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Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T*

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Reviews Views Date of last review
9 8627 Jun 21, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,959.50
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.78
9.38
9.8
Screen_Shot_2013-11-14_at_10_52_06_AM

Specifications:
Name: Carl Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* 2/135
Image Circle: 35mm
Type: Telephoto Prime
Focal Length: 135mm
APS Equivalent: 1.5x: 202.5mm
1.6x: 216mm
Max Aperture: f/2
Min Aperture: f/22
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (rounded)
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 8 groups
Diagonal Angle of View
(Based on image circle): 18.7 degrees
Focus Details: Manual focus only
Front Element Rotation:
Zoom System: n/a
Closest Focus: 80cm / 2.62 ft.
Magnification Ratio: 0.25x / 1:4
Filter Size: 77mm
Dimensions
(Length x Diameter): 130mm x 84mm / 5.11 in. x 3.31 in. (ZE)
Weight: 930g / 32.8 oz (ZE)
Notes: Available SLR mounts: Canon EF-mount (ZE), Nikon F-Mount (ZF.2)
Online Price: US$2,150



 


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hatch1921
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Registered: May 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4765
Review Date: Jun 21, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,822.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything! No negatives! It's the best 135mm (IMO) you can own.
Cons:
Some people would say the lack of IS and AF is a negative. You know this about the lens well before you buy it. So... I don't think it has any negatives.





I love the Canon 135L... it has served me well over the years. Like many of you, I've read about Zeiss glass and how the Zeiss 135 T* is an amazing lens. It's even been considered "Otus" status without being in an Otus designed body.

Build: All metal construction even the lens hood and cap are metal. It's an engineering work of art.

Focus: The focus throw is so smooth...and precise!

Color/Contrast: Smokes all other 135mm lenses with ease.

Chromatic Aberration: This is where my jaw hit the floor! I've shot several scenes where if I had taken the same images with the Canon 135L... the evil purple fringe would have been in the scene. It just doesn't exist with the Zeiss. Seriously... nothing... it is a sight to be seen.

Sharpness: Well... I'm an avid macro photographer and I can tell you the Zeiss is out resolving and is sharper then my Sigma 150mm macro OS lens. It is sharp @ F/2 and that is across the frame. Stunning!

Bokeh: Topnotch!

Auto Focus... nope... it's a manual focus lens and this really shouldn't deter you from buying the lens. I would not recommend it for fast moving subjects where AF is truly needed. Although... if you look back in the past.. stunning images were being made well before auto focus came on to the scene. Up to you really.

If you shoot portraits.. you owe it to yourself to at the very least, rent the lens and then come back to B&H and buy it.

On the Canon 5Ds this thing is now my reference lens/combo. I'm seeing details I've never experienced before. It's color rendition is spot on.. "true to life" would be the best way to describe it. Super...super sharp! Hire a makeup artist for your clients as it shows every detail ... good and bad.

I'm now a Zeiss convert. Next up is the Zeiss 50mm F/2.

So... if you are looking for the best 135mm on the planet (IMO) then look no further. The Zeiss 135mm T* F/2 is it. Hands down!

Again.. do not let the manual focusing deter you from using this lens. With Live View you can really hit the focus and even hand-held it isn't an issue.

Great lens!
Hatch


Jun 21, 2015
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Toothwalker
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Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 1455
Review Date: Jun 20, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Aberrations are very well controlled
Cons:

After four months of use I can say that this is a mighty fine product, overall the best lens in my arsenal. There are still residual aberrations of course, but they are much reduced compared with older designs. The near absence of chromatic aberration makes this lens particularly attractive.

As to the lens cap, manufacturers can get it wrong initially. However, continuing this crap with each new ZE/ZF release is an insult to the customers.

(The cap does not influence the rating. It's just that a 10-point rating suggests that nothing can be improved upon, optically. Any lens on the market can be further improved, at the expense of more glass.)


Jun 20, 2015
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audiodoc
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Mar 14, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jun 16, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,490.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: WOW!!Sharp as ever.Great bokeh,micro-contrast and no CA.In love with glass!
Cons:
NONE!Lens cap ain't on it long enough to complain about.

WOW!!What a breath of fresh air.Just got lens in from Lens Authority at a great deal.Out of the box,I began shooting(before getting dressed for work).Immediately,I saw the difference in clarity,contrast,micro-contrast,and sharpness.This lens is sharp!I've compared to my Canon L 135 f/2.0 and 100 f/2.8 macro and this Zeiss APO is better.Auto focus is lost but I'm having a great time composing my shots.AF misses sometimes anyway.I shot a lady yesterday(Headshot) and focused on the eyes wide open and the photo was spectacular!Tip of nose was blowing out along with the hair line and she loved the effect.No CA.I've also shot a few metal surfaces(cars) at f/2.0 with no CA.First time I've been able to do that with any lens wide open.I am a true believer in this lens.Highly recommended if you don't mind manual focusing.You will not be disappointed!

