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Thread started 23 May 2015 (Saturday) 14:09
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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, reviewed by Hatch1921

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND Hatch1921 (showing now: Hatch1921)
Overall Rating9.5
Overall Image Quality9.5
Value for Money10
Bokeh10
Sharpness9.5
Contrast9.5
Focusing10
Must Have10
Suitability to Intended Use10
Got What I Expected10
image
photo by JohnPh
Ownership Status: "own"

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List all reviews of Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
 
Hatch1921
Cream of the Crop
Hatch1921's Avatar
Joined Mar 2006
Phoenix AZ
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Hatch1921.
May 23, 2015 14:09 |  #1

The lens has a very solid build, and the focusing ring is nice and wide for easy handling. The weight of the lens isn’t bad. It isn’t light, but it isn’t heavy like shooting with a 70-200L F/2.8 lens. Hand holding the lens is what I do the majority of the time. You have to be aware of your shutter speeds as this is a longer focal length lens without image stabilization. I’ve kicked myself on a number of occasions for not keeping my shutter speeds up high enough to eliminate camera shake.
I would suggest using this lens with a monopod or tripod if you are in conditions where the shutter speeds are slower than the 1/250th of a second. Of course, there are people out there who can hand hold this lens down to 1/80th or slower, but I've found keeping the shutter speeds up is your best bet for sharp images.
Focusing speed. This lens is fast! It snaps to focus very quickly when shooting from its minimum focusing distance to a distant object. Between this lens and my Canon 200L F/2.8 lens, they are the fastest focusing lenses in my bag.

Bokeh! What can you say? Shooting at F/2.0 and having the images sharp… while creating…dare I use the word “dreamy” backgrounds…equals fantastic results?


The only issue I have ever heard people complain about this lens is, it’s an odd focal length. I haven’t found this to be the case. I like the extra reach and compression you get from a longer telephoto lens on a full frame camera. I can see where people who have crop sensors might find this lens to be a little long for portrait work. Again, this is the only complaint I’ve ever read/heard about the lens.
If you are in the market for your first “L” lens, this is the one I would recommend. I’ve shot everything from portraits to group shots and even entire sessions with just the 135L. It’s sharp, it resolves really well, the colors/contrast/bokeh are wonderful. I wouldn’t change a thing about this lens!

The images below have 100% crops with them… you can see the lens is sharp and lots of details are captured in the images. My typical post processing/sharpening has been applied. I will sharpen in LightRoom @ about 50-60 and then hand sharpen the eyes with the sharpen tool in Photoshop set to 8-10%. The images are sharp to begin with the 135L but… I like to add a little sharpening for print.

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7759/17986097056_a343292064_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7732/18009340032_2ceaf97e76_o.jpg


IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8847/18012568095_036872beb4_o.jpg
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8792/18012568315_38bbeb9876_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7659/17824666218_9c76a9afe2_o.jpg
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8892/18012568705_da9ca272e1_o.jpg

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8852/17389962954_afe30b4a61_o.jpg
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8848/18013343781_3a16145672_o.jpg

Thanks for looking.
Hatch

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Intheswamp
Goldmember
Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
May 23, 2015 15:23 |  #2

Thanks for posting this!!! I've been debating this one and the 70-200 f4 or 24-70 f4. The 135L has been on the radar the longest. Nice review!!!

Ed


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Hatch1921
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Cream of the Crop
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Joined Mar 2006
Phoenix AZ
May 23, 2015 17:15 as a reply to Intheswamp's post |  #3

Very welcome Ed. It takes the 1.4xTC very well... just something to think about.

It's glued to the camera! :) I would suggest renting one and seeing if the focal length is something you will enjoy. For the $$$ it's one of Canon's very finest lenses in the line up.

Hatch


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Intheswamp
Goldmember
Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
May 23, 2015 18:01 |  #4

I've heard that it does quiet well with the 1.4x. That would be something I would probably do...it would give me some good reach with very good image quality.

A while back I was trying to get a grip on that focal length by using an old Nikkor Q 135mm f2.8 manual lens. I did like the perspective that it gave and the reach was good. I liked the overall images from the lens *except* I was missing focus with it too many times using an AF confirm adapter. Missing focus put a damper on using it for me but I guess I need to put it back on and use it some more.

I shoot a lot of images of my granddaughters (4, 8, and -3 month old...due in September :) ). The 4 and 8 year old are both in tumbling, dancing, etc.,. so I shoot them on a lighted stage from time to time...among the hundreds of candids around the house, etc.,.

I'm also thinking I might eventually put my camera up for hire...try to make it pay it's way, if you will. So, a good portrait lens would be great. But then...I think of the versatility of a zoom. :rolleyes:

I'll stick the old Nikkor 135 back on my 6D more often... ;)
Ed


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Hatch1921
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Joined Mar 2006
Phoenix AZ
Post has been edited over 1 year ago by Hatch1921.
May 23, 2015 18:55 as a reply to Intheswamp's post |  #5

If the grand kids are the main focus....a zoom might be better. The canon 24-70 II is very sharp and vesitle. the same with the canon 70-200 II

With all the movement....zooming with your feet might not be the best option.


