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Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review

  
 
jhinkey
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Today I tested it against the 100-400 GM at infinity just for those brave landscape photographers willing to carry heavy weight around.
I just checked the results and have to say this is a good zoom, especially at 135mm! The 135 GM is better but not much better. It definitely wins on contrast.

My Sigma 135/1.8 E-mount will be here on Tuesday for comparison. (Loan from Adorama)


I agree. My 100-400 is the best zoom lens I've ever owned. Especially when you consider how excellent it is at the long end where most of these types of zooms fall apart sharpness-wise.
Great at 400mm
Good at 300mm
Very good at 200mm
Great again at 100mm

Won't keep me from cancelling my 135/1.8 GM pre-order though



Mar 17, 2019 at 07:51 PM
bluloo
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Thanks for the ongoing review Fred.

LoCA has killed many an otherwise fine lens for me.
That's one thing I love about the Batis.




Mar 17, 2019 at 07:53 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


bluloo wrote:
Thanks for the ongoing review Fred.

LoCA has killed many an otherwise fine lens for me.
That's one thing I love about the Batis.



Wide open, the FE 135/1.8 GM is not as well corrected for LoCA compared to the Voigtlander 110/2.5 or Batis 135 APO lenses but I'm betting they are not much different at similar apertures because LoCA improves as we stop the lens down.

I don't think the FE 135/1.8 GM and Zeiss ZE/ZF 135/2 differ too much in LoCA correction and of course, the latter is APO.



Mar 17, 2019 at 08:19 PM
freaklikeme
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Looks like they slightly overcorrected for SA, but nothing that's too detrimental to the bokeh. Very impressive stuff on the wide open corners and mid-field. Thanks for doing this, Fred.


Mar 17, 2019 at 08:32 PM
Dave Sanders
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Very impressive performance so far. For all intents and purposes, it looks like the aperture ring is for DOF. there really isn't much difference in sharpness from f/1.8 to f/8, at least not that you'd easily see.


Mar 17, 2019 at 08:37 PM
vdo1
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


My prediction is that the 85 GM will cream it in the bokeh side by side test. And lose on the sharpness one.


Mar 17, 2019 at 08:37 PM
Melindra
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


vdo1 wrote:
My prediction is that the 85 GM will cream it in the bokeh side by side test. And lose on the sharpness one.


Agreed and since the 85GM isn't unsharp, it's probably the better buy if the focal lengths don't matter too much.

Fred, a test of the 85GM, 135GM and 105 Art side by side wide open would be much appreciated.
I have only two of them available otherwise I'd happily do it. I'm sure many people would love to see the differences between the three.

The Sigma is the cheapest of the bunch (in my store anyway) and in my opinion will be the overall winner.

I'd say a test versus the Batis 135 is already in the pipeline, but I know I couldn't recommend the Zeiss now that the 135GM is out. The 135GM price will settle and they'll be the same price, so it'll be crazy to choose the Batis 135 over the GM.



Mar 17, 2019 at 09:16 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Melindra wrote:
Agreed and since the 85GM isn't unsharp, it's probably the better buy if the focal lengths don't matter too much.

Fred, a test of the 85GM, 135GM and 105 Art side by side wide open would be much appreciated.
I have only two of them available otherwise I'd happily do it. I'm sure many people would love to see the differences between the three.

The Sigma is the cheapest of the bunch (in my store anyway) and in my opinion will be the overall winner.

I'd say a test versus the Batis 135 is already in the pipeline, but I know I couldn't recommend
...Show more

To me the Sigma 105 f/1.4 isn't really in the same discussion as these other two lenses. It is over twice as heavy as the 85 GM and 700g heavier than the 135 GM. It has an enormous 105mm filter thread, and considering bokeh even in side by side tests is a matter of preference. I too prefer the 85 GM bokeh over the 135 GM bokeh (at least in the samples I have seen), but my wife prefers the bokeh of the 135 GM. There is no right or wrong answer on bokeh. Sure, I would welcome a comparison of these three lenses, although I don't see it as the most obvious or natural comparison, but I don't see any way in such a comparison that any lens could be considered an overall winner except in being what any particular individual would prefer.



Mar 17, 2019 at 09:36 PM
ediblestarfish
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


The front bokeh seems better than the back. There's a noticeable edginess in the backgrounds that I don't find particularly attractive, especially if I was to use this as a portrait only lens. I feel hesitant about this.

No issue with anything else I can see.



