135 F2- 100 F2.8?


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Apr 8, 2009
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So I have the 100 F2.8 which is a great lens and very sharp at f2.8. But I am going to rent the 135 f2 this weekend and was wondering if any one had any thoughts on the 2 lens. I will be using a 50D. My main conecrn was if it was even worth renting since the focal lengths and aperture is fairly close. Ive read numerous reviews on the 135 and it is very sharp even at f2 so I am really excited about getting it but just curious if it will be very similar to the 100.

edit: I accidentally put the thumbs down and didnt meen to. So please ignore the thumbs down.
The two biggest differences I would expect are:

1) the 135 is most likley going to focus faster than the 100mm macro. Canon's macro lenses tend to be a bit faster than others in the AF area, but they are still macro lenses and the AF is still sub par performance when pitched against regular lenses (though I think the new 100mm L macro gets close from what I've read).

2) the 135 will be easier to focus manually at further off subjects - macro lenses all have rather crude focusing setups for further off subjects - sharp yes, but you hardly need to turn the focus to go through a lot of distance. Of course this evens out at the macro end where they are very exact - but at the regular distances it can mean that getting manual focus on a subject is tricky because of the tiny movement needed to make finer adjustments.
I own Canon's 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro and the 135mm f/2-L,and there are some differences between them. As Overrread predicted, the 135 does autofocus faster, and more accurately/repeatably/reliably/willingly at normal outdoor distances,compared with the macro lens and the way it performs. The accuracy and repeatability of any company's macro lenses is a bit suspect/sketchy at distances like 20,30,40,50 feet, because macro lenses tend to have very slow, long-travel AF at close range, and then ULTRA-short AF throws from 2 meters to Infinity. So, overrread's post is quite spot-on.

The 135/2 also is longer, by about 35% in focal length, and it puts more of a "look" or "impression" on the images shot with it. Images shot with the 135/2-L have a nice transition from out of focus to in-focus, and then a nice transition from the in-focus band to the out of focus background. Yes, the focal lengths are sort of close, but when push comes to shove, the f/2 aperture yields a full f/stop more shutter speed in dim light, and the real-world autofocusing advantages of the 135/2 are often significant for fast-focusing situations. The difference can be thought of in dollar bills: would you rather have 100 or 135 dollar bills? Is it really a close comparison?
Thinks guys! I have been drooling over this lens for some time and have been reluctant to rent, I know once I rent it I am going to want it. I have a low light opportunity this weekend so I reserved it a my local camera store. I guess I was just trying to talk myself out of it and saving the $1000 for something else. I will let you guys know after this weekend my results.

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