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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
390 535500 Jul 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,292.38
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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Duane E
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Registered: Jul 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jul 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/2, Sharp, sharp, sharp, L-glass quality, Oh yeah, it's sharp!
Cons:
None at all.

The perfect portrait lens, bar none!!!! Probably one of the best lenses ever made. The pictures this thing produces are breathtaking!!

Jul 24, 2005
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sebhoff
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Registered: Apr 3, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 70
Review Date: Jun 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $865.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast and accurate focus, sharpness, colour, bokeh, bokeh and bokeh.
Cons:
none found yet

I bought this lens over a month ago and I'm still amazed at the pictures it allows me to take. I've hardly taken it off my camera for the last few weeks - although this of course means that I shoot a lot of low-light portraits at the moment. ;-) Size and weight feel "just right" on my 20D - unless I add my 420EX, which does make the whole combo a bit heavier than I like it to be.

I'm very demanding when it comes to focus accuracy and this lens hasn't let me down yet - it seems to work perfectly on my 20D. Also, while I regularly postprocess many of my other shots, I very often find that the pictures taken with my 135/2 hardly require any further work.

If you like to shoot portraits, you will not regret forking out the money for this!


Jun 28, 2005
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KP82
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Registered: Jun 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness even wide open; Great color, contrast and bokeh; Very good build quality; More stealth(compared to those white tele L's)
Cons:
A little long for portraits on a 1.6x body

I use this lens not only for portraits, but also for shooting animals in the zoo and indoor sports. Top notch image quality, never regret buying this baby. The only other lens which I can think of to be better is 200/f1.8L, unfortunately Canon no longer sells it.

Jun 22, 2005
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mfoto
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Registered: Sep 18, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 2324
Review Date: Jun 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $960.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Solid Contruction, sharp, fast f/2, light weight
Cons:
Perhaps not as as sharp as I thought it would have been at f/2

If you hang here at FM for too long there is a good chance you will end up with this lens. Too many photographers just keeps showing great results obtained with it. I would like to think it's not just the lens. You do need to know what you are doing.

The 135L has a perfect weight balance with my 20D. I tried the 70-200 2.8L IS but found is just too bulky and cumbersome to lug around with my 20D. I do have the 70-200 4L but found I needed the two extra stops in many situations. The ability to throw the background out of focus is the other real strong point with the 135L as it produces a very pleasant looking bokeh. I've only had the lens for three weeks but I do find I use it whenever can over the 70-200 4L.

My favorite FOV is probably closer to the 85 range on my 20D so I got the 135L very much with the future in mind where I see myself getting a 1.3x crop camera or even full frame depending on what the future might bring.

The lens is not as sharp as thought it would have been at f/2 but I haven't done any brick wall studies on this. I find I get really good results and a pleasant look around f/2.5-f/2.8. It might just the very shallow DOF playing tricks with me to this point. I've had great looking f/2 shots as well so take this comment with a grain of salt.

You can follow my 135L progress and results here:

http://www.pbase.com/mfoto/135

NB. now just tell your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend that this lens is a 'must have' :-)


Jun 19, 2005
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jazzy17
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Registered: Apr 3, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 102
Review Date: Jun 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid, substantial build. Discreet size and colour. Picture contrast, colour, sharpness is stunning. Compatability with Canon extenders.
Cons:
None.

Had this lens for 2 days. I was expecting something special but not this fantastic. I thought it would not fair as well as my other smaller focal range primes with from f1.4 in low light at high ISO but I was VERY wrong. The pictures ooze quality indoors, low light or outdoors. Bokeh is good. Focussing is good even with the Canon 1.4x tc with no major degradation of picture quality.

This lens has made me re-consider buying the Canon 70-200 IS in the future - my monopod and tripod will be my IS! I'm holding onto this lens and not letting go. It will be on my 20D this weekend for a commissioned shoot at a 2 day music festival for those candids.

Everything else that is great has already been said.


Jun 9, 2005
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Morgra
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Registered: Oct 11, 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 45
Review Date: Jun 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness. Build quality. Weight. Bokeh. Color. Fast autofocus.
Cons:
No moistureresistense. Vignetting.

