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.
Thanks for looking.