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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 13 Nov 2017 (Monday) 14:06
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135 f2 for family pics and portraits

a mere speck
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Nov 15, 2017 03:42 |  #31

I'm now at the age where a monopod is very helpful to reduce camera shake. I shoot birds in flight handheld. For everything else, if time allows, I'm on a monopod or a tripod.

My photos have improved over this past year and I think that is one of the reasons. I have a pretty decent monopod and tilt head, both RRS: the combination is very easy to adjust. The set-up I had before was just about worthless since it was a pain to use.

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James ­ Crockett
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Jan 30, 2018 11:53 |  #32

what apertures is the 135 f2 the sharpest?

Reader's Digest Condensed version of War and Peace [POTN Vol 1]
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Post edited 6 months ago by Wilt.
Jan 30, 2018 12:09 |  #33

James Crockett wrote in post #18495784 (external link)
I know you guys could help me out. I can't thank everyone of you enough for the comments. Theirs times where I'm shooting and while on autofocus, where the autofocus points are it will be really sharp but the faces will have a slight blur.. the couple won't be razor sharp. I'm thinking strictly use manual focus unless shooting moving subjects. I tried to get some walking shots and wasn't razor sharp and noticed my shutter speed under 500 so I read on here to keep a higher shutter speed..thanks everybody!

Everybody moves as they might be fore and aft a slight amount, even if not side-to-side motion
Everybody moves as their heart might be fore and aft a slight amount, even if not side-to-side motion

And that is why sharpshooters learn to time/control different aspects of their physical status, in an effort to reduce the error induced by inherent body motion. And what affects the camera shooter affects the subjects too. Sometimes the motion is in the same direction, so the compensated motion exhibits perfect focus. It can also lead to circumstances in which both the shooter and the subjects are both moving in opposite directions at the same moment, leading to focus error in the shot.

You need to give me OK to edit your image and repost! Keep POTN alive and well with member support​hp
Canon dSLR system, Olympus OM 35mm system, Bronica ETRSi 645 system, Horseman LS 4x5 system, Metz flashes, Dynalite studio lighting, and too many accessories to mention

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Post edited 6 months ago by TeamSpeed. (4 edits in all)
Jan 30, 2018 12:29 |  #34

The general rule to stop your general motion is to have a shutter speed at 1 / (focal length * crop factor), so in your case, if you are really good at holding still during the shot, the guideline for the 135L is 1/160th for FF.

If your subject material is also moving, assume they are not able to maintain a still moment like you, so perhaps 1/250th for subjects, not quite double.

This definitely points to 1/500th with the 135L on FF to be the guideline you want with live subjects. This is what I strive for, and only go lower once I have hit limits with aperture and ISO. This is especially the case when taking pictures of children.

When shooting sports, I know many try to shoot at 1/800th to 1/1250th, but after several years of sports shooting, I personally have settled on a shutter speed of 1/2000th. This is the speed one needs to stop water droplets in air as they fly off players. Each situation you shoot, you need to experiment to find the settings that give you the best baseline to start with. Each person with their respective gear for what they shoot will have different settings.

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grabbing their Johnson
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Jan 30, 2018 12:43 |  #35

My Opinion

The 135L is one of canons best portrait lens. That said, I dont use it for family shots very often. I think its more designed for individual and couples shots where you can shoot wide open or smaller group shots with everyone on the same plane.

Family shots to me are often 4 or more and people are on different planes frequently. This means you are going to be at F/3.5 to keep everyone in focus. So for family I think its a poor choice and I would Opt for a 24-70 or an 85 where I could step back and maybe get it to F/2.8 to keep a family in focus

Love Love Love the 135L. But I dont use it for groups very often unless they are a straight line pose like a bridal group of girls/guys and everyone is on same plane.

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... sorry. I got carried away!
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Jan 30, 2018 12:53 |  #36

The 135 f/2 is the longest lens that I have that doesn't have IS. It is also a very fast lens that I like to shoot wide open or thereabouts (very unforgiving in terms of depth of field) ... and I think that has shown in some (OK ... a few more than some) of my photographs. Either I am just too shaky these days or I have not been paying enough attention to good technique when using the lens. So, I have in the past had a lot of just slightly (annoyingly) soft images shot at what I thought was an acceptable shutter speed around and about the 1/250 point.

I shoot the lens at 1/500 or faster now ... even for static subjects ... and I try to brace the lens and control my breathing better. My images are much sharper.

Of course, I could shoot the lens stopped down to f/8 as well (I guess somewhere between f/8 and f/11 is probably where the 135 resolves most sharply ... on a tripod) and that would improve sharpness a bit more. I wouldn't probably like the images very much, though ... they would look too much like what I could take with a basic smartphone camera (before manipulation).

The 135 is quite versatile but a lot of people will use it mainly for portraits. In that case, shoot at 1/500 at least and try to steady the camera well. Choose your aperture according to the DOF you think will work best for the shot ... which will often be f/2 or close by.

Comment and (constructive) criticism always welcome.

"Looks rough and well used"
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Jan 30, 2018 12:54 |  #37

James Crockett wrote in post #18552463 (external link)
what apertures is the 135 f2 the sharpest?

It's fairly sharp wide open on sensors with large pixels.

It's very sharp at F4 and lower.

But if you're buying the 135L to shoot at F2.8 or F4, you probably are better off with 70-200 with stabilization.

Very best,

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Post edited 6 months ago by MNUplander. (5 edits in all)
Jan 31, 2018 09:31 |  #38

I used to have a 135L and it's on my short list to re-acquire - now that my kids are older, I'd like it for their school programs when they are on stage. I previously used it exclusively as an outdoor lens for taking pictures of my kids, wife and pets. I just don't have the space inside to use 135mm unless I'm going for headshots, which is rare.

Outdoors, you still need to be careful at f2 not to get too close otherwise you'll start to see focus falloff from narrow depth of field appear on faces (eyes in focus, ears are not for example). This is the time to stop down, take a couple steps back and/or pull out the 200mm lens.

On my 5D3 and 6D, I was always fine around 1/135 but given my usage, light was never much of an issue. I'd be going a little higher shutter speed with your higher pixel camera. It was plenty sharp enough for my uses at f2.

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135 f2 for family pics and portraits
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