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Author Topic: Best tele prime for full frame?  (Read 4289 times)

Fatfaso

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Best tele prime for full frame?
« on: March 25, 2013, 01:50:38 PM »
I'm thinking about buying a lightweight travel tele to compliment my 50 1.4 and 16-35L ii. I would like to keep my bag light when walking around cities for long hours using a messenger bag. I like shooting everything from street scenes, portraits of my wife, and low light environments like the inside of churches. My current contenders include:

1. 135L
2. 100L is macro
3. 100 f2

I already own a 70-200L ii, but carrying that along all day will destroy my shoulder. I have a black rapid strap, but I'm more interested in reducing the weight of the items inside of my bag than getting the weight off of my shoulder when shooting.

Anybody have any suggestions on what might be the best option? I know some people love their 70-200 f4 lenses, but I don't want to get that b/c it's a bit redundant with my 70-200L ii and I also think f4 is too slow for my tastes.

More info: I have the trinity of L zooms and they are fantastic. However, there is just something appealing about traveling with primes for normal and tele shots that are lightweight.

I have a nice ONA Union Street messenger bag and a larger Dakine camera backpack. I could take my zooms with me in the backpack, but the lenses aren't as accessible, plus I look like an American tourist when traveling abroad with the big backpack, and there is still the matter of weight.

Since I have already bought into the Canon system, I'm not willing to purchase an m4/3 system just for travel or use a Canon rebel crop camera. I want to stick to lightweight ef lenses. Thus, my request for recommendations based on the primes listed above.

I am happy using the 50 1.4 as my go-to walk around lens and my 16-35 when I want to shoot more environmental stuff. Now all I need is a lightweight tele to complete my lightweight walk around kit for my messenger bag.

I like the images I've seen on Flickr taken with the 100 f2, but I question if the focal length is long enough to get detailed shots of gargoyles and stuff like that outside of churches. The 135L is also really appealing. Everyone seems to love this lens and the extra length might be useful. However, you need to crank up the shutter speed to get crisp shots and that might be harder in dark environments. I know I can always crank up my ISO, but less noise is always better.

Thoughts?

Thanks for your insight!

Jason
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« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 01:55:49 PM by Fatfaso »

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Best tele prime for full frame?
« on: March 25, 2013, 01:50:38 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 02:24:25 PM »
For low light interiors, the IS of the 100L would be quite useful.  For people, IS won't really help much, though.  If you listed your uses in order of preference ("street scenes, portraits of my wife, and low light environments"), I'd recommend the 135L for that. 
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pierceography

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 03:10:56 PM »
I own the 70-200mm 2.8 ii, 100mm f/2.8L, and 135mm f/2L.  The latter of which I just recently purchased.  I honestly never thought I'd have a place for it in my bag given that I already owned the 70-200 AND the 100mm macro.  But good lord is the 135mm amazing.  Just the best bokeh you could imagine, and it's incredible for street photography because of its smaller profile and extra reach (over the 100mm).

Not sure if you mentioned what camera you'll be using, but with my 5Dm3 I never wish I had IS on the 135.  The f/2 allows for decent shutter speeds even in low light, and with the high ISO capabilities of the 5Dm3 I wouldn't bat an eye at cranking it all the way up to 12,800... especially if you go b&w -- the extra grain gives it a nice feel.

So +1 for the 135mm f/2L from me.
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skitron

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 03:50:03 PM »
I vote the 135.

LOL, I was a happy camper back in the film days with nothing but a 50 and a 135. I sure wish I would have gone that route to get into DSLR decades later...

I'm underwhelmed with my 100L for focusing in low light even with assist beam. It is in i believe AF group C so not surprising...
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Fatfaso

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 04:18:16 PM »
I'm shooting a 5D MkIII, so I know I can get decent shots at high ISO, but I try to keep it below 10,000 if at all possible (good point on converting to B&W when shots are grainy). I've pretty much ruled out the 100L Macro because I want something faster than 2.8 (although image stabilization is always great to have).

So that leaves the 135L and the 100 f2 (which nobody seems to own). I'm going to run around my neighborhood with my 70-200 and do some shooting at the 100 and 135 focal lengths and see which one suits my style of shooting better.

