About the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS
A specialized lens that gives you special results
A specialized lens that gives you special results
As a lover of the 85mm focal length, I was intrigued when I saw Canon's new RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS. After all, Canon already has a superb 85mm f/1.2 L lens available for R Series mirrorless cameras. So why release a nearly identical model so soon?
The answer lies in a new feature called "defocus smoothing." This specialized "DS" lens renders out-of-focus elements with a softer, smoother, and dreamier effect than the regular 85mm f/1.2 L. It's geared toward portrait and wedding photographers who want to create stunning images with dreamy bokeh (the shape and quality of the out-of-focus elements).
Defocus smoothing makes out-of-focus elements look soft, smooth, and dreamy while keeping your subject razor sharp.
A unique opportunity for creativity
When I saw the sample images Canon provided I thought "Hmm, the background elements look like the compression I'd get from a 200mm L lens, but with the size advantage of an 85mm model."
To me, that makes this lens ideal for creative portraits or wedding receptions where I want extra emphasis on my subject while the background melts away.
It's worth mentioning that this lens, like other RF prime lenses, is tack sharp — even wide open. Additionally, the defocus smoothing only affects the already out-of-focus foreground or background elements, so your subject retains the lifelike sharpness and clarity you'd expect from a lens of this caliber.
Is this better than the "regular" 85mm f/1.2 L?
The short answer is no. Both lenses are optical masterpieces and deliver exceptional results. The difference lies in the results that you want.
If you want ultra-soft, ultra-smooth out-of-focus elements, this lens is the better choice, especially if you have adequate light to work with. If you prefer more defined bokeh or shoot in ultra-dim locations, go with the non-DS version.
That's because the defocus smoothing coating on the DS lens lets in about one stop less light than the non-DS version at the same aperture. Note that defocus smoothing is an optical coating on the lens elements themselves; it's not a feature that can be toggled on and off.
Canon says that defocus smoothing is most prominent at ultra-wide apertures like f/1.2 and f/1.4, and becomes less and less noticeable the more you stop down.
The inside scoop from a Canon expert
Canon guru Rudy Winston has a wonderful video that I recommend watching if you're in the market for this lens. In it are side-by-side comparisons of images taken from this lens and the non-DS version so that you can see what each delivers.
- 85mm prime lens for portraiture, weddings, fashion, and more
- defocus smoothing for softer, dreamier out-of-focus elements compared to a non-DS-coated lens
- lens type: RF mount full frame
- compatible with Canon EOS R Series mirrorless cameras
- Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for fast, silent autofocus
- dust- and water-resistant construction for shooting in adverse weather conditions
- smudge-resistant fluorine coating on front and rear lens elements repels dirt and dust for easy cleaning
- Air Sphere Coating (ASC) minimizes ghosting and flare
- Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR) reduces chromatic aberration
- customizable control ring on lens barrel allows direct adjustments to settings like shutter speed, aperture, and more
- control ring produces tangible clicks for feedback when looking through viewfinder; clicking mechanism can be removed by a Canon service provider for a fee
- minimum focus distance: 2.79 feet
- lens construction: 13 elements in 9 groups
- 1 aspherical element and 1 UD (ultra-low dispersion) element for sharp, dynamic images with excellent detail and contrast
- 9-blade circular aperture for natural rendering of out-of-focus background elements
- filter diameter: 82mm
- lens is 4-5/8" long, 4-1/16" in diameter
- weight: 2.63 lbs.
- includes lens cap (E-82II), lens hood (ET-89), and lens pouch (LP-1424)
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # 3450C002
What's in the box:
- RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS standard/medium telephoto lens
- Front Lens Cap E-82 II (82mm)(installed)
- Rear Lens Dust Cap RF (installed)
- Lens Hood ET-89
- Lens case LP1424
- Canon Interchangeable Lens Instructions
- Warranty/Registration card
Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS reviews
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More details on the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS
Overview: The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS lens is a new standard and medium telephoto lens that follows up the RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM lens (item 280RF85F12). This new lens features a new Defocus Smoothing (DS) technology that creates softer edges in out-of-focus areas for beautiful portraits. Like its predecessor, the RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS lens is compatible with the new EOS R series cameras. The lens comes with the ET-89 lens hood and LP1424 storage case.
Lens Construction: The lens is constructed of 13 lens elements in 9 groups. It contains BR optics (Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics) to capture beautiful detailed photos with minimal chromatic aberration. It also has a large diameter ground Aspherical element for high image quality from center to corner, and one Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass element to help reduce aberrations for minimized distortion throughout the image plane.
Defocus Smoothing (DS): The lens has a new Defocus Smoothing (DS) Coating that provides super-smooth bokeh (out-of-focus highlights), particularly when the lens is at or near its maximum f/1.2 aperture. The DS coating gradually reduces light transmission from the center of the lens outward. The soft, unique bokeh is the result of controlling the amount of light that passes through the lens, and smoothing out the edges of the out-of-focus areas. Your main subject stays in sharp focus, while the background highlights have much smoother edges than the non-DS version of the lens. This special effect makes your images more dreamlike and romantic for wedding, portraits, and fashion photography.
12-pin Communication: The Canon RF-series lenses feature a 12-pin communication system between the camera and the lens (compared to 8 pins for the EF-series). This 12-pin system is the fastest available for a Canon lens and camera combination, and provides faster AF, Digital Lens Optimizer, and more. In addition, the EOS R camera can display lens information directly to the viewfinder, making it easy to confirm the lens' focal length without looking away from your subject.
Controls: The RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS has a 2-way Focus Mode switch that lets you select AF (autofocus) or MF (manual focus). The Focusing Distance Range lets you shorten the actual autofocusing time when shooting subjects beyond 1.5 meters away. You can select "Full" Focusing Distance for focusing between 2.79 feet to infinity, or "1.5m-infinity" when shooting between 4.92' to infinity.
Control Ring: The RF-series lenses feature a control ring on the lens barrel, which can be assigned to functions that are commonly used on the camera. These functions include shutter speed and aperture settings, or exposure compensation. The ring has a clicking mechanism (with 54 clicks per revolution) that acts as a confirmation that the settings are being changed.
Note: The clicking sound could possibly be picked up by the microphone while shooting movies. If you desire a silent control ring, the clicking mechanism can be removed by a Canon service provider (for a fee).
Focusing Ring: Regardless of whether the lens is set to manual or auto focus mode, the focusing ring always works. This means you can auto focus on a subject, but manually fine-tune the focus by turning the focusing ring.
Ultrasonic Motor (USM): The RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM DS is equipped with a ring-type ultrasonic motor (USM) to drive the fast autofocus system.
Lens Hood: The lens comes with the ET-89 bayonet-type lens hood which cuts out unwanted light and protects the front of the lens from rain, snow, and dust. When attached to the lens, the hood adds approximately 2-1/2" to the overall length of the lens. When not in use, you can reverse-mount the lens hood for storage.
Optional Filters: The RF 85mm lens has an 82mm mounting thread on the front of lens for attaching screw-on type filters.
- Focal Length: 85mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
- Minimum Aperture: f/16
- Maximum Magnification: 0.12x
- Aperture Design: 9-blade circular
- Lens Construction: 13 elements in 9 groups
- Filter Diameter: 82mm
- Minimum Focus Distance: 2.79 feet (33.48 inches)
- Angle of View: Horizontal: 24°, Vertical: 16°, Diagonal 28°30'
- Field of View: Approximately 11.22" x 7.48" (at 2.79 feet)
- Dimensions: Diameter: 4.0562" Length 4.868" (5.593" with caps)
- Weight: 42.15 ounces (2.63 pounds)