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The 135 Zeiss
  
 
ilnonno
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p.1 #1 · The 135 Zeiss


Dear all,

today I made the huge mistake of trying the 135 Apo Sonnar. To say that I have yet to see a better lens (it probably beats my 200/2 VR II) is to simply state the truth: the lens is amazing.
It is so well corrected even wide open that it's practically the only fast lens that can be focused reliably with the "dot" in the viewfinder of my D4. Again, am impressed.

I was almost buying it (rephrase: further indebting myself for lens lust...), but at the last second, I felt like I should wait for Sigma's new 135... If the 35 is any indication, the 135 might be just amazing too, and with autofocus, and maybe OS.

Whether it'll be able to touch the Zeiss, I do not know: the sharpness I see wide open, with "sharpness" set to 0 (zero) in Lightroom, is incredible. But a AF version (if it focuses reliably) would be a God send.

Can I ask the opinion of this well respected forum on this?
135 is not one of my most used focal lengths, but I can *always* find a place for such an incredible tool... but if Sigma comes out with another jewel, I'd be banging my head probably

Sorry, just an attack of GAS, and a genuine shock at the quality of the Zeiss...

Lory



Apr 26, 2013 at 07:48 PM
jhinkey
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p.1 #2 · The 135 Zeiss


I too am in your boat, though for me edge-to-edge sharpness and flare/ghosting resistance is what I'm looking for - even at f/2. I'm waiting for the Sigma 135/1.8 and Nikon 135/1.8 offerings to come out. Due to their IF and OIS designs (don't know about the Nikon being IF, but it likely will be) I suspect they will be a notch below the Zeiss wide open in the edges/borders/corners. I assume the Zeiss is much like the 100/2 MP - excellent all the way to the corners wide open while other comparable lenses are only excellent in the center wide open . . .

I too would not use it every day, but for that price I might just find ways to use it a whole bunch, especially if it's that good wide open and that accurate to focus as you indicate.

John



Apr 26, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #3 · The 135 Zeiss


I feel like the longer zeiss lenses and af lenses are different tools. The zeiss will probably turn out to be the better performer but to see that with no af you probably need to lock it down on a tripod and use live view to focus. The AF lenses will have af which is more accurate than manual focusing (still not really good enough though) and will have VR/OS to improve handheld pictures.


Apr 26, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Avantia
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p.1 #4 · The 135 Zeiss


I was excited about the new Zeiss, until the Sigma 135 was announced.

If I can get AF+OS for a lot less money, well ... I can live with a bit more CAs a tiny bit less corner sharpness.

35+135 Siggys could make a near perfect kit for me.



Apr 27, 2013 at 02:25 AM
ilnonno
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p.1 #5 · The 135 Zeiss


Mark, I see your point perfectly, and that is what has prevented me from doing the "impulse" purchase yesterday.
Although, to be true, the Zeiss is at a level that really leaves you with your mouth wide open...

What shocked me is that the "dot" inside my D4 never fails to confirm positive focus... portrait distance (2/3m) and longer distances (12m, 30m), it's always spot on. Never, I never found a lens behaving like this, it means its correction wide open is superlative.

Of course it'll be difficult to focus moving subjects, but the reliability of the focus dot means that it'll probably be used much more easily than one foresees (I tried a little yesterday, and didn't really have too much trouble with people walking around...).
Maybe there'll be slight focus mistakes in fast situations, but to be true, none of my lenses (not even the 200/2) are really that reliable, both on the D3s and the D4... precision is always acceptable, but hardly ever dead on. It's just the way it is...

Also, to be true... I was simply left shocked by how sharp this thing is.
I'm used to set sharpness in Lightroom at 50 Sharpness, 0,7 Radius, 50 Detail, 20 Mask, and this gives very good results with my normal lenses (24 1.4G, 35 Sigma, 105 DC, 200/2, 70-200 VR II; the 17-35 likes a bit more).
Well, the Zeiss changes the game: set Sharpness at 0, and it is already plenty sharp enough...
Never seen anything like this.

If Sigma hadn't put out the Sigma 35 1.4, I'd have the Zeiss already. The latest Sigma quality is what is making me feel like waiting... maybe

Lory




Mark_L wrote:
I feel like the longer zeiss lenses and af lenses are different tools. The zeiss will probably turn out to be the better performer but to see that with no af you probably need to lock it down on a tripod and use live view to focus. The AF lenses will have af which is more accurate than manual focusing (still not really good enough though) and will have VR/OS to improve handheld pictures.



Apr 27, 2013 at 06:10 AM
Mark_L
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p.1 #6 · The 135 Zeiss


ilnonno wrote:
What shocked me is that the "dot" inside my D4 never fails to confirm positive focus... portrait distance (2/3m) and longer distances (12m, 30m), it's always spot on. Never, I never found a lens behaving like this, it means its correction wide open is superlative.


That is impressive. Fast lenses seem to really challenge the af sensors probably due to low contrast wide open.



Apr 27, 2013 at 09:55 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #7 · The 135 Zeiss


It's all about context and that's what we usually fail to point out. I think Zeiss lenses and other AF lenses are different tools for different shooting styles. I mean if you shoot weddings it's hard to imagine that all of your lenses are MF (although I know a few who do that and they're pretty good at it with magnificent results). I sold my Zeiss 35 1.4 and Zeiss 35/2 for the Sigma but I don't think the Sigma is a better or worse lens, it's just a much better "value" and suits my needs better.

On the other hand, Zeiss has a certain image rendering that many crave (including me) so the issue of price, sharpness and AF become redundant in choosing among the options. Add to that the luxurious build quality of the Zeiss. My Sigma 35 1.4 has a great build but it's quite behind the Zeiss 35 1.4 and 21 2.8, etc...

