If you can only afford one L prime- which one do you choose?

JoTomOz

EOS T7i
Nov 21, 2018
56
33
www.flickr.com
Since you have clarified that it doesn't have to be an RF prime, I'd say the L prime I'd hate to be without the most is my EF 135mm f/2L.

It has a look none of my other lenses, prime or zoom, have.

Yes, it is the cheapest L prime ever.
Yes, it's more than a little long in the tooth.
Yes, there are other lenses in the short to medium telephoto range that score significantly better shooting flat test charts at relatively close distances.

But I don't desire a lens that can let me be the best flat test chart shooter in the world.
I desire more a lens that renders a three dimensional world the way the EF 135mm f/2L does.

Correcting the field of focus to be flat enough to score well all the way to the edges and the corners of a flat test chart seems to mean giving up the smoothest rendering of out of focus areas. Just look at the EF 85mm f/1.4L IS and see that Canon's designers sold its soul in order for it to perform better shooting flat test charts than the EF 85mm f/1.2L II. But where is the rendering of out of focus areas that the EF 85mm f/1.2L II can give (even when stopped down to f/1.4 or narrower)?
Thanks for sharing your love for 135/f2! i have misrepresented my situation in the opening post as I do in fact have the 135/2 and love it for basically the same reasons and wouldn’t part with it unless I switched brands. Thankfully it is so much more affordable than the modern L primes. However I’m also interested in trying out a modern, well corrected lens as I don’t have any that fit that description at the moment. In that sense a 50 would pair better with the 135 than an 85mm, but still leaning towards the idea of the f2 zoom.

It’s still fun hearing (and helpful to hear) what people would choose if they could only have one high-end lens.
 
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Michael Clark

Now we see through a glass, darkly...
Apr 5, 2016
990
484
Thanks for sharing your love for 135/f2! i have misrepresented my situation in the opening post as I do in fact have the 135/2 and love it for basically the same reasons and wouldn’t part with it unless I switched brands. Thankfully it is so much more affordable than the modern L primes. However I’m also interested in trying out a modern, well corrected lens as I don’t have any that fit that description at the moment. In that sense a 50 would pair better with the 135 than an 85mm, but still leaning towards the idea of the f2 zoom.

It’s still fun hearing (and helpful to hear) what people would choose if they could only have one high-end lens.
The problem with "well corrected" lenses is that what that usually means is "optimized for shooting flat test charts at relatively short distances at the expense of pleasing out of focus areas when taking pictures of a three dimensional world at longer distances."
 

rjbray01

Canon Forever
Jan 19, 2017
132
74
Been thinking about pulling the trigger on the RF 85 as there is a sale on here in Australia. Although it is a focal length I would use I’m hesitant because to be honest, as expensive as they are I can probably only afford one RF L prime. I shoot primes mostly and can’t afford to shell out for the whole set when they all come out.

I realise everyone’s use case is different (mine is primarily nightscapes and family/portrait) but was curious if anyone had thoughts on this (and whether it is a lens that is released in RF yet or not)

Thanks!
I agree - it's a tough decision but 85mm would be my choice too - ideal portraits, can crop to 70-200 equivalent and use panorams for wider angle static landscapes ...

I follow Thomas Heaton on YouTube and many of his landscapes are shot with a 70-200 and joined as a panorama to great effect

I realize it's not ideal but if the constraint is just one lens then it seems to me 85mm is in the middle as a jack of all trades whilst being capable of producing perfect portraits