I just got a Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens recently. It is one of the new products released with R5/R6 in July 2020. Looking at the current RF system, the number of fixed-focus lenses is seven, and the 85mm focal length accounts for three.
Compared with the other two advanced F1.2, this lens is more grounded, and the price has been dramatically reduced. Moreover, the volume and weight are also significantly reduced, and it is a medium-telephoto product that is more oriented to mass users.
Main Features of Canon RF 85mm F2
- Compact size and has a constant maximum F/2 aperture.
- It is equipped with a 1:2 magnification macro photography function.
- With EOS R5/R6, the highest anti-shake can reach eight levels.
Judging from its appearance, it is indeed much smaller in size. The length is only 90.5mm, and the weight is only 500 grams. It is very compatible with the R system body. However, the hood is not included in the random package and needs to be purchased separately, which is a little regrettable.
The lens housing is made of engineering plastic, which feels good. The front end of the lens barrel has a Canon-specific function control ring and a wide focusing ring.
The lens side is equipped with three commonly used function buttons, namely the focus distance limiter, AF/MF switch, and anti-shake switch.
Its front set of filters has a diameter of 67mm, which is convenient for users to install circular filters for shooting. The overall volume is very compact, nestled on the EOS R6 body, and there is no top-heavy situation.
The Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM uses an optical design structure of 12 elements in 11 groups, including a UD ultra-low dispersion lens to control dispersion and improve image quality.
From the official MTF curve, the center imaging sharpness of the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is relatively good, which can exceed 0.8. But the downward trend from the center to the edge is evident, especially the sharpness of the edge of the picture is relatively average. Of course, for 85mm fixed focus, the center imaging performance is more critical.
Imaging Performance Test
The following is a detailed test of the sharpness, dispersion, vignetting, distortion, and blurring of the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM through natural shots. (All tests use EOS R6 body, turn off all lens correction functions).
1. Sharpness Test
I used this lens to shoot at a long distance for sharpness test, RAW post-stage conversion to JPG for 100% enlargement (the left side of the picture is the center part, and the right side is the edge part).
From the test chart, the actual shot performance of Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is consistent with the MTF curve. The sharpness of the center of the maximum aperture F2 is acceptable, but the sensitivity of the edges is poor.
When the aperture is reduced by one stop, the edge sharpness begins to increase. When the aperture is reduced to F4, the center and edge sharpness begin to improve. Aperture F5.6-F11, the 7sharpness of the center and edge, can maintain a relatively stable performance, which belongs to the best imaging aperture of the lens.
The sharpness decreases from F16, and the minimum aperture F29 loses sharpness at both the center and the edges.
2. Glare Test
The glare of Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is relatively obvious at aperture F2, and there will be a circle of light spots around the sun. However, when the aperture is reduced to F11, the large light spots disappear, and the lens can have a starburst effect.
3. Dispersion Test
It can be seen that when the maximum aperture is F2, there are visible purple fringes on the branches around the vital light source, but it is not serious. When the aperture is contracted, the purple fringing is further reduced, the aperture is very slight at F2.8, and it disappears after the aperture is F4.
Although the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is equipped with only one UD unique lens, the overall dispersion control is qualified.
4. Distortion Test
When the distortion correction inside the camera is turned off, the lens will appear slightly pincushion distortion. The deformation disappears after opening.
5. Vignetting Test
Due to the limitation of the caliber of the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM, the vignetting angle is more evident at the maximum aperture of F2, and the vignetting curve begins to weaken after the aperture is reduced by one stop. The vignetting angle disappears when the aperture reaches F5.6 or so.
6. Anti Shake Test
This lens is equipped with an anti-shake image stabilization system, which can effectively improve photographers’ handheld shooting success rate in many situations where it is inconvenient to use a tripod. When matched with EOS R, it can achieve up to 5 levels of anti-shake effect.
Compared with the latest EOS R5/R6, dual anti-shake can be activated, and it can reach up to 8 levels of anti-shake effect.
I conducted a real shot test with EOS R6: (The left side of the picture shows the anti-shake off, and the right side shows the anti-shake on).
It can be seen that when the anti-shake is turned off, the picture shakes seriously, but the overall clarity has been significantly improved after the anti-shake is turned on.
7. Blur Test
When using the maximum aperture of F2, the blur effect of the lens is very strong, but the out-of-focus background transition is slightly stiff. As the aperture shrinks, the blur effect gradually weakens. When shooting portraits with a large aperture, you can highlight the subject and effectively remove distracting objects.
8. Macro Shooting Tool
This lens is also equipped with a macro close-up function of 1:2 magnification, and the closest focusing distance is 0.35 meters. It is a good choice for shooting flowers, sketches, and models.
The aperture can be reduced appropriately to get a greater depth of field when shooting, and relatively good image quality can be guaranteed before F16.
In addition, using the flip screen + anti-shake handheld to take low-angle photos like models can also perform well. One lens can be used in multiple ways, which fully reflects its compactness and good mobility.
You may also like to read: Best Lenses for Your Canon Camera.
You may also like to read: Top Lenses for Canon: Comparison and Review of the Best Models.
The Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM release provides Canon mirrorless users with a more affordable and portable medium and long fixed focus option. In natural shots, its image quality is good; especially the center sharpness is satisfactory.
With a macro function, in addition to shooting portraits and sweeping the street, it can also take close-up photography. Although there is a gap with the other two RF 85mm F1.2 lenses in craft and imaging, it is still worth considering its price of $599 (check the latest price on Amazon) and portability considerations.
- The lens is small in size and moderates in weight.
- The lens has a 1:2 macro function.
- Acceptable center sharpness.
- The focusing speed is relatively average.
- The out-of-focus transition is slightly stiff.
- Lens hood not included.
Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM
Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM provides Canon mirrorless users with a more affordable and portable medium and long fixed focus option. In real shots, its image quality is good, especially the center sharpness is satisfactory.
Product SKU: 4234C005
Product Brand: Canon
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 699
Price Valid Until: 2021-12-07
Product In-Stock: InStock