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Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
List Price: $1500.00

Our Price: $925.00

You Save: $575.00 (38%)

 


Product Description

Fastest 135mm telephoto lens in its class / 2 UD-glass elements correct secondary spectrum / Compatible with Extender EF 1.4x II and 2x II

The fastest 135mm telephoto lens in its class, the Canon EF 135mm f/2L lens is ideal for indoor sports photography and portraits with background blur. Although the lens offers complete automatic focusing capabilities thanks to its Ultra Sonic Motor (USM), you can still take advantage of its manual focus function even when the camera is in AF mode. The lens also offers two UD glass elements that help minimize chromatic aberrations, giving your images outstanding sharpness and color. Other details include a 3-foot close focusing distance, an 18-degree diagonal angle of view, and a 72mm filter size. The lens--which is compatible with EF 1.4x II and 2x II extenders--carries a one-year warranty.

Specifications

  • Focal length: 135mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.0
  • Lens construction: 10 elements in 8 groups
  • Angle of view: 18 degrees
  • Closest focusing distance: 3 feet
  • Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
  • Mount: Canon
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Dimensions: 3.2 inches in diameter and 4.4 inches long
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
Features:
  • EF mount; telephoto lens
  • Ultra-low Dispersion glass with Fluorite elements; inner focusing ring
  • 135mm focal length f/2 maximum aperture Ring USM motor
  • Comes with Leather bag & lens hood

Customer Reviews:

  • Outstanding
    I own the Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro, Canon 24-105mm f4L, and the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L lenses. The Canon 135mm f2L blows them all away. If there is such a thing as a perfect lens, this its it. Images are clear, sharp, beautiful bohek, and they pop. At f2.0 it is as good as any other lens I use -- at 2.8 and above it is unmatched. I would find it hard to believe there is a better quality lens. If you buy this lens, you will not be dissapointed other than with the other lenses in your bag. ...more info
  • My #1 lens
    Read the reviews - this is simply an outstanding lens, a great value and of all the lens I own my #1 favorite. It lives on my camera.

    Just nothing negative to say and I have owned this for years.....the quality of my images is superlative - beautiful bokeh, very quick focus, fast, fast, fast.....

    Color, contrast, unbeatable. I own many Canon L lens, including the 70-200 f2.8, 35L, etc. Use this one for everything from equine photography to landscape and I never regret having it with me. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. For detailed information about the lens, look at some of the lengthy reviews - they pretty well all give it the 5 stars it deserves.

    Buy it....more info
  • The Stuff of Legends
    I was in the market to expand my prime collection. I had a rewarding experience with purchasing an 85 f/1.8 (a fantastic lens), and was interested in exploring the 135. After reading all of the reviews here (yes, every single one) as well as reviews on other sites, I got to thinking: can this lens actually be THAT good? A part of me didn't want to believe it. I wanted to think it was some sort of mass hysteria. But another part of me knew that such accolades aren't tossed so casually here. So I broke down and bought one.

    And I haven't looked back.

    I've been used to using zooms--and L zooms at that. I thought they were wonderful. I loved them. I never thought I'd want for more. However, this lens really drives home the difference between primes and zooms. The performance of the 135 is nothing short of stunning. I had read the reviews of people using this lens and then marveling at the results. I thought this was quaint, and a result of "lens placebo." But after seeing what this lens produced for me, I knew all the gushing was true. I then took comparison shots with this lens and my 70-200 f/4L. The results were quite convincing: sharpness and color produced by the 135 are definitely on another level than the 70-200 f/4L (and I won't even talk about bokeh because of the f/2 vs. f/4 difference). Since I bought the 135, I haven't put the 70-200 on my camera except to make the comparison shots.

    Believe the hype. This lens is THAT good....more info
  • Loved it
    I absolutely adored this lense. Some of my best images came from it. I regret selling it instead of my 24-70 but live and learn.
    If you are thinking about buying this lense stop now and place your order. You will not regret it. ...more info
  • One of the finest lens I own!!!
    Intro:

    Never Ever: Rent, borrow or attach this lens to your camera! If you do, you will have to own it. It's that good!

    When you hold this finely crafted piece of perfection in your hands then mount it to your camera and take those first lightening fast auto-focused shots wide open and view that perfection of Bokeh on your monitor you can't help but feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. It just doesn't get any better then this. The unique combination of: light weight, perfect balance, perfect build, super fast auto-focus is like nothing I have ever tried before and I've tried almost all of them yes and that's including the Canon 300mm F/2.8 IS L and Canon 400mm F/2.8 IS L and Canon 500mm F/4 IS L which while fantastic are all way too heavy! This must be what heaven truly feels like, perfect!

