Canon Applies for 135mm f/2 Patent

[email protected]

R5
It was published only today, but Canon submitted its 135mm f/2 lens design (Japanese) back in September 2020. Four versions are shown, ranging from 11 elements to 14 elements.
The designs appear to sport pretty good image quality, going by the theoretical, calculated “sea grass” graphs that appear in Japanese lens design patents. A trip back to Canon’s most recent 135mm f/2 patent (2018) shows that these new ones compare favorably.
[Tip to lens geeks: Bill Claff’s Photonstophotos.net site incorporates a long list of lenses that he’s matched up with their corresponding patents, along with a mesmerizing ray tracing application that shows how light interacts with the patent design elements. Very handy.]
CanonRumor’s RF Lens...

1 users
Thanks for sharing, @[email protected]

Will be interesting, how an RF implementation of this lens will perform.
And though many prefer an f/1.4 to f/1.8 design IMO I'd prefer the f/2 for size and weight reasons.
And the old EF lens already shows impressive results wide open. (Still on my wish list )
So I'm looking forward for a real product.

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3 users
I am wondering how this would compare with the RF 70-200 F2.8 at 135mm (f2 vs f2.8 aside). At least for my use case, I find that the IQ of the 70-200 f2.8 is not that different from the RF100mm f2.8. So apart from the latter's micro capability, the zoom can serve as well in most of my situations. I imagine the 135 f2 to be mainly used as a portrait lens, but not sure (yet) if using the 70-200 could be good enough.

1 users
It's a simple piece of maths to determine the minimum size of the front element of a lens. Take the focal length (in this case 135mm) and divide that figure by it's aperture F stop value. If you want to want to know the largest aperture for a given focal length and filter thread (element size) then take the focal length and divide it by the filter size. Focal length = F stop x Element size. Play with this simple equation and you can see that a 135mm f2 need an element of 67.5mm. If we throw a max element size of 77mm, we get either a 155mm f2 or a 135mm f1.8 lens. If we enlarge the front element to a fairly common 82mm, we get either a 164mm f2 or a 135mm f1.6. To get an f1.4 135mm, the front element would need to be 96mm in diameter...which is huge and would need a large supporting AF system. A 135mm f1.8 is very likely the way forwards with a max diameter front element of 75mm.
Interestingly the Sigma 105mm f1.4 requires a front element of only 75mm. So that lens doesn't really need to be so large and heavy. If you pull the focal length in to 100mm, the front element reduces to 72mm. So not a lot different to a 135mm f2 size wise.

However, on of the joys of the Ef 135mm f2.0 is a great combination of it's unobtrusive size, it's large min magnification and slim Dof, whilst having a nice reach for portraits. If you play the "top tumps" specs game and replace it with an f1.4 behemoth, then you lose out on the current lens' shooting versatility. Sure, the DOF will be very slim. But who wants to lug that beast about when those Dof effects can be achieved easier and in a more controllable way with other optic choices.

3 users
I love my EF 135 f/2. I don't really need an RF version, but I hope they make one in the unlikely event i need to replace mine in the future. I think an RF 135 F/2 would be \$1500-1700. That's about a 30% premium to what the EF was going for if I recall correctly (which I may not be). A 1.4 would be around \$4k. a 1.8 probably \$2500-2700. So that's a factor as well.

Brian

1 user
I am wondering how this would compare with the RF 70-200 F2.8 at 135mm (f2 vs f2.8 aside). At least for my use case, I find that the IQ of the 70-200 f2.8 is not that different from the RF100mm f2.8. So apart from the latter's micro capability, the zoom can serve as well in most of my situations. I imagine the 135 f2 to be mainly used as a portrait lens, but not sure (yet) if using the 70-200 could be good enough.
That's an interesting point. There was a Sigma CEO interview from a long ways back where the fellow indicated their 135mm f/1.8 lens wasn't selling as well as the other Art series lenses, and he attributed it to the fact that the 70-200 lenses (there was a profusion of new ones that had come out around then) were so good, people thought it redundant.

