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LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!
Roger at LensRentals disassembled the mighty Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM.

Here is a quote from his conclusion:
"This is a very well made lens. It IS built like a tank with robust magnesium alloy barrels, lots of long thick screws holding things together and nothing flimsy to be seen. The electromagnetic focusing motors, which were a weakness a few years ago, are now built like you could pull trucks out of ditches with them.

The more subtle stuff, things like the neatly laid out flexes and reassembly markers, indicate to me that a lot of care was taken in designing this lens. Nothing has that ‘we can stuff that in this nook over here’ look.

It’s a great lens optically that is very well built."

Read the full article at LR

Sony FE 135/1.8 GM Review at FM

Available for pre-order at B&H Photo for $1,898



Jun 28, 2019 at 03:11 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


The comment on the focusing motors is great indeed, since they are using them in all the newer GM models, same as the 24GM, right?

I remember Ted Forbes basically saying these motors would be Sony's secret sauce over the next 5 years that would separate their glass from the other big 2.



Jun 28, 2019 at 03:13 PM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


RoamingScott wrote:
The comment on the focusing motors is great indeed, since they are using them in all the newer GM models, same as the 24GM, right?

I remember Ted Forbes basically saying these motors would be Sony's secret sauce over the next 5 years that would separate their glass from the other big 2.


I believe the GM 135 actually has the latest AF motor tech while the GM 24 is a tad behind. Sony literature shows different names for their AF motors. In real use, I say the GM 24 is faster than the GM 85 and ZA 50, but not quite there at the GM 135 level. Not that it's too important given it's a WA lens.

Sony keeps outdoing themselves by incorporating the newest thing into their latest release. To some, it might be a bad thing since we then want mark 2 version of the current, "outdated" premium lenses.

The new AF tech is not only about speed either, but with more precision, it helps reduce focus breathing, offers more flexible optical construction and placement, and possibly takes up less footprint than other tech. It's hard to say at this point how much better it is in comparison to the competition. The Panasonic S 50 and Canon RF 50 are quite fast in AF speed, though I know the GM 135 is faster than the RF 50 given its dual motor config. I would love to see a more direct comparison in the future to say for sure. But I think Sony is picking the right path to follow.



Jun 28, 2019 at 04:15 PM
Tony Ross
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


I enjoy how simple Roger makes things.

I hadn't seen anyone claiming poor build quality, but I'm not surprised - there are always some idiots out there who try to claim there's something wrong with anything that is getting positive reviews :-) And when a lens is this good, the naysayers have to come up with something like "poor build quality".

And now Roger makes it really clear that any claim that this lens isn't built well is, well, utter nonsense. I really enjoyed the line about "build like a super-tele".

I guess someone who has a religious commitment to Nikon or Canon or Fuji is probably peeved that the best medium telephoto of all time is a Sony :-)



Jun 28, 2019 at 11:53 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Tony Rogers wrote:
I enjoy how simple Roger makes things.

I hadn't seen anyone claiming poor build quality, but I'm not surprised - there are always some idiots out there who try to claim there's something wrong with anything that is getting positive reviews :-) And when a lens is this good, the naysayers have to come up with something like "poor build quality".

And now Roger makes it really clear that any claim that this lens isn't built well is, well, utter nonsense. I really enjoyed the line about "build like a super-tele".

I guess someone who has a religious commitment to Nikon or
...Show more

Where did you hear the 135/1.8 GM has poor build quality? Time to unsubscribe for that channel.



Jun 29, 2019 at 10:22 AM
_manny_
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


This is encouraging to read. I think some time ago Roger Cicala mentioned that in conversation with Sony engineers they had basically acknowledged this was a weak area for them (compared to Nikon and Canon anyway) and they would put their efforts into it - nice to see when promises are kept.

If you want a point of comparison then the LensRentals teardown of the 35mm 1.4ZA is a good one - it's hard to believe it's the same company and shows how far and fast Sony has improved. In particular, aside from the robustness the thing I liked most was seeing multiple optical adjustments via both shims and eccentric collars. Some earlier FE lenses had far more limited room for adjustment. Hardly something the hobbyist will do at home but I've always felt happy knowing if I bought an expensive Nikon or Canon lens and a decade later if something got out of whack a good repairman would be able to adjust it.



Jun 29, 2019 at 10:48 AM
Tony Ross
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Fred Miranda wrote:
Where did you hear the 135/1.8 GM has poor build quality? Time to unsubscribe for that channel.


