This 85mm f/1.2 Canon RF lens is just $709!

This 85mm f/1.2 Canon RF lens is just $709!
(Image credit: Shoten Kobo)

Want a lightning-fast f/1.2 portrait lens for the Canon EOS R system, but don't have two and a half grand to spend on the Canon version? Well you're in luck, because the Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f/1.2 has just been announced – and it's almost a quarter of the price!

The new Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f/1.2 clocks in at only ¥73,800, which converts to $708.90 / £552.05 / AU$976.09 at current exchange rates. Compare that to the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM (opens in new tab), which sells for $2,599 / £2,799 / AU$3,599. And of course, the bokehlicious Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS (opens in new tab) is a whopping $2,999 / £3,219 / AU$4,500, making Zhongyi's option even more appealing – especially if you're a Nikon shooter, as the lens is also available for Z-mount cameras. 

• Read more: Best Canon RF lenses (opens in new tab)

Of course, the two Canon lenses are heavyweights in more ways than just just the price (or, indeed, their significant size!) as they're two of the best portrait lenses (opens in new tab) you can buy right now. So how does the Chinese-made Zhongyi Optics offering compare to them? 

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The Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm f/1.2 is a ridiculously cheap $709 for Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts (Image credit: Shoten Kobo)

There are some key differences, of course – namely that Zhongyi's lens is fully manual, meaning that autofocus is not supported and you will need to adjust the aperture ring by hand (though possibly not very much, since you're probably going to use an f/1.2 lens wide open most of the time). 

Neither does the lens feature weather sealing, so you will need to be much more considered when using it in wet, dusty, or excessively cold conditions. Still, Zhongyi lenses are built like absolute tanks – as with the highly enjoyable Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 (opens in new tab), its all-metal construction feels strong enough to beat down a door, so sturdiness isn't an issue.

The Canon RF and Nikon Z versions both possess the same optical formula, with 9 elements in 6 groups (2 of them ED lenses, and 4 of them high-refractive-index, low-dispersion lenses), with 11 aperture blades and a 77mm filter diameter. 

However, the Canon lens is marginally shorter and lighter, at 83 x 118mm and 950g compared to the 83 x 120mm and 955g of the Nikon. 

Both lenses are currently only available in Asia, and have yet to reach the big retailers in the west, though existing DSLR versions are available from B&H (opens in new tab) for Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony A mounts. 

Read more: 

The best Canon lenses (opens in new tab): go longer, wider and closer with your Canon camera
Best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab): the best lenses for the Nikon Z5, Z6, Z7 and Z50
The best lens for portraits (opens in new tab): our pick of the best 85mm lenses (opens in new tab) right now

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.