Canon RF 85/1.2 L DS smooths bokeh

Canon has announced a variant of its already-available 85mm f/1.2 “L” series lens for RF mount – that’s the mount of the Canon EOS R and RP.


This variant, named Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS, has a special coating applied to two of its elements – essentially a radially gradual ND filter coating that takes away light: 1.5 stops of light are lost at f/1.2. However, for that, we get the kind of smooth bokeh that we’ve seen with Fujifilm’s 56mm f/1.2 APD lens (which, like Canon’s 85mm/1.2, also exists as a “normal” variant without the apodisation effect) or Sony’s 100mm/2.8 “STF” (“Smooth Trans Focus”) lens. Canon’s DS abbreviation stands for “Defocus Smoothing”, perhaps taking inspiration from Panasonic’s “Depth From Defocus” autofocus technology. Here’s a contrast provided by Canon between the normal and DS versions of the lens:

As you’ll notice, the size of the bokeh balls is decreased and depth of field slightly increased by the DS modification. This corresponds to the 1.5 stops of light lost – exactly the same effect occurs with Fujifilm’s 56/1.2 APD lens, for which a “normal” version also exists to compare with.

To quickly recap the basic specs of the new Canon lens which will be much the same as the normal variant, it’s got 13 elements in 9 groups, 9 circular aperture blades, an 82mm filter thread, and should weigh about 1200 grams at a length of 117mm and minimum focus distance of 85cm, giving 0.12x magnification. Like the normal variant and the EF mount predecessor, the lens motor should be ring-type ultrasonic (i.e. “proper” USM).

The lens is due to cost 3000 USD when it arrives in December, or $300 beyond the standard variant’s current street price, proving that bokeh is only 10% of the picture.


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