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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
394 540192 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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Ric444
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Registered: Apr 10, 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: What a nice lens. I like everything: fast focus, IQ, very sharp, tones. Brokeh is wondeful.
Cons:
None.

The best lens I own for portraits. The only other one that I have and comes close is the 85mm f1.2 (mark I).

The best portraits I have so far were taken with this lens or with the 85mm f1.2. Brokeh is just wonderful in both lenses. Sometimes is hard to distinguish the results from either lens.
However, in my opinion, the 135 f2 exceeds the 85mm f1.2 (mark I) in the following areas:

1. Much cheaper,
2. Lighter,
3. Auto focus is fast,
4. Colour saturation is consistent across all apertures. The 85 f1.2 tends to lack colour saturation when wide open (but easily corrected in post-processing).


Jun 2, 2010
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Rav13
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Registered: Mar 30, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 201
Review Date: May 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: this lens is excellent, it focus is very fast, its light and the pictures are really sharp!
Cons:
I can't think of anything, its the best value L for sure



May 26, 2010
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tororo
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Registered: May 26, 2010
Location: Japan
Posts: 31
Review Date: May 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super sharp, fast USM, good build quality, weight, contrast
Cons:
No IS, vignetting at F2

I can't really think of any negative aspect. If I have to say, I would like IS and less vignetting at F2.

A couple of examples taken with this lens at wide open
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3907055678
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ippei-janine/3906275851


May 26, 2010
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LeoJan
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Registered: May 26, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 25, 2010 Recommend? ja | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: The sharpest prime I have, beautiful bokeh, I think the best lens I know of Canon.
Cons:
The only thing I can think of is a little vigenttering at F2.0, but to little to fuss about. None for the rest.

This lens is perfect in all respects. Do not let you fool you that 135 mm is not something you use much. On a FF it is very nice, for making all sort of photo's. For travel take a 35 mm F1.4L, a nice Sigma 50 mm F1.4 and the Canon 135 F2.0L. You even can put an 1.4 extender in a corner of your back.

May 25, 2010
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CountryBumpkin
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Registered: Apr 18, 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as it is possible to get; Narrow depth of field with superb bokeh; Lightweight and perfectly balanced with DSLR+battery grip; Ideal on APS-C or FF; Inconspicuous
Cons:
None

I had considered purchasing the new (MK II) Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS zoom. Although, since I have the current MK I model (which is a real dissapointment in image quality at f2.8 and far too heavy), I thought I'd opt for the 135mm f2.0 and the 70-200 f4 IS. Both are lightweight and optically excellent. After my purchase, I managed to find a review on the Fred Miranda site offering a direct comparison between the 135 f2.0 and the MK II Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS zoom (set at 135mm). With both lenses set at f2.8, the prime lens is the unequivocal winner. It's also important to remember that you can still open up to f2.0. When you do, sharpness remains quite incredible, and the bokeh is better than anything I've seen on a lens. I've shot hundreds of portraits since getting the lens, and I'd say that it out performs everything I own. It has unique optical characteristics which the new Canon 70-200mm zoom does not have, plus it is lighter and inconspicuous. Focus is snappy and the narrow field of sharpness at f2.0 really does provide wonderful opportunities to create breathtaking portraiture one notch up from the competition. Having a narrow or tangential slice of focus, or getting just the eyes sharp provides for the best head shots I've ever obtained - 'perfect three dimentional isolation'. The sharpness is at the highest possible level. I would guess that most people will opt for the bulkier and newer zoom, but I have absolutely no regrets. If portraits are your thing, this lens is 'Heaven on Earth'.



Apr 18, 2010
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Keith Broad
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Registered: Aug 14, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 122
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, fast, very nice contrast, colour and bokeh. Good value for money. The build quality is very good, it could have weather sealing and IS, but there would be a premium attached. So I think it's fine as it is.
Cons:
None so far

I bought this lens a few weeks ago. I bought it mainly for portraits using the 5D2, but found myself using it the 1D3. It's a little longer than I would normally use, but I have the FL to be OK. The IQ from this lens is exceptional and well worth the occasional need to zoom with the feet. I would rate the IQ up there with my 35L which has also been exceptional.

