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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
394 540531 Oct 10, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,285.99
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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mauriceramirez
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Registered: Jul 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2912
Review Date: Jan 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00

 
Pros: Fast AF. Compact. Noticeably sharper than the 70-200L IS, and more useable in wedding photography's dark churches.
Cons:
Too long for meaningful photojournalism or portraits. Great for indoor sports shooters like volleyball or basketball, or stage photography.

Overrated focal length, even on a 1.3 crop. Very nice for traveling with due to it's small (relative) size, but I'd think twice before getting this lens again because I felt a little crass using it for street photography.

Also for portraits it compresses a bit too much, giving a removed, rather distant feel to the image.

I guess this is more a criticism of the focal length, because as a lens I suppose it's very nice. Well-enough built, light weight, ridiculously sharp, and extremely fast focusing.


Jan 9, 2005
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glazier
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Registered: Nov 27, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 769
Review Date: Jan 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $914.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The best lens I have ever owned. Super sharp with amazing bokeh.
Cons:
None

I bought the 135 F2 from B&H and will take advantage of the rebate.
After reading all the reviews here on FM I made my decision.
I highly recommend this lens.


Jan 5, 2005
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leuphrates
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Registered: Oct 18, 2004
Location: Turkey
Posts: 9
Review Date: Dec 13, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It is a reason to love photography!
Cons:
Don't let your expectations downgrade this gem!

First I was dissapointed when I was comparing the two photos from 135 at f2.8 and 70-200IS at f2.8 at 135 mm. Enlarged, there was very little difference. 135 seemed to be a tiny bit better. I was expecting a huge difference. It is not! But that little difference makes the photo a live window to reality. And after some shootings in the local opera house, the difference became more obvius, since 135 is still better than 70-200IS at f2. And the bokeh is much more pleasing at that aperture. At f4 the lenses perform nearly identical. At f5.6 they are identical wrt image quality IMO.

Afterall am I happy with my purchase? I am. I love this lens. Since I got it, it is my main lens on 1DM2. I try to shoot everything with it.

Tame your expectations, and get one immediately. To shoot with this lens is a love affair.


Dec 13, 2004
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CeeCee
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Registered: Dec 6, 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 15
Review Date: Dec 13, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $970.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This is a tack-sharp portrait lens...fast and also very usefull for candidshots. By fast I mean FAST....i believe this is as fast as they come.
Cons:
None - even price is a steal

Bring this lens whenever you go for a walk or do portraits in studio - will not let you down. Colors are beautifull and on the warm side.

Dec 13, 2004
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doctordoom16
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Registered: Dec 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Dec 13, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF (on 20D), lightweight, great build quality, The sharpest images of any lense I have ever used.
Cons:
None

I bought this lense after reading all the reviews. I have never used a prime, except the 50 1.8, before i bought this lense. I will never trade or sell this lense, I love it. This is the lense i compare all other lenses to as far as optical sharpness and color/contrast. I try to use this lense whenever possible. It is amazing in low light ( I used at the big apple circus wide open, and at my daughters swim lessons indoors). I use it for all portraits, and it is just perfect (you need some room to maneuver due to 1.6 crop factor on 20D).
If i could own one lense, this would be it. The "L" craze is real as they are superior to other third party lenses in optical quality and craftmanship. Bokeh is very creamy, and the circles of light wide open in front of the christmas tree are amazing looking.This lense is sharp wide open at f/2 and any percieved softness is due to shallow DOF not lense performance. I use it w/ a 1.4x canon teleconverter, and their is some slight, but very small degradation of quality. It is a great lense and would only be better with a closer focusing distance. Otherwise, you need to buy this lense if you are pickey about lense sharpness.


Dec 13, 2004
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Daniel Buck
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Registered: Jan 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3458
Review Date: Dec 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $839.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp (even wide open!) small and light (compared to the 70-200 2.8 zooms), build quality
Cons:
Close focus distance maybe? less than 3 feet would be nice, but I can hardly call that a "negative" aspect.

