An Ode to the Canon 135L

This is the first in a series of posts where I'll share why I love some of the lenses I use.  This first post focuses on what is one of my all time favorite lenses, the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM.

First, let me say that I love prime lenses.  Not everyone does.  I would much rather have that creamy bokeh that comes with a fast aperture than lose that and gain more versatility (in most situations anyway).  I find that wit the right amount of "zooming with your feet," cropping when needed, and using the appropriate camera body (I use a full frame when I can get closer, and a crop sensor when I need more reach), the 135 can be just as versatile as the beloved 70-200 f/2.8.  It's also considerably lighter, smaller, less expensive, less conspicuous, and is a stop faster!

Skateboarding in Central Park

The 135L is great for street photography.  It allows you to capture performers without getting too close, and blur out the background nicely.

The Bubble Maker

A Street Performer in Central Park (2)

I love using this lens at Disney World to capture the cast members doing their thing.

Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley!

Princess Aurora Greeting Her Fans

An Evening Train Ride

The 135 also does landscape quite well.  Not all landscapes require a wide angle lens!  I also like that you can take a landscape shot and still manage to blur out the background.

Gardens at Yaddo

Gorgeous Reflections in Central Park

Siblings - IThis lens excels at portraits.  After all, this lens was made for portraits.  It's tack sharp wide open.  I use this about 95% of the time when photographing kids, because you can just step back and let them be kids!

Taking a Drink at Congress Spring

Cree & Zeebie

Short range wildlife?  It's got that covered too!  Okay, so normally you wouldn't want to get close enough to two wolves to fill the frame with your 135, but I took this at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, where you can take a walk with the wolves.

One of the Last Summer Sunrises

This lens is a boon for short-range sports.  Living in Saratoga, many a morning are spent at the Oklahoma Track photographing the horses exercising or at the main track taking photos of all the action.  I swap it between my 6D (when I can get closer) and my 60D (for when I need a little extra reach).

Riding Into the Sun

#5Although not an ideal length for polo (a zoom would probably be best here), I did come away from a polo match with some keepers.
1 & 2

The main thing I love about this lens is its ability to blur out the background.  There are a number of lenses that do this quite well, but this paired with the size, reasonable price (compared with other "L" lenses), and focal length make it very appealing to me.  If I could change one thing, I might wish it to focus a hair faster.  When I used to shoot primarily crop sensor, I used Canon's, 100mm f/2 lens, a non-L lens, which focused a bit faster than this.  That's not to say the 135 focuses slowly, just not as fast as I'd like for when I'm shooting action.

Do you own the 135L or have you ever shot with it?  Do you love it as much as I do?

Tools I used to create the photos this post:  Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM


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