Considering RF 85mm f2 and 50 1.8 - impressions from owners (esp. on RP)?

Act444

EOS R
May 4, 2011
1,134
209
Hi all,

I’ve been reading reviews on these lenses lately and I’d also like to hear thoughts and impressions from those folks here with the RF 85mm f2 STM, especially if you happen to be using it with an EOS RP. Being an EF/5D DSLR user mostly, I’ve started to dip a couple of toes in the MILC pool with the RP and RF 35mm 1.8, which is a lens I wasn’t initially crazy about, but has grown on me with time and I’ve come to really like it despite its flaws. A step above the M6/22mm combo which is nice, and I’ve found it to be a good complement to the larger DSLR setup. After some time, I’m thinking about expanding the native RF collection, perhaps starting with the 85mm. On paper, this would seem like a good complement to the 35, but I can’t really speak to the handling or how the IQ holds up, which is where I wanted to get some insight. Also, what about the RF 50 1.8 - is it worth replacing the EF version? Admittedly I rarely use it though. How does it compare to, say, the M6/32 1.4? I’m admittedly a bit frustrated at the lack of IS on the 50 however, no stabilization on the RP.

So the general theme here is - I’m placing a greater emphasis on size…I’d like to keep the R side of things smaller for now. Have the 35 1.8 as my solo RF lens and considering adding the 85 f2, and *perhaps* the 50 1.8, if it makes sense. Seeking thoughts from those that have those lenses and can speak to their handling, particularly on the RP. Thanks in advance!
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,866
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I've used the EF85, RF85, EF50 and RF50 on the RP and I have the M6II+32mm.

For the 50mm FF/32mm APS-C case: The RP has more accurate eye-AF than the M6II and it allows EFCS. So for indoor shots of my kids when they sit still or move slowly, the RP+50mm would win. If they start moving, the M6II pulls ahead. In terms of image quality, the EF-M32mm f/1.4 is a lot sharper than either 50mm.
Between the EF50 and RF50 I'd pick the RF, it doesn't need the bulky, heavy adapter. For me, I don't see any practical difference in image quality.
The M6II+32mm sits on the kitchen table so it's always in reach and ready. I don't have the same level of confidence in the RP with either 50mm.

Onto the 85mm! I love the EF85 f/1.8, it takes great pictures and has decently fast AF. If you run the pictures through DPP4 first you'll get a lot more detail than LR would give. The things that annoy me are the minumum focus distance and the chromatic aberration. For adults you can almost do tight headshots, but for kids the MFD is waaaay too long. And if your kid wears metal hairclips outdoors in the sun, you'll end up with nice purple and green haired pictures :)
The RF85 f/2 fixes the MFD and CA, but it has really slow AF. It also is significantly sharper, eye lashes look like you already bumped the sharpen or texture sliders in post!
The good thing about the EF85 is that you can use it on your M6 as well, the crop does allow tight headshots of my kids.

The RF85 f/2 really shines when recording video, the slow AF becomes a lot slower, but the transitions look gorgeous. The IS takes out most of my shaky cam technique, which ruined most of my EF85mm clips.

I had no issues handling the EF85 or RF85 on the RP, the RF85 is wider and heavier, but still tolerable. I have also used the RF85L on the RP, that really needs the EG-E1 grip :)
 
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Act444

EOS R
May 4, 2011
1,134
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Thanks, I really appreciate your detailed breakdown. This is definitely helpful...

On the RF 85, the reported sharpness and improved CA/PF is encouraging. I've heard some reviews also mention the slow AF...the 35 1.8 isn't exactly speedy either and that's one of the main things I disliked about that lens (and still do, to some extent) - and also the fact that it extends and is noisy. I wish Canon would use USM in their mid-range RF lenses like they did for their EFs....but oh well. At least the IQ is there, for the most part. I don't have the EF 85 1.8, BUT I do have the EF 100 f2 which is fairly similar. That lens I was thinking of trading in to help fund the RF 85. I don't have much desire to use any EF lenses on my M6 - too bulky in my opinion so I stick with the natives. I use DPP exclusively now (and I agree that the rendering is nice) - I had Photoshop/LR for a couple of years but due to reasons I won't get into here, I stopped using them. Great to hear about the handling of the lenses...surprised though to hear that the RF is heavier even with the adapter factored in! I do have the grip (got it free with the camera) but haven't yet needed to use it (the 35 is compact enough and rather than adapt heavier EF lenses onto the RP, I just use those on the DSLRs).