I used this lens recently on a magazine shoot of gardens and it was very useful for detail shots with a narrow DOF. Its ability to isolate subjects also makes it an ideal street lens, especially when I'm need something longer than the 35mm. Overall, I have found it to be a versatile lens that represents very good value for money.


Apr 13, 2010
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charlespan
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Registered: Mar 16, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 245
Review Date: Mar 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, even wide open at 2.0; Focusing is fast; light weight
Cons:
None I can think of; IS would be nice

I have this lens for about 6 months now. It is my favorite. It works great with my 40D when I shoot static object; result for sport is not as great, but it is not the lens. Paired with the 1D Mark IV, it produces great images even for sport (youth soccer games). In terms of IQ, the 70-200mm L f4.0 comes very close; but the color from the 135mm L has certain magic I can't describe.

Mar 22, 2010
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pjbuehner
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Registered: Jan 10, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 421
Review Date: Feb 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp wide open. Amazing image quality. Great L build. Not too big.
Cons:
None

For the money, the best L lens I own. It is great for basketball from the corners, great as a portrait lens. It takes the 1.4X very well and I use it that way as a second body for hockey.
I shoot with 1.3 crop cameras and I love this FL.


Feb 27, 2010
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denoir
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4212
Review Date: Feb 26, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,960.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: it's magical, image quality, bokeh, speed
Cons:
not weather sealed, odd focal length on a crop body, lens hood, auto-focus in low-light conditions, price

This is a magical lens. I'm not kidding - there is no other way I can describe it. There is some je ne se quois about it. A combination of focal length, aperture, sharpness, contrast and color reproduction that produces images like no other lens. If you look at the features individually, you don't see it. There are other prime lenses that are just as sharp. The bokeh certainly isn't the 'creamiest' (compared to say a 85/f1.2) etc Yet it still produces uniquely beautiful images. As much as I would like to, I can't quantify it - it's a combination of the different attributes of the lens.

Mind you, it's far from flawless. The build quality good, but nowhere near some other L series lenses. It's for instance not weather sealed. The auto focus isn't great in low light conditions. The lens hood is ridiculously oversized and made of cheap glossy plastic that mostly acts as a fingerprint magnet. It's expensive (I paid 14,000 SEK = $1,960 here in Sweden, the difference from the US price being taxes and import duties). The 135mm focal length is an odd duck on FF but especially on crop sensors.

For any other lens I would have deducted these things from the overall rating. If it hadn't had that special quality I would have probably rated it 8/10. Given the images it produces I rate it at 12/10.

I bought this lens more or less on an impulse. I was at my local photo store to see if they knew when the new 70-200/2.8 IS mark II was expected to be in stock. And there I saw the 135/f2 on a shelf. I was not unfamiliar with it - I had previously been surprised how often this lens was used in photos that I liked. As I'm intending to buy the new 70-200 I've carefully looked through the flickr photo pool for the current version of the 70-200 lens and I've compared it to the 135mm flickr pool. I consistently liked the 135mm photos better, but I really couldn't justify buying it when I was going to buy an excellent lens that includes the focal length in question. Paying almost $2000 extra to gain one stop (2.0 vs 2.8) seemed excessive. So there I was in the store and decided: *no impulse buying*. I went out, came back five minutes later and bought it. The time after that I had some serious doubts about my own sanity.

After taking a few hundred photos I concluded that perhaps I wasn't nuts after all. I was left speechless by the images. It really is an amazing lens. Unless Canon has managed to incorporate the same special characteristics into the new 70-200 - which I seriously doubt - I'll consider this to have been an excellent purchase. (I'll still get the 70-200 as the 135mm can't be considered an alternative to the zoom).

When you read about the "legendary 135" etc, it isn't just hype, it's really a remarkable piece of glass. And while I have scoffed at people's vague praise of this lens, I find myself in the same position. My advice can only be: try it and see for yourself.


Feb 26, 2010
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AaronNegro
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Registered: Apr 7, 2008
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1341
Review Date: Feb 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, focal ideal for head shots and portraits outdoors, color render and bokeh. It also is SHARP. AF is very fast on my 5D
Cons:
nothing comes to my mind, maybe a little vignette at f2.0

Here we go,

I had the lens for a short period but I will give some feedback from my little experience.


First impression:

-Very good build and not very heavy, it makes photography pleasant from the start.

