Canon 135mm f2.8 vs 100mm f2.8

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by banpreso, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. banpreso

    banpreso TPF Noob!

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    Hi Guys:

    Despite the obvious differences (focal length, USM, soft focus feature) what are the differences (if any) between these two lenses in terms of image quality? If I don’t use the soft focus feature on the 135mm, and set it as the same f number as the 100mm, what kind of differences can I expect in the images I get?

    Is soft focus same as macro? If the f number is bigger (like bigger than 4) when shotting with a macro lens, does macro look more “normal”?

    I’m having a hard time understanding the price difference and applications between the 2 lenses.

    Thanks
     
  2. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    I know the EF 100mm f/2.8 takes nice sharp pictures but I really haven't heard much about the EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens. I know there is a switch on it so you can have it take regular pictures if you don't want it to shoot soft...but I don't know anyone who has one.
    Should look like a normal picture taken with a prime lens.
    No. Soft focus means you get soft images instead of sharp in focus images. Macro is for close-up photography.
    The f number has nothing to do with whether a lens can shoot macro or not.
    Lenses can be confusing.
     
  3. banpreso

    banpreso TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the answers

    it's just, i don't get why the 100mm is a full $100 more than the 135mm. is this a case of i get what i pay for in terms of image quality?
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The softfocus appears (At least from the canon listing) to offer 2 modes of soft focus as well as focusing and shooting normal sharp shots.
    Canon EF 135mm f/2.8SF - Canon UK

    As for the macro lens that offers you the abilty to focus the lens so that you can get an image on the sensor as big as it is in real life. In practical terms you can fill the frame with a wasp and get a macro shot. This close focusing is what you are paying for since most lenses will not focuse that close (we are talking cms here).

    As for which is the better, the macro lens is the better if macro photography is your choice, the 135 softfocus I know little of save what is on the canon listing and I have seen nobody using the lens (not saying its not worth owning, just that I don't see it around.) thus I really can't give a view to if its any good or worth owning.
    The softfocus feature - to me - sounds like the sort of thing that your either going to use once and never again or use it all the time for some specific application.
     
  5. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    The EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus doesn't have the USM focus motor of the EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro or the EF 100mm f/2.0 USM lenses. It probably focuses slow and is probably one of the consumer grade lenses and not a prosumer lens like the other two.

    Canon has three lens grades...consumer (entry level, cheap, silver ring or just black), prosumer (better image quality, performance, construction, more expensive, gold ring) and professional ("L" lenses, excellent image quality, heavier metal construction, great focus performance, really expensive, red ring). My guess is the EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus is a consumer grade lens.
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I am probably one of (maybe the only one...?) the only people here that has both of these lenses (it seems that almost nobody has the 135mm SF). I am the only one I know of on this forum that uses this lens, I've never seen it mentioned by anyone else. If there's something you want to know about it - I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, as best I can.

    Optically, the 135 Soft Focus is pretty good. It's sharp, and it's a great focal length for portraits.

    Focus is not quite as fast as a USM lens, but it's not too slow either. It's acceptable.

    Like Overread said - the Soft Focus feature is something that you're going to either love, or hate. You can turn it off though, and it is still a very sharp lens with it turned off.

    The focal length is similar to the 100mm Macro, but the similarities end there. These are two lenses with completely different applications. The 100mm macro will get you MUCH closer to your subject, if you wish.

    If you are trying to decide between the 135 soft focus and the 100mm macro, I would go with the 100mm unless soft focus is something you think you're going to like. But you might like macro too...

    You can do soft focus in PP (I don't think it looks as good as the real thing, but it's not bad). You can't do macro in PP.
     
  7. banpreso

    banpreso TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the info josh!

    i'm looking for something to use for concert photography. i already have a 50mm f1.4, so i'm thinking of getting a long and fast prime next. i like the 2.8 aperture on both lens, but the 135mm is heck of a lot cheaper, so i'm tempted to get that one. i'm not all that interested in soft focus, nor am i interested in doing macro. but i guess the bottom line is, the 135mm is cheaper, while the 100mm is more versitle, a bit sharper, and have USM. that's the basic trade off, correct?

    man, even used 100mm f2.8 are asking $400. a used 135mm is like half that price... sigh. decisions decisions
     
  8. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    The 100 2.8 is just a totally different lens-- it can focus MUCH closer than the 135, because it is intended to be a macro lens, used for taking photos of small objects like insects or jewelery. The 135 is just a normal telephoto lens. It's not so much "consumer" as it is old-- it was introduced in 1987 and has remained unchanged since then, one of the few remaining lenses that originated with the debut of the EF line. The two lenses just don't compare at all.

    The price difference is in build and focus motor, yes, but primarily in its Macro ability, which is in fact what the lens is built to do. If you don't want to do macro photography, then don't buy the lens.

    There is also a 100 f/2 that is not a macro lens, is a stop faster, and has USM. You might look at that lens for concert work.


    I own/ed a 135 SF. It's not a bad lens, was a good first telephoto. I stopped using it when I bought a 70-200 2.8-- for a prime, it's not any sharper than the zoom.
     
  9. banpreso

    banpreso TPF Noob!

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    umm thanks for telling me about the f2, didn't know that one before. the macro is about $70 more, and 1 stop slower. i think comparing the 100mm f2 vs f2.8, the macro is still worth it for me (i mean i don't do macro now but who knows, and it's nice to be able to focus closer)

    the significant price difference of the 135mm allows it to still be in my consideration.

    is there any downside to the 100mm macro? aside from being 1 stop slower. if i shoot at stuff 10 meters away, with the same f number 100mm f2 vs 100mm f2.8, will both lens give me the same results?

    or are macro lenses not good at doing telephoto?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  10. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    It's not 1985 anymore, get the macro, soft focus is CHEEEEESY!!!!!
     
  11. banpreso

    banpreso TPF Noob!

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    opinions 100mm f2 vs 100mm f2.8 in terms of telephoto quality?
     
  12. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It tends to hunt a lot in low light (concerts...?), but it's lightning fast in brighter environments. I think that's going to be a problem with any lens though, so it's probably a moot point.
     

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