Note the start of that paragraph: "I hadn't seen anyone claiming poor build quality..." - Roger was the one who mentioned the comments, not me :-)

Thoroughly enjoying this lens, and recommending it to anyone who likes the focal length!



Jun 30, 2019 at 06:13 AM
rico
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Crap! I'm trying to pretend this lens doesn't exist, then Roger performs another insightful teardown.


Jun 30, 2019 at 04:06 PM
 


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johnahill
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


So Get Out Your Screwdrivers and Follow Along at Home!




Jun 30, 2019 at 04:59 PM
Jochenb
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


It's good to see that it's a well designed lens, however: I now tried 2 copies of it and both were slightly decentered. Both with an almost identical tilt of the focal plane.


Jul 01, 2019 at 09:28 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Jochenb wrote:
It's good to see that it's a well designed lens, however: I now tried 2 copies of it and both were slightly decentered. Both with an almost identical tilt of the focal plane.


That's interesting Jochenb. My experience was very positive with this lens as the two copies I tested (review and personal copy) were 100% centered. I thought this lens would have very low copy-to-copy variance just like the Batis 135/2.8.



Jul 01, 2019 at 09:33 AM
Jochenb
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Fred Miranda wrote:
That's interesting Jochenb. My experience was very positive with this lens as the two copies I tested (review and personal copy) were 100% centered. I thought this lens would have very low copy-to-copy variance just like the Batis 135/2.8.



This is how the first copy looked a few months ago:
https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1588217/30#14827734

The second one (a few months later) gave me exactly the same result, on both the A7III and A9.
I think I've only had one other lens that showed identical decentering in multiple copies: the FE55/1.8.
So I hope this isn't a common issue with the 135 GM.
Maybe I'm just unlucky.




Jul 01, 2019 at 09:45 AM
LBJ2
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


Jochenb wrote:
This is how the first copy looked a few months ago:
https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1588217/30#14827734

The second one (a few months later) gave me exactly the same result, on both the A7III and A9.
I think I've only had one other lens that showed identical decentering in multiple copies: the FE55/1.8.
So I hope this isn't a common issue with the 135 GM.
Maybe I'm just unlucky.



Good news is you were able to find two new copies of this lens. Many can't even get their hands on one copy so far. The bad news of course is that you experienced decentering with both lenses

Thanks for reposting the evidence. I missed this the first time around.



Jul 01, 2019 at 09:49 AM
dtcls100
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


It is ironic that the lens is described as being built like a tank, when a lens element apparently spontaneously came out of alignment, rendering the lens useless! I guess one could say it is built like a tank . . . . a tank built by Yugo!

Roger seems to assume that this is a one-off type situation based on LensRentals' experience to date, but one never knows. In the meantime, I will stick with my Batis 135. Although I was initially tempted to switch after seeing Roger's test results and initial review, I think I will stick with the Batis as the Batis' resolution and image quality for all practical purposes is indistinguishable with the Sony, with the Batis also being meaningfully smaller, lighter, and less expensive (I paid $1330 for mine new with US warranty). The difference in DOF between f1.8 and f2.8 for a lens of this focal length is there, but I consider it to be not very meaningful. YMMV, of course.



Jul 02, 2019 at 01:42 PM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


dtcls100 wrote:
It is ironic that the lens is described as being built like a tank, when a lens element apparently spontaneously came out of alignment, rendering the lens useless! I guess one could say it is built like a tank . . . . a tank built by Yugo!

Roger seems to assume that this is a one-off type situation, but one never knows. In the meantime, I will stick with my Batis 135. Although I was initially tempted to switch after seeing Roger's test results and initial review, I think I will stick with the Batis as the Batis' resolution
...Show more

We don't really know what happened to the lens to cause the element out of alignment (I doubt it is a spontaneous one). As part of a rental house, he spoke from experience on the matter, which is more than I can say for most here, and he has seen enough lens repairs to know if it's a smart construction or not.



Jul 02, 2019 at 02:01 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · LensRentals: Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM teardown!


dtcls100 wrote:
It is ironic that the lens is described as being built like a tank, when a lens element apparently spontaneously came out of alignment, rendering the lens useless! I guess one could say it is built like a tank . . . . a tank built by Yugo!

Roger seems to assume that this is a one-off type situation based on LensRentals' experience to date, but one never knows. In the meantime, I will stick with my Batis 135. Although I was initially tempted to switch after seeing Roger's test results and initial review, I think I will stick
...Show more

It seems you have a great excuse to keep your Batis. My advice is not to try the GM if you don't intend to switch.



Jul 02, 2019 at 02:47 PM







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