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Why don't you rent a few of these over the weekend from lensrentals and do a shootout? It will cost you a bit, but should better answer your questions. Also, keep an eye on their used equipment sales, which are updated very regularly and can be worthwhile.
It's going to depend on preferences of course, but I agree with EOSfun that the 135 feels a bit long an flat (for me) for portraits. Not flat as in low contrast, but as in compressed perspective and less roundness.
What I pointed out earlier and Robert also mentioned about the 135 is critical. It's non-IS and you need to be a lot more conscious about your technique when you use it at moderate shutter speeds. You will get blur, though on a 5Dc you'll benefit from a lower rez sensor that won't amplify this as dramatically as a 5DII.
Eyvind Ness wrote:
85L versatile? That's news to me. While I own and cherish this lens also, it is by far *the least* versatile lens in my arsenal. Also, the MFD is pathetic - max magnification is 0.11 (the 135L: 0.19, 100L: 1.0, of course).
Again it depends on your preferences. Maybe not for your macro/insect/landscape photography. The subject here is portraits and yes, I believe the 85L is the most versatile. Whether it's overpriced, is again an old point of argument about this lens. But, it offers a lot:
- Sharp, but not painfully sharp wide open. Rather, a pleasant rendering. Stop it down past f/2 and it really becomes razor sharp.
- f/1.2 for when you really need it in low light.
- Very comfortable balance on a gripped camera. The 135 has a different feel that seems to be more difficult to steady, perhaps because it's lighter and a longer focal length.
- Deliberate AF. It's not blazingly fast, but it's precise, as is the MF feel once you get used to it.
- More comfortable/intimate working distance to subject which allows better rapport throughout the shoot.
- Focuses close enough for 'normal' portraits and even closer if used with the EF12 or equivalent 3rd party extension tube.
But of course, this is only my opinion... With the rebates now, the 100L looks pretty attractive.
With regard to background blur, while there is a difference between f/2 and f/2.8 as well as 100mm and 135mm, it's not dramatically huge and you, the photographer, can influence this a lot by varying the relationship between camera to subject to background distances. For this reason I'd opt for the 70-200 over the 135. The zoom offers a lot more flexibility and the one stop difference for background blur just isn't that huge. OK, photographers will notice it in side by side comparison images, but clients will never pick up on it if you don't point it out.
Another option is the TS-E 90, not because you can tilt the lens to play with skewed focus plane effects, but because it's actually a very nicely rendering portrait lens. Unfortunately though it's pricey if that's all you want to do with it. And it's MF, which the OP doesn't like...
Edited on Dec 16, 2011 at 06:23 PM · View previous versions