Canon Announces Portrait Powerhouse: The RF 85mm f/1.2L USM Lens


Portrait converts to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless system, rejoice! The RF 85mm f/1.2L USM Lens is here to provide a seriously sharp and fast prime for your collection. A perfect complement to the RF 50mm f/1.2L, the new 85mm allows your subject to fill more of the frame while maintaining impressive low-light performance, fast autofocus, and crowd-pleasing bokeh. Its redesign of the popular EF 85mm f/1.2L applies the latest technical advances achieved in Canon glass to a mirrorless lens, making the R system even more appealing for professional portrait use.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM Lens
Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM Lens

The 85mm f/1.2’s ring-type Canon Ultrasonic Motor (USM) outpaces its EF counterpart, making it an exceptional choice for video or still capture. Combine this with Face Detect or Eye Detect AF and the lens becomes a perfect companion for shooting runway, event, or other moving subjects that require tack-sharp rendering on the fly. For studio work, a minimum focusing distance of 2.79' gives you enough working space to produce a tight headshot with maximum resolution. Like other RF lenses, the 85mm f/1.2 has a programmable Control Ring for changing exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed, or ISO on the lens. Professional workflow further benefits from a 12-pin connection between camera and lens that keeps communication fast.

Photographs made with a Beta Sample lens

Creating an 85mm f/1.2 lens for mirrorless required a strategic redesign of Canon’s past lenses. The result combines Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) optics, an Ultra-Low Dispersion (UD) glass element, and a large-diameter aspherical element for sharp images with minimal aberration and distortion. Canon’s Air Sphere Coating, in addition to Canon’s multi-coating, reduces lens flare and ghosting. Finally, Fluorine coating makes the front and rear elements resistant to the elements and the lens is sealed against dust, dirt, and moisture at all ring positions, switches, and mount for dependable performance no matter the conditions outside.

Are you excited about Canon’s latest portrait lens? Let us know in the Comments section, below!

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It's really exciting that Canon is developing some great RF lenses but when are they going to develop a professional mirrorless camera body!

Wow, always been a Canon shooter, when EOS R came out, I decided, perhaps foolishly, that Canon was serious about creating a superior mirrorless system of the future. So, I invested huge, literally bought everything they offered, including the ridiculously priced 28-70 f/2.0 zoom. I haven't regretted it for a minute, except for the glass prices and I believe this is one of the most capable mirrorless systems on the market. It appears it is ill understood, but once people match the camera to the RF glass and learn the new system, they'll be amazed. However, the small success of the most expensive zoom at $3,000 seems to have gone to their head. Pricing the RF 85mm at $600 over the 50mm lens for essentially nothing is over-the-counter crazy. They need to come back to reality, perhaps $200 over the 50mm for the extra glass, but that's tops. I'll get my hands on one and report back if they did anything worth the $600, but my guess is Canon is exploring the market level. I also expect the next DSLRs, and for the foreseeable future, will all come in RF mounts, which is fine with me, it's fabulous, but I can't see a market for redoing the Canon line at $600-$900 per lens and still being viable.

DSLRs physically can't use RF glass (unless you add in more optics) so you will never see them with an RF mount.

Also note that the EF versions of the 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 are about $550 different so they havent changed anything in their pricing structure.

I agree Michael! I own the EOS R and RF 24-105 F4. While this is a pretty solid combo and while I love an amazing 85mm, the prices for Canon's RF gear are far higher than competition and constantly making me second guess my EOS R and RF purchase decisions. I can't help thinking I should have bought Sony gear instead. I love my 1DXMarkII which I bought from B&H but wish it had higher megapixels. This 85mm lens is $2699 and can only use it now on my EOS R??? SERIOUSLY??? For an extra $100 you can buy a Sony A7RIII ($2799). And next year probably an A7RIV that will shoot 100 megapixels. Looking back, I would put my money into an A7RIII or A7III over this lens ANY DAY!!! Times have changed and constantly changing as we speak in terms of technical innovation. This technology will be cheaper and cheaper as time moves on and Sony as well as many other companies will continue to steal more and more market share from Canon as they (Canon) just don't seem to want to compete with trends. 

How megapixels can be compared to the picture a lens can render? For $2700 I can buy a laptop, an old used car, many bags of potatoes, but what's the point? This is a unique lens, and it delivers a unique picture. Same as the 200/2 or a few other lenses on the market. Sony makes an awesome portrait lens as well - the new 135/1.8 (the old A-mount version was awesome too). Those unique lenses do not complement, but _define_ the system. Quite often a camera body worth buying only to shoot one exceptional lens with it.