FINALLY! Canon launches its first 135mm lens in 26 years

Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM
(Image credit: James Artaius)

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. 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.

(Image credit: Canon)

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, 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.

Read more: 

Best Canon cameras
Best Canon RF lenses
Best Canon EF-M lenses
Best mirrorless cameras

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Dan Mold
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, Dan also brings his technical wizardry and editing skills to Digital Camera World. He has been writing about all aspects of photography for over 10 years, having previously served as technical writer and technical editor for Practical Photography magazine, as well as Photoshop editor on Digital Photo

Dan is an Adobe-certified Photoshop guru, making him officially a beast at post-processing – so he’s the perfect person to share tips and tricks both in-camera and in post. Able to shoot all genres, Dan provides news, techniques and tutorials on everything from portraits and landscapes to macro and wildlife, helping photographers get the most out of their cameras, lenses, filters, lighting, tripods, and, of course, editing software.