So I recommend waiting for the Sigma (the Zeiss isn't going anywhere!) and compare both to see which rendering you like better, price, sharpness and the need for AF, and then decide.



Apr 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM
jsv_20
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p.1 #8 · The 135 Zeiss


hijazist wrote:
So I recommend waiting for the Sigma (the Zeiss isn't going anywhere!) and compare both to see which rendering you like better, price, sharpness and the need for AF, and then decide.


That's a good suggestion. I was about to buy a 135mm f/2 DC this weekend, but will now hold off. While the Sigma may not be as good as this Zeiss, I do need AF and the Sigma Art series so far hasn't disappointed. I just hope its price won't be at same level as the Zeiss!!!



Apr 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Jorge Torralba
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p.1 #9 · The 135 Zeiss


It just does not get any better than the new Zeiss 135 Focusing with it amazingly easy. I was really surprised.

D4 and the Zeiss 135mm f2 Apo







Have a look here for some cool shots

http://zeissimages.com/standardgallery.php?lenstype=557&showall



Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 02:49 AM · View previous versions



Apr 28, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #10 · The 135 Zeiss


Im sorry to tell you that, but you are lost.



From now on, it doesnt matter what Sigma or Nikon will do. If you got bitten by Zeiss bug (Leica bug is similar just maybe even more expensive), you will forever remember how that lens looked, how good photos it allowed you to make. How much pleasure it was to turn that focusing ring. How it felt in hand..

Now even if you get Sigma or Nikkor, you will always feel that "its not it".

Then you will sell your soul and buy Zeiss. Then if you are truly unlucky you will start visiting our little Alternative corner of gear lust. And then you will get Leica one day. M9 or M240 some time later, then some lens for it. How about new 50/2 AA?

And then you will end very very poor.. (but really happy, until Leica or Zeiss will make a new lens).

You should known better: "Clever photographers never look at or touch Zeiss or Leica lens for their own good." Looking at too much photos taken with Zeiss or Leica doesnt help either..



Apr 28, 2013 at 02:28 AM
 

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cputeq
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p.1 #11 · The 135 Zeiss


I could see people actually choosing the Sigma over the Zeiss, and not just for price and AF.

Zeiss is usually known for a higher microcontrast than most other lenses, but I am not so sure that is a very desireable trait in this type of lens.

Then again, maybe I am just convincing myself not to try one .



Apr 28, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Catfur
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p.1 #12 · The 135 Zeiss


jsv_20 wrote:
That's a good suggestion. I was about to buy a 135mm f/2 DC this weekend, but will now hold off. While the Sigma may not be as good as this Zeiss, I do need AF and the Sigma Art series so far hasn't disappointed. I just hope its price won't be at same level as the Zeiss!!!


When the heck was the Sigma "announced?"

All I've heard is rumors. Hard to take photos with rumors.



Apr 28, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Thorsten
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p.1 #13 · The 135 Zeiss


I replaced my Zeiss 35/2 with the Sigma 35/1.4 as well. I compared them before I sold my Zeiss 35/2: They are quite similar, the Sigma is perhaps very slightly sharper in the extreme corners, and has less lateral CA. And this was a comparison between Sigma's best lens against one of Zeiss' average lenses.

Now with the 135/2, I did not hesitate one second to get the Zeiss lens. It is just incredible. I love the results I get from it. I think it would be highly unusual for Sigma to match it. It's very hard for any lens maker to come out with two stellar lenses in a row, and in this case, it would be compared with Zeiss' top lens.



Apr 28, 2013 at 07:04 AM
Almass
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p.1 #14 · The 135 Zeiss


Oh No! Now Sigma is at it.....We are doomed!


Apr 28, 2013 at 09:03 AM
Albi86
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p.1 #15 · The 135 Zeiss


I agree that a Zeiss is a Zeiss. If you want the Zeiss look/build, things like price and AF become secondary. Many Zeiss lenses set benchmarks in their categories, and this 135mm seems to do just that. With the 55mm coming out at 3000, this will soon look like good value at "only" 1800.

However, Sigma is likely to realease a better all-round lens with good optics at half of that price. For everything else than studio work, I think the Sigma will actually result in many more keepers.




Apr 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM
onesixeight
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p.1 #16 · The 135 Zeiss


Just wanted to share some samples of from the D800E & Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar combo...

I love sonnar lenses for portraiture and I think this lens is a homerun! While I think the upcoming Nikkor and Sigma offerings will be fantastic, I doubt it will have the signature Zeiss sonnar rendering.

Cheers!


Leica Girl... by onesixeight88, on Flickr


Ed (D800e & Zeiss 135 APO) by onesixeight88, on Flickr


Lexi Brick Wall (D800e & 135 APO Sonnar) by onesixeight88, on Flickr


Somber Mood... by onesixeight88, on Flickr



Apr 28, 2013 at 06:43 PM
JulianDeLaRosa
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p.1 #17 · The 135 Zeiss


I so want this lens! I'll give up AF just for the rendering and characteristics of Zeiss.


Apr 28, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Albi86
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p.1 #18 · The 135 Zeiss


onesixeight wrote:
While I think the upcoming Nikkor and Sigma offerings will be fantastic, I doubt it will have the signature Zeiss sonnar rendering.



On that I agree! A Zeiss is a Zeiss!*

*(Well, most of them)



Apr 29, 2013 at 08:30 AM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #19 · The 135 Zeiss


Would love to play with that Zeiss but I still want my AF. Waiting to see what Nikon and Sigma do at that focal length. I would like a prime in-between my 85 and 200.


Apr 29, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #20 · The 135 Zeiss


Oh for this Zeiss 135 with stabilization!


Apr 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM
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