    The Canon 135mm F/2 L lens is: cheaper, lighter, faster to focus, easier to mount, and easier on batteries then the Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II lens. The 85mm F/1.2 lens has a little wider angle of view is softer wide open for female portraiture and when both are stopped down has slightly better contrast and is a little bit sharper. Both wide open the 135mm is King in the sharpness dept. but hey wide open on the 85mm is F/1.2!

    The Canon 135mm F/2 L lens is: sharper, cheaper, lighter, faster to focus and stealthier then either the Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L or 70-200 F/2.8 IS L. In fact my copy is sharper wide open then my 70-200 is stepped down to F/5.6.

    A great portrait lens on a 1.6 cropped sensor camera (40D/50D, Rebels) if you have room to backup and just plain fantastic on a full frame camera.

    The Canon 135mm F/2 L lens is the finest all around lens I have ever owned!! Fantastic looking shots like my Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II but much easier to use and carry. As a plus the sharpness and distance is perfect for taking male portraits where you don't want a soft image you want it as sharp as possible which is what you get with this lens even at F/2.

    I've shown family this lens, talked about this lens and all I ever hear is what camera do you have? How did you learn to take such great photos? I've taken photos for years and years shooting many weddings and all I can say is the single most important thing I've done to improve my portrait photography is to purchase this lens and shoot at F2.0. Listed below in-depth are my thoughts and feelings about this magnificent lens.

    Pros:

    Sharp, really sharp
    Perfect lens for indoor sports
    Perfect male client portrait lens
    Very light compared to 70-200 F2.8
    Super fast right on the money auto focus
    Bokeh, Bokeh, Bokeh oh how I love thee!!
    Bokeh, Bokeh, I just had to say it again!!!!!
    Perfect lens for outdoor portrait photography
    The best build quality of any lens I own bar none!
    Perfect lens for candid photos at Renaissance Festivals
    Stealth: Nice small black and un-noticed even with the hood
    Perfectly balanced when mounted with long hood that protects filter
    Focus ring is large, perfecly placed and dampened and accurate and is a pleasure to use.
    This lens has Auto Lens Vignetting correction using peripheral Illumination control see Auto Vignetting comments below:

    Built in back drop anywhere you go courtesy of super Bokeh F/2.0 to 2.2

    Cons:

    No stabilization
    Who put this focus limiter switch on here? You don't need it!!!
    Sensitive to low battery on Rebel XTi (does not focus well with low bat)
    Can be a little long indoors in confined spaces with cropped sensor camera
    Photo contrast a little light easily compensated in Digital Photo Professional

    Keeper tips:

    Use a monopod or tripod
    Set the ISO to keep the Shutter speed 1/250s or above if in dark area 100 ISO on sunny days
    Choose a dark background several feet from your model (I like 15 or more feet if possible)
    Have your model pose in the shade if outside
    Have your model's eyes parallel to your camera
    Have your model remain as still as possible
    Auto focus lock on their eyes (Works on my Rebel XTi, 40D and 5D Mark II)
    Focus lock then recompose as needed and take several photos, then take some more.
    Verify focus by zooming in and reviewing. Make sure eyes are in focus nothing else matters
    Practice Practice and Practice

    Background:

    I purchased this 135mm F/2L lens to supplement my favorite portrait lens so far the excellent Canon 70-200 2.8 L. I love to do distant portraits at: weddings, renaissance festivals, air shows, public events, etc. and wanted the absolute best lens I could afford for this. Plus I wanted that 2/3 F stop advantage the 135 gives for dark church interiors where weddings always seem to take place and flash units are not welcome.

    Test description:

    First thing I did was test shoot against my 70-200 mounted on a tripod zoomed to 135mm with mirror lockup and remote cable release manual mode 1/125 s at F2.8 ISO 100 early in the morning. I pointed the camera at an identical spot in the shade of a neighbors trees and in less then 60 seconds (as fast as I could change lens) fired one round though each lens and went back into the house to compare.

    Test Conclusions:

    This and several dozen test shots later in the day back to back at different settings led me to the following conclusions. The 135mm has by far better Bokeh, buttery smooth the kind I used to dream about. The 70-200 by comparison is acceptable but at F2.8 leaves little rings around each item and noticeable backgrounds where at the same F stop the 135mm leaves a smooth non-distracting background. I tested at different F stops and the 135mm is always pleasing. The 135mm is way sharper at the same F stops then the 70-200, no shock there. And I believe the 135mm to be sharper at F2 then the 70-200 at any F stop especially in the corners.

