Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM Review

January 24, 2020 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM joins the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM as the fastest lens in the EOS R camera system.

As with the 50mm, the new 85mm f/1.2 is an incredible lens with an incredible price-tag, putting it out-of-reach of most photographers. If you can justify the cost, though, and you really love the combination of the 85mm focal length and f/1.2 maximum aperture (and who wouldn't), it's very easy to recommend.

It's currently the only native 85mm prime lens available for EOS R, so if you can't stomach the sheer size or price, most users will probably prefer to adapt a Canon EF 85mm lens instead, of which there are several excellent choices.

Image quality is simply out-of-this-world. Sharpness is superb throughout both the aperture range and at the centre and edges of the frame, distortion is negligible, and chromatic aberrations very hard to find. Even vignetting is pretty well-controlled wide-open at f/1.2.

The ability to shoot at f/1.2 and create wonderful out-of-focus backgrounds thanks to the 9-bladed aperture and moderate telephoto focal length quickly becomes addictive, especially as you can successfully auto-focus in near darkness with the EOS R/RP cameras.

Auto-focusing isn't the quickest, but it is quiet and almost 100% reliable on the Canon EOS RP camera that we tested the lens with, while manual focus over-ride at any time is a great feature.

The build quality is outstanding, with the L-series weather-sealing offering peace of mind when using the lens outdoors in more inclement conditions. Canon also provide a good lockable lens hood and soft case in the box.

The only real missing feature is image stabilisation. With the current EOS R bodies not supporting it either, when shooting hand-held you really need to keep your shutter-speed high enough to avoid any unwanted shake from appearing.

In summary, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM is a highly-specialized lens with a high price-tag to match, but if you can justify the cost and don't mind the sheer size and weight, it will more than repay you with stunning image quality, even when shooting wide-open at f/1.2, which is not something that you can say about many lenses...

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4.5