I absolutly love this lens, for many reasons:

#1. Focal length. It's a perfect focal length for many things: Vehicle photography (both still and in motion), concerts, portraits, and so on.

#2. Build quality. A very solid lens, nice feel and size to the focus ring feels right at home on a 1-series camera.

#3. Optics. Very sharp, even wide open. I notice a bit of contrast loss and maybe some slight bluring of the colors at f2.0, but still very sharp. Very good contrast and seems to handle flares good (especially with the lens hood on). The background Bokeh is super smooth, and for objects a bit away from the lens shot wide open you can get a nice "3d" effect to isolate objects very good from the blurred background.


Works very well with a circular polarizer. The only funky thing about that is the fact that you can't really use a polarizer with the lens hood attached. That would be very nice!


This lens is on my camera (both digital EOS-1D and film EOS-1) more than any other lens. It's a perfect fit for me. I'm usually shooting at either f2.0 or f4.5 for automotive photography. On my 300d, it seemed a bit unbalanced, but then again the 300d does not weigh much.

If I were to find one "negative" aspect of this lens, I would have to say maybe that it's closest focus distance is about 3 feet. Thats not to bad considering it's 135mm, but being as sharp as this lens is and how beautiful the background Bokeh is, it would make for some very interesting shots even closer than 3 feet!


Dec 2, 2004
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baoluanle
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Registered: Mar 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Dec 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $775.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: nothing else comes close, perfect! one of the best primes ever made by canon.
Cons:
none

others said it all already. one more thing this lens our-resolves the 10D above f2. i can't tell the difference in sharpness from f2-f11, hence the limiting factor is my 10D.

Dec 2, 2004
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CarlG
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Registered: Mar 11, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 6377
Review Date: Nov 23, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Hands down, the BEST lens I have ever owned! Sharpness, contrast, colors and bokeh are out of this world! Need I say more? Focus is fast, quiet and accurate. Handholding is a pleasure.
Cons:
Absolutely nothing!

By far, the best lens I have ever owned! I did own the 85 f/1.2 at one time and thought is was very good but did not even come close to this lens as far as sharpness and focus speed are concerned! From what I hear from other FM'ers, the 135 f/2 will hold its own against the 200 f/1.8 - never owned that to compare, though.

The images from this lens as so stellar - even shot wide open at f/2.0. I am using this lens on a 1D Mark II and even at f/2.0, I do not need to add much (if any) USM in PS. The Mark II is known for its softer image files (not that I am bashing the Mark II - the best D-SLR I've owned to date!) but with the 135 f/2, you would never know the images were never sharpened.

If you do not already own this lens, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? Go get one and see what all the other owners are experiencing! A real GEM!

Carl


Nov 23, 2004
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maljo
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Registered: Mar 1, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 460
Review Date: Nov 6, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: one of the finest lenses ever made
Cons:
none

A joy to hold and use.
Bring your eye to the viewfinder and: bright, sharp, contrasty, beautiful.
The MTF curves are amazing, almost perfect.
This is one of the best, highest performing lenses ever made by anyone.

No matter how good the D2X turns out to be, it would be hard to change back
to Nikon and give up this lens.


Nov 6, 2004
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mateo_
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Registered: Jan 27, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 688
Review Date: Nov 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, color, AF, works with 1.4 exceptionally well, size, weight, red ring, Everything.
Cons:
IS would be a dream, lens hood doesn't have the red dot to help you put it on ;)

I've shot with the lens for a just a week, covering HS sports, and I'm in love with it. I had contemplated the 70-200 IS, but the 135 is more flexible IMHO, despite being a prime. Its focal length and aperture are perfect for indoor sports, and with a 1.4 TC you can do field sports quite decently, although you're occassionally short. I also love shooting with primes, so it fits my style. There's nothing bad I can say about this lens, and everything good about it has been said. If you need anything in this area, get the lens. Period.

