The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 promises high-end mirrorless portraits — for a price

canon rf 85 mm portrait announced canoneosrf85mm12lens
Canon

The Canon RF lenses first teased earlier this year are already starting to trickle out — starting with the RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM, a high-end, portrait-focused lens that will cost more than the EOS R body itself. Announced on Wednesday, May 8, the lens is the first RF mount to use Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) optics to help reduce chromatic aberration.

The 85mm sits at a popular focal length for portraits, mixing in a bright f/1.2 aperture to create soft backgrounds and a shallow depth of field. Wider apertures tend to introduce more chromatic aberration or colored fringing in high contrast areas, so Canon brought its BR optics to the design. As Canon explains, the BR technology refracts blue light, situated between the concave and convex lenses. That helps the wavelengths of light to come together at a single point, creating a higher level of image quality, Canon says. The technology was introduced on an earlier lens, but the 85mm is the first time the feature has come to the RF line.

The lens’ USM autofocus motor allows for quick autofocus, including using the eye detection autofocus mode that’s helpful for portraits. Constructed from 13 elements in nine groups, the RF mount lens uses a custom control ring to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO, similar to other RF lenses. With a dust and weather-resistant design, the lens weighs in at about 2.63 pounds.

“Optics is at the core of Canon’s heritage. It is engrained in our DNA and the top priority when developing the EOS R Camera System around the RF mount and accompanying lenses,” Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer of Canon USA Inc. said in a press release. “Canon is very enthused to now bring the lenses we shared in the RF lens development announcement, starting with the RF 85mm F1.2 L USM. We envision this product as being the quintessential workhorse lens for portrait photographers of all skill levels.”

The lens was listed among a list of six RF lenses set to launch in 2019. Canon says the lens will be available in June, listing for a $2,699 retail price. That’s the second-most-expensive optics price in the series so far, after the RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM.

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