After a quarter of a century, the Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM finally replaces the legendary Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM. The new RF model will natively fit EOS R cameras, and while the focal length remains identical it does have a slightly wider maximum aperture of f/1.8, making it a third of an f-stop brighter.
The Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM features image stabilisation that Canon claims will deliver sharp shots when shooting 5.5 stops slower than usual, or a whopping 8 stops when paired with an R system body with in-body image stabilisation, such as the new Canon EOS R6 Mark II (opens in new tab). This should make it a dream to shoot with in low light, and we can’t wait to give it a test run.
A focal length of 135mm is a short-telephoto ideal for tight headshots, or for taking candid, fly-on-the-wall style shots at a wedding where you don’t want to be so close to your subjects. A Nano USM motor is also on the spec sheet for fast and quiet autofocusing.
The short telephoto focal length also helps compress facial features for more flattering portraits, and is paired with a circular 9-bladed aperture that Canon boasts delivers beautiful bokeh, though we look forward to testing it soon to see if it lives up to these claims.
An emphasis has been put on top image quality with Canon's full-frame mirrorless L-series lenses, such as the Canon RF 85mm F/1.2L USM DS (opens in new tab), and Canon has been keen to stress that its new RF 135mm lens is no exception, stating the lens delivers "exceptional image quality across the entire frame".
Canon uses special UD (Ultra Low Dispersion) lens elements to combat chromatic aberrations – and the new model uses no less than three of them. It also gets special ASC and Super Spectra coatings. ASC stands for Air Sphere Coating, a technology created in 2014 by Canon to help reduce reflections, flare and ghosting, while the Super Spectra Coating which is a multi-layered vapor-deposited coating also combats reflectance.
The lens starts shipping in December in some markets, with pricing $2,099 / £2,599.99. In Australia, the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM will begin shipping in early 2023 for an RRP of AU$3,969.
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