I am a man who really hates gear! More specifically, I am a man who really, really hate dependence on gear! The very notion that something you can buy will just instantly fix fundamental issues with the user is something that has pissed me off. It isn't even specifically a photography/photographer issue, more an issue with some peoples inclination to find a shortcut regardless of how much it costs, as long as it saves time and ego!
Despite all this, I have some pieces of equipment that I think are just so wonderful I would gladly sell my wife before I decided to part ways with.
And to kick things off, any who knows me will already know what I am going to pick...
Canon 135mm F2 L
It is just magnificent! My insistent and no doubt irritating love for this piece of glass has, to date, caused 11 workshop attendees and/or friends of mine to purchase the lens entirely based from my whining and swooning! Canon really should consider cutting me a commission cheque...
So why is it so great?
Well to start with it is sharper than a prison toothbrush. Like, scary sharp! Wide open it is most definitely one of, if not the most sharp lenses canon has. A lot of glass picks up when it's stopped down, but this beauty is magnificent wide open!
The images it produces have a similar yet slightly more compressed look to the 85mm 1.2 L but with some massive bonus points over the (in my opinion) much-overrated sister of the 135. Straight off the bat, the focus speed is as swift as you could possibly want. An area the 85 really struggles with. Next is the sharpness wide open. Now this isn't a fair comparison per say, but its my blog, so deal with it.
Next is the compression. This can easily be chalked up to my preference for longer focal lengths, but having plopped this lens on the front of many, many peoples cameras to enlighten anyone who is bored enough to humour me has shown me that the focal length/maximum aperture/sharpness is the perfect portrait storm.
Finally, and maybe not most importantly, but its a hell of a bonus, it's half a grand cheaper than the 85mm. I buy most of my gear, especially lenses second-hand from mpb.com (not a paid advertisement, I just like them). Second hand, these can be found for between £450-£550 for very decent examples which means you can get a used 135mm and a holiday to Greece for the cost of the 85mm! And with how slow the focussing speed of the 85 is, you'll probably be on the flight back from Santorini by the time the 85 locks in!
And just to preempt the idea that I am in any way jealous of the 85mm or am knocking it without warrant, I own both lenses :)
Thanks for reading