Canon EF 135mm F/2 L USM – Review

Canon EF 135mm F2 L USM

Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM is probably the best lens from the brand. Although it might not seem as popular as other Canon lenses, it is one of the best solutions to capture stunning pictures in indoor and outdoor settings. This is an excellent lens to capture crisp and contrasting images from a distance.

This Canon lens is extremely good optically. It is small, lightweight and feels comfortable to carry thanks to its ergonomic shape. The auto-focus is quick irrespective of the distance that the AF system needs to shift the lenses in and out. The almost-silent AF system is instant and you can also quickly change to manual focus with the large manual focus ring any time you want.

If you are planning to buy a prime lens, then you need to read this review and make up your mind whether the Canon EF 135mm F/2 L USM is the best for you.

Specifications of Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM Lens

Let’s take a detailed look at the specifications of the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM:

Specifications of Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Lens
Specifications of Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM Lens

Compatibility

The Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM is built for every Canon EOS camera in the market. This means that this lens can literally be used with every Canon DSLR and every Canon auto-focus film camera.

As a result, you can easily use this lens with Canon’s 5D Mark II, Canon 7D and even the old Canon EOS 260. This lens works perfectly with the majority of cameras in the market today.

Optics

The lens comes with 10 elements, arranged in 8 groups. These are multi-coated lenses, mostly in the amber shade. The internal focus is extremely silent and does not move any external elements when using auto-focus. The optics are enhanced further with the use of 2 UD glass elements.

Close Focus

This lens offers an extremely close focus, ranging up to 3 feet (or 0.9 meters) and is clearly marked on the lens barrel.

Max Reproduction Ratio

The lens offers an excellent maximum reproduction ratio of 1:5.26.

Extension Tubes

When using the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM, you can use the Canon EF12 II extension tube to capture close-up shots about 0.29x life-size (or 0.69 meters) at the image sensor.

On the other hand, you can use the Canon EF25 II extension tube to capture close-ups of around 0.41x life-size (or 0.58 meters) at the image sensor.

Close-up Lenses

You can easily use the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM with the Canon 500D to capture crystal-clear close-up shots of around 0.25x to 0.5x life-size at the image sensor.

Angle of View

When used on full-frame or 35mm the lens offers an angle of view as follows:

  • Diagonal – 18°
  • Horizontal – 15°
  • Vertical – 10°

Diaphragm

The diaphragm of this lens comes equipped with 8 conventional blades that stop down the shutter to as low as F/32.

Tele-converters

This lens can be used with Canon EF 1.4x II to convert it into a 189mm F/2.8 lens which gives a max reproduction ratio of 0.27 times.

This lens can also be attached to a Canon EF 2x II to transform it into a 270mm F/4 lens which provides a max reproduction ratio of 0.38 times.

Infinity Focus Stop

The lens does not come with a hard infinity focus stop. You need to let the auto-focus system take over-focusing when it reaches infinity.

Focus Scale

This lens comes equipped with a focus scale. You can easily turn the ring from close to far in just 120°.

Depth-of-Field Scale

There are no clearly marked signs for depth-of-field focus unless the two small ticks right next to each other for F/32 can be considered as “scale”.

Filter Thread

The lens has a lightweight plastic filter thread measuring 72mm, but it does not move at all.

Dimensions

The Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM lens has a diameter measuring 3.2 inches (or 82.5mm) and a length of 4.4 inches (or 112mm).

Weight

According to company resources, the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM lens weighs in at around 26.5 oz. (or 750 grams) which makes it quite bulky but easy to handle as compared to its later models.

Lens Hood

A US$ 40 plastic clip-on ET-78 II lens hood is included with the Canon EF 135mm F/2L lens.

Lens Case

The lens comes packed in a secure LP1219 sack, which costs around US$ 33 only.

Performance of the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM Lens

Now that you are aware of the specific features of this lens, let’s take a detailed look at the performance aspects of the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM lens:

Comprehensive Performance

Overall, the Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM lens is superb when it comes to optics and is easy to handle. This is one of the most popular prime lenses for professional and amateur photographers worldwide.

Auto-Focus

The autofocus system on this lens is super-fast and almost completely silent, which is to be expected from a Canon lens.

To override the auto-focus system quickly, you can simply grab the focus ring at any time and adjust the focus manually. On the other hand, if you want to disable the camera’s auto-focus function you can simply flip the Auto-Focus/Manual-Focus switch.

The auto-focus system on this lens, as mentioned earlier, is super-fast and almost silent. You will barely hear the internal sliding when using the auto-focus function.

The auto-focus results in no offset, especially at F/2. In addition, manual focusing is easy by simply turning the manual focus ring. It takes just 120° to move from one of the focus scales to the other end.

Bokeh

This lens provides incredibly stunning bokeh effects. The quality of out-of-focus objects is vastly contrasting with the degree of de-focus, which practically melts the background away. The foregrounds and backgrounds out-of-focus are soft and subtle, which is far better than that achieved with most LEICA lenses.

Applications of Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM Lens

The Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM lens is considered to be ideal for portrait photography, wedding photography, event photography and outdoor photography. The impressively smooth and swift auto-focus functions allow you to capture stunningly clear images without being too intrusive at events.

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