By 9 May 2019 | Categories: news


Earlier this year, at the local debut of the newest mirrorless cameras from Canon, the company promised that there would be a number of other products launching during the course of this year, even naming some of the products we could expect.

It was a huge shift, as Canon is famous for keeping its cards very close to its chest until the new camera, or new lens, is released. Nonetheless, one of those lenses that we were told to look out for, the RF 85mm F1.2L USM lens, has made its debut.

So why should photographers – particularly portrait shooters - sit up and take note of what is being billed as Canon’s fastest aperture autofocus lens for its full-frame mirrorless range of cameras? For starters, the RF 85mm F1.2L USM has the distinction of being the second lens in Canon’s line-up, after the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, to use Canon’s unique BR optic technology.  

This effectively corrects axial chromatic aberration that is not completely correctable with a combination of traditional glass lenses – improving resolution and sharpness. This, according to Canon, ensures “incredibly high image quality for every shot, and the aspherical and UD lens elements reduce lens aberrations enabling stunning optical performance.”

Furthermore, Canon enthused that when coupled with the short telephoto length and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, the fast f/1.2 aperture creates stunning shallow depth of field, bokeh and background separation. Additionally, the nine-aperture blade system enhances the subject against the smoothly blurred background, which of course makes it ideal for portraiture photography.

Beyond that though, it is that f/1.2 that might make the rest of us, and those who know the magic of capturing in low, or available light only situations,  start saving our pennies. The company elaborated that ultra-wide aperture transmits 50% more light than a f/1.4 lens for shooting in challenging, lighting conditions – down to -6EV (EOS R) and -5EV (EOS RP).

That however, is only half the story, since focusing speed is no less crucial. Apparently the lens will have photographers well covered on that front too. The new lens uses the same ring type USM motor as the RF 50mm F1.2L USM, which, Canon enthused, ensures sharp focus is found swiftly and accurately, allowing objects to be tracked as they move around the frame.

Beyond that, the lens also incorporates a control ring - where settings are programmable to shutter priority, aperture priority, ISO and exposure settings, which adds a  further layer of customisation. The lens is also equipped with a full-time manual focus ring, which allows manual focusing by turning the focusing ring, without the need to switch to MF mode.

In short, it’s a lens packed with features. Considering it’s from Canon, that’s no surprise. The only mystery at this point is the local price - and how one successfully convinces their spouse or partner that you absolutely *do* need another lens.


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