Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed400
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed1250
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/100s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed640
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed640
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed640
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/100s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/8000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/800s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed500
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/125s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/6400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/6400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1600s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.0
Exposure1/8000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/640s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed640
Focal Length85.0mm
Aperture:f/1.2
Exposure1/320s

Competition

Canon RF is a closed system as far as we know so third-party lens support is ALMOST non-existent at the time of this review. That is with the exception of one player - the Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE. It surely can't touch the Canon lens. However, it also comes at a fraction of the costs (700USD vs 2700USD). Just for comparison, you can see the "old school" to the right - an EOS DSLR with the EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L II. So while the camera body did get significantly smaller, the RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L is super-sized compared to its distant EF cousin ...

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

As far as sheer optical capabilities are concerned, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L is nothing short of outstanding. It is one of the best - if not the best - lenses that we tested to date. The resolution is outlandish especially considering its extreme max aperture. Most lenses out there would consider themselves to be fortunate if they could deliver a peak performance similar to what the RF 85mm f/1.2 delivers at f/1.2 already. Lateral CAs are negligible and image distortions are basically non-existent. There is some vignetting in RAW images but that's just normal for such a lens and can be corrected in-camera or in post-processing. In terms of bokeh, there are two schools of thinking. If it's about the capability of producing as much object separation and background/foreground blur as possible, it doesn't get any better. When looking a bit more into the details, there are a few imperfections though. The lens doesn't love hard contrasts in the (rear) focus transition zone. To be fair here - you probably won't notice this is most scenes. Out-of-focus highlights are nicely rendered. However, if you ask yours truly whether to buy this lens or the RF 85mm f/1.2 USM L DS, he'd go for the latter one. Nothing beats a creamy bokeh more but a creamier one - but that's also a matter of taste, of course. Bokeh fringing is very well controlled albeit not totally absent at f/1.2.

The build quality of the lens is excellent but we expected no less in this price class. Canon used quality materials and it is, of course, dust- and moisture-resitant. The focus ring is very smooth and the added control-ring is a plus if you want to control e.g. the aperture on the lens as well. That all being said - this is also a brick of a lens. It's not overly long but "fat". And it's heavy - 1.2kg heavy - which can limit the fun factor a bit if you have to carry it all day besides all your other gear. The AF is pretty fast for such a lens although it's not "instant. Some may also miss an image stabilizer - after all Canon was able to fit one into the EF 85mm f/1.4 USM L IS. However, the centering quality tends to be better on non-IS lenses and you can now get in-camera IS anyway.

Highly recommended ... of course!

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★