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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

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

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'.