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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
389 528985 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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NorthShooter
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Registered: Mar 2, 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, light and small.
Cons:
Would have been even better with IS.

I needed a new lens for indoor sports, as my 70-200 f/2.8 IS forced me to use ISO 3200, which produces too much noise. The 135mm f/2.0L is perfect for that use on my 20D. Fast, silent and precise focusing, low weight (the 70-200 2.8 IS is a brick in comparison), it handles very well and the build quality makes it a joy to use. It is VERY sharp. I smile every time I mount it on my camera cause I know the photos will be good.

If you look through the lens from the front, it looks like a WIDE tube filled with glas.

The lens is perfect for portraits - I don't find it too narrow on my 20D. The DOF is very narrow at close distance, so unless you're directly in front of the face or stop down, you can't get both eyes in focus. Obviously, this effect makes subjects in focus really stand out.

The lens should be well suited for concert photographers located in the pit: its wide aperture is the only thing that helps for fast-moving artists on stage.

There is a little bit of play in the focus ring along the optical axis - from other reviews I hear that this is normal.

The 135mm f2.0L is my new favourite lens.


Mar 3, 2008
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SJMD
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Registered: Nov 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 15294
Review Date: Feb 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lens is as great as every one here says and you will not be disappointed. You get what you pay for.
Cons:



Feb 5, 2008
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ibilly
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Registered: Aug 29, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 432
Review Date: Feb 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The image it gives, inconspicuous while having good reach, very fast, build quality. Very sharp at 2.0, sharper than my camera at 2.8.
Cons:
Price, a bit long on a crop body for portrait work, dof makes you paranoid about EXACTLY where you're focusing

This is my second 'L quality' lens (17-55 IS being the first) and I am actually blown away. This lens will really make you other lenses feel soft and insufficient much like the effect a Victoria's Secret model in runway getup would have on your average (female) fast food patron.

Its barrel is chock-full of glass in a wonderful way and it's a stop faster than your average expensive fast tele but it's still (comparatively) light and compact. While it does get sharper 1+ stop down, at 2.0 it's still much sharper than many other lenses.

I really do love this lens and I am ever-impressed with the results it returns. Using it is a newfound source of pleasure in my life and while I feel it's expensive, it's very close to justifying its premium. It has opened up new options as its bokeh/dof combo, color rendition, and sharpness give me the ability to get 'that look' effortlessly where I would previously have to concoct a deliberate circumstance to achieve similar results, even with my fast 30 and 50mm primes.

I've looked at comparison ISO 9000something charts online and it's sharper than the venerated 70-200 L lenses–a stop faster. 2.0=2.8 and 2.8=4.0! It really is a joy to use and it performs like no other lens I've used so if you're considering it and can afford an L, I heartily recommend it.

P.S. As an added bonus is inconspicuousness–people aware they're being shot will be less self-conscious and other will be less likely to notice.


Feb 4, 2008
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fhernandez
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Registered: Jan 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 219
Review Date: Jan 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: I bought this lens to shoot Indoor Track and Field in low light gyms. I am nothing but mesmerized by how sharp and fast this lens is. The range is not a problem for track meets where the subject is coming towards you
Cons:
none that I can think of. I think it is priced in the high end but you definetely get what you pay for,



Jan 28, 2008
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amosher
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Registered: May 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $895.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor sharp, gives you the speed you need for indoor sports
Cons:
not cheap, but the perfect tool to have.



Jan 26, 2008
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M__G
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Registered: Sep 3, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, bokeh, light weight and black (compared to my 70-200f/2.8IS), affordable
Cons:
very minor CA at f/2 and high contrast edges (almost a positive aspect compared to 85f1.8 and 100f2)

I used this lens on the 20D and now on the 40D. The focal length is not ideal for the 1.6 crop, if you intend to do mostly portrait stuff, because you have to stand far away from your model. I use it not only for head shots (with that lovely creamy bokeh), but also for some tele applications, where a fast and relatively light weight prime is more handy than my big, heavy and white 70-200f/2.8IS.

The 135 produces very minor (almost negligble) Chromatic Abberations at high contrast edges when wide open and the sharpness is aready very good. Stopped down to f/2.8 the CA is gone and sharpness improves a little from almost excellent to absolutely excellent.

With the 135f/2 you get a sharp, fast, tele and portrait prime with a great cost/performance ratio (at least by L standards). It's simply one of the best lenses ever made by Canon.

Nevertheless I think I will be enjoying this lens even more, when I will be adding the next affordable Canon full frame to my camera arsenal (i.e. the 5D successor). But this is not the fault of the lens.


Jan 5, 2008
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Andrew Welsh
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Registered: Jan 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4938
Review Date: Jan 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $810.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Best... lens... ever... (well, almost). Like everyone says, great bokeh, great colors, super-sharp, etc.
Cons:
Awkward focal length on a crop camera for 3/4 or full body portraits, requiring you to stand 30 feet / 10 yards / 10 metres away. Focus sometimes loses it's mind w/20D using one-shot focus mode even with center point selected. The remedy is to aim at a higher contrast point to get focus "in the area" and try again. A little annoying.

What can I say? It lives up to its reviews. Pretty fast focusing even on a 20D. I have yet to try it on my 40D which is under warranty repair at the moment. The images from the lens let me pick a sharpening of 5 in Canon's DPP software and look stunning, which is astounding for me, since other lenses I've used look like crap with sharpening past 2 or 3! It seems to me anecdotally this lens out-resolves the 20D.

