Gear Talk > Lenses

135L vs 70-200 IS MK II - real world opinions and experience needed

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ryllz75:
Hi All,

I recently upgraded to a 5D MK III which I will be using for more portrait and engagement sessions work.  I deliberated between the 35L vs the 50L and decided to go with the 50L based on opinions i read here and the IQ and AF when paired with the 5D MK III.

Now I am in need of your expertise and experience on which lens to get next.  As mentioned I am just getting into "paid" portrait shoots (fitness model shoots/headshots and some family and baby shoots) and just booked my first 2 engagement shoots for Jan and Feb and wondering which will be best to use.  I also have the opportunity to shoot 2 weddings in summer 2013 as well which will be my first experience shooting weddings.  1 as a second shooter and 1 as primary.  Im giving the relevant information in order to determine which lens will be good to get in terms of IQ, versatility, etc.  At this point in time i cant afford both having just invested in the 5D MK III and the 50L.  My initial budget getting into this semi pro photography was $5000 and will unfortunately have to exceed it.

So is the 135L better for my current/future needs or will the 70-200mm IS MK II a better choice since it will give me the FL versatility that i may need for future shoots?  Im looking for realworld experience of owners of these lens as I was initially leaning to the 135L and started to think in terms of versatility and started to doubt my decisions. 

Your opinions will be greatly appreciated!  thanks in advance!


BTW just to disclose my only 2 other lenses im using now, I currently have a 24-105L and a 28-75 Tamron 2.8 (i Know not very good lens but cant afford the Canon version at this point.  LOL..)  On my short list after getting one of the lens above (135L or 70-200 2.8L) is I definitely want to get the 16-35 L MK II for the wide group shots during the wedding etc. unless you guys can recommend a better lens maybe a 24L? Not sure here yet.

neuroanatomist:
I have both.  The 70-200 II is great for portraits.  The 135L is slightly better for portraits.  So, if head shots were your primary intended use, the 135L would be the way to go.  If I'm going specifically to shoot portraits, I'll take the 135L (often for indoor sports, too).  But you mention weddings, and for that, the versatility of the zoom is important, and you're not giving up much on the IQ/bokeh side.  So I'd say go with the 70-200 II.

RLPhoto:

--- Quote from: ryllz75 on November 19, 2012, 03:20:18 PM ---Hi All,

I recently upgraded to a 5D MK III which I will be using for more portrait and engagement sessions work.  I deliberated between the 35L vs the 50L and decided to go with the 50L based on opinions i read here and the IQ and AF when paired with the 5D MK III.

Now I am in need of your expertise and experience on which lens to get next.  As mentioned I am just getting into "paid" portrait shoots (fitness model shoots/headshots and some family and baby shoots) and just booked my first 2 engagement shoots for Jan and Feb and wondering which will be best to use.  I also have the opportunity to shoot 2 weddings in summer 2013 as well which will be my first experience shooting weddings.  1 as a second shooter and 1 as primary.  Im giving the relevant information in order to determine which lens will be good to get in terms of IQ, versatility, etc.  At this point in time i cant afford both having just invested in the 5D MK III and the 50L.  My initial budget getting into this semi pro photography was $5000 and will unfortunately have to exceed it.

So is the 135L better for my current/future needs or will the 70-200mm IS MK II a better choice since it will give me the FL versatility that i may need for future shoots?  Im looking for realworld experience of owners of these lens as I was initially leaning to the 135L and started to think in terms of versatility and started to doubt my decisions. 

Your opinions will be greatly appreciated!  thanks in advance!

--- End quote ---

Having the same decision on my lap, I went with the 135L.

I prefer the workflow of primes and the look it gives me. The 70-200L II is a great lens, but I would also have to take a 24-70L and a 50L. Its more weight than just taking the 24L, 50L, 135L on two bodies.

The 135L was much cheaper at the time I bought it. I saved that 1000$ for another body for me to shoot with.

The downfalls of this prime setup are the possibility of missed shots and more cropping in post. It will happen.

Every wedding photographer I know has a 70-200mm 2.8L II, so much of the work looks alike. I like to be active in getting my shots and because the 135L w/o a hood with being black, Is very incognito.

No IS can be a problem sometimes.

TWI by Dustin Abbott:
I have personally gone the route of the 135L and I also carry a 1.4x teleconverter.  If you need the extra reach, you can use the teleconverter and have a nearly 200mm (189mm) f/2.8 prime that still has exceptional image quality and fantastic bokeh.

I have to agree with RLPhoto in that while the 70-200L is more flexible for event work, the 135L produces far more distinctive images.  I ended up buying mine because I recognized that many of my favorite shots (environmental portraits) were taken with the 135L.  I love it for event work and portraiture for that reason.

I personally don't have a big hand-holding issue (steady hands), but the ability to push ISO combined with the fantastic low light (and light gathering) performance of the 135L makes it still a very good choice for those with less steady hands.

One final issue is weight and size in the bag.  The 135L fits fine standing upright in my bag.  That's huge!

Mt Spokane Photography:
I prefer the 135mmL, but the 70-200mm MK II is probably sharper.  For me, being able to use f/2 is just enough of a edge to be able to get some shots of moving subjects that f/2.8 can't quite get.  And Yes, there is a special quality to the 135mmL images.

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