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  1. #1

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    135mm SLR lens; Why are they so cheap?

    I have notice that 135mm SLR lens are really cheap and very plentyful, is there a reason for that? Perhaps it was once a coveted focal length that had since fall out of fashion? Just curious.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    They were easier & cheaper to make compared to wide angles and very popular.

    Ian

  3. #3
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Before the advent of decent-quality zoom lenses, the 135 was, generally, the first telephoto acquired by non professionals. It was long enough to seem to be worth while, but not so long as to bring on problems with hand holding. As a general rule, as the photographer gained more experience, the 135 was the first to be sold off. It is neither fish nor fowl--too long for portraits and landscapes; not long enough for "real" telephoto work. My two cents.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  4. #4

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    Don't forget that they made a lot of 135mm for all those amateurs, used them too in my early days.
    High production > many on sale > lower prices.

    Now adays I use zooms for 35 and the 150SF for 6x7.

    Peter

  5. #5

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    Anscojohn summed it up pretty well. There were lots of them made, and the focal length is just all wrong. It is too long for portraits and too short for what would normally be considered telephoto work. I suppose a lot of folks bought them thinking they were going to do bird photography only to find that it was woefully lacking. I have one that doesn't see much use. For portraits on 35 mm something around 85 to 105 mm seems about right for a head and shoulders or upper body shot. 200 mm lens is the low end of what I consider to be a useful length as a telephoto lens. Birders are just getting started at 400 mm, and then often with a 1.4x or 2x converter.
    Frank Schifano

  6. #6

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    Ditto all the above and the ubiquitous 135/2.8 was the longest glass you could get with decent speed for a non-pro price.

  7. #7

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    Falls in between. Better an 85mm f:1.8 for portraits and a 250mm f:2.8 for sports or wild life.

  8. #8
    Chaplain Jeff's Avatar
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    Hello,

    My thoughts:

    Too long for portrait work. Too short for telephoto.

    Lots of third party 135mm's were sold with "kits" in the 70's and 80's. That's how I got mine. I nearly never used it. Couldn't give the thing away.

    Luckily, someone stole it about 20 years ago and it was insured along with everything else.
    Jeff M


    M3, M5, CLE, Minolta XE7, Minolta Maxxum 9, Minolta Maxxum 9000, Nikon F3HP, etc., etc.

  9. #9

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    I agree with most of the above comments. There are some nice 135mm lenses out there, though, and if one could find a use for the focal length, one could take some nice shots. My 135mm lenses have produced some very nice results. I recently picked up an EX+ condition Minolta MD Tele Rokkor 135/3.5 for almost nothing--$16!--and that is from KEH...and thus it is in truly fine condition. I cannot wait to see the results.
    Last edited by FilmOnly; 04-21-2009 at 01:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Talking about uses for 135's, the only use I ever found for mine was photographing friends playing tennis. Seems to be just the right distance. What's your use?

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