodies because of the extra power given to the AF system and the actual AF system itself.

It's funny like few years ago everybody was talking about perfect quality of 85L F1,2 mk II and now it is considered almost unusable soft garbage by some 😀 I've used it on my super old 1ds mk II with quite a lot of out of focus images but now on EOS RP it shines, the AF is so much better and the rendering of this lens is out of this world.