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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
389 529080 Sep 25, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,295.68
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_

Specifications:
The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of advanced amateurs and professionals. A ten element optical formula with two UD-glass elements serves to correct residual aberrations, resulting in superb sharpness and high image quality. It is also able to obtain superior background blur with the f/2 wide aperture. The EF 135mm f/2L USM is fully compatible for AF with Extenders 1.4x and 2x. A stellar portrait and available light lens.

Filter Size 72mm
f/Stop Range 2.0-32
Minimum Focus Distance 3'
Magnification 1:5.3
Zoom/Focus Control Not applicable
Angle of View 18 Degrees
Groups/Elements 8/10
Tripod Collar No
Length 4.4"
Maximum Diameter 3.3"
Weight 1.64 lb


 


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Xenedis
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Registered: Feb 11, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 6
Review Date: Oct 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, very fast (for its focal length), creamy background blur and smooth bokeh, well built, compatible with the Canon EF extenders, and inexpensive in the scheme of L lens prices.
Cons:
None whatsoever. However, it would be nice to see IS in a lens of this length.

In July decided I wanted a fast telephoto prime. The 85/1.8 and 135/2L were both on the list. The 135/2L is not a common item in the stores, but I found an 85/1.8 which proved to be very sharp, so I bought it.

In the same month I also looked at the 135/2L in a store. I was floored by the absolute sharpness wide open, straight from the camera.

Barely two months later, I bought one. It's a beautiful piece of hardware which can achieve some stunning results. There is presently nothing in the Canon EF lineup which can match or exceed this lens's capability.

Here are some examples of the shots I have achieved with this fantastic lens.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/243695862/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/245198939/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/258341512/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/258321705/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/257127740/

(See http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/tags/canonef135mmf2lusm for all of my available shots taken with the 135/2L.)

Shooting with a fast telephoto lens requires more skill than shooting with slower lenses or at wider focal lengths, so there may be a learning curve, but when you get it right with this lens, you'll sure know it, and will marvel at the results this lens can produce.

For anyone who wants a fast telephoto prime, I would unhesitatingly recommend the 135/2L. The focal length may not be to everyone's liking, but that's par for the course with primes; if you need to get in closer, use a longer lens (or move, if you can); and conversely, if you need a wider view, use a shorter lens, such as either of the Canon 85mm primes.

The 135/2L is compatible with Canon's 1.4x and 2x extenders, but as I have the 70-200/2.8L IS, that feature is not particularly beneficial (although if size and weight were a concern, it would be useful). Aesthetically, the combination of black camera, white extender and black lens looks odd.

Regarding the price, Canon L lenses are expensive in Australia, but for the quality the 135/2L offers, $1,700 is a small price to pay in comparison with the significantly more expensive 70-200/2.8L IS (even though I own that too -- I bought it only very recently).

In summary, the 135/2L is a great lens which clearly lives up to its fine reputation. It firmly belongs in the arsenal of any serious amateur or professional.

I've given it top marks in all categories.

J.


Oct 13, 2006
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kosmoskatten
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Registered: Oct 10, 2005
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2897
Review Date: Oct 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF, great low light ability, sharp, great out of focus rendering. Very low CA.
Cons:
No negative aspects I can think of, a near perfect lens. Price has dropped on this lens which makes it even better value for money than before. And it was worth every penny/dime before.

It is as good as people say... ...this I knew but I waited for a long time before getting one for myself. No regrets, except maybe I should have gotten one earlier. It holds its own against any comparable lens and then some - I use it alongside my Leica lenses and it is not falling short of any of them performance-wise. Great out of focus rendering and fast AF, when needed. Bulky, but seemingly effective lens hood.



Oct 1, 2006
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bogatyr
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Registered: Aug 10, 2003
Location: Norway
Posts: 636
Review Date: Sep 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Exquisite color rendition, outstanding contrast and fine sharpness.
Cons:
No water sealing.

This lens is not quite as sharp as my 200/2.8 or 300/2.8, but it is very close behind. Although it is not as laserbeam-sharp at 2.8 as the 200mm 2.8 II which is outerwordly in that respect, it is still sharper at its 2.8 than the 70-200 2.8 L-zooms at that aperture. So, we are talking about the highest levels here. It is no small feat to beat the 70-200, arguably Canon's best zoom.

