Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM hands-on review

27 years later, Canon finally release a new 135mm portrait lens – and this time it's for RF mount

Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM lens
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Early Verdict

The Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM lens is the most exciting lens in Canon's lineup for portraiture. Offering a sharp picture, with beautiful bokeh and subject separation. The lens also has the benefit of up to 5.5 stops of optical image stabilization, which becomes 8 stops when used with a compatible camera with IBIS. The customizable control buttons and control ring, give you more control options than before for quick settings. Although this lens doesn't come cheap, with a hefty L-series price tag attached.


  • +

    5.5 stop optical image stabilization

  • +

    Excellent sharpness

  • +

    Customizable buttons and ring


  • -


  • -


Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Canon last released a 135mm professional portrait lens all the way back in April 1996, but now it has finally released a sequel, this time for a new mount and a whole helping of improvements across the board, although, with 27 years to work on it, we are hoping for something special. Canon's previous 135mm f/2 L USM EF lens set the bar pretty high, hence why is still around all this time later.

135mm lenses are renowned as the ultimate portrait lenses as they offer a focal length that produces a very flattering compression for human facial features, and beautiful natural looking defocused backgrounds. Although not just limited to portraits, the RF 135mm lens is also a suitable length for many subjects including weddings, events, sports, and wildlife.

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

Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.

With contributions from