135mm lens review

The greatest portrait lens ever made? The Canon 135mm f/2 L Series Lens

This is one of the greatest portrait lenses ever made, and it’s a joy to shoot with. People using an APS-C camera might find it a little too telephoto to work with, and it doesn’t have image stabilization, so it’s not the easiest lens in the world. But the quality of its results are undeniable. For all manner of reasons, we can very highly recommend this lens to any portrait or event photographer.

Canon’s most famous portrait lenses – the highly-regarded, 135mm f/2 USM ‘L’. For a long time, professional photographers have kept this lens in their collection for all kinds of reasons. The 135mm focal length is medium telephoto, which is just right for conventional portrait photography, and also very useful for sports and for shooting performances indoors; and the very wide maximum aperture of f/2 means that this lens lets in quite a lot of light, and also, can give you very out of focus backgrounds indeed. The lens can give you some very special pictures that could set your photography out from the competition. It’s not the easiest lens to use, especially as it’s a little too old to have image stabilization. And on an APS-C camera, the lens is really telephoto. But for those who can handle it, the resulting photos are very rewarding. Also, this is one of the least expensive of Canon’s ‘L’ lenses, making it potentially very good value for money.

This is one of Canon’s ‘L’ lenses, and as a result its build quality is fantastic. The lens is quite large and weighty, feeling very solid indeed. Its most noticeable feature is the large focus ring. It turns extremely smoothly – it’s clearly well damped. The lens has full time manual focussing, so you can turn that ring at any time. The front element does not turn or extend as you change focus. The only disappointment is that the lens is not weather-sealed. But overall, it’s a simple lens which is fantastically well built, as well as being a very beautiful piece of glass.

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