Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       end
  

Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7
  
 
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


I hope this information may be helpful to anyone else seeking a small, lightweight 135mm, for landscape use.

My initial first choice, after searching forums, was a Vivitar "Close-Focussing" 135/2.8, (1:2 magnification ) However, after using it on my last holiday, I found it too bulky, and a bit heavy, for only occasional use (450g). It also had a lot of veiling flare when into the sun,(only single coated), and although its close performance was excellent, and with good bokeh, its distance performance left a lot to be desired.

After further forum searches, and for what I am used to paying for a single lens (~330), I managed to gather the following 11 lenses, all in extremely good, clean condition, to compare:
(the metre figure is closest focus)

Carl Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 (in Praktica B form, for lightweight) At 385g, it was my heaviest. 1m. (I tried 2 copies.)
Canon FDn 135/3.5 325g 1.3m
Olympus OM Z 135/2.8 mc 360g 1.5m
Olympus OM Z 135/3.5 (late mc) 290g 1.5m
Minolta MDII 135/3.5 (49) 265g (lightest of all) 1.5m
Minolta MDIII 135/3.5 285g, 1.5m (2 copies tried)
Pentax K 135/3.5 365g 1.5m
Pentax "M" 135/3.5 270g1.5m
Pentax "A" 135/2.8 340g 1.3m

The only one on my original list that I couldn't find at a reasonable price (especially as I'd have to buy an adapter too), was Fujinon T 135/3.5 299g 1.5m

The Nikon Ai 135/3.5 didn't make my "cut", with a weight of just over 400g, plus prices all above 100, about 3x above any of the above. (The AiS version is heavier)

I tried 2 copies of the CZJ Praktica B, because the first copy didn't impress as I'd expected it to, from what I'd read. However, the 2nd copy proved to be almost exactly the same. In the case of the MDIII, both copies had different issues, and I'm still seeking a good, evenly sharp copy. (The MDII 49 and MDIII are the same 5:5 design, with just cosmetic, and possibly coating, differences.) The "cheaper" MDIII's seem prone to poor construction issues, as I was never able to find a well centred copy of the MD 50/2, either.

To cut to the chase, so you don't need to work through all my findings...

= 1st place, went to Minolta MDII 135/3.5 and Pentax "A" 135/2.8

NB. PLEASE REFER TO POST #10 BELOW, WHERE THE PENTAX "A" FALLS AT THE NEXT "FENCE". I NOW WOULD NOT RECOMMEND IT!

{Section removed which I can no longer validate}

If I found a good copy of the MDIII , it might make 1st place, because, although both copies I had, had different issues, (one decentred, one very soft at F/3.5), taking the best of each, it could have been best overall.

2nd, came the Pentax "M" 135/3.5. Its only fault was, wide open, it had a lot of "glow". By F/5.6 through to F/11, it was the equal of my 1st places, but that glowy-softness made accurate focussing difficult. (As I tested a lot of Pentax lenses last year, I came to recognise that wide-open "glow", as very common with many of them, especially pre "A" series, and not an individual copy's fault)

3rd came the Canon Fdn, indeed wide open (if F/3.5 can be called "wide"), it was easily the best of all for contrast and resolution across the frame. Sadly though, it peaked early at F/5.6 and fell off after that, when the others kept sharp to F/11. However, for someone wanting best wide open overall sharpness, right into the corners, this would be my first recommendation.


Now the others:

The Pentax "K" is the same design as the last 42mm, S-M-C/Super-Takumar 135mm F3.5, and the age of that design shows. By that, I don't mean a poor showing, just a different design philosophy,
It was possibly the sharpest of the whole bunch in the centre, and from wide open, (no "glow"), but at the expense of corner sharpness, where the other designs left it standing. For some, I could imagine it being the preferred lens because of that excellent centre sharpness, just not for landscapes.
Interestingly, before I started the comparison, I'd tried a very old, (1960's), 1st generation Tamron 135/2.8 Adapt-A-Matic, (pre-Adaptall 2), and the results with it were very similar. V. good central sharpness from wide open, but weaker corners.

The rest were "also-rans" by comparison.

I had expected great things of the CZJ 135/3.5 design, after reading so much in its praise, but whether the Praktica B version is different,(it isn't supposed to be), neither copy impressed in the above company. Glowy, and very slightly soft wide open, with low contrast, corners that never fully caught up, and muddy colours. Both copies (very good, clean condition), gave the same results.

