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Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review
  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review
Bryan from The-Digital-Picture just finished his review on the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T*

Here is an excerpt:
“You better get a tissue and, if you are in public, rest your chin on your hand to avoid the embarrassment of being seen with your mouth wide open before opening the image quality results for this lens, because the contrast and resolution delivered by the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens is jaw-dropping and drool-worthy. The results are simply stunning.”

Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* is available at B&H Photo for $2,122



Feb 06, 2014 at 12:36 AM
geaves
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p.1 #2 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


What about the Zeiss 135 f1.8 in autofocus for Sony?


Feb 06, 2014 at 02:25 AM
hatch1921
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p.1 #3 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


I need to rent this lens and give it a try... love the Canon 135L... interested in seeing how this one performs. Thanks for the link/info.

Hatch



Feb 06, 2014 at 02:32 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #4 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Wow awesome lens. Interestingly I compared it to the 200 f/2L IS and it was to my eyes just a hair behind. It was also noticeably better than the Zeiss 100 f/2 macroplanar, a lens considered awesome itself. The Canon 135 f/2L is not as good wide open, but is quite close at f/2.8 which is pretty good for an old design. More interestingly was that how well the 100L IS and 70-200 f/2.8l IS II do against the 135L even wide open. I might sell my beloved 135L in anticipation of something new on the horizon.

I can't wait to see if Sigma releases the purported 135 f/1.8 OS or Canon updates the 135L. As much as I'd love the Zeiss, manual focus would be a hassle for me as a walkabout, handheld lens. Doesn't matter how sharp the lens is if I can't nail focus.



Feb 06, 2014 at 03:13 AM
Jacob D
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p.1 #5 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


The 135L is really a superb lens, I always found it to have a very fast autofocus, which aside from its performance right from wide open, was compelling reason to hold onto it. That and it's relatively low price of course

Anyway, I think it speaks volumes to the IQ of the Zeiss IQ, that it can best the 135L, which for those who can afford it and live without the AF, looks like a dream of a lens.

I really shouldn't read these posts... reminds me of the glory days of owning a FF and all that wonderfully satisfying heavy glass.



Feb 06, 2014 at 04:08 AM
Luvwine
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p.1 #6 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


I wish this lens were lighter. Maybe I will try it some day, but it is a fairly specialized lens that I fear I would not use enough to justify buying it. Sure sounds like an amazing optic tho!


Feb 06, 2014 at 04:15 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #7 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Pixel Perfect wrote:
Wow awesome lens. Interestingly I compared it to the 200 f/2L IS and it was to my eyes just a hair behind. It was also noticeably better than the Zeiss 100 f/2 macroplanar, a lens considered awesome itself. The Canon 135 f/2L is not as good wide open, but is quite close at f/2.8 which is pretty good for an old design. More interestingly was that how well the 100L IS and 70-200 f/2.8l IS II do against the 135L even wide open. I might sell my beloved 135L in anticipation of something new on the horizon.

I can't wait
...Show more

I was able to rent the Zeiss 135 and canon 135 - no question the Zeiss tones and handling is better, BUT it's a pain for street shooting, if indeed one want to benefit from the creamy bokeh. For anything else, that you can take the time nailing the focus, I would go for this lens with no regrets.
Rent both if you can, and see it for yourself



Feb 06, 2014 at 05:02 AM
Yudhi
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p.1 #8 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


this zeiss 135f2 is even better than my beloved zeiss 100f2MP
but i still love my 100mp












Feb 06, 2014 at 05:03 AM
SS-Cote
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p.1 #9 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Yes this is a tank of a lens. Even the hood is heavy. One thing I can say is that 100% crops have never looked so good--and sharp in the corners. Brilliant colour and clarity. Just wish it had AF. Its not a practical lens for anything that moves.


Feb 06, 2014 at 05:08 AM
galenapass
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p.1 #10 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


SS-Cote wrote:
Yes this is a tank of a lens. Even the hood is heavy. One thing I can say is that 100% crops have never looked so good--and sharp in the corners. Brilliant colour and clarity. Just wish it had AF. Its not a practical lens for anything that moves.


Which makes it kind of an odd duck. Would one use it for portraits? I always liked a softer portrait lens.



Feb 06, 2014 at 05:22 AM
 

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jhinkey
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p.1 #11 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Just got a chance to use it tonight for the first time in very low light. When my D800 decided to nail the focus (via the OVF or the focus confirmation dot) it seemed to be excellent. But man it was hard to get my DSLR to consistently focus it accurately.