Where I have found that this lens shines most of all, is in the color rendition and out-of-focus departments. The faithfulness of color, the fine contrast and the creamy out-of-focus areas are the main characteristics of the 135mm 2.0. It is a premium choice for an indoor portrait lens, also on a "1.6x crop" body. I seldom if ever use 50mm lenses for portaits, and prefer telephotos up to an including 300mm.

Other natural applications are various types of indoor action and sports, where its fast 2.0 aperture is put to good use. Needless to say, it is equally suited to countless situations outdoors, where its aperture enables it to assist the photographer in taking picures in light conditions where even the 70-200 2.8 gives up. In every situation, the 135/2.0 shows its quality of color.

Some may say that this lens should have had IS. But I differ from many photographers in not being particularly impressed with image stabilization. I own two IS lenses, but they have just reinforced my belief that lens speed is incomparably more important than IS. With the 135mm 2.0, you are given the opportunity to fully learn the significance of a fast lens. The fact that it shows performs very well wide open only underlines that.


Sep 26, 2006
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tallberg
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Registered: Jun 21, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 92
Review Date: Sep 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very, very good lens indeed.
Cons:
None.

Fantastic lens - sharpness, colors, bokeh, everything is as good as I have seen it get. The shallow DOF takes some getting used to, and the old one-per-focal-length rule of thumb for getting sharp shots handheld does not really hold with glass of this quality. Pictures that are good at 1/160 can be really much better at 1/500 with a lens like this - tripod, mirror lock up and so on can make a quite surprising difference. With a 1.4 teleconverter and a 500D diopter it makes for a very sharp and convenient almost-macro - one gets something like .7 magnification, convenient working distance, and very good quality. Recommended!

Sep 22, 2006
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Klane
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Registered: Nov 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 722
Review Date: Sep 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $780.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everthing. Super Sharp at f/2, manual focus ring is wide, well damped, and smooth. Best lens for the money hands down.
Cons:
nothing.



Sep 19, 2006
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ARH1956
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Registered: Jul 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 47
Review Date: Sep 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $840.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, fast AF, build quality, price.
Cons:
No negatives to this lens.

The performance of the 135 f2 will spoil you. While this lens cannot be considered cheap, it is quite possibly the best $ value available.

Sep 16, 2006
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Pell
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Registered: Apr 26, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1592
Review Date: Sep 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, Sharpness, Build Quality, Size, Contrast, Colour
Cons:
Would really benifet from IS, could use Weather Sealing, but I am just being picky.

Simply the the best prime I have used. Although It is not worlds better than the 70-200 2.8 IS which in my opinion makes this lens redundant. Who really needs razor sharpness unless I suppose you do very large format prints.

However this lens is still fantastic.


Sep 2, 2006
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DonSnyder
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Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Aug 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very, very , nice lens...
Cons:
none after 1 month..

I really like this lens. The most I ever paid for a prime. I do not regret one dollar.

Part of my low light suite.. 50@1.4,85@1.8,135@2.0

They all reveal their best when pushed to f4 on a full frame.. IMHO.


Aug 26, 2006
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Craig Lockett
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Registered: Jul 30, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 566
Review Date: Aug 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp! Great colors and bokeh
Cons:
none

This is a fantastic lens. I found it to be a little long for indoor work, but outdoors it performed like a champ.

Aug 24, 2006
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iclaudius
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Registered: Aug 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Aug 22, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $890.00

 
Pros: Great contrast and color. Solid build. F2 very usable in low light indoor photography with acceptable sharpness. Outdoors, depth of field options are virtually unlimited with fast focus.
Cons:
None

My first review disappeared in the ether. I bought this lens in lieu of a 70-200 IS and was concerned that making portraits on a 1.6 crop camera would be problematic, but my worries were unfounded. It produces beautiful portraits of either head or head and shoulders with minimal foot zooming. F2 plus 1600 ISO is a great recipe for low light concert photography(I used a monopod for extra stability in very low light.) Outdoors, this lens is great for compressed landscapes and "portraits" of flowers etc. This lens is worthy of all the high praise it gets and I will certainly consider more primes. It simply produces stunning images.