I own that Sigma lens, and it's just amazing. For event shooting and shooting woodcock in the evening from close up, it's hard to beat. The Sony attempt at that configuration is reputed to be even slightly better, although I haven't shot it.

In terms of competition versus the 70-200s, I think it's true for non-pros. For some pros - the ones who concentrate on low-light genres - the brighter 135mm lens does matter.

After you get a few hundred great woodcock shots at 8 p.m. over the years, you start to care about the ones that are done at the lower ISOs. You get more selective, keeping the ones where the bird landed within a few yards of you. It's so dark that the difference between a simple keeper and one that you'll run by a photo editor is the one you can take at 1600 ISO at 1/15th of a second versus the one that needed ISO 4000. Normal people - even most pixel-peeping forum dwellers - aren't going to sweat the extra stop enough to shell out \$1,400 (Sigma) or \$2,xxx? (the new Canon).

I think back in the day, when the prime was expected to be significantly sharper and one stop brighter, you might think of the zoom as a wedding photographer or journalist's lens, where the 135 was a professional portraitist's tool. The quality increase in the zooms has made that quite a gray area now.

Two days ago, I took this picture of the first landing of the first woodcock of the year. It landed about 10 yards away, and this is at 200mm with the RF 70-200 f/2.8. It was taken at 7:30 p.m. at ISO 6400 with -2/3 of exposure compensation to allow the shutter speed to be as fast as 1/20th. I looked at it on the computer, and the very first thought in my head was "should have used the 135."

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5 users
Another vote here for the RF model to be f/2 or at least 1.8. Not interested in the weight, size and less versatility that comes with shallower DoF at this focal length. The EF isn't the sharpest but it has character and isn't a sterile, sticker style like the Sigma Art versions. Carry it all day... portraits, abstraction, landscapes- very versatile. It was nicknamed magical for good reasons. I have had 2 copies over 18 years, both for analog and digital and look forward to an RF version, top unicorn lens on my list. @CanonFanBoy , you're with me on this, right?

1 user
This lens is top of my wishlist! I love using my 85mm 1.2 for dance and (and of course portraits) have no trouble focusing, A fast focusing 135mm would be my only request. F stop 1.4 to 2 is less important.

1 user
So I Googled, "what is so special about the woodcock?" based on this entry. Is this the bird?

I presume they are not in my area, never having seen one. One reason I still prefer to lug around my 400 DO II is the F4 but many folk seem to be happy with the likes of 600 F11. When in Costa Rica a very real issue was the dullness of the forests and my realization was that I could have benefited from fill flash.

Jack

This lens is top of my wishlist! I love using my 85mm 1.2 for dance and (and of course portraits) have no trouble focusing, A fast focusing 135mm would be my only request. F stop 1.4 to 2 is less important.
I really like using my ef 85mm f1.2 L II as well. It gains in low light due to the much bigger aperture giving it several stops advantage of the ef 135mm f2.0 L and three stops over a 70-200mm f2.8 LIS. It also gains further stop by it's focal length to shutter speed equation. I can shoot an 85L at 1/80th sec. I have to shoot a 135L at least 1/125th to get sharp results. The 135L could really do with a really good IS unit and then shooting at 1/50th second (no point in going slower due to movement blur) becomes a reality.

3 users
I really like using my ef 85mm f1.2 L II as well. It gains in low light due to the much bigger aperture giving it several stops advantage of the ef 135mm f2.0 L and three stops over a 70-200mm f2.8 LIS. It also gains further stop by it's focal length to shutter speed equation. I can shoot an 85L at 1/80th sec. I have to shoot a 135L at least 1/125th to get sharp results. The 135L could really do with a really good IS unit and then shooting at 1/50th second (no point in going slower due to movement blur) becomes a reality.
How have adapted R5/6 shooters liked the EF 135? I would assume 1/50 would be doable.

This lens is top on my wishlist, may it be 2.0 (preferred), may it be 1.8. Essential is close up performance at least on par with Sigma and Sony max magnification 0.25 or better.

