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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
389 529095 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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martinpperry
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Registered: Feb 21, 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colours, contrast and overall image quality. Beautiful bokeh. Great value.
Cons:
I can't think of any.

This lens is just about perfect and I can't fault. It seems really good value when compared to some of the other Canon L primes. I know it is probably a bit long in the tooth now, but I don't see how Canon can better this. Perhaps IS will please some people but it depends on subject matter and it wouldn't be of benefit for me 99% of the time. I have started using it at fairly low lit gigs where I wouldn't shoot at less than 1/100 second to minimise subject blur anyway. I just shoot wide open and bump up the ISO on my 5DII. A classic lens.

Feb 25, 2011
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charliebs
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Registered: Dec 19, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 34
Review Date: Feb 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, good balance on the camera (5d), color/contrast, bokeh!, black color.
Cons:
none

not my first prime but my favorite one and my favorite lens for portraits, street. i don't do lens reviews (this is my first one) but it's such a great lens that i have to back up everyone on this thread. this lens is a pure treat. you'll find excuses to bring it along for every photo trip/outing.

i sold my 70-200 2.8 IS I to fund this. some days, i miss the versatility but the IQ is so good, i've never looked back.

the color and bokeh set this lens apart from anything else (although i haven't tried the 85L). the sharpness is great, even wide open. i use it at f/2.2 mostly. you buy a lens like this for use between f/2 and f/2.8. the background blur is truly outstanding. otherwise one of those white zooms will suffice. it's black so it's lower key, it's not heavy like the zooms, and you'll end up zooming with your feet to show off the IQ of this lens.

a lot of talk about making this an IS lens. that's fine, but if any of the IQ is sacrificed in doing that, i'd recommend against it. you don't need it, people have been taking incredible shots with the lens for years without it.

considering many other L primes cost much more than this, i think it's the best value of the canon trinity and the entire L lineup.

while i could trade out some of my other nice glass, i'll never get rid of this one. at least rent it to see what the hype is all about...


Feb 23, 2011
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sym5
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Registered: Mar 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 21
Review Date: Feb 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp; contrasty; gorgeous bokeh; built like a tank; produces incredibly gorgeous images; focuses swiftly and accurately; well-priced for so much quality; wholly deserving of its reputation as one of the best lenses Canon has ever made
Cons:
awkward focal length; no stabilization makes it useless for serious low light work; a bit on the heavy side

135L is arguably as close to a perfect lens as there is in the Canon lineup. It handles beautifully, holds up well in tough environments, isn't so large or heavy as to be burdensome, and of course takes drop-dead gorgeous photos that are just dripping with saturation and contrast. It's not an easy focal length to work with, but what it produces is pure magic. For under a thousand dollars, there is no better Canon lens for uncompromising image quality.

Feb 20, 2011
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edatc
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Registered: Jul 17, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 45
Review Date: Feb 19, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $984.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: After two years of use, the lens is phenomenal.... shoot mostly at f2
Cons:
not a con, but one with an IS option could be nice.



Feb 19, 2011
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lucas lumiere
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Registered: Feb 10, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 229
Review Date: Feb 10, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, color, contrast, bokeh, compact, lightweight,
Cons:
None ... although it would be nice if it was weather sealed.

I just can't say enough good things about this lens. I have used it on many different camera bodies and it delivers every time.

I traded in my 70-200 2.8 IS for this lens, and while there are times I miss the versatility of the zoom, I just LOVE the images from this lens.

Buy it... you won't regret it. If you're getting bad images from this lens... work on your technique... or maybe consider giving up on photography all together Smile


Feb 10, 2011
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Jeroenro
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Registered: Jan 11, 2011
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 16
Review Date: Jan 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bouquet, lage aperture, super sharp, build like a rock.
Cons:
I found none.

Bought the lens second hand after i have read al the reviews on FM. Its really worth every penny. I love the bouquet it gives at large apertures. I use it for most of my portrait work these days.

