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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
395 542348 Nov 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,285.59
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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Donald M. Price
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Registered: Nov 22, 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 22, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF speed, accuracy; wide-open sharpness; colour; DoF control; bokeh; build quality; price
Cons:
In my book, could benefit from modern coatings to improve flare-resistance (which is not at all bad to begin with). Really the only minor negative of which I can think. I can live without IS on this lens.

My true love. I've just ordered the Sigma 50mm Art, and I'm hoping the 135 hasn't created impossibly high expectations that will leave me disappointed by every other lens. I have a pretty fair collection of lenses, but this one stays on my 6D probably %95 of the time. For my preferred style of photography it is an absolute joy to shoot: after using it for a while it is just solid, predictable, and never gets in the way. The AF is silent and fast, the DoF can be as thin as you need it to be, the bokeh is creamy, and it's bitingly sharp wide open. The price is a bargain for what you get. Just everything a prime lens should be. I would love it if a mini version just like it were available for the 50mm focal length. I have great hopes for the Sigma 50mm Art, but I can't imagine the AF will be close to as fast or accurate. This lens revolutionized my photography. Never given me a shred of trouble. It's the real deal.

Nov 22, 2014
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Jim Heine
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Registered: Apr 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 288
Review Date: Oct 10, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp even at f2, build quality, price, weight, autofocus is fast, bokeh
Cons:
No IS, flare, autofocus isn't quite as consistent as some newer lenses

I owned this lens for a long time, then traded it for the 70-200 2.8IS II. I liked the extra versatility of the zoom and the ability to shoot at 200mm. Well, after lugging that lens around for years, I'm experimenting with adding the 135L back to my kit. The 135L is half the weight of the 70-200 2.8IS. This is huge for me, as it allows me to be much more nimble with getting the right composition and angle. I found with the 70-200 made me lazy. Due to the weight, at times I didn't move my shooting position and just zoomed to a composition that worked.

This lens is very sharp, corner to corner wide open. It improves slightly stopped down.

Focal length is great. I thought I would miss shooting at 200mm, but 135mm is long enough for most portraits and gives a decent amount of compression.

F2 allows higher shutter speeds in lower light without raising the ISO. I just wish this lens had IS for low light and portraits with flash. With the high megapixel cameras, most people are going to ideally want to shoot at 1/200 or faster. You can go lower, but you have to watch your technique. IS would also help outside with wind.

Besides lack of IS, the only major issue I have with this lens is flare. It could really use an update to its coatings. This lens flares easily and the flare can be especially ugly if a sun or flash are in the frame.

Overall, spectacular lens. Could use a few updates.


Oct 10, 2014
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Psychic1
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Registered: Jul 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4621
Review Date: Sep 25, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $725.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp and very quick to focus with pleasing bokeh.
Cons:
Filters sometimes effect the image quaity.

The 135L was my first L prime in 2005 and although good, it was never great and it was sold in 2012.

A lovely lady from North Carolina sold me her copy and it is sharp as a tack on every body I own, and also on my friends.

I shoot this lens without a filter because some on FM have reported diminished IQ, and I suspect they are correct, because my first 135L always wore a B&W.

It is a great lens.


Sep 25, 2014
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Soulphoto2014
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Registered: Sep 3, 2014
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 3, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $985.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: THE BEST CANON PORTRAITPRIME EVER MADE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cons:
NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS IS THE PERFECT PORTRAITPRIME EVER MADE!
RAZORFAST AF, SUPER DOF/BOKEH, 3D POP, SUPERSHARP @ F2, SUPERB PRICE/QUALITY, NO CA OR FLARE. PERFECT OPTICS!

CHECKOUT THE LENS SAMPLE DATABASE AND LOOK FOR POSTS OF MR.135L (DANKATA) AND YOU WILL BE CONVINCED IMMEDIATELY!

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1145005

JUST DON'T BUY IT ON CROP, IT'S TOO LONG!
I SOLD IT REGRETED IT AFTER SWITCHING TO FULLFRAME AND RE-BOUGHT IT. IT'S SO GOOD THAT I EVEN USE IT ON TOP OF MY 70-200 2.8L II AS A COMPACT LIGHT PRIME WITH PERFECT OPTICS.

A 10/10 FOR EVERY ASPECT OFFCOURSE!!


Sep 3, 2014
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Dpedraza
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Registered: Jan 8, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 789
Review Date: Aug 4, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SHARP!, Color rendition, contrast, AF, BOKEH
Cons:

I bought this lens because of all the hype I've heard about it. I must say that this lens is ridiculous. Very sharp wide open the results sooc are great. The bokeh is very nice. This lens does live up to the hype that surrounds it.

