Canon 135 f2 review
The official name: Canon 135 f/2 L USM
Focal length: 135mm
Lens formula:10 elements in 8 groups included two UD elements
Closest focusing distance: 0,90 m
Focus limiter: 0,9 or 1,6m
Aperture blades:8 aperture blades
Maximum magnification: 1:5
ring-type Ultrasonic autofocus drive
Full time manual focus override, you change focus manually over the autofocus but if you push the shutter release button doesn’t stay there, the lens starts to autofocus again, you must turn to manual focus mode for this.
Can work if you want to focus on another subject change focus position and autofocus find the subject afterwards.
Stabilizer: No, brightness is much better. The stabilizer only helps in still life and landscapes.
The Canon 135 f2 is one of the highest reputation lens in the whole Canon lineup. If Ryan Brenizer uses it for a wedding probably this lens could not be that bad. I was very much interested in this lens because it seems very similar to my Canon 200 f2,8. Both lenses use 2 ED elements and has a very similar look: black finish with red ring around the lens. The first thing to realize is the f2 maximum aperture. This helps a lot with the iso selection. Simply using the lowest iso outside almost all the time. The f2 aperture helps a lot in the inside work as well, I often find the f2,8 aperture is not enough without a flash, but f2 can make a real change.
Why is this lens so good ?
Lets see: 1. F2 brightness an incredible feature with this optical quality at f2 aperture, I don’t know how many such lenses exist (I don’t think of any with so high sharpness at f2 perhaps just the 200mm f/2 is), the two ED glass helps a lot I’m sure. 2. Extremely fast and accurate autofocus (and silent as well). My personal approach to lenses that I interested in optical quality first, but a good autofocus system is also very important, the lack of autofocus system simple kills the lens capabilities, even more important to big apertures where the depth of field is very shallow. These two abilities makes sure anything comes out of your camera with this lens attached you won’t be disappointed, if you do your part correctly. Simply it is a wonderful lens in all aspects
For Full Frame the focal length is perfect for portraits on Aps-C feels a little bit long, but perhaps for concerts, sport or theater work is just appropriate. For me the 135mm focal length on Aps-C a little bit strange. I usually use 200mm, 280mm, 400mm, 560mm and 8-100 mm focal length. Not very often use 135mm. Like I look through a tube, not wide, not long but I think for portraits the focal lenght is appropriate from a distance of 3-10m. The field of view is 1,67m from 10 metres. From 3 metres is 0,5m. Same numbers for Full Frame is 2,67m and 0,8m. The 135mm on a full frame camera is almost the same that 85mm focal length on Aps-C, perfect focal length for portraits, and compressed landscapes.
This lens has excellent optics, pictures at f2 has already very high quality. I see no fringing even at pixel level see below, nor flare problems. The lens is tack sharp at f2.8, little softer at f2. Distortion is not visible. Tack sharp from corner to corner, any aperture up to f/16, with high contrast and beautiful colours. Obviously for the best bokeh (out of focus blur) the most used aperture is f/2-f/4 for most people.
Shot at F2, no sharpening, just in camera:
Same picture at 100% crop as it is, consider Depth of field extremely narrow:
The lens has excellent ergonomics, nice focus ring, but the 700 g lens not small or light (depends on perspective or what we comparing). Not so big considered the f2 aperture. The lens built like a tank, which ensures usage for long time. Prime lenses without external moving parts are usually better in this regard.
Autofocus is very quick and almost silent.
Perhaps this lens doesn’t compare to anything else, If I compare to the many ways similar Canon 200 f2.8, the autofocus of the 135L is more agressive. The bokeh of the 135L is better.
Pictures with the lens attached to canon 30D unless noted all picture at f2. After clicking must scroll down once to see the pictures.
More pictures with the 135 f2 on Flickr
www.flickr.com canon 135 f/2 L