Do I really need Canon 135 F/2L lens

TonyUSA

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Hello,

Want to try outdoor portrait. Would it be better with 135 f/2L lens than 70-200 f/2.8 II IS?

Thank you,
 

PaulWog

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The 70-200 f2.8 II IS is going to be a lot more versatile.

If you have to ask the question, go with the 70-200 f2.8 II. The only reason you should get the 135 f2/L is if you already know why you need it over the 70-200.
 

greybeard

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The 70-200 f2.8 II IS is going to be a lot more versatile.

If you have to ask the question, go with the 70-200 f2.8 II. The only reason you should get the 135 f2/L is if you already know why you need it over the 70-200.
+++
The 135 is a specialize tool and has limited uses. The 70-200 is a highly versatile tool that can be used with all types of photography.
 

Designer

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Want to try outdoor portrait. Would it be better with 135 f/2L lens than 70-200 f/2.8 II IS?
Excellent question! Individual lenses vary from the norm, but in general, prime lenses have fewer glass elements, and are engineered to produce the best results (aside from factors of practical manufacturing limits) at that particular focal length. As such, you might expect superior results in the areas of micro-contrast, color rendition, and bokeh (the quality of the OOF blur) with most primes.

Since I am not familiar with the Canon lenses, you should look at some straight-out-of-the-camera examples made with both lenses. Another possible method is to read reviews of both lenses written by people who know what they're talking about. (good luck finding such reviews)

Zoom lenses are made to optimize framing in camera. That function usually requires more glass elements and the necessary mechanical capability to change focal lengths, which will compromise image quality. With more glass for the light to go through, the image quality may be lacking in the qualities I mentioned above. Additionally, the mechanical movement in the lens going from one focal length to another often induces distortion.

Therefore, my pure guess is that the prime should produce better image quality than the zoom. If you learn to "frame wide" using a prime, and crop later in post-capture editing, you'll not miss having a zoom.
 

fmw

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Want to try outdoor portrait. Would it be better with 135 f/2L lens than 70-200 f/2.8 II IS?
Excellent question! Individual lenses vary from the norm, but in general, prime lenses have fewer glass elements, and are engineered to produce the best results (aside from factors of practical manufacturing limits) at that particular focal length. As such, you might expect superior results in the areas of micro-contrast, color rendition, and bokeh (the quality of the OOF blur) with most primes.

Since I am not familiar with the Canon lenses, you should look at some straight-out-of-the-camera examples made with both lenses. Another possible method is to read reviews of both lenses written by people who know what they're talking about. (good luck finding such reviews)

Zoom lenses are made to optimize framing in camera. That function usually requires more glass elements and the necessary mechanical capability to change focal lengths, which will compromise image quality. With more glass for the light to go through, the image quality may be lacking in the qualities I mentioned above. Additionally, the mechanical movement in the lens going from one focal length to another often induces distortion.

Therefore, my pure guess is that the prime should produce better image quality than the zoom. If you learn to "frame wide" using a prime, and crop later in post-capture editing, you'll not miss having a zoom.

In other words, the single focal length lens will always outperform the zoom lens. The important issue is whether the difference in performance of the prime lens is worth giving up for the added versatility of the zoom. For most people, frankly it is. That is why zoom lenses are so popular. The opposite was true 20 years ago. Zoom lens technology has really improved over those years.
 

Designer

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In other words, the single focal length lens will always outperform the zoom lens.
I did not say that in so many words. A careful reading of my statement will show you that I said "in general", and then later said "might expect", and even later I wrote "my guess", accompanied by a suggestion to examine the IQ of each.

The important issue is whether the difference in performance of the prime lens is worth giving up for the added versatility of the zoom. For most people, frankly it is. That is why zoom lenses are so popular. The opposite was true 20 years ago. Zoom lens technology has really improved over those years.
I agree that lens technology has "improved", but I would like to know if you think the improvements have been in the area of micro-contrast, color rendition, and bokeh, among other qualities associated with IQ.

FWIW: Recently I realized that the main purpose and advantages in zoom lenses were born in the days of film photography, where significant cropping would often leave the photograph lacking in sharpness. IOW: The need for zooms has been eclipsed by modern digital sensors that can (sometimes) out-resolve the lens that is put on the front.

Yes, people will still like and use zooms, so it will probably come down to personal preference.
 

jcdeboever

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I am not an expert but have been studying the genre for the last 6 months and practiced very little . Gathered from my studies, the 50, 85, and 135mm seem to be the arsenal of glass for the accomplished, professional portrait artists. The super fine detailed portraits with exceptional clarity and artistic expression are typically gained with these focal length primes.

The zooms seem to be used more for event portraits where the multiple focal lengths stated above are more convenient.
 

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Since the most important thing in photography is to have the most equipment, the answer is simple: Get both.

A 135mm prime is, in general a great portrait lens, but as mentioned, it has a limited application. If you have neither lens, getting the 70-200 would make far more sense. If you're truly torn, rent both and experiment.
 

Rick50

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As an owner of the 135 F/2 I say get this lens. Interestingly I use it for cars in motion as I shoot a few cars.
 

pixmedic

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if you can only get one, get the 70-200. it makes a great portrait lens, and gives you a lot more flexibility than a prime.
I shot almost all of my portraits with either a 70-200mm or 85mm.
the 135 f/2 is a fantastic portrait lens...until you dont have the room to properly utilize it.
honestly, I think the actual end-product of these two lenses, used properly, would be pretty hard to tell apart anyway.
 

fmw

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In other words, the single focal length lens will always outperform the zoom lens.
I did not say that in so many words. A careful reading of my statement will show you that I said "in general", and then later said "might expect", and even later I wrote "my guess", accompanied by a suggestion to examine the IQ of each.

The important issue is whether the difference in performance of the prime lens is worth giving up for the added versatility of the zoom. For most people, frankly it is. That is why zoom lenses are so popular. The opposite was true 20 years ago. Zoom lens technology has really improved over those years.
I agree that lens technology has "improved", but I would like to know if you think the improvements have been in the area of micro-contrast, color rendition, and bokeh, among other qualities associated with IQ.

FWIW: Recently I realized that the main purpose and advantages in zoom lenses were born in the days of film photography, where significant cropping would often leave the photograph lacking in sharpness. IOW: The need for zooms has been eclipsed by modern digital sensors that can (sometimes) out-resolve the lens that is put on the front.

Yes, people will still like and use zooms, so it will probably come down to personal preference.

Focal length affects more than framing. The more focal lengths available, the more versatility the equipment pool. Zooms are just as versatile with digital as they were with film.
To answer your question the major improvement in zooms has been in resolution and the ability to hold focus across the zoom range. Other things like contrast are normally adjusted in post process these days.
 
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TonyUSA

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Thank you everyone for value info.
 
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TonyUSA

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Want to try outdoor portrait. Would it be better with 135 f/2L lens than 70-200 f/2.8 II IS?
Therefore, my pure guess is that the prime should produce better image quality than the zoom. If you learn to "frame wide" using a prime, and crop later in post-capture editing, you'll not miss having a zoom.

I want to buy it from reason above.

honestly, I think the actual end-product of these two lenses, used properly, would be pretty hard to tell apart anyway.

Since I already have 70-200. And now I don't want to buy 135mm.

If anyone own both lens please fill in.
 

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