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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 10 Jan 2014 (Friday) 03:30
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Best (reasonably priced) telephoto portrait prime?

 
draculr
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Jan 10, 2014 03:30 |  #1

I'm trying to round out my prime collection which I use for weddings + portrait photography.

I'm trying to get a lens that gets me close to that magic half body/full body telephoto shot that lenses like the 200mm f2 IS do extremely well:

http://www.flickr.com …89087/in/pool-709499@N25/ (external link)

Unfortunately I have neither the funds to buy that particular lens, nor the desire to carry it around for any length of time.

I've made what I think is a shortlist of lenses that may achieve close to that look:


  1. Canon 135mm f2.0: Nice and cheap for what it is, easier to work with focal length but lacks IS and also doesn't seem to blur complex backgrounds anywhere near as well as the 200mm f2.0 IS.
  2. Canon 200mm f2.8 II: Same focal length but lacks the IS and misses out on a stop. But way cheaper, way smaller and way lighter. From my browsing of samples it seems the bokeh might be better controlled than the 135mm when dealing with shrubbery and other complicated backdrops.
  3. Canon 300mm f4 IS: Might be getting quite long here but the IS helps keep the shutter speeds down which means it may be more useful than the 200mm f2.8 once the light starts to dim. It's hard to find many portrait examples since most people use it to photograph sports and birds, but the examples that are there seem to work and the bokeh looks great too.


Any thoughts? Any other lenses I should consider for this kind of specialised area of work?

Photography by Peter Georges (external link) - Sydney Wedding and Portrait Photography

  
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Bonbridge
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Jan 10, 2014 03:59 |  #2

I think it is hard to beat your current 85LII in background blur. I would skip the 300 because it is just way to long for portraits. IMO the 200 is even pretty long. You have to stand pretty far back to get everyone in the frame. If you have the room and don't need to get close the 200LF/2.8 is a good choice. But I think that the 135 is much more practical due it's focallength. Sigma is going to release a 135/1.8 OS this year they said! So if you are patient enough that lens is really interesting. And do you consider the 70-200LII?


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titi_67207
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Jan 10, 2014 04:15 |  #3

135L & 200L f/2.8 have the same optical formula, so it depends only of the focal length wanted.

Many weddings photographers have the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II... which would complete your actual lenses well.

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draculr
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Jan 10, 2014 04:47 |  #4

I've tried the 70-200mm f2.8 II multiple times. I went back and forth between the 85mm and 70-200ii. But I just don't really get along with zooms in general and would prefer to spend less and get a lens which weighs a lot less too (if not compared to the 300mm). With two bodies used for a wedding, I don't really find the need to zoom much anyway.

The idea of a Sigma 135mm 1.8 OS does sound extremely promising but knowing my luck it wont be released until I purchase a Canon lens.


Photography by Peter Georges (external link) - Sydney Wedding and Portrait Photography

  
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pfogle
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Jan 10, 2014 05:14 as a reply to  @ draculr's post |  #5

I use the 135L a lot. I used to use a 180 f2.8 Zeiss Sonnar, but it weighed a ton...

Also the 100mm f2 - very nice. I have used the 200 f2.8, but didn't really take to that focal length.

This is all on full frame.


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James ­ P
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Jan 10, 2014 06:53 |  #6

I can highly recommend the 135L. It produces excellent images and is very sharp at f-2. I've never had a problem with the lack of I.S. Check out the 135 thread for some great examples.


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nightcat
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Jan 10, 2014 07:42 |  #7

I have all 3 of those lenses. Although the 135mm f2 can really isolate your subject at f2 when that is required, I would say the best portraits come from the 200mm 2.8. Many times I need to stop down the 135mm to 2.8 in order to get more of the subjects face in focus. When I need 2.8, I prefer the 200mm to the 135mm. If I could only keep one of these 3 lenses, it would be the 200mm 2.8.




  
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sourcehill
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Jan 10, 2014 09:37 |  #8

How about the 100mm 2.8L Macro. I have the 135L and find the 100mm way more versatile.


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draculr
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Jan 10, 2014 09:41 |  #9

nightcat wrote in post #16593511 (external link)
I have all 3 of those lenses. Although the 135mm f2 can really isolate your subject at f2 when that is required, I would say the best portraits come from the 200mm 2.8. Many times I need to stop down the 135mm to 2.8 in order to get more of the subjects face in focus. When I need 2.8, I prefer the 200mm to the 135mm. If I could only keep one of these 3 lenses, it would be the 200mm 2.8.

Yea I know the 135mm would be easier to work with and would give me the "holy trinity" but the 200mm is looking quite good to me based on comparison of flickr pools.

It's also damn cheap for an L lens.


Photography by Peter Georges (external link) - Sydney Wedding and Portrait Photography

  
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draculr
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Jan 10, 2014 09:42 |  #10

sourcehill wrote in post #16593836 (external link)
How about the 100mm 2.8L Macro. I have the 135L and find the 100mm way more versatile.

It'd be too close to my 85mm. I'm looking to add a new perspective that I cannot get with my 35 and 85 combo.


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iadubber
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Jan 10, 2014 09:51 |  #11

I'd recommend the 135L as well not far behind is the 200L 2.8 too.


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davidfarina
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Jan 10, 2014 10:23 |  #12

+1 for 135L

Amazing lens and similiar when it comes to background blur to your 85Lii + faster AF


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amfoto1
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Jan 10, 2014 12:59 |  #13

Wide open the 135L can completely destroy busy backgrounds... and give a very dreamy effect... it just depends upon how close you are to your subject and how far behind your subject the background is.

Stopped down, the 135L gets nose-bleed sharp.

And it's got great, rich color rendition plus a very fast, accurate focusing. It really is a joy to use and highly recommended for portraiture on a FF camera such as yours. Try it, I think you'll like it.

Need a bit longer? The 135L works very well with a 1.4X II or III, too, to give you an "effective 189mm f2.8" (damn close to the 200/2.8 II).


Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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basselmudarris
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Jan 10, 2014 13:10 |  #14

Agree with the majority here: I'd go with the 135L. I had the 135L and now have the 85L, and I'm probably going to eventually buy another 135L because it is truly a joy to use. IMO, they produce different looks; the 85L produces a dreamy look, while the 135L has an amazing 3D effect, simply destroying the background. It's tack sharp at f/2 too. Also, I find it to be a very useful focal length for candids and low light event photography.

Some examples of the 135L's 3D effect:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7408/9134830577_f009a331b2_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …asselmudarris/9​134830577/  (external link)

IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3748/9194064304_7358b408d2_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …asselmudarris/9​194064304/  (external link)



  
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Jan 10, 2014 13:21 |  #15

When I look at your profile I only see one camera body, the 5D Mark III and a complement of very fine glass. Instead of more or replacement glass, why don't you consider a high end cropped body like the 60D which would be compatible with all the existing glass and provide a backup body. That 24-105mm f4L IS on a cropped body would have an effective field of view of 38-168mm. That might very well fill your need and as I said provide a backup body.

A 60D body through the Canon Loyalty Program, assuming you live in the States, was around $600 just prior to Christmas, although stock was limited.




  
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Best (reasonably priced) telephoto portrait prime?
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