As for the 50mm options...interesting that the 32 1.4 is markedly better...actually, come to think of it, in the case of the EF version I've found this to hold true as well, at least when both are at their respective wide-open apertures. I have to say that I haven't really used the eye-detect AF on the RP (however did test it out on a demo unit shortly after it came out) - I typically don't do much portrait shooting but on the occasions I do, I've stuck with the "old-fashioned" AF point on eye manual placement as I'm never typically one to trust camera algorithms very much. But maybe it's something I'll explore moving forward...anyway, I was kinda hoping the RF 50 would provide better IQ than the EF 50, but I guess at the price, it is what it is. Some reviews claim that, but in samples the 35 1.8 still appears to be a bit better at f1.8...however, on the flip side the 50 is a smaller lens...

I think I may give up the EF 50 1.8 regardless of whether I decide to pick up the RF version or not as I never used it that much (I typically just went for the EF 50 1.2 in those instances)...and I may slot the M6/32 1.4 in its place for the time being...I may take more shots with that combo to compare more closely, although in my experience the 50 1.8 can get really sharp if stopped down...and thus be able to maximize the FF sensor quality...still though, I think on MILC I've started to prefer the 35mm perspective over 50mm partially due to the added flexibility (and live view-style shooting)...
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
CR Pro
Nov 7, 2013
3,627
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Germany
Sorry, I cannot add additional info, but I have a question about the EF85 - sorry for getting maybe a little bit off topic.
...
Onto the 85mm! I love the EF85 f/1.8, ... The things that annoy me are the minumum focus distance and the chromatic aberration. ...

koenkooi,

what is your impression on the color and contrast compared to the RF?
I always found the EF85/1.8 a little bit pale and low-contrast.

Thanks in advance for your reply.
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,866
1,794
Sorry, I cannot add additional info, but I have a question about the EF85 - sorry for getting maybe a little bit off topic.

koenkooi,

what is your impression on the color and contrast compared to the RF?
I always found the EF85/1.8 a little bit pale and low-contrast.

Thanks in advance for your reply.
The RF85 f/2 is a lot more contrasty. I hadn't really noticed that the EF was a bit pale, but now that you mention it, yes. The RF85 also seems less prone to flare/veiling, I always shoot the EF85 with the lens hood on to keep every scrap of contrast I can get :)
 
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Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
CR Pro
Nov 7, 2013
3,627
2,786
Germany
The RF85 f/2 is a lot more contrasty. I hadn't really noticed that the EF was a bit pale, but now that you mention it, yes. The RF85 also seems less prone to flare/veiling, I always shoot the EF85 with the lens hood on to keep every scrap of contrast I can get :)
Thanks for your answer. I try to use lens hoods as often as I can, too
The lens hood of the EF85 is somewhat of a mechanical disaster. Two or three times I was close to fire it on the ground as the lock is so ... :censored:
 

jd7

EOS R
CR Pro
Feb 3, 2013
916
279
The RF85 f/2 is a lot more contrasty. I hadn't really noticed that the EF was a bit pale, but now that you mention it, yes. The RF85 also seems less prone to flare/veiling, I always shoot the EF85 with the lens hood on to keep every scrap of contrast I can get :)
Out of curiosity, can I ask which you prefer out of the RF 85 f/2 and EF 85 f/1.8? From what I've seen around the internet, the RF certainly does look more contrasty, and a bit sharper wide open. However, my feeling is I prefer the bokeh and overall rendering of the EF, and I gather it has faster AF. I'm not looking at full size raw images though, and it may be I would feel differently if I did. Or maybe I just need to get used to seeing images from the RF lenses??
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,866
1,794
Out of curiosity, can I ask which you prefer out of the RF 85 f/2 and EF 85 f/1.8? From what I've seen around the internet, the RF certainly does look more contrasty, and a bit sharper wide open. However, my feeling is I prefer the bokeh and overall rendering of the EF, and I gather it has faster AF. I'm not looking at full size raw images though, and it may be I would feel differently if I did. Or maybe I just need to get used to seeing images from the RF lenses??
I've had the EF85 for almost 15 years now, so I'm very used to how it looks and I like that look. The RF85 has a different look which, like you, I'm not sure if it's 'worse' or just 'different'.
If I could control the environment better, I'd lean towards the EF85 f/1.8, it's cheaper and works on my other cameras as well (M6II, 7D). Since I don't control the environment, the RF85 makes it less work to create similar pictures. If I don't feel like going through DPP4 and straight into LR, the RF wins.

Below is a comparison of RP+EF85, on the left is the CR3 in LR, on the right is the TIFF from DPP4. This was at f/2.2 where the CA is already a lot less. With the ColourFidelity profiles the skintones on the R5 in LR match DPP4, so I can opt to skip the 1 minute wait per picture when processing through DPP4.