Nov 2, 2004
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sippinsoma
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Registered: Aug 23, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1474
Review Date: Oct 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $775.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even at f/2, perfect bokeh, great on a 1.6x unlike many say
Cons:
Lens is a good size by itself, but with the hood it becomes pretty gigantic for a 135 in my opinion.

This is my walk-around lens for candids right now and I love it!

Oct 24, 2004
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bankroll
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Registered: Feb 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 862
Review Date: Oct 6, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $860.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything. Seriously.
Cons:
Depending on sensor crop, a bit awkward focal length

This lens is nothing short of amazing. Definitely lives up to the hype. The only thing against it is that with cropped sensors (1.6x in particular) it is a bit of an odd focal length; usually coming up too long or too short.

I shoot mostly fashion/glamour type shots and this is what I use for headshots. If shooting outdoors and there is enough working room I will try to use it for everything (from full body to close-up) since it's that good. For studio work if you have a cropped sensor you probably won't reach for this lens too often since it's relatively long, unless of course you have a huge studio, which most people don't.


Oct 6, 2004
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chinatown
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Registered: Feb 6, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 132
Review Date: Sep 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $794.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp even at wide open, fast AF, acceptable weight.
Cons:
I have to get used to using this focal length 135x1.3=175.5 (this is my own problem)

this is the sharpest lens i have come across, and i am quite happy with bringing along with it, though it is not a zoom lens.

Sep 29, 2004
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jayemcee
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Registered: Jul 22, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 265
Review Date: Sep 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF, Lightweight, Practical, Available light capabilities, Extreme sharpness, smooth and creamy out of focus highlights, Price
Cons:
None found

An outstanding lens in every respect. I highly recommend this lens to any user and I would say that "if you can buy this lens, then you should do so". Furthermore, if you can only afford one lens for your EF lens mount camera, I believe that this should be the one lens that you should buy. A fantastic lens that is capable of serving many diverse applications.

Sep 2, 2004
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drisley
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Registered: Jul 12, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1527
Review Date: Aug 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Technically flawless! Sharpest lens I've ever used. Small, light, built like a tank, and it's black. Much nicer than the big white zooms. As sharp at F2.0 as it is at F8!
Cons:
None!

I wanted a replacement for the big, white, 70-200F4L as it attracted too much attention, and wasnt fast enough for indoor, low light situations.
The 135F2L exceeded my already high expectations! It's sharper at F2 than any other lens I've seen at any aperture. Absolutely no chromatic abberation, even wide open under extreme conditions. The background blur is beautiful, and the contrast is perfect.
I've viewed images at 100% taken with the EF 1.4x EXTENDER, and there is NO quality loss. Even with the extender, the images are visbly sharper than even the 70-200F4L.
The autofocus is blazingly fast, again the best of any lens I've used.
It's almost impossible to take a bad shot with this lens.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!


Aug 22, 2004
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vbacon
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Registered: Mar 30, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 308
Review Date: Jun 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, beautiful bokeh
Cons:
Haven't found any yet.

I love this lens! I was using other lenses (100-400 and 100/2.8) to shoot in this range. I was blown away at how much sharper this lens is and how much quicker it focuses. On my 10D I get excellent reach. I notice little or no degradation when adding the 1.4x. I feel like I got the 200/2.8 thrown in as a free bonus.

The only 'problem' is trying to shoot a lot wide open in action situations. You're dealing with a thin DOF which means an amateur like me gets a lot of out of focus shots. It's challenged me to get better at focusing in these situations. When you get the focus right, you get stunning photos. Or you can stop it down to 2.8 or 4 and still get very decent photos with a little less challenge.

I consider this a poor man's (well at $900 it's not really!) sports lens. I can't afford something like a 300/2.8 but this is a good compromise. At f2, you can even do indoor sports well while a larger lens (i.e. 100-400 5.6) just isn't fast enough.


Jun 29, 2004
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
394 540531 Oct 10, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $1,285.99
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.79
9.40
9.9
ef135mmf_2l_1_


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