I am very pleased with the imagequality of this lens. The aperture 2.0 is great for throwing the backgrund out of focus.
The bokeh is very smooth and buttery. Color, sharpness and autofocus are very good. My only complaint is that it vignets quite bad when i shoot wide open. This can easily be correted in PS, but i think a lens at this price should not have this problem.
Recommended.


Jun 8, 2005
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Gorham
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Registered: Jun 1, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp images, neutral color, fast focusing, quiet USM motor, good weight balance.
Cons:
None

This is one of the most wonderful lenses I've ever seen! Sorry to wax poetic but when I first got it (and ever since), when I look into the lens from the "business" end, I am awed by the clear, deep stillness of the elements. This is a beautifully crafted imaging instrument and one of only two I can say that about in all my stable of glass.

With each DSLR multiplier, this lens has what seems to be a slightly different use. I like it for sports from above - balcony or catwalk if it's not too high (in which case you'll not find me there anyway!).

I'm not sure I could justify it based on use but I do like owing it and when the setting is right, it produces truly excellent results.

I think I'm glad Canon hasn't made all their primes like this one. I'd be bankrupt!


May 18, 2005
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Big Mick
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Registered: Mar 8, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Put it on my 10D and never took it off.
Cons:
IS would be nice.

Wish I would have bought this lens sooner. This lens and a 1.4TC makes a nice small 300 mm f2.8 for a digital camera.

May 13, 2005
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mrand
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Registered: Jul 23, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 423
Review Date: May 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp and perfect size
Cons:

Excellent lens. Nothing more to say. Perfect.

May 10, 2005
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donutley
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Registered: Mar 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 415
Review Date: May 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It feels right, works right, and seeing the results on print or screen is a religious experience.
Cons:
The only problem is that this lens diminishes the fun of using anything else.

After obtaining and using this spectacular lens, I made immediate plans to sell my 100/2 USM and my 70-200/f4L. I know I'll never use them as long as this lens is an option in my bag. This lens makes photography thrilling!

Other lenses I have used were all considered "good value for the money"--this thing is just over the top. It is so much fun to use that sometimes I have to log on to FM and on to this review site--just to get a look at the thing while I'm at work. I'm a pathetic puppy--but this lens is inspiring.


May 9, 2005
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sieracki001
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Registered: Mar 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Apr 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One of Canon's finest lenses. Maybe one of the finest ever made. Alongside the 200 f1.8, the 85 f1.2 as Canon's best primes.
Cons:
I wish it focused closer so I could do more closeups. Adding a teleconverter gives me pause, so I'm trying out an extension tube.

Such a wonderful lens. People who haven't tried it just don't know. Primes are getting a little rare these days as I have seen most photographers going toward zooms. I really believe in the versatility of primes, perhaps an oxymoron. What I can do with this lens sometimes stuns me. Not to say I'm a great photographer, but this makes anything I do shine.

I'm into nature photography big time and I like using what might be considered a portrait lens for other purposes, perhaps not intended by the designers. I like the effect of out of focus areas, especially in plants. The unusual distortion in the out of focus areas is unreal at f2. Some might not like it, preferring to shoot everything at f16. Personally I enjoy making a bit of a risky statement in photography. This lens delivers what I want; actually it surprises me more than not with some interesting patterns I never saw in the viewfinder. Hard to describe until you see it.

I hope I've convinced the right photographer to go with this lens. It is expensive, but not absurdly so. I'd say get it while you can, as Canon may be dropping this lens. They dropped the 200mm f1.8 Their best ever prime IMO) so anything is possible.


Apr 29, 2005
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Access
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Registered: Jun 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1418
Review Date: Apr 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredible sharpness, detail. Reasonably fast focus that is extremely accurate.
Cons:
focus ring, build (minor), no IS.

The detail and the sharpness of this lens is incredible. f/2 aperature is useful and looks great.

I wish they had added a switch to turn off the focus ring, especially in AF mode. A large focus ring may be nice for MF mode, but in AF mode it is too easily to inadvertently move the ring.