    Manual focus ring:

    Not that you need it because the auto focus works so well on this camera, but I love how wide easily reached and used this ring is, it's what manual focus should be on every lens. The manual focus ring is large, perfecly placed and dampened and accurate and is a pleasure to use.

    Thoughts:

    Some people will no doubt criticize my including no stabilization in the Con area above and say you knew that when you bought the lens. I will probably get used to the fact it has no zoom but I swear I must have reached up to the lens at least a dozen times in the first hour of playing with it and tried to turn the focus ring to zoom. A zoom can sure spoil you. But, the 135mm is worth all the trouble of a higher saturation setting and no zoom to get that beautiful creamy buttery smooth just right Bokeh.

    Really Cool 3D POP Effect:

    Another reason I purchased this lens is I saw several photos taken at F2 where there was this weird really cool looking strange 3D pop effect! I found out you can make that effect on command again and again and again. I am addicted to it. Just photograph a person standing out there far enough away where you get their entire body in the photo with the lens at F2. And Bingo 3D pop effect! I tried it on the 70-200 and although at F2.8 it will do a little it seems as though there is a lot of difference between F2.8 and F2 as even on the 135mm the effect is almost gone at F2.8 compared to F2.

    Stealth:

    I carried the lens around work today and shot some candid photos. The Canon 135mm F2 is: nice, small, black and un-noticed even with the hood. One friend was even a little surprised to find out it wasn't my 17-40 or 24-70 zoom. If you want to take portraits without being noticed this lens is far better then the 70-200 F2.8 zoom even though it has no zoom. Carry the 70-200 F2.8 around and people think you are part of the press corps and are looking for the news truck. The 135mms small size (just slightly longer then a 17-40 F4 L) and black color make it look more like a wide angle lens. Point the 70-200 at people and they sometimes take offense and it's very obvious they know that they are being photographed, point the 135mm at people and they don't seem to mind.

    Conclusion:

    Like has been said before, if you want the best prime portrait lens currently made by Canon then click purchase and enjoy the Bokeh. If however you find yourself locked into a position when shooting and have to zoom in and out and really want to impress people then you might want to get one of the Canon 70 -200 zooms instead. I'm going with both.

    I'll post updates in coming weeks as I use this lens.

    Update 1-3-2008

    The Canon 135mm continues to impress.

    I took this lens with me Christmas and shot portraits with it. I took many photos also with the Canon 50mm F/1.8II, Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L and the Canon 17-40 F/4 L and the Canon 24mm F/2.8. All my relatives always instantly picked the shots taken with the 135mm F/2 as their favorite photo even when previewing through the little monitor on the back of my Canon Rebel XTi.

    Yesterday I shot a special event at our church and the lighting was really dim, a lot of shots I took were at F2 and F2.2 which I took from the front row towards the stage. The 50mm just didn't have the reach and my 70-200 F2.8 L didn't have the speed. 135mm F/2 to the rescue!!

    My friends from church and the church pastor all normally not really vocal about photos went on and on about them.

    Filter Update 1-3-2008

    After much searching I found the perfect filter. The Hoya Multi Coat HMC Pro1 Protection filter is not supposed to filter the shot just protect the front lens element. I was very worried that it would affect the shot after having tried some other premium filters like the B+W UV which caused the photos to be softer and duller. However, after some tests I found that in some weird way the Hoya Multi Coat HMC Pro1 actually makes the photos seem to have just a little more contrast and be a little sharper then without. I thought I had gotten the test shots backwards and had to retest with a little sign in the photo saying with and without filter in place just to make sure. Really amazing!!! I'm sold!

    Update 1-16-2008

    I recently went with my sister to a local park to do portrait shots and take photos of some tame ducks in the lake. After shooting several hours with my Canon 135mm I switched to the Canon 70-200 F2.8 to get closer shots of the ducks. The weight and size of the 70-200 were immediately felt. The Canon Rebel XTi I was using now felt unbalanced and my arms got tired fast. I thought I was just getting tired so I switched back to the Canon 135mm. Immediate weight relief and people no longer staring at me as someone who must be a pro. Granted I could no longer zoom but what a difference. This lens weight, balance and length wise essentially feels like I have the Canon 17-40 F4 L mounted.

    Update 1-22-2008

    On my birthday I was looking through some portraits from Christmas where I took some candid portraits of the family playing football with my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L lens and then switched back to the Canon 135mm F/2. You can spot the difference even looking at the thumbnails. The 70-200 is pretty sharp in the center close to wide open but the 135mm just has a so much more pleasing creamy buttery smooth Bokeh that the 70-200 just can not reproduce and the 135mm is razor sharp even wide open edge to edge. Maybe I am a pixel nut but I also noticed these distracting little rings around points of light in the Bokeh areas with the 70-200 lens even at F2.8. The 135mm is just creamy smooth all the way from wide open then stepped down until you lose your Bokeh taking the same photos at all apertures.

