Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM review

Canon RF Camera Review

We imagined the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM proved to be the right lens, but then we got our hands about the newest Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM.  And if we’re not disputing the former is still a dazzling optic, this old sibling unquestionably packs a considerable punch.

Perhaps it will be smaller, lighter, and a lot more compact than the RF 85mm f/1.8, and the f/2 Macro can be only a tiny percent of the price.  It has more excellent corner sharpness than the l series RF 85mm prime.  Add five stops of image stabilization to the mix, and it’s a winning method that will accommodate any Canon EOS R-series digicam user.

Admittedly, the concentrating isn’t the quickest, and the mechanism is still very perceptible when shooting stills (but it can be a little quieter when shooting a movie ), it’s utterly perfect for portraiture.  The place you may come across just a minor difficulty concentrating is if you’re monitoring lively animals or kiddies.  Despite this, you’ll still find excellent benefits from the 85mm f/2 Macro lens.

And also, how it serves a double purpose — to be in a position to capture macros — adds to its bang-for-buck quality.  It’s maybe not just a real 1:1 macro — that the lens can focus from as close as 35cm (1.14feet), making it a 0.5x magnification.  That is a 1:2 macro capability that will be adequate for many users, with fantastic particulars and very pleasing blurry backgrounds.

When light isn’t the very best, the f/2 aperture and the full-frame detectors of Canon’s EOS R-series cameras ensure the lens performs very well in low light conditions.

Lengthy story short, if you’re on the lookout to get a fantastic primary lens that won’t burn an enormous hole in your pocket, you still can’t ever go wrong with the Canon RF 85mm, f/2 Macro IS STM lens.

Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM: price and availability

At $599 / #649 / AU$1,149, the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro is a pretty affordable piece of prime psychedelic.  In comparison, its L-series counter-part (that the RF 85mm f/1.2L USM) charges a whopping £ 2,699 / #2,799 / / AU$3,999.  The l series lens is the faster glass, also can be weather-sealed to boot. However, the 85mm f/2 solution is smaller, lighter, and stabilized.

It’s open to buying now from all big camera suppliers across the globe.


  • Lens construction: 12 elements in 11 groups
  • Nine aperture blades
  • Five stops of stabilization

Where its older L-series 85mm sibling features an ultrasonic motor (USM) for focusing, the more recent f/2 Macro primary runs on the stepper motor alternatively, also this helps Canon keep the total cost of the lens down.  But don’t be tricked by the price label — that the RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM includes a lot going for it.

To get started with, it’s obtained integral lens stability, which its more affordable, more expensive series brother misses out on.  When combined with the Canon EOS R5 or even EOS R 6’s IBIS, there are five stops of image stabilization, which offers a whopping eight finishes of stability.  It proves remarkably handy when capturing close-ups even though panning.

It’s also a flexible lens, also due to its macro capacities.  Admittedly, it’s not an actual macro because it’s restricted to just a 1:2 reproduction ratio (macros are usually 1:1). However, even that 0.5x magnification adds some other element of imagination to an own shot.  The minimum focusing distance is all about 35cm.

And while an f/1.8 aperture (like what’s seen about the nearly 30-year-old yet trendy E F 85mm f/1.8 USM lens) would have been excellent, the lens’s nine diaphragm blades render charming blurry wallpapers, bokeh, and shallow depth of field outcomes.

  • Construct and managing
  • Minimalist design
  • Customizable control ring
  • Lacks Concentrating scale

As previously mentioned earlier, the RF 85mm f/2 Macro can be a compact lens that weighs just 500g.  That makes this a comfortable lens to carry around in a bag and use handheld (mostly as it’s additionally stabilized).  And where in fact, the L-series 85mm primary can feel helpless, you won’t possess any such issues using all the f/2 variant.

Adding into the lens’s sophistication is its minimalist design — there are three switches and two rings onto the barrel.  The three control switches would be the AF limiter, stabilization control, and the manual to a-f mode switch.  And despite being near to each other, it’s easy to find them along with your left thumb.  After you learn the switch placement order, you might not ever need to take your attention off the viewfinder.