Now that I have both the RF and EF lens, the RF is overall a lot less work to use, no adapter, IS for indoor shots, less work in post.
Schermafbeelding 2021-07-05 om 11.21.07.png
 
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drhuffman87

Eos R, RF24-105 F4L, RF85 F2, EF200 F2.8L II
Nov 5, 2020
34
48
www.drhuffmanphoto.com
"...After some time, I’m thinking about expanding the native RF collection, perhaps starting with the 85mm. On paper, this would seem like a good complement to the 35, but I can’t really speak to the handling or how the IQ holds up, which is where I wanted to get some insight. Also, what about the RF 50 1.8 - is it worth replacing the EF version? Admittedly I rarely use it though. How does it compare to, say, the M6/32 1.4? I’m admittedly a bit frustrated at the lack of IS on the 50 however, no stabilization on the RP."

So the general theme here is - I’m placing a greater emphasis on size…I’d like to keep the R side of things smaller for now. Have the 35 1.8 as my solo RF lens and considering adding the 85 f2, and *perhaps* the 50 1.8, if it makes sense. Seeking thoughts from those that have those lenses and can speak to their handling, particularly on the RP. Thanks in advance!
Hello Act444,

I have been using the RF 85mm F/2.0 since last fall on my EOS R. I personally love it. It is tack sharp at F/2.0, and also provides you with close focus ability so that you are able to capture images of details. Because the lens is quite usable at F/2.0, I find it to be far superior to the 50mm. The 50mm does not provide me with images that are sharp enough for my taste until it is stopped down to F/2.8... which basically leaves me with a 50mm F/2.8 lens... I oftentimes utilize quite a bit of background separation in my work, and I find the 85mm F/2.0 to excel in that area in comparison to the 50mm by having a longer focal length, a wider usable aperture, and a closer focusing distance. The autofocus, while not as snappy as a USM lens, certainly gets the job done for me. After watching several reviews online, I was under the impression that the autofocus was going to be much worse than what it is. All that being said, I do not often photograph extremely challenging situations such as sports or birds flying straight at me with this lens.

Have a great day!
 
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Act444

EOS R
May 4, 2011
1,134
209
Hello Act444,

I have been using the RF 85mm F/2.0 since last fall on my EOS R. I personally love it. It is tack sharp at F/2.0, and also provides you with close focus ability so that you are able to capture images of details. Because the lens is quite usable at F/2.0, I find it to be far superior to the 50mm. The 50mm does not provide me with images that are sharp enough for my taste until it is stopped down to F/2.8... which basically leaves me with a 50mm F/2.8 lens... I oftentimes utilize quite a bit of background separation in my work, and I find the 85mm F/2.0 to excel in that area in comparison to the 50mm by having a longer focal length, a wider usable aperture, and a closer focusing distance. The autofocus, while not as snappy as a USM lens, certainly gets the job done for me. After watching several reviews online, I was under the impression that the autofocus was going to be much worse than what it is. All that being said, I do not often photograph extremely challenging situations such as sports or birds flying straight at me with this lens.

Have a great day!

Thanks for sharing your experiences, and I find the 35 1.8 perfectly usable (if not spectacular) at 1.8 - glad to hear that the 85 f2 is similar and offers good sharpness and detail capture. Sounds like I may be better off just pairing the 35 with the 85 and forgetting about the 50 (I threw that one in there for size considerations)...my experience with the EF version of the 50 is that it doesn't really become usable (to me) till around f2.8 as well. The crazy thing is that the 1.2L version (which I also have) isn't much better in this regard! But I will say that 50mm f1.2 is a very unique look that really stands out and I do like it...just wish it were sharper...
 
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Act444

EOS R
May 4, 2011
1,134
209
Went ahead and picked up the RF 85mm...too early for any kind of review, but I will say that almost right off the bat, I had to adjust the focus slider from "FULL" to keep it from racking the entire focus range every time I tried to focus on something close o_O Other than that, test shots seemed to come out ok, lens appears to hit its peak at f4, seemed pretty decent (at least in the center) at f2.8 as well, F2 a bit softer, but usable. First impressions only though, real-world use needed to know true thoughts (just like the 35).

Lens was also a bit heavier than I expected. Man! But still workable on a non-gripped RP
 
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drhuffman87

Eos R, RF24-105 F4L, RF85 F2, EF200 F2.8L II
Nov 5, 2020
34
48
www.drhuffmanphoto.com
I think it'll end up growing on you and you'll find it racks across the focus range much less in real world shooting situations than when you're testing it's limits focusing between near and far objects in your house. That being said if you do try to focus on something closer than the minimum focus distance, it does definitely try to hunt across the entire range to find an object it can focus on, so if you are trying to get as close to a "macro" shot as possible, I would suggest the focus limiter.

I hope you end up loving it. Happy shooting!
 
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