    Update 2-09-2008

    I took some pre-wedding test photos of a couple at small local church. This lens takes a lot of working room with a cropped sensor camera (Rebel XTi) and is almost unusable inside the small church. I did find some really nice places in the shade outside though that worked great. I ended up using my Canon 17-40 F4 L and Canon 50mm F1.8 much more on this shoot and wishing for a 17-55 or 24-70 F2.8 Zoom. It just reinforces the specialty use of this lens and even though the outside was cluttered I got some great shots. I think I could take a model and get cover page photos in a junk yard. It's that good at blurring the background. So much so that far more important then having a pleasing background location is having the model in shade with a dark looking background cluttered or not is the most important thing. You can shoot in the sun it's just that it is so harsh.

    Update 2-13-2008

    My adopted daughter came by to say goodbye last night before moving out of town and I took some portraits of her and my other daughter in the backyard. She usually does not like to have her photo taken and never likes the results. And she had not been over to the house since I got this lens. Surprise! The Canon 135mm strikes again. I took some waist up portraits and head shots and she was stunned to say the least. She wanted a DVD of the best shots to take with her.

    Another friend wanted photos of her daughter for a photo book to put out before her wedding and for her senior photos. Again I stepped out in the back yard with the 135mm F/2 L lens and shot a few candid's and gave them the disk. Later that week when I asked her mom how they liked the photos she said of all the photos that they had taken ever included by professionals the daughter would not let them use any other photos except the ones I took with the 135mm. She loved them that much.

    Taking photos these last few days had reinforced just how great the photos can be but also how unforgiving this lens is at F2 to F2.5 especially close up. You had better make sure you nail the focus as the Depth of

    If you shoot using full auto focus and the lens locks on to and arm, hand, or their chest and those parts are even a little out in front of the nose the face may be completely out of focus. I have found as long as you have the eyes in focus they accept the photos and love them. You may want to try different focus points with your camera combination until you are nailing the focus you want. Take lots of photos at different F stops just to make sure as you will have a higher reject rate then with a normal lens at first until you really get your technique worked out.

    Auto Vignetting peripheral illumination control:

    I haven't noticed much vignetting with this lens even wide open, but Canon has this super sweet Auto Lens Vignetting correction that works with this lens both in camera with JPEG's and in RAW using peripheral Illumination control in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) when using newer Canon digital EOS cameras (Canon Rebel XSi, 40D, 5D Mark II etc.) . No more vignetting when shooting wide open!!! When shooting Raw open the file(s) in DPP and click on NR/Lens Lens Aberration Correction / Tune and click on Peripheral illumination. The cameras listed above have already picked up the amount of vignetting based on focusing distance and F stop from the lens and the camera has saved the information with the Raw file. You can then adjust the amount under Peripheral Illumination if you don't like the amount automatically suggested. If you shot JPEG then you get the auto amount. SWEET!!!

    Update 2-16-2008 Arizona Renaissance Festival

    MAN!! This is the perfect lens at a Renaissance festival especially if the weather is marginal. It was a gloomy drizzling 49F when the gates opened on the 16th of Feb at the AZ Renaissance Festival. And with any of my other lens I would have had to shove my ISO to 400 to 800 ISO at least to get good shots. Here I am shooting Twig the fairy at 100 to 200 ISO and shutter speeds of 1/500th to 1/640th with a dense dark cloud cover blocking sunlight. As usual everyone is clustered around Twig and the background is unusually cluttered. But with this lens at F/2 and F/2.2 the background is turned into a very cool color montage blur that make people gasp when they see the photos!

    THE DETAILS this lens renders are incredible. I have been shooting Twig the fairy for several years now and I never knew she wore contacts!

    If you shoot outdoor candid portraits then this lens is for you!!

    Update 3-1-2008 Arizona Renaissance Festival (Take Two)

    Here's a brief summary of my thoughts when using both the Canon 70-200 F/2.8 USM L and Canon 135mm F/2 USM L at AZ Renaissance Festival.

    The first thing I noticed was the zoom can be much more versatile especially at the bird show where it's ability to zoom in and out was nice, but it's minimum focus distance is quite a bit farther. I noticed several times taking face shot close ups that I ran into the stop and it could not focus, so I had to back up. Also knowing that full sharpness was not reached until F/5.6 I kept the lens at this stop to make the shots sharp. But there is no denying its ability to reach out and photograph someone at a distance and then turn around and get a shot close up. Also, the Canon 70-200 really stood out to people. I actually had several people ask what lens it was and could they look at it / hold it. Several workers made jokes about my large canon when I had it mounted.