It's not without a couple of minor quibbles:
- awkward focal length for full body portraits on a crop camera
- focus occasionally loses it's mind and you need a really high contrast edge for the 20D autofocus to grab onto something. A little disappointing since I don't see the same behavior with the 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 on the same body with the same settings. Otherwise it's super-accurate even at f/2.
- Minor, minor purple fringing (1 pixel) on high contrast edges at f/2. Stopping down even to f/2.2 reduces this and it's gone by f/2.8. Other than for astrophotos, this will be a non-issue for most.

Overall for the price point, I'd recommend this purchase for anyone looking to fill the 70-200 focal length range with fast prime coverage. I feel this lens with the 85/1.8 (or the 1.2L down the road) will more than adequately cover this range for me at weddings.


Jan 3, 2008
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thedowling
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Registered: Feb 16, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 70
Review Date: Dec 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: best lens ever
Cons:
none

yet another rave review for this lens. i wish i had bought it ages ago.
can't even believe the sharpness. pix i get on the 5D are like nothing i've gotten before.

i bought this at same time as the new 50mm 1.2, which i had endless problems with and finally returned. it's amazing that is this "older" and less expensive lens is so much better.

get this.


Dec 27, 2007
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TysonRobichaud
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Registered: Dec 10, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 10, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $910.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Beautiful IQ, Subject Isolation/Dof spectacular.
Cons:
It wont make me breakfast. Other than that, none I have experienced.

My favorite lens for portraiture. My favorite lens for creative inspiration. Really remarkable images when coupled with my 5d. It is relatively small so it remains somewhat inconspicuous compared to others. I was debating and looking at a couple other lenses (I was impressed with the EF100 f/2 which is a great one too) but cannot express how happy that I made this choice. If it is the focal length you want, it really is an amazing lens that will not let you down.

Dec 10, 2007
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George Chew
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Registered: Sep 2, 2005
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 11
Review Date: Dec 9, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent image quality. Very fast focusing on my 5D. Value for money
Cons:
None.

Greetings,
I have been thinking of this lens for more than 2 years. Finally decided to buy this recently in my Hong Kong trip. Canon lenses are cheapest there. BTW, after a couple of weeks of using it, I love this beast. The IQ is more than I dare hope for, even at f2. I would say it is very close to my EF 500mm F4L IS. It produces creamy and beautiful bokeh. At this price, it is a steal. Enjoy...


Dec 9, 2007
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John Kasko
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Registered: Dec 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Dec 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light and to the point.
Cons:
None



Dec 5, 2007
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7527
Review Date: Nov 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $940.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ (especially wide open), build, AF, versatility
Cons:
Contrast and colors not up to the same level as the 35L or 85L (although still good)

I bought the 135L to accompany my 35L and 85L for shooting people. The 135L is used mainly for tight portraits on a 5D.

It is sharp already at f/2.0. It becomes really sharp at f/2.8 and stays that way up to f/11. Fantastic performance. Definitely this lens greatest strength. Contrast is good, but not as excellent as the contrast of the 35L or 85L. Same thing for the colors. In PP I find myself often tweaking contrast and colors of 135L files. Bokeh is excellent, especially at f/2.0. Distortions and fringes/CA's are no issue at all. There is a little bit vignetting at f/2.0.

The build quality is excellent. The 135L has a good size and weight, and balances well on my 5D (with grip). AF is fast as lightning and accurate. Manual focusing is a joy because of the broad rubber focus ring. The 135L is also a very versatile lens. Performance remains good when used with a 1.4x TC. With a 25mm tube it also can be used for some rather creative macro photography (DOF becomes insanely thin).

This lens asks to be used at f/2.0. Here it really shines. Although IQ is very good, it is not up to the same levels as the 35L or 85L. It misses some of that magic. But if you are in need of a fast tele prime, look no further...



Nov 26, 2007
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GeneO
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Registered: Jul 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9098
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, light, sharp, lovely smooth DOF transistion
Cons:
close backlight or lightsouce can flare

I bought his for shooting low light, no flash permitted, indoor sports for use with my 1D Mark IIN. It hasn't dissapointed. A little long on the 1dmk2n in some situations.

Would make a great indoor candid lens on a full frame. To long for a 1.3X, but somewhat useable for that. Great portrait lens even with the 1.3x crop body.

Looking forward to many more applications with this beauty.


Nov 25, 2007
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PJ Fish
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Registered: Nov 24, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 18
Review Date: Nov 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This is one of the 3 Nikon Kings ! its simple awesome and super sharp !
Cons:
None..

This is the king of 135 mm it got it all ;sharpness ,contrast,bokeh ,yes its simply the best for the money,i use it for soccer, handball icehokey and all kinds of sports, its definitively in a class of its own.
All the hype is true : its super!


Nov 19, 2007
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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Nov 5, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Fast and Light.And its "L" Prime lens
Cons:
None

After Long useage of this lens i tend to "NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT"
Good for POTRIATS well recommended.And this is my second review.


Nov 5, 2007
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nickstills
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Registered: Nov 3, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpest lens ever and great build quality.
Cons:
none

I love how sharp this lens is- even at full aperture it is brilliant. And when it is stopped down just a little bit the image quality goes to astonishing and outstanding. It must be one of the best lenses on the planet. Also the build quality is excellent.


Nov 3, 2007
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
389 528985 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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