My Favorite Lens of All, the Sharp, Smooth, Feel of the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
For those of you who know me or follow my work, you probably already know about my love affair with the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM telephoto lens. Simply put, this is my favorite lens I have ever used in my life. It’s also the lens I use for probably 70% of the photographs which I produce. This is a workhorse lens and I believe it is the sharpest lens that Canon makes. If I could only own a single Canon prime lens, this would be it.
Professional grade Canon L series lenses are not cheap. Canon’s L series represent their top of the line optics. They are what almost all Canon professional photographers shoot with. That said, I think the EF 135mm f/2L USM is one of the best values as far as Canon L series lenses go. The lens costs a little over $1,000 and is amongst the most economical L series lenses you can buy.
I probably shoot this lens at f/2 the majority of the time. This gives you a super clean point of focus, with the beautiful out of focus bokeh away from your primary point of interest. For those low light shallow depth of field photos, it does not get better than this lens in my opinion. The portraits you can make with this lens are beautiful — sharp as tack but with the subtle bokeh around the edges that a lens like this can produce.
The autofocus on this lens is the most responsive of any lens I’ve ever used. It autofocuses so lightning fast and allows you to quickly lock in on the action that you want to see. It’s a very quiet and very smooth feel when you hit your focal point perfectly on the mark.
The photos in this blog post were all taken on my recent trip to Vegas with this lens. I cannot recommend this lens strongly enough. An example of why I like this lens so much can be seen in the first photo in this post. Forget about it as it appears in this post, click here to see it in full high res glory. Look at how sharp the details are on that photo. Notice the individual neon tubes as visible in the Harrahs and Flamingo signs. I took this photo from the balcony of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a great distance away. The 135mm EF f/2L USM gave me the distance I needed to shoot down with such clarity on the neon signs in the photo.
The photo of the roulette wheel and the mannequin in the post show how great the bokeh and depth of field is around an isolated focus point. This is another of my favorite characteristics of this lens. Shooting portraits at f/2 on this lens feels just perfect to me.
In addition to portraits, this lens is great for street photography, sports, concerts, abstracts, and so many other types of photography.
As a reminder, my analysis of my Canon gear is being done in partnership with Canon and I am receiving compensation for this work with them. More on Canon telephoto lenses here.