The build quality is not bad, but it has a loose feel to it compared to similarly sized but heavier 'L' zooms.

With no IS, stability is important for getting sharp pictures at some shutter speeds.

It is expensive, but for what it does, it's worth it.


Apr 27, 2005
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lensjunky
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 83
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Love it, smooth like butter, bright, sharp, briliant color from edge to edge.
Cons:
skill not included

yum, its all ben said in the previous reviews, nice peice of glass


Apr 26, 2005
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chounchai
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Registered: Jan 9, 2005
Location: Thailand
Posts: 13
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness is perfect (combine together very well on contrast and resolution, it remind me the character of Leica M lens), boken is exelences (very smooth as silk, especially combination with lowest noise character of 1D MarkII), color renting is neutral(becareful the reflex of color source light that may effected to your subject)
Cons:
if it posible to inculde the hood with the lens would be perfect for the design.

I'm not really need portrait lens, so I'm always using other lens for this purpose, but after try this lens, I would say it remind me the time using Leica M with their lens.
It so perfect on sharpness until never need to high up the sharpness on processing state and it DOF keep smooth skin as it need for portrait.
The sample of photo I took for my wife which she did not make up her face much when I would take her picture, she really don't want to the out come but this lens make her so happy.
(see this link for some sample)
http://www.pbase.com/chounws3/canon_ef_135_f2_l


Apr 24, 2005
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robbrown99
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Registered: Apr 15, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 42
Review Date: Apr 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1. f2 at 135mm! Enough said 2. Bokeh - is divine 3. Great focal length for portrature and street work on 35mm or full-frame digital.
Cons:
1. Not many really - wouldn't give it up even though I've had a problem with it.

This is my favourite lens. I bought it last year as I was getting more serious about my photography and wanted sharper, more pleasing images than my (now sold) 75-300 IS could deliver. I almost bought the 70-200 f4L, but after reading reviews on here I was swayed towards this. I must say I am extremely pleased with this decision - I believe this lens has really changed the way that I approach my photography. Having used a 28-135 IS most of the time I found it really enjoyable having to think about framing my subjects and positioning myself instead of using a zoom and mis-framing by including too much of the subject.

The detail you can get from this lens is astonishing. I was blown away when I got my first set of trannies back from the lab! Not only is it capable of drawing minute details onto film or digital, but also faithfully reproduces colours and tones. The out-of-focus backgrounds at f2 are lovely and for portraiture I believe this is a really solid piece of equipment to own. Such a wide maximum aperture gives you so much extra light that it is possible to hold in low lighting. Perhaps one drawback is that at 135mm you can see wobble if you drop your shutter speed too low. I have steady hands, but would only dare to shoot down to maybe 1/60 sec for a keepsake, or 1/125 sec for a real keeper.

I've had one problem with this lens - just after I bought it I noticed that the manual focus ring was not functioning properly - autofocus was fine, but the tensioning was not correct - the ring would turn but the focussing element would not! I was a bit annoyed, but sent it back for warranty and got it back in good time. To be honest that was 8 months ago and I'd forgotten about that until I started writing!

Anyway, a great lens - buy one if you can! Forget that whopping white 70-200 2.8 IS - this lens is small (weighty), super sharp and super versatile. The 1.4 extender works well with it too. I was a film devotee and still am. Last week I got myself a 1Ds after debating about the various merits of the other cameras in Canon's digital lineup - I didn't want to change this focal length. For those of you with 1.3x or 1.6x crops who grumble about this focal length: you are really missing the point! This was ( I think) developed for a 35mm frame - I just wouldn't find anything longer that useful. This is the one lens that I own that made me hold off digital for so long and now I have my full-frame 1Ds I am a very, very content man Smile


Apr 15, 2005
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Barry F.
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Registered: Apr 10, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Apr 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Tack sharp even with the 1.4 converter
Cons:
None at all

Combined with any of my SLR's this outperforms any of the lenses I own for sharpness and contrast. Without doubt the best lens I own.

Apr 10, 2005
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
390 535500 Jul 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,292.38
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_


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