Aug 4, 2014
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JesseShotland
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Registered: Jun 17, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 316
Review Date: Jul 21, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: tack sharp, colour reproduction, contrast, low vignette, weight, unique look, fast AF, price
Cons:
not weather sealed!

Absolutely, without a doubt, unquestionably, the sharpest 35mm format lens I've ever used.

Great color, beautiful bokeh.
The focus ring is buttery smooth.

This lens is not weather sealed. keep that in mind.


Jul 21, 2014
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klutterbooks
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Registered: Sep 4, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 25, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Portable, sharp and reliable.
Cons:
None

I've had this lens for a little while now, and I'm still getting to know it. I'm making the transition to the 135mm prime from my 200mm prime as a day to day lens on my 5DII. I used the 200mm f2.8 quite a bit before getting this lens, and I still like it, but I wanted a lens that was more useful in low light, indoors and close up(ish). In my hands the 135mm delivers fewer hits than the 200mm, but that's more a reflection of my ability at this focal length, and the kind of shots I'm trying to get. Obviously, the 135mm is sharper and faster than the 200mm, although not *that* sharp (by modern standards) if you believe the data on the dxo mark site. In fact, my 100mm is supposed to be sharper (you might wonder why I bothered with a 135mm if I already had a 100mm - it really is a great lens. Quick answer - speed, IS doesn't deal with motion blur created by too low a shutter speed at an ISO you don't want to go above). Anyway, great lens. Sample: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rgooday/9881102013/

Sep 25, 2013
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trumpetjohn
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Registered: Sep 24, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 24, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast focus, light weight, image quality
Cons:

For around a $1,000 this is an amazing portrait lens! I have used it for family and engagement portrait sessions and it delivers images that are incredible. The subject just seems to pop in the image, which goes beyond just shallow depth of field. The subject has a vibrancy in color/contrast that is great. It is difficult to use this lens for events where I do not have enough room to move around. The 70-200 2.8 ii is a better choice for event coverage, but the images don't have the same sparkle or amazing out of focus areas. The 135 is great for kids photography, since they are smaller and you can get in a little closer.

Sep 24, 2013
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John57
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 53
Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $695.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, weight, not white ! f2 ... Cost.
Cons:
No 'IS'. Sharp but not as sharp as I expected given some reviews.

This lens is very good, as you have probably read from the numerous reviews on it by others (which I too read prior to purchasing it).
It focuses quietly, smoothly and quickly. It does not weigh much compared to other L lenses. It is black as opposed to white (I hate white lenses as everyone looks when you use it!).
It is quite sharp, but not as sharp as my 85 f1.2 nor quite as sharp as I expected - but is excellent nonetheless. f2 is wonderful to isolate and the background bokeh predictably excellent. I was expecting a lens with the sharpness of my old 180mm Macro after reading many reviews - but it is not that sharp. I think the 85 and 180 are the sharpest lenses I have ever used but that is to say they are truly superb as opposed to this bad in any way!
Colour and contrast are great.
Watch your shutter speeds as there is no IS. I am finding 160th of a second is not enough for me to get shots without movement being evident (something I don't normally find a problem.
It is great on my 5D Mk 3 and I would recommend it, especially if looking for this focal length and not wanting to pay for or use a large white 70-200 Smile


Aug 7, 2013
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yffic
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Registered: Mar 9, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 21
Review Date: Jul 8, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, wonderful bokeh, usable at full aperture
Cons:
Not at this time

It's my first review. It's not my first L lens but this is the firs who gives me the Waouhh effect: it's so sharp and this lens has a wonderful bokeh. What is awesome with this lens is the quality at full aperture.
Of course it's a prime and not so usable than a zoom by I definitly prefer the 135/2 than the 70-200/2.8


Jul 8, 2013
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barnwellh
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Registered: Apr 26, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: May 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast, sharp, sleek, non-descript , vivid and contrasty images and fantastic bokeh
Cons:
N/A

