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Author Topic: 85 L vs 135 L  (Read 4301 times)

Vossie

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85 L vs 135 L
« on: May 20, 2012, 03:02:27 PM »
Hi All,

I just upgraded to a 5D3 with a couple L lenses. I now have the 16-35 2.8 L, 24-105 4 L, 70-200 2.8 L IS II, to complement a 100-400 L and a 50 1.4. When buying this set, I did quite a lot of browsing, including this forum. I'd like to expand with a prime in the 'portrait' focal length range that excells in bokeh. I would be inclined to opt for the 85 1.2, but have also read a lot of positive reactions to the 135 2.0. The 135 is about half the price of the 85, but it's 2.0 aperture appears not to be such a big step up from the 2.8 of my 70-200.

Anyone with some ideas?
5D3, 16-35LII, 24-70 2.8LII, 24-105L, 85LII, 70-200 2.8LII, 100L, 135L, 100-400L, 50 1.4, 40 2.8, Sigma 180 3.5 EX, 1.4x TC III, 600EX, 550EX

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85 L vs 135 L
« on: May 20, 2012, 03:02:27 PM »

Axilrod

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 03:05:17 PM »
That's a tough decision, they are both stellar lenses, but honestly the 70-200 you have is just as sharp and much more versatile.  If you really need the extra stops then either would be a good choice.  The 135L is nice to have since it's so compact but still a relatively long focal length, it doesn't make people as nervous as one of the "great whites."  The 85LII is the bokeh king and very sharp even wide open, AF is a bit slow but overall it's a great lens.  Kinda heavy, but still great.   

How about the 100mm f/2.8L IS?  It's a macro lens but works very well for portraits.  It's about the same price as the 135 and it's a really fun lens.  I think it would be a nice addition to your already impressive collection. 

Here is the 135mm@f/2 vs 70-200mm@135mm@f/2.8:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=2&API=0&LensComp=108&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Not much of a difference in sharpness, although it's bokeh is probably slightly better.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 03:09:21 PM by Axilrod »
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elflord

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 04:17:31 PM »
Hi All,

I just upgraded to a 5D3 with a couple L lenses. I now have the 16-35 2.8 L, 24-105 4 L, 70-200 2.8 L IS II, to complement a 100-400 L and a 50 1.4. When buying this set, I did quite a lot of browsing, including this forum. I'd like to expand with a prime in the 'portrait' focal length range that excells in bokeh. I would be inclined to opt for the 85 1.2, but have also read a lot of positive reactions to the 135 2.0. The 135 is about half the price of the 85, but it's 2.0 aperture appears not to be such a big step up from the 2.8 of my 70-200.

Anyone with some ideas?

There's also the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 if you're looking for fast portrait lens.  I'm pretty happy with the 135L but I don't have the 70-200 so can't compare it to that. The law of diminishing returns does imply that you pay more for fewer stops once you get to the fast lenses. The 135L is an excellent lens, I guess it boils down to whether you're prepared to pay for the extra stop and a smaller package.

I ended up with the Sigma over the 85L, I couldn't justify the price of the latter. For the price of the 85L, I was able to get both the 135L and the Sigma 85mm f/1.4.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 04:21:20 PM by elflord »

dirtcastle

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 04:55:35 PM »
On paper, the f/2 aperture of the 135mm might not seem as impressive as an 85mm f/1.2, but if you put some distance between yourself and the subject... you're gonna get amazing bokeh. Believe me... nobody complains about 135mm bokeh.

The difference between the actual usage of these two lenses is primarily about crop and distance from subject. both lenses have amazing quality. The 135mm f/2 has a great weight-to-performance ratio. I agree with what others have said about it being user-friendly. And the price is incredible. It's definitely the best deal going (along with the 50mm f/1.4).