Both the Olympuses I had to discount as they both displayed the highest degree of colour fringing, of a type that Lr "Remove CA", didn't touch. Both were "acceptably" sharp, around middle field. Not the sharpest, but not the weakest. Their colours varied too. The little F/3.5 had a nice cool colouring. The mc F/2.8 version had a rather "muddy" warm colouring, similar to the Praktica, which I didn't find pleasant.

Certainly the Minolta colouring was my favourite overall...not that that was a surprise. (The Fujinon T colouring could be very similar, based on my experience with their 100/2.8 and 24/2.8.)

Well, unless someone pleads for examples, this is as far as I intend to go.

Edited on Aug 17, 2017 at 05:32 PM · View previous versions



Aug 09, 2017 at 09:45 PM
dbehrens
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Nice write up! Also the Canon 135 f/3.5 ltm is a great underpriced lens for the A7 series. There is a good review here.


Aug 09, 2017 at 10:12 PM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


dbehrens wrote:
Not a plea - just a comment. The Canon 135 f/3.5 ltm is also a great underpriced lens for the A7 series. There is a good review here.


Thanks.
I didn't overlook the ltm, but I did discount it from this comparison for the same reasons I discounted the Nikon 135/3.5. being 425g and over 100. I REALLY wanted to find the best of the very lightweight options.

(I also "considered" the Leica 135/4's, Elmar, Tele-Elmar and Tele-Elmar M, but they didn't meet my personal requirements either, though I'm sure they are very good too.)

If 135mm was an FL I used a lot, my criteria would have been very different, (I may even be looking at the Batis), but it is a length I only rarely use, but still like to have available for something longer than the 85mm I use a lot.



Aug 09, 2017 at 10:16 PM
arduluth
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Shame you didn't try out the Canon FDn 135mm f/2.8! Not that I'm complaining, the number of lenses you tested is already quite impressive, and your work is appreciated! I've never done a formal comparison, but my FDn 135mm f/2.8 is definitely sharper at infinity than my FD 135mm f/3.5 (breech lock). Sharp enough out to the corners at f/2.8, at least for me. 395g and quite small, especially if you're using any other FD lenses.

Phillip posted a review of it:
https://phillipreeve.net/blog/review-canon-nfd-2-8135/

Thanks for doing the comparison!



Aug 10, 2017 at 05:25 PM
waterden
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Surprised you don't mention the best of all the Minolta MD 135 variants, the MD 135/2.8 (MD I)

http://vintagelensreviews.com/vlr/reviews/minolta-md-tele-rokkor-135-mm-f2-8-md-i/



Aug 10, 2017 at 06:05 PM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


At 535g it was way out of my stated criteria of lightweight lenses under 400g.


Aug 10, 2017 at 07:07 PM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


arduluth wrote:
Shame you didn't try out the Canon FDn 135mm f/2.8! Not that I'm complaining, the number of lenses you tested is already quite impressive, and your work is appreciated! I've never done a formal comparison, but my FDn 135mm f/2.8 is definitely sharper at infinity than my FD 135mm f/3.5 (breech lock). Sharp enough out to the corners at f/2.8, at least for me. 395g and quite small, especially if you're using any other FD lenses.

Phillip posted a review of it:
https://phillipreeve.net/blog/review-canon-nfd-2-8135/

Thanks for doing the comparison!


Thanks, and yes, I had to draw a line somewhere

The FDn 135/3,5 really impressed at infinity, right out to the corners and right from F/3.5, it was just that some of the others overtook it after F/5.6, but it wasn't far from being top.



Aug 10, 2017 at 07:17 PM
waterden
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7



It's worth the additional 4oz
timballic wrote:
At 535g it was way out of my stated criteria of lightweight lenses under 400g.




Aug 10, 2017 at 07:18 PM
mbphoto_2.8
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


My Leitz Elmarit-R 135/2.8 would beat them all.. literally
I paid less than 100 for it, but it might be as heavy as all the tested lenses together, and the MFD is very long, unfortunately..



Aug 10, 2017 at 07:51 PM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Well, this is embarrassing, I've just completed some final tests with the top group, and my initial, equal first favourite, the Pentax "A" 135/2.8 has dropped right out of contention. I'd based my initial results on tests at 3m distance, where it was so good. As the Pentax A arrived later than the rest, and because of poor weather and poor health, I'd left it at that, (just for the Pentax.)
At greater distance I now find the Pentax falls right down. Maybe it was designed as a portrait lens and not landscape? I do hope I haven't mislead anyone into buying it!
(I will go back and change that result)

Now I have been able to compare the Minolta MDII with an MDIII, and as I'd expected, sharpness is very similar but better coatings with the MDIII having very slightly improved contrast.

