Canon TS-E 135mm f/4L MACRO Review

January 18, 2018 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Tilt-shift lenses are specialist pieces of kit, and at this focal length, become even more specialist. Of the three lenses which were launched at the same time (the other two being a 50mm and 90mm), the 135mm is arguably the least versatile. It’s probably unlikely to appeal to architectural or landscape photographers - although there are some arguments for using it to pick out details - but for product and food photographers it’s a good choice. It’s also something that creates interesting portraits. 

Canon has employed the highest possible optical construction for this lens and if you’re prepared to put the work in to get the most from them, you’ll be rewarded with precise control over depth of field, plane of focus and exactly what is and isn’t sharp in your images. Simply put, for food and product photographers, it’s a dream lens, once you get the hang of it. 

You shouldn’t expect instant results with a lens like this if you’ve never used a tilt-shift lens before, while even those who may be used to using wide-angle tilt shift lenses may take a bit of time to get used to the longer focal length. 

Sharpness is fantastic, and is probably best shown off on a camera such as the Canon EOS 5DSR, but even using it on the 6D Mark II that we have been using for this review shows that it is capable of producing some crystal clear images. 

If you want to, you can use the Canon TS-E 135mm f/4L Macro Lens as a standalone prime lens, potentially saving you space and weight in your bag - but bear in mind you will only have manual focus. 

In essence, the Canon TS-E 135mm f/4L Macro lens is a super specialist lens, but if you can get the best from it, or see a specific need for it, you’ll be extremely pleased with the results. Perhaps this is a lens to add to your rental list before committing to buy, as (like other TS-E lenses) it comes with a very high price tag.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3