We Review the Amazing Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM

After 27 years, Canon lastly launched a brand new 135mm lens. As a substitute of a brand new EF lens, it’s an RF lens, clearly. How does this costly lens carry out, and is it well worth the improve when you’re nonetheless utilizing the outdated however reliable EF model?

Though many photographers usually desire an 85mm focal size for portraits, the slender area of view of a 135mm could be a nice selection. Particularly in a studio setup, it should permit a for smaller backdrop whereas preserving sufficient distance between topic and background.

I all the time liked the EF 135mm f/2L USM lens, and regardless that it’s a 27-year-old design, it nonetheless holds up properly towards the trendy lenses. With a complicated autofocus system, the EF 135mm f/2L USM works nice on fashionable mirrorless EOS cameras. Focusing with a shallow depth of area turns into simple and correct.

The RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM Up Shut

Now Canon has launched the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM. The brand new lens has an extra 1/3 cease wider aperture and picture stabilization inbuilt. Though the 1/3 cease doesn’t make that a lot of a distinction, the picture stabilization does. Particularly with this focal size, your individual actions can result in a lack of focus when you’re utilizing the shallowest depth of area potential.

The lens itself is made out of the identical materials as the opposite quick RF primes, just like the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and the RF 85mm f/1.2L IS USM. The lens barrel is a bit longer in comparison with the RF 85mm, however the smaller diameter makes it simpler to make use of. The lens is properly proportioned and handles properly.

There are two switches situated on the facet, one for the picture stabilization and one for the autofocus. There are two buttons that may be programmed with a choice of capabilities. Like each different RF lens, there may be additionally the programmable management ring.

A Phrase or Two Concerning the Picture High quality

There’s not a lot to say concerning the lens high quality itself. The photographs are tack sharp, even with an f/1.8 aperture. Within the corners, the picture is sharp as properly, though it is perhaps a bit troublesome to note due to the restricted depth of area. I solely checked out real-world examples throughout my testing, the place the topics hardly ever line up throughout the whole aircraft of focus.

At f/1.8, there may be vignetting seen, however solely when the in-camera lens correction is turned off. Many of the vignetting is gone when stopped all the way down to f/2.8. I didn’t discover any chromatic aberration, which is spectacular. When the in-camera lens correction is switched on, the picture high quality is sort of excellent.

Whereas the targeted areas are sharp, the out-of-focus elements have a pleasant, creamy look. The transition from sharp to out of focus is what made the EF 135mm f/2L USM so great, and the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM doesn’t disappoint.

The bokeh rings have a pleasant look. There is no such thing as a proof of the ugly onion rings impact. At f/1.8, these rings look just like the older EF mannequin. When stopped down, the variations grow to be obvious. Due to the 9-blade aperture of the brand new RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM, the rings hold a pleasant type for much longer when stopping down, whereas the rings of EF 135mm f/2L USM change to an octagonal form at f/4.

Utilizing the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM

I’ve been utilizing the RF 135mm f/1,8L IS USM for a couple of weeks, and it’s an exquisite lens. It’s razor sharp, and the bokeh appears to be like nice as properly. I used the lens primarily with the biggest aperture as a result of the looks of the out-of-focus areas makes this lens so wonderful.

The lens has a minimal focal distance of 70 centimeters, which ends up in a 0.26x magnification. Whereas it’s not a macro lens by far, it’s excellent for taking pictures flowers and such. In case you mix this lens with an extension tube, it will likely be a tremendous semi-macro lens.

The mix of the massive aperture and quick and silent autofocus make the RF 135mm f/1,8L IS USM an incredible lens for indoor sports activities images as properly. Though you would possibly really feel the attain of the focal size is a bit restricted for that, the cease of additional mild could turn into fairly handy.

In comparison with the EF 135mm f/2L USM

I in contrast the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM to the outdated EF 135mm f/2L USM. Though the outdated EF model is a bit smaller and fewer heavy, you want an EF-RF adapter if you wish to mount it onto a Canon mirrorless digicam. In that case, the entire size is sort of comparable.

Though each lenses carry out properly, the older EF lens is displaying its age, particularly with the high-resolution sensors. It’s nonetheless usable in lots of conditions and for many images. However when you want the absolute best high quality, there’s no query about it. The brand new RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM is best in each means.

One other advantage of the brand new RF lens is its picture stabilization. It charges as much as 8 stops together with an IBIS system. With out, it nonetheless goes as much as 5.5 stops. The operate buttons on the lens are good to have, however no dealbreaker for me.

The most important advantage of the older EF 135mm f/2L USM lens is its compatibility with Canon extenders. Combining the EF lens with a 2x extender makes it an incredible 270mm f/4 lens. The RF 135mm f/1.8 IS USM lacks this risk.


There is just one conclusion potential. The Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM is a tremendous lens, with picture high quality that’s practically excellent. The lens has picture stabilization, which was lacking on the outdated mannequin, and when you like operate buttons on the lens, they’re there.

The lens is ideal for indoor sports activities images because of its quick and correct autofocus together with the out there aperture. The focal size might not be best for each photographer, nevertheless it’s additionally a little bit of getting used to. It has its use for a lot of kinds of images.

There is just one draw back, and that’s its price ticket. You will need to use this lens very often to justify the funding. In case you solely apply it to event, it’s too costly. In that case, the EF 135mm f/2L USM with EF-RF adapter can be an ideal various.

What I Like Concerning the Lens

  • Picture high quality
  • Lack of chromatic aberration
  • Bokeh because of the 9-blade aperture
  • Large aperture
  • Quick autofocus
  • Picture stabilization
  • Perform buttons on the lens barrel
  • Magnification on the minimal focus distance

What I Don’t Like Concerning the Lens

  • Lens hood makes it fairly cumbersome
  • Value
  • Not suitable with a Canon extender

I need to thank Canon Netherlands for offering me with this lens.

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