Aug 22, 2006
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iclaudius
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Registered: Aug 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Aug 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $890.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colors and contrast are second to none. Sharpness is still very usable at f2 (iso 1600) for poorly lit stage performances. Outdoors, it is extremely fast to focus and gives one a huge range of depth of field options. Need to explore all this lens can give you.
Cons:
None

I just purchased the lens for use in portrait and landscape photography with a 20d. I wondered about using the prime on a crop camera, however I find the lens very comfortable to use on a crop camera for both types of photos. Great for head and shoulders, or just head, and terrific for compressed and extremely detailed landscapes. I debated between this and 70-200is. I love the size, weight and solid build of this lens. I did use a monopod for the darkened indoor concert photos during my trial run with the lens, so not sure if that is a fair trade off vs the 70-200is which wouldn't require a monopod. On the other hand, the f2 aperture would seem to be the minimum necessary for much of my indoor concert photography and even that kicks in at iso 1600. For landscapes, I always use a tripod, so IS is of little use. For wildlife I use the 100-400IS. Sharpness at f2 requires little or no capture sharpening depending on scene and available light. The results are simply stunning. This lens deserves all the praise it gets. More primes?....

Aug 21, 2006
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zeljkito
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Registered: Oct 27, 2005
Location: Croatia
Posts: 44
Review Date: Aug 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, fast AF, F/2.0, hood included, built
Cons:
nothing worth mentioning, maybe lens hood is too big....

After reading post all over web, decided to get me one of these. I'll probably never regret it. This lens is super sharp, lightning fast AF, that can hunt sometimes, but this is the case only in abysmal conditions. At F/2.0 images are a tad softer, but still very acceptable, and logically DOF is very shallow. Color rendition is oustanding, bokeh also. Lens is not too big or too heavy, on tripod attached on camera balance is very good. Only thing that simetimes bothers me - hood is maybe too bulky especially in the bag and with the hood attached it's almost twice its size (almost as big as hood on 70-200/4).

Filter thread is also not too big (72 mm) and that makes appropriate filters very affordable. Flare control is top notch, I have observed couple of flare cases in extreme backliting and most extreme angles, otherwise, there is none. MF ring is spot on, size and grip wise, not to flimsy, not to firm, but it can be obstructed by hood (if it's on backwards), especially for those with bigger fingers...

With canon 1,4 extender works like a charm, giving 190/2.8 with only tad lower image quality wide open and almost as equal AF speed.

If you are considering it, don't, just get it. Or at least try it, I know you'll be heading home figuring out the way to explain your wife reasons why this is the lens you just despirately need (been there, done that) :-). Besides EFS-60 sharpest lens I carry in my bag and it NEVER stays home

Wishing you all good lighting

Zeljko


Aug 20, 2006
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ISO1600
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Registered: Jul 6, 2005
Location: Korea, South
Posts: 4388
Review Date: Jul 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness is second to none, the AF is bitingly accurate, built like a tank, and easy to carry. Very well balanced on a 1-series.
Cons:
I guess the only stuff i can complain about is more of a wish- i'd LOVE this lens to be sealed.

If you're even considering this lens as a future purchase, just do it.

Jul 28, 2006
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Tetsuo
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Registered: Aug 3, 2005
Location: Norway
Posts: 396
Review Date: Jul 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very fast. Tack sharp. Light. Black.
Cons:
None.

I read all the reviews here and quite a few elsewhere before buying this lens. I figured it would be sharp, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I put it on my 5D (bought at the same time) and started taking pictures. Even at f/2 it was razor sharp. It needs to be kept above 1/200 to ensure you don't get any softness in your images, but once that's in place you're in heaven. I cannot recommend this lens enough. Would I like to see an IS version of this lens? Of course. But I don't need it. I love it as it is. It's definitely my favorite.

Jul 25, 2006
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Marshall4
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Registered: Jan 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 746
Review Date: Jul 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $869.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp and fast
Cons:
None

My favorite lens. Killer in every way.

Jul 23, 2006
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tkoet
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Registered: May 12, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 1503
Review Date: Jul 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Reference-level build, sharp images, wonderful colors, fast focus
Cons:
none

In almost 30 years of owning nice camera gear by Olympus, Nikon, Mamiya, Fuji and Canon, this is the only lens I've ever owned with no negative aspects of any kind. A must have. I think I gush for this item because at around 900USD, it's an astounding value as well.

Jul 7, 2006
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
389 529080 Sep 25, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,295.68
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_


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