Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM Lens

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Canon Portrait Powerhouse: The RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS Lens

Another, more specialized version of the RF 85mm F1.2 L USM will be announced later in 2019. This is the “DS” version — which stands for Defocus Smoothing. It is a fixed focal length, 85mm lens which takes the idea of beautiful, soft backgrounds, or “bokeh,” and pushes the concept even further.

While technical information on the upcoming DS lens is limited at this time, we’ll briefly outline its basics here.

Defocus Smoothing is a coating technology, similar in some ways to the general concept of apodization technology, which has been a part of optical design in the lens industry for some time. In the case of the RF 85mm F1.2 L DS lens, a special optical coating is added to two lens elements, which progressively smooths the edges of out-of-focus areas (compared to the RF 85mm F1.2 L without DS technology). Simply stated, the DS lens gives even smoother “bokeh” and rendering of out-of-focus highlights, particularly when it’s used at or near its maximum f/1.2 aperture. The edges of out-of-focus highlights with the DS lens, in particular, are smoother — this is the biggest difference between these two 85mm f/1.2 lenses.

Because DS coating is indeed a coating technology, it does not rely on added optical elements or “soft focus” optics to achieve its results. Accordingly, the DS lens’ size and weight are essentially the same as with the RF 85mm F1.2 L USM lens, along with its outer appearance, and basic optical performance. The DS lens uses the same general optical design as the conventional RF 85mm F1.2 L; the major distinction are the Defocus Smoothing coatings used on two lens elements.

Pairing a cherished short-telephoto focal length with an exceptionally bright maximum aperture, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM is also characterized by its advanced optical design to produce well-corrected imagery. The fast f/1.2 design excels in difficult lighting conditions and also benefits working with shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques. The optical layout incorporates a Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics element; a specially developed element that helps to nearly eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing for notable clarity and color accuracy. In addition to this, an ultra-low dispersion element and one aspherical element are also featured to further control various aberrations and distortion for great sharpness and resolution. Individual elements also feature an Air Sphere Coating to suppress flare and ghosting for high contrast and color fidelity when working in bright and backlit conditions.

Complementing the imaging capabilities is an apt ring-type Ultrasonic Motor, which delivers fast, near-silent autofocus and full-time manual focus override. A unique Control Ring is also integrated into the lens design for intuitive control over exposure settings from the lens itself.

  • Portrait-length prime is designed for full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless digital cameras.

  • Exceptionally bright f/1.2 maximum aperture affords extensive control over depth of field for selective focus applications and also benefits working in low-light situations.

  • Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics element virtually eliminates color fringing and chromatic aberrations by refracting shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum (blue light).

  • One aspherical element and one UD element also help to control aberrations and distortions for sharper, clearer image quality.

  • An Air Sphere Coating (ASC) has been applied to lens elements to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting for maintained light transmission and high contrast in strong lighting conditions.

  • Ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM), along with optimized focusing algorithms, a high-speed CPU, and an internal focusing design, is employed to deliver fast, precise, and quiet autofocus performance as well as full-time manual focus override.

  • Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.

  • As a member of the esteemed L-series, this lens has a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture to enable its use in inclement conditions.

  • Rounded 9-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.
Shop for the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS Lens

Primary specifications
Lens type Prime lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 85 mm
Image stabilization No
Lens mount Canon RF
Maximum aperture F1.2
Aperture ring No
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No



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Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS Lens Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5