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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
392 543606 Nov 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,291.57
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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Dr_Design
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Registered: Jun 15, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 26
Review Date: Nov 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredibly sharp wide open. L color + contrast + fast focus + built quality... bokeh bokeh bokeh!!
Cons:
It knocks down my other lenses!!

Whenever I use this lens I think of dumping all of my other lenses and switch to all Ls!!

This is the only lens which I never hesitate to use wide open. In fact, I only use it wide open.

I use to for headshots with my 20D, and it's more than perfect for this application.

With this lens you will appreciate the (L)uxurious quality of glass!


Nov 12, 2006
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Andy M
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Registered: Sep 10, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9
Review Date: Oct 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bokeh, speed, bokeh, sharpness & bokeh.
Cons:
I wish the hood was the same design as that of the 85L as it's very difficult to remove the lens cap once on.

This lens has given me astoundingly good results, and is a pleasure to use.

I do not believe there to be a faster focussing telephoto lens in Canon's stable, and definitely not one as sharp as the 135L (yes, including the 300 2.8!).

Even more impressive is the bokeh. The bokeh from this lens is something else, and has to be seen to be believed.

All in all and excellent lens, and highly highly recommended!


Oct 29, 2006
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Rajan Parrikar
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Registered: Sep 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1448
Review Date: Oct 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optical performance - colour, contrast, sharpness, background isolation - and build quality.
Cons:
None.

Someone has written earlier, perhaps on another site, that this lens was "crafted by the hand of God." That is no exaggeration. The 135mm f/2 L is a magnificent portrait lens on my full frame Canon EOS 5D. The pictures straight out of the camera are stunning requiring virtually no post processing. Many have remarked on its smooth and pleasant bokeh and I can only nod in affirmation.

Oct 28, 2006
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FelixReichardt
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Registered: Oct 27, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: everything
Cons:
absolutely nothing

Wow, this is one beast of a lens, the very best I own. I needed a while to learn how to use it but now I just love it. It produces fantastic rich colors and is absolutely sharp. The background separation is fantastic and the creamy bokeh is the best I have ever seen.

Its not a cheap lens but worth every cent.


Oct 27, 2006
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Max Err
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Registered: Aug 2, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros:
Cons:

an absolute gem in any respect.

when I first tried this lense it was like finally cleaning a dirty window that no hand touched for decades and looking out into the brilliant world full of shining wonders! sounds poetical? this glass does inspire this kind of reaction.

as to the tech side of things everything has already been said before.


Oct 21, 2006
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tmr_wa
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Registered: Sep 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1023
Review Date: Oct 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros:
Cons:

I have a taste for fast short telephoto lenses because I like using selective focus creatively with portraits and general photography. I very much enjoy using lenses in the 85-200mm range. These lenses are typically reasonably sized and priced, at least relative to some of longer telephoto primes and lenses like the popular, but large and expensive, 70-200/2.8L zooms.

Iíve had my eye on the 135/2L since coming to the Canon EOS system about two years ago, and I finally purchased one. The lens makes for a great outdoor portrait lens. I also enjoy taking it into the garden for images of larger flowers; hereís an example:

http://www.pbase.com/tmr_wa/image/64577067

When discussing image quality, I must first mention the performance of the 135/2 wide open. One simple word will suffice: Stunning. Indeed, the 135/2 is sharper at f/2 than most of my other lenses stopped down. The lens produces images with great color and contrast. The bokeh is soft and painting-like, and again, I certainly will never hesitate to use the lens at f/2. The difference between f/2 and f/2.8 can be substantial, especially when it comes to stopping the movement of a subject. The auto focus is USM-silent, precise, and very quick. The build quality is excellent, typical of L-series lenses. The length of the lens is relatively short (when the hood is removed) so it fits nicely in my smaller camera bags. The lens is a bit heavy for its length, but it still balances wonderfully on my 10D.

I have often suspiciously read reports from users claiming that certain lenses require little to no post-processing, sharpening, etc. After using the 135/2, I no longer doubt such claims. Images come out of the camera very sharp, with little to no post-processing required.

Reading through the many reviews of the 135/2, the only significant ďcomplaintĒ relates to the focal length, especially on a 1.6x DSLR. When shooting 35mm film, I used to like a 200mm focal length, sometimes with a bit of cropping for prints. The 135 on a 1.6x DSLR looks a lot like a super-fast 200mm prime on a full frame, for a lot less money than what something like a 200/1.8L + 5D currently demands. If you donít need a short telephoto prime lens, donít consider the 135/2. For those photographers using a 1.6x DSLR, if you need a fast, high-quality lens in the 200mm range and live without the convenience of a zoom, the 135/2 is darn near perfect.

To conclude, when you see a lens with many positive reviews on FM, like the 135/2, itís probably hard to go wrong. Of course, you might think that all these reviews are simply hype, but then youíd be missing out on one terrific lens. Read the numerous reviews carefully and youíll easily recognize the general consensus. Simply put, the performance of the 135/2 is outstanding.


Oct 18, 2006
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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: 3046
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: 639
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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†††



Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
392 543606 Nov 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,291.57
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_


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