Mar 17, 2019 at 10:08 PM
Dave Sanders
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Steve Spencer wrote:
To me the Sigma 105 f/1.4 isn't really in the same discussion as these other two lenses. It is over twice as heavy as the 85 GM and 700g heavier than the 135 GM. It has an enormous 105mm filter thread, and considering bokeh even in side by side tests is a matter of preference. I too prefer the 85 GM bokeh over the 135 GM bokeh (at least in the samples I have seen), but my wife prefers the bokeh of the 135 GM. There is no right or wrong answer on bokeh. Sure, I would welcome a
...Show more

I have the 100STF if I really want near-perfect bokeh. Honestly, if I had the money, I'd have the 24/85/100/135 GMs and the Loxia 25/85. Really an near flawless set of lenses. Gimme a 50/1.4GM with some of the recent size sauce and I'm in lens heaven.



Mar 17, 2019 at 10:33 PM
 


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rico
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


That's a serious CA torture test by Fred for a slower lens, and this GM flies to victory. I don't any LCA at all, and the defocus color fringing is within the top tier of any 135mm made. TCA should be interesting to evaluate because correction in post is a tempting approach for designers.

Fred, please include a linear distortion measurement in your test format.



Mar 17, 2019 at 10:34 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


ediblestarfish wrote:
The front bokeh seems better than the back. There's a noticeable edginess in the backgrounds that I don't find particularly attractive, especially if I was to use this as a portrait only lens. I feel hesitant about this.

No issue with anything else I can see.


So far I think it's pretty even (front and back bokeh). The background rendering looks smooth even with foliage close to the subject.
Here is a sample showing a bit of front and rear rendering. It does not have the low contrast and SA bokeh from the 85/1.4 GM but it's capable of more blur when the background is further way.









1:1 screenshot from image above







plane of focus, background and foreground bokeh rendering. They look similar to me which indicates a balanced SA correction.




Mar 17, 2019 at 11:05 PM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


A 85 is a 85 a 105 is a 105. Comparing them makes little sense to me. They are diffrent focal lengths that donít relate to a 135. Iím not going to buy a 85 needing a 135. Comparisons are nice but real world Your going to buy the focal length you need. Iím interested in this lens and this lens only. At least thatís me. For me itís not a what if , I already paid for it Iím more interested about what it can do. Thanks Fred for the hard work so far.


Mar 17, 2019 at 11:12 PM
Dave Sanders
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


GMPhotography wrote:
A 85 is a 85 a 105 is a 105. Comparing them makes little sense to me. They are diffrent focal lengths that donít relate to a 135. Iím not going to buy a 85 needing a 135. Comparisons are nice but real world Your going to buy the focal length you need. Iím interested in this lens and this lens only. At least thatís me. For me itís not a what if , I already paid for it Iím more interested about what it can do. Thanks Fred for the hard work so far.


I mean, most of his hard work will just serve to eventually separate me from the money that I work hard to earn, but I'll be a happy broke guy when that time arrives



Mar 17, 2019 at 11:15 PM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Now thatís one sharp looking image. I like the Bokeh on that as well. The background is pretty close it did a nice separation


Mar 17, 2019 at 11:15 PM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


Dave Sanders wrote:
I mean, most of his hard work will just serve to eventually separate me from the money that I work hard to earn, but I'll be a happy broke guy when that time arrives


in the same boat. Broke and waiting.



Mar 17, 2019 at 11:19 PM
ediblestarfish
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


I find the foreground is still smoother--there's less distinct shapes, where in the background in roughly the same distance you can see the formation of bokeh ball edges. *edit* the zoomed in pic looks even.

In a lower contrast background here the nervousness is controlled, but the picture with the blades of grass where there's high contrast points, the edginess comes out pretty clear. I'm afraid that bright sky through tree leaves might not turn out too well.

I do a lot of backlit portraits (love lit outlining from my video lighting experience), and as much as I can I do them in the shade (often trees), so it's a pain point for me.

Edited on Mar 17, 2019 at 11:23 PM · View previous versions



Mar 17, 2019 at 11:21 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


GMPhotography wrote:
Now thatís one sharp looking image. I like the Bokeh on that as well. The background is pretty close it did a nice separation


This lens rarely misses focus and resolution is great wherever your model's eyes are:










1:1 screenshot from image above. The eyes are towards the edge of the frame.




Mar 17, 2019 at 11:21 PM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


What Iím looking for is very fast accurate AF. Nailing Eye AF is huge for me in this focal length. I use this for a lot of shooting.


Mar 17, 2019 at 11:28 PM
GMPhotography
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM Review


On bokeh we also need to be aware of your choice of background to begin with. I know a lot of times when Iím testing Iíll pick a busy background on purpose but real world we as photographers need know what will render better and pick areas that work to our advantage or the lens advantage. I know thatís one reason why I test lenses is to know those secrets before hand.


Mar 17, 2019 at 11:32 PM
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