-Size is a big pro of the lens, Iīm coming from the 70-200 2.8, the 24-70 L and the 180L, so this one feels like a feather.

-The hood is almost as big as the lens and it really does a great job.

-Filter size 72mm makes it a bit easier for filters and I already had them from my Tammy 24-135.

Overall I give it an excellent and great for my needs.

Handling:

It is fast to focus and the focus ring is good enough for MF if the AF does not cut it.

Balances very well with the 5D, with or without the grip.

Colors, bokeh, IQ, Sharpness:

It renders colors with good contrast, very similar to my old 180L which I exchanged to get this 135. Temperature is a bit cold and having that desirable L touch.

The thing is Sharp, and by sharp I would say VERY sharp from the very start at 2.0 to insanely sharp at f2.8 to f4.

Bokeh is something I just canít describe with words and I already have a Sigma 50 1.4 to say I like this lens more in this regard.

OOF is very good, to say it pops out the subject to the point of 3D feeling.


I canít comment on price but I can say that this lens comes from another Fredmirander that already has a 85 1.2 and I think he will miss this lens more than I will miss the 180L.

CONCLUSION

If you can and want it, get it, it will not disappoint you.



Feb 18, 2010
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.matt.
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Registered: May 28, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Feb 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: bokeh is amazing. Fast focusing, great colors and contrast. tack sharp
Cons:
longer focal length makes it harder for indoor portraits but if you get it you know what to expect.

I have had this lens for almost a year now and I've been blown away by the sharpness and resolution I've gotten from it. Shooting with a 5d mark II and zooming in 100% on a 1080p screen is not disappointing like my L zoom lenses have been. I recently got a used 85L thinking it would be similar and while it is equally amazing I found the colors sharpness and fringing control better wide open with the 135L. It's that good! My only complaint is that I've had trouble taking low light pictures with it which is one thing I look for in a portrait lens but that's just the nature of this lens. What it does, it does amazingly well!

some sample pics:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13712404@N04/3980751691/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13712404@N04/3754720301/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13712404@N04/4130440756/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13712404@N04/4280341327/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13712404@N04/3970723320/sizes/o/


Feb 16, 2010
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IndrekV
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: Estonia
Posts: 12
Review Date: Feb 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Amazing bokeh, sharp wide open 9/10, small, fast.
Cons:
none

There are no much lens, what is possible to compare with EF 135 F2... maybe EF200 f2. This lens is best for portrait, events and travel. Highly recommended.
Some shots:
http://www.vendelin.pri.ee/photoblog/p/50
http://www.vendelin.pri.ee/photoblog/p/108
http://www.vendelin.pri.ee/photoblog/p/106
http://www.vendelin.pri.ee/photoblog/p/61


Feb 15, 2010
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dealaddict
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Registered: Jun 11, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 31
Review Date: Jan 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: unbeatable optic quality, incredible, creamy bokeh at F2, relatively good price
Cons:
non so far

I bought this lens after seeing some samples with the incredible bokeh at F2. On my 5D, it is a incredible portrait lens. Of course, I think the 85mm 1.2 is still THE portrait lens, but the $2000 price tag drove me away. I am very satisfied with the $1100 price tag for this one, for the optic, and the build quality. No complaint.

Jan 9, 2010
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ysengrain
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Registered: Dec 24, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible optical/image quality. Accuracy. Light weght. Very fast
Cons:



Dec 25, 2009
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canonfan93
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Registered: Dec 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Dec 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Phenomenal sharpness and color reproduction
Cons:
None

A L lens that truly deserves its legendary reputation. I take mostly indoor pictures of my kids using natural light and 5D MkII. I rotate mostly the 85L II and this lens in and out of the camera body. The other lens takes fantastic pictures, but at the same time when I look at those produced by the 135mm, I fall in love with this piece of glass every time. As mentioned above, sharpness and color reproduction are out of this world, and AF is fast enough to track my busy kids. Build quality is of course L quality, with a price IMHO below the amazing capability of this lens.

Dec 22, 2009
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Sobax
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Registered: Mar 11, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 365
Review Date: Dec 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, great color and contrast.
Cons:
None

It is amazing piece of glass. Can't imagine a better lens.I use it on 5D and 50D ...even wide open I don't use any sharpening tool in post proc.(shoot RAW)

Dec 20, 2009
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†††



Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
394 540192 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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