Lens review

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM

3 October 2011
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The following chart shows a comparison between the parameters of the tested lens and its rivals. As you can notice the whole group is quite homogeneous when it comes to the dimensions. The slower Sony and Voigtlander constructions are a bit smaller but they don’t weight noticeably less. The Canon is the only lens featuring an ultrasonic autofocus mechanism; on the other hand it lacks blur control.

The photo below allows you to assess the dimensions of the tested lens. It is positioned between the EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and the Sigma 1.4/30.

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM - Build quality

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The lens starts with a metal bayonet mount with contacts. It surrounds a rear opening which is in a square-like shape with rounded corners. A rear element is immobile and hidden almost two centimeters inside the barrel. The inner tube parts, positioned around it, are dark and additionally matted by black velour padding. The element itself is about 35 mm in diameter.

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM - Build quality

Let’s describe now the parts situated on the black, magnesium alloy casing. Immediately near the mount there is a red dot which makes attaching the lens to a body easier. Then there is an immobile, narrow and ribbed ring with a distance scale behind a window, expressed in feet and meters. Below the distance scale you can find depth of field markings but only for f/32 aperture value, which limits its application noticeably.

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM - Build quality

On the right side of the distance scale there is a focusing mechanism mode switch (AF/MF) and a focus limiter (with two ranges: from 0.9 of a meter to infinity and from 1.6 meters to infinity).

The further part of the lens consists of a ribbed manual focus ring, more than 4 cm wide. It works smoothly and is well-damped. Running through the whole distance scale takes a turn through about 120-130 degrees.

Then you meet an immobile part of the casing on which there is the name and parameters of the lens and a red strip, typical for L-series instruments. Immediately after that you find a hood mount. From the front of the lens a huge front element, being as many as 7 centimeters in diameter, can be seen; it is motionless and surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, with a diameter of 72 mm.

When it comes to the inner construction we deal here with ten elements positioned in eight groups. Two elements were made of low-dispersion UD glass. Between the fifth and the sixth element there is an aperture with eight diaphragm blades which can be closed down to the value of f/32. The lens can cooperate with 1.4x and 2.0x Canon converters and also those, produced by independent manufacturers.

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM - Build quality

The buyer gets two caps, a hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Canon EF 135 mm f/2L USM - Build quality