Main usage: Nature, plants, wild flowers, ... .
70-200 2.8 is not fit for purpose regarding twilight capabilities, DOF, closeup @135mm

I will to go back to EF135, I am already thinking about Milvus 135, Sigma.

I personally love to work with the 135 F2. It gives a very different kind of look (similar as sigma 135 would create). Of course, it have some problems in very fast action to focus the subject running fast in my direction (dog photography). Would be great to see an actualized version where AF works even better.

The inly cons that I see to a 1.4 version will be his price (no less than 3500€) and size/weight, (probably +4,5 pounds). By other side, the look may be outstanding.

1 user
Thanks for sharing, @[email protected]

Will be interesting, how an RF implementation of this lens will perform.
And though many prefer an f/1.4 to f/1.8 design IMO I'd prefer the f/2 for size and weight reasons.
And the old EF lens already shows impressive results wide open. (Still on my wish list )
So I'm looking forward for a real product.

The 4th design with IS performed really well optically - on par with 135GM and good enough for a 100MP CMOS - based on a simulation result I saw.
However it could be much more expensive too (4x UD and 6 high-index/high-dispersion).
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Canon mark it above \$3k.

So I Googled, "what is so special about the woodcock?" based on this entry. Is this the bird?

I presume they are not in my area, never having seen one. One reason I still prefer to lug around my 400 DO II is the F4 but many folk seem to be happy with the likes of 600 F11. When in Costa Rica a very real issue was the dullness of the forests and my realization was that I could have benefited from fill flash.

Jack

Yes, that's the guy, Jack! Had him near me again this evening. And I took the 135 Sigma with me, but the bird was 3x further away this time. Of course.

The 4th design with IS performed really well optically - on par with 135GM and good enough for a 100MP CMOS - based on a simulation result I saw.
However it could be much more expensive too (4x UD and 6 high-index/high-dispersion).
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Canon mark it above \$3k.
It is clear to me that Canon is putting a big mark-up on everything they announce these days - no matter if R&D, and production or margin is the main reason for that.
But imagine the price, if it was a full step or at least half a step brighter
It is as it is and we are the consumers...

Edit: And IQ is not only about resolution and distortion. Contrast, color and bokeh are more important to some...

1 users
I am wondering how this would compare with the RF 70-200 F2.8 at 135mm (f2 vs f2.8 aside). At least for my use case, I find that the IQ of the 70-200 f2.8 is not that different from the RF100mm f2.8. So apart from the latter's micro capability, the zoom can serve as well in most of my situations. I imagine the 135 f2 to be mainly used as a portrait lens, but not sure (yet) if using the 70-200 could be good enough.
Different beasts.

I am wondering how this would compare with the RF 70-200 F2.8 at 135mm (f2 vs f2.8 aside). At least for my use case, I find that the IQ of the 70-200 f2.8 is not that different from the RF100mm f2.8. So apart from the latter's micro capability, the zoom can serve as well in most of my situations. I imagine the 135 f2 to be mainly used as a portrait lens, but not sure (yet) if using the 70-200 could be good enough.
This is dated, but is an interesting comparison between the EF versions:

1 user
How have adapted R5/6 shooters liked the EF 135? I would assume 1/50 would be doable.

The EF 135 works better on the R5 than it did on the 5D mk IV, both in terms of image stabilization and AF. 1/50 is definitely doable if your subject is willing to stand still, but my main subject these days is a fast moving toddler and I always end up shooting at 1/200 or faster.

1 users
I entered this patent at PhotonsToPhotos so people could play with it in the Optical Bench.
Here's a direct link to Example 4 (I chose Example 4 because it indicates IS (arrow above L3))
It looks like this:
I also added speculative focus (moving L2) that was not in the patent. Looks like it could go to 0.25x
I can export prescriptions in Zemax format. Contact me if that interests you.
Also, if you know of patents that should be in the Optical Bench Hub (match a production lens) and it isn't there please let me know.

4 users