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What Is the Best 85mm Lens for Canon Mirrorless Photographers?

A good 85mm lens is one of the most valuable optics many photographers have in their gear bags, and as such, high demands are placed on manufacturers to produce sharp and fast devices that get the job done reliably. If you are a Canon mirrorless shooter, this great video review will help you choose the right 85mm lens for your work. 

Coming to you from Gordon Laing, this great video review takes a look at the RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM and how it compares to the RF 85mm f/1.2L USM and the ever-popular EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. No doubt, a good 85mm lens has helped build many careers, and there is a huge range of options in terms of maximum aperture, cost, image quality, autofocus performance, size and weight, and more, and it can be tricky knowing which one is right for you. One advantage the RF 85mm f/2 has, of course, is its macro capabilities (1:2), which can make it a more versatile option for someone like a wedding shooter, who needs to get detail shots in addition to portraits. Plus, it is far lighter than its f/1.2 cousin. Check out the video above for Laing's full thoughts. 

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12 Comments

g coll's picture

The best 85mm lens is the one you have on you ;)

Juan Isaias Perez's picture

Totally agree! I do have an 85 for my Canon mirrorless, my EF 1.4 L IS. With a rear drop in filter Adapter...you would have to pay me to convince me to “upgrade”.

Wolfgang Post's picture

Exactly. No point drooling over any other lens that would blow the budget. Let's use what we have.

Tammie Lam's picture

The 85/1.2 DS renders the best picture imo.

Vitor Munhoz's picture

I got the Rokinon AF 85 1.4 RF mount the day it came out and absolutely love it. Everything from build quality to af to sharpness and bokeh are worth every penny and it's the same price range as the canon 85mm f2. No brainer there, I just wish Rokinon came out with more autofocus prime lenses for the RF

Carlos Dacosta's picture

I have the EF 85mm f1.2 Lii version mounted with a Sigma adapter on my A7r3, and it is an amazing lens. Its a life keeper. To bad Sony wont make a f1.2 lens!!

Chris Rogers's picture

Honestly I don't think I have ever used a "Bad" 85mm lens. Every single 85mm that I have owned or used has produced excellent results. I Have used or owned several vintage 85mm lenses, the Nikon 85mm f1.8D, Nikon 85mm f1.8G, Canon EF 85mm f1.8,Canon EF 85mm f1.4 My favorite out of the bunch has to be the Canon EF 85mm f1.8. It does fringe pretty good in bright light but it's super sharp. I took one of my favorite photos with the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 on a canon 60D at a music festival.

Indy Thomas's picture

Have to agree. I used a Nikon 85 1.8 back in the early 70s and sold it only to buy it again in the late 70's after a fling with an Leica M4.
I had the Canon EF 1.8 and it was great but too short for me. I got the 100 macro and it was the portrait lens I wish the 85 had been.
I have an R and am waiting on two R5s but I will also wait for the 100 f2 macro promised in RF.

Richard Kralicek's picture

I went for the Canon FD 85mm f1.2 L lens, the coatings aren't up to date, but it's fairly lightweight, wonderfully dreamy at f1.2 and damn sharp stopped down. It's MF on the EOS Rx, but so what! It looses contrast in backlit situations, but one can use this nicely sometimes.

Daryl A Mitchell's picture

My 85/1.8 was the first lens I bought with my film-EOS-3... THAT SAME LENS IS IN MY BAG, TODAY! I've used it on three different digital-bodies over the years... I've told myself for nearly 30-years, that I want the f/1.2 ~ I just don't need it.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

I just got my 85mm 2.0 RF yesterday. It's pretty dam impressive and I've rented the 1.2 RF. I really don't see the need for that much more Bokeh. Pretty stoked to own my first RF lens that doesn't involve a pre-shoot stretch/warmup. 🤣