    On the Canon 135mm side there is no denying the quality of the photos and the ability to blur the background and still have a sharp subject at wide open apertures. The creamy smooth Bokeh and quality of the photos make them treasures I will show off and print for years to come. There is some 3d quality that these photos possess that the 70-200 just does not have. The Canon 135mm is much more stealthy with people not really thinking you are taking their photo from far away. No one asked to hold it or even what kind of lens it was. The workers didn't make jokes about having a large canon in fact there were a couple of workers that said they had seen bigger.

    I love them both, but if I had to choose only one to take to the Renaissance Festival it would be the Canon 135mm F/2 USM L. [...]
    3-27-2008 Update

    Just bought a new Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II lens.

    Canon 85mm F/1.2 L vs Canon 135 F/2 L

    I love my Canon 135mm F/2 L a lot and I am keeping it. Its light in weight compared to the 85mm F/1.2 L and it focuses very fast and balances well on a monopod and is easy to get great results with. However the Canon 85mm allows me to take photos inside and in tight quarters even if the focus is a little slow. My 135mm is mainly an outside lens or a lens I use when down in the crowd and shooting towards a stage or church platform. The 85 also allows me that almost a stop faster which allows me to get the shot when I am already at ISO 3200 and still not stopping the action with the 135. They are both keepers. Bottom line is if you just want to take great photos without working very hard for it and have the room to backup buy the 135mm F/2. If you are a photographer who loves a challenge and want to push yourself to the limit to get the absolute best Bokeh and don't mind the cost and weight get the 85mm F/1.2.


    At F1.2 on the 85mm the Bokeh is more extreme almost like a painting but you have to work harder to get the shot (see my Canon 85mm F/1.2 lens review for more the Depth of Field at F1.2 up close is very narrow). So if you are on a budget have room to shoot and need a fast focusing easier to use lighter lens go with the 135. If you don't have the room need more light gather ability, love a challenge and don't mind the extra weight get the 85mm. If you have the money do like I did and get them both!!!

    3-30-2008

    Went on a major church photo shoot this weekend and did a lot of local testing of the Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II Lens against the Canon 135mm F/2 L lens. The Canon 135mm is the easier to get the shot lens with better focusing and no odd things to deal with. It pretty much reacts like all your other L lens with really quick auto focus, normal manual focus, easy to mount, normal battery consumption and a pretty high hit rate. My Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II is harder to mount on the camera, harder to get the shot and has electro focus and sucks down batteries. I pretty much feel the same way though as I did on the 3-27-08 update. They are both great lens to own. And when you do hit with the Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II it is out of the park fantastic and you will want to blow it up and mount it on the wall. Just know that with the Canon 135mm F/2 L lens you will have more keepers, have a lens that is easier on the batteries, easier to hold all day (lighter in weight), and you will work a lot less to get great shots with the Canon 135mm F/2 L lens. It's the lens that I would suggest someone buy that wants to make the great leap to great photos without having to work too hard to get them.

    10-12-2008 Update:

    Ever since I found out you have almost double the Bokeh on a full frame sensor camera I have put a new Canon 5D Mark II on order. Because of the physics of the sensor you can get almost twice as close with a given subject hince you get twice the bokeh. I can hardly wait.

    1-03-2009 Update Canon 5D Mark II:

    I have the Canon 5D Mark II now. And the Canon 135mm F/2 is just amazing with double the bokeh then what it had on the 40D and Rebel XTi. And it focuses even faster. Anyway I'm out of time as I need to get back out to the Ren Fest and take some more photos.

    Lens I currently Own:

    Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
    Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
    Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
    Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!!!
    Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach!!

    My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: _Canon EF 200mm F/2 IS L the finest Bokeh lens ever ...more info
  • Truly an outsanding lens
    Perfect as a portrait lens. coming from Nikon I thought the 85mm 1.2 would be my best grab, it sucked, get the 135mm f/2. This lens rocks. The other reviewers have said it all. Excellent, excellent glass at a modest price....more info
  • The sharpest lens I own
    This lens is very sharp at f2.0 but at f2.8 it's incredibly sharp even at the corners. I have nothing more to say. If you can shoot with a shutter speed faster than 1/200, you'll get incredibly sharp pictures. This lens was introduced in 1996 and there have been no revisions. I can't see why Canon would come out with a Mark II version of this lens since its performance is already legendary....more info