So new positions are :

=1st Minolta MDII and MDIII 135/3.5 (You'd never notice the slight differences if they weren't directly compared.

2nd is still the SMC Pentax "M" 135/3.5, and apart from wide open, it isn't far behind the MDs.


As I said before, the Pentax "K" 135/3.5, is still the sharpest in the centre throughout the range, so for some purposes it could be the best choice.

The FDn is strange, so sharp from F/3.5 to 5.6 then falls off rapidly!

The others remain as "also rans".

However, after reading more about the Prakticar 135/3.5 MC, I have also reassessed it.
It seems that internal reflections within the "uncoated" lens barrel, could account for a lot of my poor results. Certainly, low contrast was more the issue than poor sharpness. Today I shot a series with it that had quite awful internal flare showing, from just a patch of clear blue sky, showing through trees, with the sun at 90 my left.

{EDIT: I have also realised that the inside of the PB-NEX adapter I was using (K&F Concept) had an almost shiny, black interior, so I will flock that and reshoot. Maybe that is the source of the reflections/flare rather than, or as well as, the lenses lack of internal matte black coatings.}

As a result, I would certainly not dismiss the Carl Zeiss Sonnar design, but (unless my reshoot with flocked adapter, makes all the difference,) I would pass on the Praktica version of it.
As so many sites say, the one to look out for is the Carl Zeiss 135/3.5 Sonnar, with the 4 digit serial number, as this was the first trial of what came to be renowned as Zeiss T* coating. They aren't very common.

Edited on Aug 19, 2017 at 10:08 AM · View previous versions



Aug 17, 2017 at 05:20 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



makadaka
Offline

Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Darn. I just ordered the Pentax "A" 135mm. I'll look at it but will probably send it back to KEH.


Aug 18, 2017 at 12:53 AM
rdeloe
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


This is a very helpful summary. Thanks.

I'll offer one qualifier though which is that you tested on full frame, but performance can be different on APS-C. I have the Olympus OM 135/3.5 and use it occasionally on my Fuji X-T2. Considering that these lenses go for next to nothing (and one of my copies was actually tossed in a box with something else!), it's very good. Here's a 100% view on a church tower against a bright sky. You have to get to 200% to notice a tiny bit of purple fringing on the right-hand side. A lens shade is recommended because it's a single-coated optic. However, a nice lens shade is actually built right into the lens.

I'd never say this is a first class lens. However, I can happily recommend it for APS-C users who need a longer reach and want an extremely tiny and inexpensive lens in their bag. As a side benefit, it also shifts very well.







Aug 18, 2017 at 01:36 AM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


makadaka wrote:
Darn. I just ordered the Pentax "A" 135mm. I'll look at it but will probably send it back to KEH.


Sorry. I'll be interested what you think of it. Glad you'll be able to return it though.



Aug 18, 2017 at 05:34 AM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


rdeloe wrote:
This is a very helpful summary. Thanks.

I'll offer one qualifier though which is that you tested on full frame, but performance can be different on APS-C. I have the Olympus OM 135/3.5 and use it occasionally on my Fuji X-T2. Considering that these lenses go for next to nothing (and one of my copies was actually tossed in a box with something else!), it's very good. Here's a 100% view on a church tower against a bright sky. You have to get to 200% to notice a tiny bit of purple fringing on the right-hand side. A lens shade
...Show more

That does look good....and different from the copy I tested on FF (Late plain "Zuiko" version, without MC letters.)



Aug 18, 2017 at 05:37 AM
rdeloe
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


My gut feeling is that if I sent you the lens I made to create this shot, and you tested it on your A7, the results could easily end up being similar to the 135/3.5 you tested! That's part of what makes the "old lens on digital" game such a challenge.

Then again, it could also be that you really did get a dud. There are plenty of those. Based on glowing reviews and comments, I tried two OM Zuiko 28/2 lenses. One was terrible and one was no better than my dirt cheap OM 28/3.5. I've also gone through five OM 100/2.8 copies. The first three had mechanical rather than optical problems. Number 4 was optically excellent, but has a sticky aperture ring and it's semi-single coated. But I was happy with it. I took a chance on #5 -- a multi-coated version -- from a forum member and it's a even better than #4!

There really is a lot of variation among these lenses, due to inherent sample variation (some were probably better the day they left the factory), and age (impact damage, botched repairs, grease drying out and causing the focusing helical to get wiggly, screws loosening over time and just falling off, etc.).

