Canon 135 f/2.0L Vs. 70-200 f/2.8L

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by frameofmindphotography, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. I need your help! I'll be purchasing a new lens soon for many applications, the most immediately pressing being
    a trip to Africa. I am considering the 135L and the 70-200L Each has its own advantages. Both are known for
    excellent IQ. The zoom would work well for travel, however that won't be the exclusive use for this lens. I'll
    also be taking my Canon 20mm f/2.8 and the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (because Canon doesn't seem to care about this
    lens anymore). I'll also be taking a FF Canon Digital. Please Advise!
  2. Where in Africa? Games parks in the East or South, or West African markets and cities?

    If the former, you could use a longer telephoto zoom--200mm would just barely do, but 300mm is a lot better
  3. I'll be in West Africa. Mostly markets, cities, tribal villages, landscapes, and portraiture stuff. I will not be going on Safari. A long range is not necessary in this case. I do have some low light needs, but I'm not sure how much difference there will be between these two lenses (f/2.0 vs f/2.8)

    Thanks, Aaron
  4. there is hardly anything to match 135/2.0 in IQ department. I had a bit more success with 70-200/2.8 in this type of photography you describe - villages, markets - namely in Cambodia. To catch interesting face detail you'd need to come a bit too close with 135mm lens. Or take upper body, move few steps, zoom in, take the face - prime won't allow you to do that.

    On the other side, big white will draw a bit more attention than you wish and - it weights good deal more than then 135. You have primes and you know how to use them..

    It's tough decision. I reach for 135 more often into the bag these days.
    I try to quantify just now, when do I take which lens and - for very dynamic environment, where more snaps of the same subjects are unlikely (obstructions, moving subjects) and/or I move myself a lot - I prefer the prime and choose the time/distance for THE only shot. Zoom for more static environments, where one can move around the subject, recompose and do the same subject - differently, it terms of focal length, angle etc. May and may not work the same way for you.
  5. When you need 135mm at f2.0 or even f2.8, the 135/2L will be better. When you need a shorter or longer focal length, the 70-200/2.8 will be better (especially if it has IS). Since you don't know what you'll need, the zoom makes more sense if you can afford it and don't mind the size and weight.
  6. West Africa - terrific! I got by just fine there back when with a 70-210mm zoom and a bunch of shorter primes. These days, I'd want IS myself - don't like to travel without it ;) Get off the beaten track if you can. The countryside is full of wonderful things.
  7. I think the black 135L will be much better choice. With the other primes you have you can always pop the 50mm on when you are in small markets etc. The 70-200 will be large, heavy and obvious. Just my 2 cents.
  8. I've got the 70-200/2.8 IS, and it is a large and heavy lens. It's great for me because I shoot theater, and I can't move around to recompose during performances. If you have freedom to move around, the 135/2 can get a lot of the same shots, and it's smaller, lighter and more discreet. And cheaper, too. That's what I'd go with.
  9. I have both, they are not comparable: one is a zoom, the other one isn't. AS far as IQ is concerned obviously the prime has an edge but, that won't help if you need a zoom and/or IS.
  10. My suggestion for the type of shooting you are about to do is to get the zoom.
  11. I have both and both have excellent IQ. I would say though that the 135 is less obvious. Take that and a couple of small primes 14mm and 50mm with even a 1.4x extender.
  12. If you want light weight, IS, and general merging into the background, you could do worse than the little kit 55-250mm IS. It's also considerably cheaper than L glass. You could throw one of these in and still get the 135mm f/2.
    It's half the lens, literally, except maybe for optical quality where it might be 2/3rds? ;)
    all prices approximate:
    55-255mm IS 108mm long, 390g US$280
    70-200mm f/4 IS L 172mm long, 760g US$600
    70-200mm f/2.8 IS L 197mm long, 1470g US$1699
  13. Whoops, forgot you were going full frame. Still, the 70-300mm IS might be another alternative.
  14. Of the two, 70-200 100%, it gives way more flexiblity. I travel with mine a lot and don't have any trouble using it, though I now seem to favour shorter lenses.

    IQ from both is staggering and the one stop faster 135mm is somewhat neutralised by the IS on the zoom.

    Take care, Scott.
  15. sbp


    I use both of these lenses, with great results. For walking around in changing environments, i suggest the 70-200, for it's flexibility.
    If you don't need to freeze action or shoot in very low light, you might also consider the 70-200 f/4 IS. IQ is equal to the f/2.8
    version, it's half the weight, considerably smaller, and about 2/3 the price of the f/2.8. This is my standard travel lens.
  16. I had a 135 f/2 for wedding use and it's a beautiful lens, but I swapped it for the 70-200 f/2.8 IS because of its flexibility and
    its IS. The zoom is so much more useful and it's image quality is pretty close (better of course at lower shutter speeds
    because of its IS).

    For travel though the big lens is seriously heavy and conspicuous - I wouldn't dream of choosing it for travel when the 70-
    200 f/4 IS is every bit as good. I can't imagine you'd desperately miss the extra stop of the 2.8, whereas the f/4 is MUCH
    lighter - 760g against 1570g).

Share This Page