Own both and the 135 gets used only when shooting fast moving subject and need to jump from MFD to infinity quite often.It will melt 85mm f1.8 and 135L in second.
Your next best is 200mm f2 IS
I disagree that the bokeh you posted cannot be achieved with a 135L. You should try a comparison with yours
What the 85L can do is achieve that with a much wider field of view
I wish I had brought 135L and taken same shot to compare the two
I'm going to skip the debate about bokeh between 85L II Vs 135L - we all know which lens has upper hand. The photo was to demonstrate how 85L II can be at f1.2 in low light. This photo was taken at f1.2 1/125 I believe ISO is about 2000.
With 135L, I'm more likely to be f2 1/160min ISO=?
Otherwise, 85 all the time. Both bokeh and focal length match my needs way better.
Bokeh is subjective by definition, but the theoretical amount of blur can be calculated and is pretty close between the 135L and the 85L.
Many people prefer the bokeh of the 135L to that of the 85L and probably many more the converse. The 135 is sharper which makes the blur stand out more, and there is much less purple fringing and the bokeh balls aren't cut up (see the top middle one in Dylan's image). To say the 85 will melt the 135 in seconds suggests to me that the 135 has been under-utilized so far.
The two lenses have very different purposes, which is why in spite of owning the 135 (which is my travel telephoto/headshot lens) I have been trying so hard to get the 85L during the refurb sale (two near misses). I think the 85mm focal length is perfect for portraits, providing the best perspective (subject distance). The longer FL of the 135 makes it less flexible (need more back up space) and reduces the background blur due to the larger subject distance.
BTW, as far as I have heard, the bokeh of the 200L is better than the 85L (rather than being the next best). Maybe Dylan can do us a favor and do a real-world comparison of the three in his spare time
I wish there was a really good 85/1.4. Matt Granger has shown that the Nikon 85/1.4 is ALMOST as good as the 85L in terms of bokeh, and focuses fast (with real manual focus) and is less bulky. I think that the slight lack in bokeh is more than compensated by the ergonomics. I really hope Canon decides in favor of a 85/1.4L but that is almost certain not to happen
I'm know nothing about photography. I would be the last guy on earth for this assignment
Maybe after holidays, little busy with family activities right now
BTW...I used 24-70 and 200mm f2 IS combo last night at local church, Advent Prayer Service. IQ on the 200mm f2 IS II is just too awesome. Will share some photos this weekend.