Canon’s new RF 70-200mm f/2.8L and 85mm f/1.2L DS lenses are now available to pre-order

Oct 24, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Canon’s new RF 70-200mm f/2.8L and 85mm f/1.2L DS lenses are now available to pre-order

Oct 24, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Along with the development announcement for the 1DX Mark III, Canon has also announced availability for two new lenses. These aren’t EF mount, though. They’re RF mount for Canon’s EOS R mirrorless system. They’ve been mentioned before, but now they’re official. The Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lenses.

Canon did already release an 85mm f/1.2L lens for the EOS R system, although this new one adds what they’re calling “Defocus Smoothing” which they say helps to soften and smooth bokeh when working at wider apertures, improving the aesthetic of super shallow depth of field shots.

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Compared to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM for Canon’s EF mount DSLRs, the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM is a pretty short and chunky little lens. It measures only 146mm (5.8″) at its shortest compared to the EF lens’s 199mm (7.83″). Of course, the EF version doesn’t change its length as you go through the zoom range, the RF lens does.

This may or may not bother you, but at least when you’re not using it, it packs up to use a smaller section of your bag. Which is also nice, as it allows you to fit in some extra kit to compensate for that 410g weight savings that the RF version offers, too. The RF version weighs 1,070g (2.36lb) while the EF version comes in at a hefty 1,480g (3.3lb).

Focal Length 70-200mm
Maximum Aperture f/2,8
Minimum Aperturef/32
Lens MountCanon RF
Format CompatibilityFull-Frame
Angle of View34° to 12°
Minimum Focus Distance2.3′ / 70 cm
Optical Design17 Elements in 13 Groups
Diaphragm Blades9
Focus TypeAutofocus
Image StabilizationYes
Tripod CollarRemovable and Rotating
Filter Size77 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)3.54 x 5.76″ / 90 x 146 mm
Weight2.36 lb / 1,070 g

The Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens is available to pre-order now for $2,699 and is expected to ship in November.

Canon RF 85MM F/1.2L USM DS

The RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens is an odd one to release. I mean, sure, it makes sense to optimise the lens for bokeh, but it kind of makes the regular RF 85mm f/1.2L USM a little redundant, no? About the DS moniker, Canon says…

Differentiating itself from Canon’s other RF 85mm f/1.2 lens, this version features a DS (Defocus Smoothing) coating that helps to soften and smooth the bokeh quality when working at wider aperture settings, making it particularly suitable for shallow depth of field applications.

I think for the price difference between the DS and non-DS versions, the DS version is possibly worth the extra $300 if it does what it says on the tin. I guess we’ll have to wait until they’re available and can see some real-world results before we can make an actual determination, though.

Focal Length 85mm
Maximum Aperture f/1.2
Minimum Aperturef/16
Lens MountCanon RF
Format CompatibilityFull-Frame
Angle of View28° 30′
Maximum Magnification0.12x
Minimum Focus Distance2.79′ / 85 cm
Optical Design13 Elements in 9 Groups
Diaphragm Blades9, rounded
Focus TypeAutofocus
Image StabilizationNo
Filter Size82 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)4.06 x 4.62″ / 103.2 x 117.3 mm
Weight2.63 lb / 1,195 g

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS lens is available to pre-order now for $2,999 and is expected to ship in December.

What do you think? Is it worth the extra $300 for the DS version of the RF 85/1.2? Does it make the non-DS version kind of a waste?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Canon’s new RF 70-200mm f/2.8L and 85mm f/1.2L DS lenses are now available to pre-order”

  1. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
    Jolyon Ralph

    The 85mm DS version loses 1.5 stops of light at f/1.2 which makes it far less useful in low-light situations than the regular 85mm 1.2