Canon’s L series lenses have always been considered the pinnacle of their lens technology. Thanks to endearing reviews and the mad fanaticism that revolves around them; people have gone to great distances trying to own one of them. What makes them great is not only the reviews but the sheer piece of technological marvel that goes into making them. Each L series lens is a great piece of glass bundled with tiny pieces of technology marvels that make them that much easier to focus and compose the shots. The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens is one such great piece of glass and one that has been used quite often by both professional and amateur photographers. The fact that it is an EF lens means that it can fit into almost all Canon DSLR’s that has an EF or an EF-S mount.
So what’s so good about this one? One great thing about the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens is it’s legendary sharpness & bokeh . This lens is so sharp that sometimes you need to reduce it in post process. The moment you start shooting with this lens, you’ll feel that sharpness even looking at your Cameras Back LCD. The front end of the lens does not rotate when you focus it, either when manually focusing or when auto-focusing. For those who use filters and polarizers, this means a big deal. Additionally the lens barrel does not extend as it has an internal focusing system. That means you appear less intimidating to your unsuspecting subjects while shooting. Apart from shooting fast action photography this is a great piece of glass for shooting exceptionally great quality portraits with amazing details, too much detail for some photographers who might even have to correct the blemishes captured.
The broad rubberized focusing grip of the lens feels quite nice in the hand and the fact it has no FTM (Full time manual focusing) unfortunately makes it a bit damper. The lens features two UD elements for ultra low dispersion and correcting chromatic aberrations when shooting wide. The lens is compatible with Canon’s extenders EF 1.4x and EF 2x which gives it an extended focal length however compromises with the speed of the lens
A majority of Canon’s L series (which actually means luxury series as per Canon) lenses comes with USM (ultrasonic motor) which is actually not about shooting at speeds of more than that of sound but more to do with less sound when focusing. When you compare Canon’s normal kit lenses such as the EF-S 18-55mm with the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, the deference becomes quite shamefully obvious. The EF-S 18-55mm or the EF-S 18-135mm can appear like a squeaky old robot trying desperately to keep up. The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens on the other hand is smoother and more silkier in its sound and focusing.
One thing that needs mentioning for a prime lens this fast is the possibility of vignetting. Vignetting will be most surely be a problem if you are using a full frame body. However if you stop down the aperture this should progressively correct itself. It is always going to be a toss up between whether you should let go of the beautiful bokeh that you can get with this lens at f/2 or give it up for the vignetting on your full frame. However if you are using a crop body this problem will not be there. This lens works great with bodies such as the EOS 7D (1.6x crop) for that matter where you get a focal length of 216mm and reduced vignetting.
Sample Images by EF 135mm f/2.0 L USM on flickr
Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L Specifications
|Focal Length||135 mm|
|Mount Type||Canon EF|
|Format Compatibility||35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor|
|Angle of View||18°|
|Min Focus Distance||3′ (91.44 cm)|
|Max Reproduction Ratio||1:5.2|
|Filter Size||72 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 3.2 x 4.4″ (8.13 x 11.18 cm)|
|Weight||1.65 lb (750 g)|