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Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus Lens

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Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus lens

Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus lens

Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus lens

Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus lens


Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus MTF Chart

Optical design

Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus optical design

Format: 35mm SLR

Type: Prime lens

Focusing: Auto Focus (AF)

Lens mounts: Canon EF, EF-S, Canon EF, EF-S

First year of production: 1987

Optical design: 7 elements in 6 groups

Features: Soft lens
User reviews (3)

Photos (22)

Tests (0)

Owners (10)

Views (7373)

Average price: $440


Focal lengthMax. apertureMin. apertureBladesMin. Focus (m.)Filter Ø (mm.)Weight (gr/oz)Length (mm/in)

Additional information:

The Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus  is a unique telephoto soft-focus prime lens equipped with the Soft Focus system for Canon EOS digital and film cameras.  It is one of the most uncommon EF lenses.

Equivalent focal length for APS-C cameras:   216 mm.

As different from other lenses, this one has a 3-position (0-1-2) Soft switch. This switch alters the position of an aspherical lens in such a way that the focal point of central and rim rays does not coincide. Optimum efficiency of this switch is achieved at the maximum aperture.

No soft-effect in position 0. Light soft-effect in position 1. Maximum soft-effect in position 2. It causes image contrast to dramatically fall and half tones get blurred, but HF definition still retains. A special frame ring adjusts the effect.

By means of the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focusin the appropriate light conditions, it is possible to smooth over skin defects and emphasize eye details, eye lashes, brows, locks.

Both autofocusing and manual mode are available. In MF mode there may be a considerable override past infinity, which makes it possible to focus either central or rim rays.

It is better to use the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus on film or digital cameras with a 24x36 mm full-size sensor.

With the f/2.8 maximum aperture ratio the lens enables shooting with very shallow depth of field, as well as shooting in low-level-light conditions.

Set at 0 (no soft-effect), the lens is already rather sharp at f/ 2.8.  It is very sharp from f/4 onwards. There are drops in resolution at the frame borders on 35 mm digital cameras.

Vignetting is visible only when shooting wide open.  Vignetting is usually an advantage for a portrait photography, as it provides a picture with additional volume.  If necessary, it is easily edited in RAW-converters.

The Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus is not very well resistant to back or side light. In order to ensure a better image quality, it is recommended to use a hood.

Focusing is internal. The front lens does not rotate, which enables the use of a polarizing or gradient filter.  Manual adjustment of sharpness is possible at any time by turning the focus ring.

Autofocus is a weak point of this lens. Autofocusing is slow and noisy. In low light conditions there are frequent hunting problems.

But the price of the lens is quite affordable (especially on the secondary market), let alone its uniqueness.

When used thoughtfully and artistically, the Canon EF 135 mm f/2.8 Soft Focus may be very useful for soft retro-style female portrait, for pictorial photography, etc.

Compatible hood: ET-65III

Links to online resources:
PDF Files:
Posted by: Sergei Borodin   Date of publication: 16.09.2010

Photos taken with this lens Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus:

Almond Blossom (using 250D)
Autor: NerveNet
5 0 221

The cat
Autor: Sergei Borodin
5 0 1655

The Cat-The Snow
Autor: Sergei Borodin
5 0 1743

Spring Fallen Angel
Autor: NerveNet
5 1 354

Mechanical quality2.805
Optical quality3.205
Pricing / Value3.005
Overall lens rating

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Owner reviews: Canon EF 135 mm f/ 2.8 SoftFocus

NerveNet 27.06.2017 02:41:08
Period of use: 4 years


Compact design, lightweight, f/2.8 aperture, 52mm filter thread, distance scale.

Front element doesn't rotates or extends during AF.

Softfocus feature.

Nice bokeh.


Not very sharp at f/2.8.

Strong vignetting at f/2.8.

Slow and noisy autofocus motor.

1.3 meter minimum focusing distance.


If you expect to get ultrsharp pictures then this lens is not for you, I use mine mainly for portraits and from time to time I play with the softofocus effect. I have better lenses but nothing beats its small weight and size.

Wide open this lens is not as sharp as the Canon 135mm f/2L USM, but it is enough for my Canon EOS 5D. Borders are also not as sharp as on the L version, but as I use it mainly for portraits where the interesting things are not in the borders, this is not an issue.

If you also want to use this lens for indoor sports, keep in mind that its focus motor is slow compared to USM, so in Ai-Servo mode you may loose some fotos due to lack of focus of fast moving objetct. The L versión does this job much better with is precise, fast and silent USM motor.

Regarding soft focus effect. You may like it or hate it, but remember that sometimes sharpness is not so important.