Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM: Best of Two Worlds
Better Photography|March 2021
The Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM offers a short telephoto field of view and has a macro capability of 1:2. Shridhar Kunte tests the lens.
Shridhar Kunte

Canon users who shoot weddings and various events will have the EF 85mm f/1.8 lens in their kit as it offers excellent performance even if the design is over fifteen years old. In this version made for RF system cameras, Canon has opted to include macro capability and image stabilisation. With the addition of these two features, the lens is not as optically fast as compared to its sibling in the EF system. However, the optics will be great for those who are into weddings, street photography, travel, environmental portraiture or even video.

Features

For RF system camera owners there are three 85mm lenses, but only this one that can focus as close as 35cm and offer a magnification ratio of 1:2 (not a true macro though). The lens has 9 aperture blades that translate to a pleasing bokeh. For focusing, it has an STM mechanism to achieve reasonably quick and accurate focusing that is smooth and nearly silent to suit both stills and video applications. This focusing system also affords full-time manual focus control when working in the one-shot AF mode. In the optical design there is one UD element that helps to minimise chromatic aberrations and colour fringing in order to provide greater clarity and colour accuracy. On older R system cameras like the EOS R or RP, the 85mm f/2 offers five stops of IS, but when you use it with the newer EOS R5 or R6, with their built-in stabilisation systems, it is possible to get the benefit of eight stops thanks to the bi-directional communication between motion and gyro sensors in the camera body and lens. This lens is not weather-sealed unlike the L series lenses.

Handling

This is a compact lens that weighs only 500g and measures 9cm in length. When compared with the RF 85mm/f1.2, this lens is 50% lighter and 25% shorter. This makes it easy to carry it around and use while handheld.

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