Either way, I'm excited about picking up another prime to take some weight off of my shoulders. I love the flexibility of the trinity of 2.8 L zooms, but man are they heavy when carried together along with a 5D and flash. It's easy to see why some people prefer to shoot all primes. It may be a bit less convenient to keep changing lenses, but its way more fun to go out shooting when you're not in pain from lugging around heavy gear.

LifeAfter

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 04:55:13 PM »
For low light interiors, the IS of the 100L would be quite useful.  For people, IS won't really help much, though.  If you listed your uses in order of preference ("street scenes, portraits of my wife, and low light environments"), I'd recommend the 135L for that.

+1 for 135mm
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pwp

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 04:56:46 PM »
The 135 f/2 is an absolute scorcher. Owning a 70-200 f/2.8isII I didn't think I needed one but picked one up a few months ago. Truly amazing.

However, to give your shoulder a break during your long days on the road, had you considered the 70-200 f/4isII? They're very light, sharp wide open and would leave you with the flexibility of a zoom plus have very handy IS. See if you can get a test drive of one. It's a lot of photographers favourite lens.

-PW

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 04:56:46 PM »

TW

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 05:08:43 PM »
You should most definitely give consideration to the 100 f/2. I own it and highly recommend it. Light and fast, very inconspicuous, handles great, very nice IQ.

I think it's one of the most under-appreciated lenses that Canon makes. Just about the ideal match for your application. It will take up a lot less room in your bag than any of the alternatives you mention, also. See if you can borrow or rent one to try out. Oh, and they are relatively cheap, too.  :)
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CANONisOK

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 05:18:49 PM »
I'll second (or third, or fourth...) a vote for the 135L. I also have the 70-200 IS ii which has great sharpness, but have come to appreciate the much lighter weight, lower "profile", and excellent image quality of the 135L. I can't imagine anyone would regret adding it to their kit.
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RS2021

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 05:42:20 PM »
135L
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mb66energy

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 05:48:31 PM »
You should most definitely give consideration to the 100 f/2. I own it and highly recommend it. Light and fast, very inconspicuous, handles great, very nice IQ.

I think it's one of the most under-appreciated lenses that Canon makes. Just about the ideal match for your application. It will take up a lot less room in your bag than any of the alternatives you mention, also. See if you can borrow or rent one to try out. Oh, and they are relatively cheap, too.  :)

+1 to every point, TW has written.

It is a good companion to my 24/2.8 and 40/2.8 in terms of size, weight, IQ and unobtrusiveness!
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tiger82

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 06:45:47 PM »
Why not a 135mm or 100mm f/2 plus a 1.4x TC and/or 2x TC?   That would give you options at f/2.8 of 140mm and/or 189mm.  At f/4, you could have 270mm and/or 200mm.  You may give up a little IQ but at least you get the reach.
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Truffaut

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »
I also own the 100 2.0, but I'm not so happy with it. My expectations were high  because it got very good reviews. After a few month I realized that I shoot very rarely with it. The results were disappointing. Then I tried to find out why and made a few comparing shots with the 100 2.0 and the 24-105L.  The 24-105 was sharper (not only in the corners), had less CA, richer colours and more contrast. I want to shoot the 100 wide open and there it's pretty soft. I'm saving now for a 135L...
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 06:49:09 PM by Truffaut »

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »

Fatfaso

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 06:46:36 PM »
PW:

You're kind of blowing my mind. I was (and maybe still am) pretty opposed to buying any lenses that are slower than f2.8, but the 70-200 f4 is is half of the weight of my 70-200 2.8 ii and would give me fantastic reach. Lens size isn't a big issue as my messenger bag can accommodate the lens with no problem. Also, the pics shot with the f4 on Flickr show nice color, bokeh and sharpness. I guess I'm just a little wary about shooting with that lens in low light and also about bringing some attention to myself with another big white lens.

Still it's worth considering. Now it's back to the 100 f2 (love the size and weight), 135L (might be a nice compromise in terms of focal length and the weight isn't too bad), along with the 70-200 f; is (great range, weight and is). This is going to be a tough choice.

Thanks for everyone's input. It's great to hear from people who have shot with these lenses.

Fatfaso

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 06:48:49 PM »
Truffaut:

That's disappointing to hear. Ultimately, I think I'm going to have to rent them all for a weekend and see what works best. Great info though. Keep it coming.

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Re: Best tele prime for full frame?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 06:48:49 PM »