Regarding the OM 135/3.5, I don't think this model ever came in a multi-coated version. The serial number list at this site has proven to be quite reliable: http://olympus.dementix.org/Hardware/misc/lensCoatings.txt I believe that Olympus introduced the 135/2.8 as the multi-coated 135 and the 135/3.5 never got the newer coatings. But, it's also the case that in those periods when multi-coatings were being used, some lenses that are supposed to be single-coated (based on naming conventions and serial numbers) actually did get "stealth" multi-coating on one or more elements. For example, I compared two OM 28/3.5s I have, and the late one (very high serial number) definitely has some multi-coating even though OM 28/3.5 supposedly never got MC. It's the same with #4 OM 100/2.8. It's an "E.Zuiko", which is supposed to mean no multi-coating. But it's a very late serial number E.Zuiko and definitely has some early multi-coating on at least one element. Neither of the two 135/3.5s I've had show signs of multi-coating, but maybe you have one of those really late ones that picked it up.

For people interested in Olympus Zuikos, I've posted my own testing results over here: http://www.robdeloephotography.com/Pages/Tiltshift-on-APSC

timballic wrote:
That does look good....and different from the copy I tested on FF (Late plain "Zuiko" version, without MC letters.)





Aug 18, 2017 at 01:05 PM
timballic
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


Thanks for all your comments.

That's a great resource Rob, I'd tried to find that link before and only came up with dead ends!

I do so agree with all you say. I even thought to say at the beginning, that really, the only way to conduct a fair trial, is to buy about 5 of each model, compare to find the best, then do the full comparison with just the best. Not many would have the time, money or inclination to take it that far though. This was just something I was doing for myself, that I thought I'd share. I'm on my 3rd copy of the MDIII though, in my hunt to find a really good copy! I'm only doing that because it came out as the best, and the one I will use.

I didn't realise that about the 135/3.5 (though I do know it applied to the humble, but v.good 28/3.5)
Looking again at the coatings, they are mainly straw and purply-pink. The very last Ser. No. mentioned in that link, (410xxx), also has green in it, mine isn't too far off at 404xxx, but no green.

I don't think it was a bad copy, as I preferred it to the OM Z 135/2.8 MC. and it wasn't far from what I got with the 100/2.8, (though not as good as my 90/2, which is the summit! Even the 2x 100/2 MP's I've tried don't better it for sharpness, both close and infinity.)

A very interesting article. I haven't read it fully, but I smiled at the reference to the 35-70/3.6 flare as I shared my findings with several copies of it, a few years back, in a thread on alternatives to the C/Y VS 35-70/3.4, (it didn't come that close), and one about A7 sensor/adapter flare issues. When I "flocked" the adapter, it was much, much better. The other thing about that lens, is that it is a real dust sucker! I tried 3 copies just to find one without fine-dust haze.

Edited on Aug 18, 2017 at 02:51 PM · View previous versions



Aug 18, 2017 at 01:46 PM
rdeloe
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


No good deed goes unpunished! There's one poor soul who just today posted a comparison on the forum of 50 50mm lenses. What a massive amount of work! Needless to say, people are coming out of the woodwork to say "Thanks, but....".

Anyway, I do find huge value in the kind of post you made. I think half the battle with these old lenses is simply getting a rough idea of where to start looking yourself. Your post will help a lot of people do that.

As an aside, I ran across your extensive tests from years back (I think it was you?) of the Canon FD 35/2.8 TS lens. I am using one of those now as part of my tilt-shift kit on my Fuji, and posted a lot of results in another thread. http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1503884/0#lastmessage My philosophy is that if I can share some of what I learned and it helps even a couple people, even years later, then it's worth the bother. I get the sense that we're on the same page in that regard.



Aug 18, 2017 at 02:48 PM
dbehrens
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


rdeloe wrote:
There's one poor soul who just today posted a comparison on the forum of 50 50mm lenses. .


What forum was this? Would love to see that work!




Aug 18, 2017 at 03:26 PM
Olaf G
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


dbehrens wrote:
What forum was this? Would love to see that work!



It's pure coincidence but I think I follow his Flickr account since five months because he had some pictures taken with projection lenses as well...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/134736739@N04/

Edit: please copy the whole link (including @N04/)



Aug 18, 2017 at 05:40 PM
rdeloe
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Legacy, lightweight, MF, 135mm comparison results, on A7


The one and only FredMiranda!
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1504692

dbehrens wrote:
What forum was this? Would love to see that work!






Aug 18, 2017 at 06:05 PM
1
       2       end






FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password