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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
390 535539 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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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: 121
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: 416
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: 4209
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: 1333
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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floppydamage
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Registered: Nov 19, 2009
Location: Italy
Posts: 2
Review Date: Nov 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp all across the frame from f2, bokeh, colors, contrast, build quality
Cons:
hood, shape of highlights, not weather-sealed

This is the sharpest lens I've ever used, and that includes 35L and 85L II.
Colors are great and bokeh is spectacular. I love the fact that it's black and relatively light (but feels sturdy), great balance on 5D. It produces the most amazing pictures I've ever taken, and my other lenses doesn't seem so good anymore...
Just a tad long for inside shooting.


Nov 19, 2009
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melashcott
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Registered: Oct 21, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as a tack - Beautiful Bokeh
Cons:
None

This is probably my favourite lens and s a portrait photographer, that's a big call as I have an 85mm f1.2Lii as well. For medium to longer range portraits, the 135mm f2L gives ultimate control for the separation of subject and background - I couldn't recommend it highly enough on a full frame body.

The first two thirds of this shoot were shot with it:
http://shoots.wedding-photography-melbourne.com.au/malcolm-jacinta/?show=gallery

I have also put together a 100% crop shot with this lens here:
http://shoots.wedding-photography-melbourne.com.au/resolution-and-digital-development/

Without spending lots of extra dollars on an 85mm f1.2Lii you won't get a better more value packed lens


Oct 21, 2009
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bluefox9er
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Registered: May 10, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 361
Review Date: Oct 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: it's razor sharp and has the most dreamiest bokeh , churns out superb images..
Cons:
NONE about the lens it's self

theres no more to add...this is one of the best lenses i have ever used..it is razor sharp right form the get-go at f2, colours, contrast and clarity are mind blowing.

I have used it at a recent wedding ( as a guest,not the pro) ad at Toronto zoo and look forward to developing my skills more, wth the safety net of knowing that I now own one of Canon's finest lenses.

I find the 135 mm focal length to be very odd , though..but this is defeciency of my skills and not a short coming of the lens in any way.

If you are thinking of buying this lens..then quit agonising and buy it, it is fantastic.


Oct 11, 2009
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vaskalino
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Registered: Oct 6, 2009
Location: Romania
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: razor sharp, great bokeh, fast.
Cons:
none

Perfect for headshots even on a 1.6x crop camera, a little too long for full body portraits.

Oct 6, 2009
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†††



Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
390 535539 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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