The attention ring is broad and textured, turns incredibly smoothly, and will be controlled slowly.  There’s no autofocus override right here; therefore, if your lens is set to AF mode and you turn the attention ring, nothing can alter.

Below that, and nearest to the front element of this lens will be your customizable control ring.  As with non-L show lenses, the control ring has a tiny, just click to indicate a feeling selection, allowing one to concentrate on framing your shooter instead of assessing the capturing parameters on the display screen or onto your viewfinder.

When focusing on close areas, the internal barrel of the lens expands.  We discovered that although capturing stills, the STM motor moves the barrel quite fast and quite audibly. However, it slows down and becomes more considerably quieter compared to shooting movies.  Yet, it might nevertheless be discovered as such might not be suitable for several video work.

There is no climate sealing; however, the construct is still pretty sturdy.  Compared to this L-series 85mm lens, it still does feel a little plasticky, but that’s only if you’re evaluating both alongside, and the substances used probably subscribe to the lens’s lightweight form factor.  Regrettably, such as most non-L series lenses, even the 85mm f/2 will not include a hood, although you can buy one separately if you want it.


  • 1:2 macro capacities
  • Excellent outcomes when broad open
  • Perhaps not the funniest autofocus speed

Our one complaint regarding the 85mm f/2 Macro is that its autofocus speed is a little slow, but STM motors are never as snappy as USM focusing motors.  And if it may not qualify as the fastest lens, the speed may be improved using the AF limiter.  Instead of placing it to the complete variety, you’re able to speed up AF performance by setting it into .35m into .5m or even 0.5m to infinity.  But that’s a little criticism if you’re using this chiefly as a portrait, where it’s rather snappy indeed.  If, however, you’re planning on chasing once active pets and kiddies, you may find it’s powerless to track as fast.

Additionally, it will not utilize EOS R5/R6’s blistering 20fps burst speed.  You may find the high-speed continuous shooting option is automatically disabled if using this particular lens when the camera battery life remains 100%.  You are able only to take low-speed steady, which was about 12fps in our tests.  Nevertheless, that is nothing to scoff at because it’s possible to get any excellent stills at speed.

Other than the lens remains impeccable.  We weren’t expecting f/2 to become bootylicious as its f/1.2 counterpart or even the f/1.8 DSLR lens,” but those nine canister generators function unusually effectively.  Centre sharpness may be a touch better spacious open. However, the lens is by no means gentle’.  At f/2, there are tons of facts captured.  Along with corner sharpness can be relatively good.

  • Picture quality
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Great corner and edge sharpness
  • Might have more excellent center sharpness at f/2

For a lens that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg, the images it produces are top notch.  While center sharpness, if available, isn’t too good as we would have liked, there is even now a lot of depth from these graphics.  Depth of field is excellent, with incredibly gratifying bokehs, and colors are unique.

Corner and edge sharpness are better than the series f/1.2 lens, although it will reduce as you proceed towards the borders.  The ideal way to overcome that, of course, is to keep your subjects away from your outer framework of your shooter.

We found no more fringing in bright sunshine, even though a lens hood could be ideal if you’d like to avoid sunlight swells.  Nevertheless, our test photos had been entirely free of chromatic aberration, even yet in shots that were backlit.

Shades are rendered beautifully — paired with the EOS R5the lens produced true-to-reality colors, with fantastic contrast and no oversaturation.

Should I buy the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM lens?

Buy it in case

You’re following a Fantastic, budget-friendly Primary lens.

Even though there is no denying the older RF 85mm f/1.2L is the lens, it’s an expensive creature.  Even the RF 85mm f/2 Macro is, on the opposite hand, a small percent of the price and lighter and smaller to boot.  It’s great for the traveling photographer.

Could you not buy it?

You Would like quite a shallow depth of area.

As we mentioned, it’s bokeh capacities are not as substantial being an f/1.2 lens,” however, we were satisfied with all the results we’ve got.  However, should you feel the depth of area isn’t shallow, you will need to consider a larger aperture lens.