Jan 11, 2011
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Joshua Hadley
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Registered: Dec 12, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 1, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: bokeh, colors, contrast, speed...everything...
Cons:
a bit unforgiving wide open (this is not really anything against the lens itself, just against physics!)

After reading the reviews and viewing photos taken with this lens here on FM and elsewhere, I had very high expectations for this lens. Those expectations have been consistently exceeded every time I use it. Incredible lens; recommended without hesitation.

My primary uses of this lens are portraiture, cycling, and dance, shooting mainly with 1D2N. Haven't pulled out my 70-200/2.8 much since getting this lens, and I don't miss it.


Jan 1, 2011
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Pi Chapman
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Registered: May 11, 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 239
Review Date: Dec 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Simply everything - sharpness, bokeh, contract, colour rendition...
Cons:
Hmm... let me think... none?! Well, could be a bit cheaper and have IS but hey, I cant have any serious complaints about this marvellous lens.

The best lens I have ever owned or used. Superfast autofocus, great sharpness, beautiful colours, lightweight, small, well balanced on my 5D II. I personally wouldnt need IS too much (naturally, that feature might be useful in some situations, but the lens is hand-holdable even in poor lighting).

Dec 26, 2010
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NDP_2010
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Registered: Jun 7, 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 721
Review Date: Dec 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small size and weight. Wide aperture. Good control of CA's Fast focus Solid construction Good price
Cons:
can't think of any

The lens is excellent and lives up to the reputation.

Sharp wide open, colours / contrast superb.
Focus is fast and accurate on my cameras, from 1000D to 1D.
Large focus ring is very nice.
Hood is effective, although it does make the lens look significantly bigger.
Black bodies and compact makes it discrete to use in the street. The weight is quite small so it is not a problem hanging from your neck.
There are some CA's wide open against backlit subjects, however it is not extreme.
No faults to the construction, feels very solid.

The lens is said to be difficult to hand hold, and this is true. As it is a fairly long focal length and such a light lens, camera shake is a problem. If you want to stop the action, this isnt a problem, but if you are looking to hand hold at 1/20th of a second, you may look for other IS lenses. Eg the new 70-200 f/2.8 IS with 4 stop IS will be much easier to hand hold at slow shutter speeds, however you lose the extra stop.


Dec 12, 2010
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malikt
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Registered: Oct 17, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 39
Review Date: Nov 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp - amazing bokeh
Cons:
tricky focal length

This is the most sold lens on FM buy and sell forum. A lot of people buy it but sell it after not using it much. Thats because its a very tricky focal length for composition and if the shutter speed is not atleast 2 x focal length you'll have blurry pictures.

I use this lens mostly in the studio with strobe lights and the images are beautiful - sharp - skin tones clear.

one thing to note - the images from this lens are not much different from my 70-200 F4 non-IS when set at 135mm. So if you are thinking about buying this lens think about saving some $$ and getting the 70-200 F4.

Good luck.


Nov 23, 2010
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Todd Klassy
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Registered: Sep 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 290
Review Date: Sep 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Razor sharp, beautiful bokeh, and price.
Cons:
None

The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM is arguably the best lens dollar-for-dollar in Canon's line-up. There aren't many L-quality lenses available new for $900 to $1000, let alone one of Canon's best. No other prime lens delivers as beautiful an image as this lens does. Portrait shots are stunning and tack sharp when taken with this lens.

The bokeh with this lens is so rich and creamy, and the colors are wonderful. Auto-focus is fast enough for most sports action. And like all L-lenses, it is built like a tank. Contrast is also very good. Wide open at f/2 is wonderful, but at f/2.2 it is simply superb.

Here are examples of photographs I have taken with this lens over the years:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/442349436/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/349309116/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/280080734/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/542716309/

Honestly, you can't go wrong with this lens.


