There is nothing the least bit appealing or flattering about these images. Having fuzzy backgrounds does not give you an effective or successful image or make up for the shortcomings of your subject, or lighting, or styling. Get those things right and you can use 25 year lenses with fantastic results.
Excellent review! Covered the differences between the RF 85mm and the RF 85mm DS as well as the likely application. Canon claims a one and one third stop loss for the DS lens. I believe at f1.2 that would make the equivalent aperture f2.0. Very helpful review!!
Thanks @ClockworksPhoto – potential buyers will obviously be scrutinizing those two lenses side by side, so I tried to compare their performance as much as possible. Genuinely glad you found it helpful!
@dennwill You need to bear in mind that those sample images were taken specifically for the review to demonstrate the characteristics (ie the background blur) of the lens, rather than any kind of lighting or styling – and any comment on the appearance of the subjects is entirely unnecessary.
Though, to your point, the sample images taken in real-world use (with the colored lighting and no blurry background) attest that lighting, styling and subject are always more important than how nice the bokeh is.
@Artaius thank you for the very helpful review. I personally hate busy, messy background renderings (like your "more visually charismatic" sample), and often using Photoshop to duplicate the main layer, smooth it out with either Gaussian or Lens blur, and then spending hours making a "perfect" mask. The DS solves my problem for just extra $300 which is an incredible deal. I tried many fancy lenses including the 200/2, and while they may render a unique picture - they all are useless against busy bokeh. I always wanted to try the Sony 135 STF (I used to shoot the Sony A99 in the past), but the T-stop of 5.6 is a serious stopping factor for me. The starting point of F/2.8 never looked impressive neither. I can totally live with T2.2, and going to buy the IBIS-powered R5 as soon as it becomes available in my region.
Just one totally unrelated question - what kind of light/modifier have you used for the last comparison shot? It renders two rectangles in the iris.