Berlin on Borrowed lenses: 135mm

"Berlin on Borrowed lenses: 135mm"


1. I had one piece of hand luggage for the trip so I had to get a low number of lenses with a good range. 2. This is not a technical review, I’m not a lens boffin; it’s all anecdotal. 3. I shot on a Canon 5Dmk2 body with Nikon lenses fitted with an adapter. 4. Only these three lenses were used. 

Part 1 (24mm review): Click Here.

Part 2 (85mm review): Click Here.

Nikon 135mm f/2.8


Falling Short The build quality of this lens was excellent. It was chunky, weighty and each time I used it, I knew I was treating my sensor to good glass. This might go against the earlier consideration of going light and portable, but for a lens of this quality and this length it was worth the bag room. Or so I thought. The colours were good and the contrast was a delight and so the pictures from the lens all looked great, but it was the practicality that let me down. I was mostly using the lens for sniping some incognito shots from distance, mostly people around town that I couldn’t get close to, shooting real life interactions and so forth. However, it left me with too many mid-length shots when I wanted something closer. In many cases I was left wishing for something in the region of 200mm. The type of shooting I was doing meant that getting closer would have compromised the type of shots I was going for, so that option was out of the window. It’s not that the shots I got were bad…but the mindset of putting the lens on was ‘ I need something tight’ and oftentimes I didn’t get what I wanted. This meant that as I went on, I used the lens less and less for that type of shooting and used it for architecture, picking out details up high such as graffiti or flags and so forth. The minimum focal length wasn’t great either, so I used the 85mm for close up portraits. All in all, it was a lovely lens image wise, but practically it was too middle of the road for me, meaning I needed something wider or tighter to do what I wanted.



If you buy two lenses, I’d go for the 24mm and the 85mm for the type of travel shooting, people and places that I was going for. Next time, I’ll make sure to take something even longer than the 135mm but certainly, the 24mm and 85mm are welcome additions to a versatile kit bag. I hope that this blog has been helpful from a practical standpoint and helped explain some of my creative choices with consideration of the kit I used. With thanks to London Camera Exchange.

London Camera Exchange website:

Audio Visual Postcard website:

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