Feb 06, 2014 at 05:30 AM
Bubble
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p.1 #12 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


jhinkey wrote:
But man it was hard to get my DSLR to consistently focus it accurately.


not sure if i have some setting not correctly on my 1DX but the AF confirm on my 70D seem to pick up faster compare to 1DX.

As for focusing on this lens, it has the distance mark on the barrel so kinda guess how far your subject is and just dial it in before you start any focusing and just have some minor focus at that range and it is much faster.



Feb 06, 2014 at 05:44 AM
jhinkey
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p.1 #13 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Bubble wrote:
not sure if i have some setting not correctly on my 1DX but the AF confirm on my 70D seem to pick up faster compare to 1DX.

As for focusing on this lens, it has the distance mark on the barrel so kinda guess how far your subject is and just dial it in before you start any focusing and just have some minor focus at that range and it is much faster.


It's not speed it's accuracy that is the problem. The image pops into focus fairly well in the viewfinder, but that doesn't guarantee accurate focus. This was in a theater in low light with my subjects not sitting still. Very very tough for a fast MF lens.



Feb 06, 2014 at 06:36 AM
SS-Cote
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p.1 #14 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


galenapass wrote:
Which makes it kind of an odd duck. Would one use it for portraits? I always liked a softer portrait lens.


It can take excellent portraits (lovely bokeh) if the image is in focus, but again, moving kids may be a problem as with any MF lens. If you like softer portraits then you don't need to spend this kind of money on a lens.

This lens also has plenty of that micro-contrast that some photographers drool over. It's great for anything still-life and even some landscapes.

Here's a 100% crop - casual, handheld so not the best example. Other than converting to jpeg it's straight from the camera.





100% crop







exif




Feb 06, 2014 at 06:37 AM
kururu
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p.1 #15 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


I never able to get "really" sharp full-body portrait from this lens by handheld. It was easy with 100MP.


Feb 06, 2014 at 07:02 AM
Arka
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p.1 #16 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


Pixel Perfect wrote:
I can't wait to see if Sigma releases the purported 135 f/1.8 OS or Canon updates the 135L. As much as I'd love the Zeiss, manual focus would be a hassle for me as a walkabout, handheld lens. Doesn't matter how sharp the lens is if I can't nail focus.


I'm trying to figure out which 135 I want to get for my D800. For me, the obligate MF took this lens out of the running for me. I love MF on my Leica with its RF window or LV with focus peaking. (I'll bet it would be nice on an A7 with focus peaking as well.) But I really hate having to do it on a dSLR where the only feedback is a little green focus assist dot at the bottom of the VF. Modern dSLRs just aren't designed to make MF ergonomic or satisfying.



Feb 06, 2014 at 07:40 AM
wfrank
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p.1 #17 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


SS-Cote wrote:
Yes this is a tank of a lens. Even the hood is heavy. One thing I can say is that 100% crops have never looked so good--and sharp in the corners. Brilliant colour and clarity. Just wish it had AF. Its not a practical lens for anything that moves.


Pre-focus is king.



Feb 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM
wiseguy010
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p.1 #18 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


If it had 1:1 macro capabilities I would have bought it. But for now I don't see much use for it in my situation.


Feb 06, 2014 at 12:14 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #19 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


wiseguy010 wrote:
If it had 1:1 macro capabilities I would have bought it. But for now I don't see much use for it in my situation.


Out of curiousity, what qualities of the APO-sonnar would you want in 1:1 that other excellent APO-macro lenses cannot give you?



Feb 06, 2014 at 01:05 PM
wiseguy010
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p.1 #20 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T* Review


alundeb wrote:
Out of curiousity, what qualities of the APO-sonnar would you want in 1:1 that other excellent APO-macro lenses cannot give you?


* Best of the best sharpness.
* Great bokeh.
* Real APO.
* Excellent color reproduction.
* Native Nikon mount (I don't want to work with adapters).
* Great build quality.
* No plastics.
* No electronics that can and eventually will fail.
* No IS or VR.
* Great service (Zeiss has excellent service, for Voigtlander f.e. I don't know if they still service the 125/2.5 and about Leica I didn't read that much good about their service).
* It must be a current type (not a type that is out of production).

Well, this is it.

Recently I bought the Nikon 200/4 AFD Micro, because I now don't expect Zeiss to come with a new macro in short notice. While it is not APO, it is exceptionally good corrected with execellent sharpness. Most of the points I mention above are fulfilled with this Nikon. And it was "only" 950 euros (100% like new secondhand sample), while good alternatives easily cost the double.


Edited on Feb 06, 2014 at 04:05 PM · View previous versions



Feb 06, 2014 at 03:38 PM
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