Hatch


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Intheswamp
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Joined Sep 2013
South Alabama
May 23, 2015 21:07 |  #6

Yeah, keeping up with them could be a chore with the 135L. I've been using a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 for my walk-around lens. The 24-70 (probably f4) is a relatively new arrival in my lens-debate, but added it to possibly up the IQ of my walk-around.

Still debating... :)

Ed


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Hatch1921
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Phoenix AZ
May 24, 2015 09:02 |  #7

Intheswamp wrote in post #17568534external link
Yeah, keeping up with them could be a chore with the 135L. I've been using a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 for my walk-around lens. The 24-70 (probably f4) is a relatively new arrival in my lens-debate, but added it to possibly up the IQ of my walk-around.

Still debating... :)

Ed

It's a challenge to find the right fit for your style... something we all face I suppose. In this situation... going with a zoom ...I would think... would be the best option. The 135L is pretty amazing.. but.. to capture kids running around and having fun... it isn't nearly as versatile as a zoom lens. :)

Hatch


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BallerStatus
Goldmember
Joined Apr 2014
Knoxville, TN
May 29, 2015 16:08 |  #8

Intheswamp wrote in post #17568234external link
Thanks for posting this!!! I've been debating this one and the 70-200 f4 or 24-70 f4. The 135L has been on the radar the longest. Nice review!!!

Ed

I actually sold my 70-200 f4L IS to buy a 135L and so happy with the purchase. If you are shooting primarily portraits, look heavily at the 135L. I shot a lot of motorsports (dried up in my area) and prefer primes for portraits.

Great review, Hatch and nice shots!


2 5Dc's and EOS M - Canon EF-M 22mm f2, Canon 35mm f2 IS, Canon 50mm f1.8, Canon 85mm f1.8, Canon 135 f2L, Canon 24-105mm f4L IS
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Hatch1921
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Phoenix AZ
May 30, 2015 09:41 |  #9

BallerStatus wrote in post #17576262external link
I actually sold my 70-200 f4L IS to buy a 135L and so happy with the purchase. If you are shooting primarily portraits, look heavily at the 135L. I shot a lot of motorsports (dried up in my area) and prefer primes for portraits.

Great review, Hatch and nice shots!


Many thanks BallerStatus. Glad you liked the review. The 135L is a fantastic chunk of glass!

Hatch


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iAMB
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836 posts
Joined Mar 2009
St. Louis
Aug 17, 2015 20:04 |  #10

The focus on his eyes are so clear and tack sharp, that when zoomed in you can almost pick out your location from the reflection. Very impressive glass! Too bad I don't shoot many portraits, mostly street. This would be one amazing lens to have.


Canon 6D Mk I
24-70mm F/4L , 70-200mm F/4L , 50mm 1.8 I , Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 & 35mm F/1.4
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artyH
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2,072 posts
Joined Aug 2009
Aug 18, 2015 08:49 |  #11

What were the exposures for those portraits? The lens is amazingly sharp.




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Hatch1921
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Cream of the Crop
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Phoenix AZ
Aug 24, 2015 15:15 |  #12

iAMB wrote in post #17672949 (external link)
The focus on his eyes are so clear and tack sharp, that when zoomed in you can almost pick out your location from the reflection. Very impressive glass! Too bad I don't shoot many portraits, mostly street. This would be one amazing lens to have.


Many thanks. It's a great "all around" lens to use. If nothing else.. rent one and see if it fits your shooting style.

Thanks again,
Hatch


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Hatch1921
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Aug 24, 2015 15:17 |  #13

artyH wrote in post #17673439 (external link)
What were the exposures for those portraits? The lens is amazingly sharp.


From F/2.0 through the f-stop range, the lens is very sharp. :)

Hatch


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mike_311
Checking squirrels nuts
Joined Mar 2011
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by mike_311.
Aug 25, 2015 14:20 |  #14

Hatch1921 wrote in post #17681343 (external link)
From F/2.0 through the f-stop range, the lens is very sharp. :)

Hatch

can confirm. i shoot this lens at f/2 or f4 mostly and its crazy sharp. stopping down a bit is no different but you start to lose what makes this lens great, which is how it renders out of focus elements.


Canon 5d mkii | Tamron 24-70/2.8 | Canon 85/1.8 | Canon 135/2L
Olympus EPL7 | Panasonic 20/1.7 | Olympus 45/1.8
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raksphoto
Senior Member
Joined Jun 2010
California
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by raksphoto.
Aug 29, 2015 13:51 |  #15

Nice review Hatch. Love this lens also, originally used it for astrophotography, where it got very high ratings. But agreed, beautiful portrait lens for full-frame.

Thanks also for mention of your beauty/post editing.


7D Mk II | 70D | 7D | 1D Mk III
EF-S 10-18mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM | EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM |
EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | EF-S 50-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II | EF 70-200mm f/4L |
EF 135mm f/2L | EF 100mm f/2 | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 50mm f/1.2L | EF 35mm f/1.4L
The main camera gear I use

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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, reviewed by Hatch1921
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