Sep 28, 2010
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BrumJam
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Registered: Aug 16, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 15
Review Date: Sep 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, superb contrast and colours, Great FF portrait length, fast focusing, incredible value for money
Cons:
Nothing.

A simply outstanding piece of glass, certainly one of Canon's very best portrait lenses. I use it for weddings and it's my main lens for bride and groom shots. The bokeh is superb and there is a quality to the colours and contrast which must be seen to be believed.


Sep 26, 2010
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markbastick
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Registered: Sep 26, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Light, Amazing contrast, pin-sharp, cheap for an 'L' lens
Cons:
...none!

I love this lens, it's so sharp, the contract and colours are amazing, and it's defiantly value for money. It's not too heavy and with the 5D mk 11 is a great combination. I also use a 50mm 1.4 and 24-70 L 2.8, the 135 is my favourite by far!

Sep 26, 2010
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retrofocus
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 3215
Review Date: Sep 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast lens, beautiful bokeh with f2.0, fast AF performance, Canon teleconverters can be added
Cons:
none

Bought this lens used and got it as 2007 model in mint condition. I wanted to add it to my fast prime collection with 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8.

At f2.0 this lens delivers fantastic results and crystal-sharp images. Even with the older AF system in the 5D II, the AF focus was always super fast and accurate. AF is better at f2.0 compared to my 85 f1.8 lens at the same aperture.

The bokeh wide open is beautiful but not different from the 85 f1.8 mm lens at f1.8 or f2.0 (tested it accurately with the same photo composition, only changing the camera-object distance accordingly to have the same field of view).

The big advantage of the 135 mm lens is the option to blur the background against a close object in front of it with f2.0. No other lens can do this easily for similar compositions.

Use Kenko extension tubes and you have plenty of closeup options with this lens, too.

The Canon 135 mm f2.0 L lens is the smallest Canon tele prime lens which can be fully used with both Canon teleconverters.

The lens is well built but not very heavy either. It also looks less suspicious than any of the white 70-200 zoom lenses.

At smaller apertures and longer exposure times additional tripod support might be recommended. But I mostly use this lens at fast speeds anyway.

I recommend to look out for a cheaper used version of this lens. Often people replace this lens with either a fast 85 mm lens or a version of the 70-200 f2.8 lens.


Sep 20, 2010
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beeber00
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Registered: Jul 21, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 741
Review Date: Sep 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, F 2.0 Quality, Size.
Cons:
Attention: Lack of IS is NOT a negative.

I hate to be an echo of all the other reviews, but this lens is just that good.

I used it on a 1d body, and it focused real, real fast. The focus ring is really nice, too.

Build - nice and solid. It feels great on the cameras I've used it on. Not too big and not too small. Its about the size of a 100 2.8 Macro, if you've used that.

Its 135mm, so you've got working distance. I like it because you don't have to zoom or do anything to get your subject in the right spot. I've had 'glate success' with candids.

Colors and contrast from this lens are very rich. You'll be able to tell youre using a 135 when you look at the photos.

Sure, 1000$ new could cost ya. But use Fred Miranda! Go subscribe to the B/S boards and you can get a used one for around 900. If you've never had a long prime lens, this one will change you for the better. Keep in mind, prosumers - 135 on your camera will be kinda long, so indoor shots of your crazy cats could be a problem.

Anywho. 10/10.


Sep 19, 2010
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Sarah McDonnel
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Registered: Sep 17, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic bokeh, contrast and colour saturation, plus sharp and not too heavy.
Cons:
None really

Just acquired this lens and really impressed with the images from it. Compared to my 24-70L the images just seem to ooze quality. It's a combination of factors, but the end result is amazing. I was also considering the 70-200 2.8 IS II but I'm so glad I went with this one now.

You can see some test images on my <a href="http://sarahmcdonnell.co.uk">wedding photography blog</a>.


Sep 17, 2010
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
389 529095 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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