Canon’s RF 85mm looks to be the top mirrorless portrait lens

Canon’s just announced its new RF 85mm F/1.2L USM lens. It aims to be the premier portrait lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

This may be Canon’s 5th lens in its RF line of lenses, but it still comes with a few firsts for the company. It is the first RF lens to pack Canon’s proprietary Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) Optics tech. What does this do for the lens? Canon claims the technology reduces chromatic aberration when used in faster lenses.

“The BR optical element, first introduced in the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, is inserted into the lens and refracts blue light between the concave and convex lenses,” Canon says. “This enables the convergence of the entire wavelength of light to one point, resulting in higher image quality from the center to the edges of an image.”

Image of girl shot by the RF 85 mm F/1.2L USM
This image was shot with the RF 85 mm F/1.2L USM. Image courtesy Canon.

This lens looks ideal for shooting portraits

Typically, 85mm are great for shooting portraits. It maintains the closeness to the subject you are shooting without showing any distortion. That’s important because you don’t want to have your subject’s nose look too big. Also, it tends to keep everything sharp and can keep the background out of focus and pleasing to the eyes.

However, we have to consider that mirrorless Canon cameras have a crop factor that will impact the lens’s effective focal length when shooting in 4K. For instance, the EOS R has a crop factor 1.7x when shooting 4K. It’s one of the negatives that hold back the EOS R from greatness.

Image of woman shot with RF 85 mm F/1.2L USM
85 mm are great for shoot portraits. Image courtesy Canon.


The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L offers a minimum focusing distance of 2.79 feet and a customizable control ring. That ring is used for adjusting exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO. Plus, the lens features a 12-pin communication system, a dust / weather-resistant build, fluorine coating, and Air Sphere Coating (ASV). The fluorine coating will reduce smudges and the Air Sphere Coating will reduce flare and ghosting.

Pricing and availability

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L will be out this June for $2,699.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's Managing Editor.

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