Unless you are a pixel-peeper or a chart-hound, there is little difference in IQ between these two lenses. I would ask yourself how close you want to be to your subjects, and what you want the crop to be. If you plan to do close-up, headshots with extremely shallow DOF, go with the 85mm f/1.2. If you will have the ability to step back from your subject, but still want to get relatively tight crops... go with the 135mm f/2.

bdunbar79

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 05:03:58 PM »
I have both but they serve very different purposes.  If I'm shooting basketball games from the stands, and don't want to take my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, I pick the 135 f/2L so I don't have to go down on the court to make my 85mm lens work.  I think the image sharpness of the 135L is better at f/2.8 than the zoom, but then again maybe i'm pixel peeping.  My suggestion is to evaluate your focal length needs.  You might go 135L and 85 f/1.8 non-L later.  That would give you both ends of the spectrum and eliminates a need for a 100mm lens.  However, you can't beat the f stop of the 85 f/1.2L.  You might consider letting your 70-200 zoom take care of anything over 85mm and get the high quality 85 f/1.2L.  Again, I have the 85L, 135L, and 70-200L zoom you have, maybe it's overkill, but each serves a very different purpose.  You can get the 135 f/2L and the 85 f/1.8 non-L (excellent lens) still for cheaper than a 85mm f/1.2L.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 05:53:20 PM »
How about the 100mm f/2.8L IS?  It's a macro lens but works very well for portraits.

It does, but having the 70-200 II pretty much obviates using the 100L for portraits (at least, it does for me).

I'd like to expand with a prime in the 'portrait' focal length range that excells in bokeh. I would be inclined to opt for the 85 1.2, but have also read a lot of positive reactions to the 135 2.0. The 135 is about half the price of the 85, but it's 2.0 aperture appears not to be such a big step up from the 2.8 of my 70-200.

From your description and the fact that you already have the 70-200 II, I'd recommend the 85L.
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IIIHobbs

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 06:08:25 PM »
I pondered this same question on getting the 5dIII.

My portrait needs were for more candid situations and as a result I opted forthright the 135. It feels good on the 5dIII, like my 16-35. The subject isolation is beautiful and the AF is very fast. People don't notice me much any more as the did with the 70-200. I can keep my distance and capture what I want.

If your portrait needs are more controlled and you have time to set your shot, then the 85 could potentially give you excellent results as well.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 08:10:56 PM by IIIHobbs »

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 06:08:25 PM »

Leopard Lupus

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2012, 06:24:12 PM »
I was faced with the same decision when I went FF, and decided on the 135 L for weight and AF speed. I have no regrets as it is the only lens I will pull from my bag specifically for portraits, unless it's my Zeiss glass  :P

pwp

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2012, 08:00:07 PM »
You've got a great lens there with the 70-200 f/2.8LisII. For portrait work it's a lot more flexible than a fixed 135. I bought a 135 f/2 and found I scarcely used it. It was nothing to do with the quality which was exemplary, it just lacked the flexibility of the zoom. And to be honest I missed the IS.

The 100 f/2.8Lis macro would really be in the same boat as the 135 f/2 in the context of this discussion. A fabulous lens, but for portraits, why pull it out when you have the 70-200 f/2.8LisII?

The stellar quality 85 f/1.2 is a gem, though very slow focusing. If your portraits are static, technical & considered,  this may be a satisfying choice. But frankly I see your lens set as first class and covering just about all possibilities. You don't need more glass. Why not use the money you've allocated for the glass on a shooting vacation?

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2012, 09:04:36 PM »
You have all this gear and you are asking which focal length you need??
 
 5D mk3, EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II, EF 24-105 f/4.0 L IS, EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS, EF 50 f/1.4, Sigma 180 f/3.5 EX macro, Speedlite 550 EX,
30D, EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS   You should know better than 99% of the posters what focal length you need for your photography.   Select and purchase a lens to fill a need, not just because its the best.

drjlo

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 12:29:29 AM »
As much as I love my 85L II for portraits, its AF is *just* slow enough to end up in missed shots with active children not to mention moving bees. 

135L is not called the "magic prime" for no reason, and its price is certainly THE bargain in the L lens lineup. 
Below is 135L shot wide open at f/2.0, and below that is 100% crop (!).  I really don't think even 85L has melting cheese like these.


World Melting by drjlo1, on Flickr


100% Crop! by drjlo1, on Flickr

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Re: 85 L vs 135 L
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 12:29:29 AM »