To round out my kit with a telephoto lens, I sincerely believed that I needed the EF 70-200mm 2.8 II L IS!…All the amateurs and pros that I admire had one in their kit, the countless product reviews touted the importance of versatility of a zoom and the need for image stabilization – right?!?…instead of making the 2K purchase I opted to rent one for a week…I was excited for less than 10 minutes after mounting that glass to my camera body: the weight, the beige color, the massive lens hood, the limitation of the 2.8 aperture simply did not click for me...yeah it captured those moments but there was no pop / sizzle (even at 200mm) - man I knew there was another lens that was: faster, sharper, sleeker, non-descript , produced vivid, contrasty images and delivered creamy marshmallowy bokeh that Adobe / Nik Software can't even replicate!!…Yes I'm talking about the "Lord of the Red Rings" aka the Canon EF 135MM f2.0 L. This is the review that you hoped you would read – I was once like you on the outside looking in – unsure of the capabilities of this lens / lack of versatility…I can testify that the construction is tough, its auto-focus is wicked fast, the images are sharp, constrasty, vivid, the bokeh is what everyone desires..who cares if you have to zoom with your feet?!? Utilizing this fixed focal length opens up new creative possibilities for you!! This lens goes monkey banana's wide open at f2.0, is a slam dunk at f2.2 / 2.5, offers tactical beauty at f3.2, and at f9.0 makes Scott Kelby wish he owned Canon glass. Obviously it's all relative to your photography style and or budget – I recommend reading the product reviews here at Fred Miranda of this lens, checking out the Canon 135mm image pools on 500px, Flickr and renting one for a weekend or week. Thanks for reading.

May 30, 2013
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oldshutterhand
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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very good optical quality, good contrast, nice colours, good built quality, very quick autofocus system, f2 brightness
Cons:
Not really has a bad aspect, just a price little high for an amateur, perhaps a plastic filter thread is the weakest point


This lens is very good optically and mechanically as well, f2 brightness is really helps to keep the quality high. A really useful tool for portraits, and other kinds of photography with this focal lenght.

See my review with samples at www.oldshutterhand.com/equipment-reviews/canon-135-f2/


May 30, 2013
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agnesleung
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Registered: Dec 12, 2010
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: built and handling, price, f2.0, bokeh, color, contrast, auto focus speed, minimum focus distance, it's black (not white).
Cons:
no weather sealing, a little bit heavy.

My very first Canon prime was the prime pipe: Canon EF200 f2.8L, this lens looks identical to it (only a bit shorter) which is also a very solid built lens. Both lenses produce very similar color and their image quality is excellent. The 135L is a little bit lighter and a little faster.

I also have the canon 35mm f1.4L and the canon 100 2.8L macro, both are wonderful prime lenses, the 135L is totally on par with the color and sharpness of these two lenses, and produces even better bokeh in my taste. Though my go to lens is always my 35L for it's range and extreme low light usability.

This lens is a very well regarded portrait lens in Canon's camp, and I think one should not confine the usage of this lens to portraits only, for it is actually excellent in shooting all things in open space, especially in fine weather. I can set the iso of the camera to 50, to get very sharp and clean images hand held, wide open at f2.0, the bokeh is simply stunning, creamy and delicious. With extension tubes added, it can turn into a wonderful macro lens, though it is not as flexible and as easy to use compare to true macro lenses.

The following albums for your reference:

1) A test shot with the lens wide open at f2.0

http://agnesleung.com/2013/05/farewell-to-spring-2013/#more-2578

2) With Kenko extension tubes added:

http://agnesleung.com/2013/04/peonies/

3) http://agnesleung.com/tag/canon-135mm-f2l/





May 20, 2013
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chmod
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Registered: May 18, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 65
Review Date: Apr 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Predictability, focus lock, vibrancy
Cons:
nothing which matters

After reading many long, and arduous threads pertaining to the new Zeiss 135, I felt compelled to share my perspective on the Canon 135.

For my purposes, this is a spectacular lens. I need fast auto-focus, predictable focus lock and natural, vibrant color rendition. This lens provides all of these requirements.

Do I wish it were manufactured with metal? Sure, that would be swell...but it doesn't impact how it performs for my purposes.

I rarely shoot static landscapes or posed images. For that I would investigate alternatives, just to make sure. I do not believe one lens works perfectly for all circumstances, after all.

My work requires auto-focus. I do not use burst mode, but the lens would produce movie-like frames. In fact, it might be fun to try!

On a full frame body, I rely upon this lens and it does not disappoint.

A couple of stage show, one very recent, and a random collection using this lens exclusively...

http://www.idyll.com/laneysat

http://www.idyll.com/laney2014

http://www.idyll.com/135


Apr 30, 2013
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rbussmann
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Registered: Apr 11, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 23, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic lens, wonderful color rendition, tough built.
Cons:
A bit long for interior work in small spaces.

Exceptional lens if you have enough work space, great bokeh.

Apr 23, 2013
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kyerthenomad
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Registered: Nov 29, 2012
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 16, 2013 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,000.00

 
Pros: who doesn't like this lens? the best L for the money, great candid lens
Cons:
it's not as practical a portait lens as the 85

Love it love it love it! (who doesn't) it works well with my 50mm 1.2 for weddings and events.

Feb 16, 2013
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
395 542348 Nov 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,285.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_


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