Jun 16, 2015
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victoriae
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Registered: Sep 13, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 7, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, Build
Cons:
NONE

I would say the sharpest lens I have ever used and beats my Canon 200 F2 not by much but I think it's sharper.
This lens is definitely superior in image quality to the Canon 135 F2 in my opinion. Considering the price you can get one used £1,100 ish it's a fantastic piece of glass for the money. Cap is the normal issue with Zeiss but I'm talking about the lens and not the cap. Quality is superb even wide open. Manual focus is not a problem I use this lens for motorsport by pre setting the focus and using 5.6-8 works quite well and I get a good keeper rate.
If your on the fence with this one my advice is get it you won't regret it.


Jun 7, 2015
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R10
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Registered: Jan 4, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 67
Review Date: May 26, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: resolution, sharpness, contrast, 3D, Bokeh, color, no aberrations whatsoever, smooth precise MF, built like a tank
Cons:
lens cap sucks (flipping off your hand due to longitudinal(!) ribbing); replaced mine immediately with that for the Otus Distagon 55 f/1.4 (itís 77mm too, has good grip and is planar).

Intro:
I use this lens on a D810 and I have many years of experience with premium lenses such as, e.g., the Leica Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 f/2.8.
End Intro.

My best lens in 30 years. Period. Rivalled by quite a few modern tele lenses as of f5.6 or f8 in various aspects but second to none (to no non-Otus) with respect to the combination of all of its qualities - and at full aperture (which is f2 here!), second to none in any quality (donít know the Nikkor AF-S 200 f2 -beast thought). Especially at medium to longer distances, the Zeiss Apo Sonnarís f2-capabilities shine. At these distances, its 3D rendition and Bokeh really makes a difference.


Btw: Itís been reported (by Zeiss) that this lens actually is an Otus class lens. It just came along before the Otus series (and name) was inaugurated.

@arthury: Why your 9-points rating? In your review you say that you have no complaints (except the cap) ...


May 26, 2015
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rewart
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Registered: Mar 11, 2013
Location: N/A
Posts: 14
Review Date: Mar 31, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,125.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Breathtaking sharpness and bokeh, rich colour, compelling 3-dimensionality, and complete and absolute lack of any chromatic aberration.
Cons:
Lens cap needs to be replaced right out of the box - a broken-record complaint for Zeiss' entire lens lineup.

This is a truly stunning lens.

I also have the Canon 135/2L, which I have always thought was a wonderfully sharp lens. The Zeiss, without hesitation, trumps it in terms of sharpness. Even at f/2 the Zeiss challenges the Canon lens stopped-down.

The ZE 135 also has a very smooth bokeh, and the focus transition (going into and then out-of focus) is very subtle and realistic.

The quality of the bokeh, especially when contrasted with the wonderfully crisp in-focus sharpness, and then the handing of the focus transition, lend the Zeiss that wonderfully compelling 3-D look to its images.

The 135mm focal length has its uses, and they are obviously not universal. If you like the focal length, and aren't in so much of a hurry as to need autofocus, this lens is truly sensational and I feel worth the hefty price tag.


Mar 31, 2014
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digicV
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Registered: Feb 8, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 122
Review Date: Mar 14, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Breath taking resolution, eye popping images wide open. A joy to hold and use. Replaced my Nikon 200 f2 with this for portraits. Easier to focus through viewfinder than the Zeiss Otus 55mm
Cons:
There are no cons. Period

Throw away your bulky 200mm f2 or the 70-200. Get this lovely-to-hold smaller lens for awe-inspiring images shot wide open.
The bright image in the viewfinder is easy to manual focus.
If you can afford the best for FX then look no further


Mar 14, 2014
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arthury
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Registered: Sep 1, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Jan 25, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent color correction. The Nikkor 70-200mm/2.8VR2 and the 200mm/2VR2 are close but a zoom cannot match the resolution of a prime and the 200mm/2VR2 is very heavy.
Cons:
Lens cap be be improved.
Jan 25, 2014
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rgingo
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Registered: Jun 24, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: extremely clean and sharp at f:2 (compared to other pro lenses)...the most sharp and crisp stopped down; focus is very easy and precise; extremely high contrast even with backlight/high flare situations
Cons:
slightly heavy, but does balance well

It is absolutely the best lens I have ever used for selective focus environmental portraiture. The contrast of supersharp against very smooth bokeh backgrounds is ideal. The ultra-high contrast and apochromatic color correction produced by this lens allows a more gentle (softer contrast) overall tonality to be used for the image during post-processing. The super-clean color and tonality which results is extremely pleasing. When combined with the Nikon D800e sensor, there is no doubt that this combo will match or beat the quality of most medium format digital.

Nov 19, 2013
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Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T*

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
9 8627 Jun 21, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,959.50
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.78
9.38
9.8
Screen_Shot_2013-11-14_at_10_52_06_AM

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