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| p.2 #4 · New Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 announced! |
The APO aspect is one area of interest for me. The Canon 135 f/2, which I love, is terrific for portraits, but struggles a bit with specular highlights in landscapes. It's contrast, which is extremely pleasing for portraits, is very good, but less optimal for landscape. Not as proficient as the Zeiss 100 MP at bringing out the subtlest shades. Assuming Zeiss 135 image style similar to the Zeiss 100 MP, I can easily see people who can afford it choosing to go with both 135s, using the Canon for portraits and action, and the Zeiss for everything else.
About the manual focus issue for portraits. I use the 100 Zeiss and manual focus with little difficulty, as long as subjects are not in constant motion. And I love the results so much that the Zeiss has been crowding out use of my Canon 135 L, with which I know I get more keepers when subjects are moving. But the longer a fast lens becomes, the harder it gets to nail focus without moving back or stopping down, so the new lens will be harder to focus wide open than the 100 MP. Not sure shooting the new Zeiss as a portrait lens will be everybody's cup of tea.
One other point. The background blur delivered by the Canon 135 really is superb when shot wide open. It will be interesting to see the comparison.
And one more point. This new Zeiss is better news for Nikon than for Canon. Assuming typical Zeiss image quality, Nikon users will for the first time have access to something to rival the Canon 135L, a lens so good that it has held many users in the Canon fold despite Nikonian blandishments of other sorts.
And a concluding point. I have my fingers crossed—hoping for the improbable—that one of the new Zeiss contributions will be ~70mm focal length, with the rendering style of the Zeiss 50 MP. I have been looking for a high-image-quality precision focusing lens at that focal length, without success (suggestions appreciated). The choices are almost all packaged as zooms, and they don't quite do what I need, even the best of them. The Sigma 70mm macro got a look, but ultimately didn't seem to offer good enough manual focus, despite generally excellent image quality otherwise. I think it's remarkable that such an eminently practical focal length has gotten so little attention as a prime lens, and Zeiss would seem to be just the company to fill the gap.
For what it's worth, my comments come from the perspective of someone who worked as a photojournalist before auto-focus, so manual focus is not a start-from-scratch struggle for me. People without that experience might encounter a learning curve if they switch to MF.