Thursday, May 28, 2009

Canon 135mm f/2.8 SF lens

This image was taken with my Canon 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens. When I bought my Canon 135 f/2L lens a few years ago, I almost sold this lens. My thought was that I didn't need two prime lenses in the 135mm focal length. After some additional thought, though, I reconsidered and kept the lens because of its unique soft focus feature. I'm glad I did as I find that I still enjoy the effect of the lens, which despite what anyone says, cannot be exactly duplicated in Photoshop. The effects are too subtle and deep for the average Photoshop used to emulate, and even attempts by advanced Photoshop users seem artificial compared to the use of the actual lens.

The lens provides the ability to dial in a degree of softness on a scale of 0-2. At the 0 setting, the lens is quite sharp. At the 2 setting, and with a large aperture, it provides an amount of softness that is reminiscent of vintage field cameras. The effect can be overdone, as can any photographic technique, but for some images it just works, as it does with the image above and the one to the right. It gives an image that "dreamy" effect and compliments images that have areas of significant contrast and strong lighting. I'm sure some photographers would disagree with me, but all of my models have loved the effect. Perhaps one or two will chime in here and let me know what they think.