Sony Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 ZA Sonnar T* A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 114    1 2 3 4 >>
reviewer#44048 date: Apr-23-2018
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:A bunch of Minolta zooms
Contax Zeiss 135/2.8
price paid:$1200 (used)
positive:Sharpness and contrast
Bokeh
Auto focus
Lateral CA
Build
negative:Longitudinal CA
comment:This lens has only one flaw, and when it shows it ugly face it can ruin your shot, and that is too much longitudinal CA. In the wrong situation (imagine a barren winter tree silhuetted against a gray sky wide open) and the amount of green and magenta just out of focus fringes is not a pretty sight.
Apart from that the rest is just superlatives. It's a dream lens for portraits. You can use any aperture you like and even corners at 1.8 are sharp and contrasty, not mentioning the center. And the bokeh is the best I ever seen. It has no problem with the 42mp sensor of the A99II.
This lens is the main reason I got the A99II since I already own the A7R3. Don't know if you can do that and still be considered sane, but this is how good this lens is in most situations.
Also works great for landscape stopped down.

A few notes on auto-focus. You need it, and you need to micro-adjust it since the DOF is as thick as cardboard (no joke). It's actually hard shoot close-up portraits with manual focus since moving the camera just a few millimeters will make you miss critical focus.
But micro adjusted the A99II is really doing a good job, especially the "eye focus". You still going to miss a few but when you nail it it's worth everything. You can count the eye-lashes from 10 meters.
And this is the reason this lens works poorly on the A7 series. The LA-EA4 has too low AF precision.

I hesitated a long time buying it, but now my kids will inherit it.
reviewer#42978 date: Jan-12-2018
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100mm f/2
Sony 135mm STF
price paid:675 Euro - Used
positive:- Sharpness
- Bokeh
- MFD
- Color rendition
- Contrast
negative:-weight
-manual focus ring has a bit of play
comment:Never really wanted to purchase this lens since I already owned the 135mm STF and bought a Minolta 100mm f/2 just 2 weeks prior, though the price was too good to pass up, planned to use it for a bit and resell it for a small profit.
The first thing you'll notice when using it is the weight, and the size with the hood attached, it's quite a big and heavy lens, this is a lens meant to be used with A-mount full frame cameras.
At f/1.8 the sharpness is really good, the micro-contrast is there, the bokeh is superb even in difficult situations, even if you pixel peep there shouldn't be any worries shooting wide open all the time.
Another big advantage is the MFD which leads to a magnification ration of 0.25X, which coupled with the focal length and F-stop can make for some really interesting close-up shots.

Compared to the 135mm STF:
The STF is a bit lighter and the bokeh is smoother, but there are times when that rendering is a bit bland, that being said, the STF doesn't have any other advantage over the 135mm ZA, unless you really love the way the STF renders bokeh there is absolutely no point to buy it instead of the ZA.

Compared to the 100mm F/2:
I like the rendering of the 100mm F/2 a bit more for portraits, it's warmer, the shorter focal length is a bit better, you can hand hold it for hours without getting tired, the sharpness wide open is almost as good as the 135mm.
The 135mm ZA has better bokeh, better chromatic aberrations control, better micro-contrast, since the focal length is longer and the F-stop is 1.8 you can throw background out of focus easier.

All in all this is a great lens to use on full frame cameras, if you have money to buy only one lens out of those 3, definitely buy this one, it has a wide range of applications.
After using it quite a bit, I decided to keep it, alongside the STF and the Minolta.
reviewer#38868 date: May-23-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art. Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art. Zeiss 85mm f1.4.
price paid:£810 used
positive:Everything except the negative.
negative:Hard focus ring somehow manages to feel like plastic.
comment:Much queiter than I expected, this lens makes me ask the question. Why is the 85mm Zeiss so damn loud and agricultural?

Simply sublime. All lenses have compromises, this lens seems to have very few! A dream on the a99Mk2

If you have a Sony/Minolta 70-200mm f2.8 you can use the SH0010 hood on this lens. It performs better than the Zeiss hood but be warned, it is not as strong and is ridiculously expensive to replace.
reviewer#32705 date: Nov-11-2016
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:* Sigma 35/1.4 HSM
* Sigma 85/1.4 HSM
* Sony 135STF/2.8[4.5]
price paid:945 USD
positive:* Solid construction.
* Good focus ring dampening.
* f/1.8 at 135mm!!
* Great bokeh!
* Fast AF
negative:* Weight. It's got great build and alot of glass. It will be heavy.
* AF is screw-drive, so it isn't silent.
* Paint on Zeiss logo scratches easily.
* Focus ring has some wiggle/give.
* Because it is screw driven, if AF misses, it will take some time to hunt, especially indoors.
comment:I also own the Sony 135STF/2.8[4.5] lens, which does killer bokeh... however, that lens is MF only. With a heavily dampened focus ring, the 135STF is a bit of a bear to use on moving subjects.

At the recommendation of a friend who shoots with this lens, I managed to get a copy off of Ebay for $945.

::Focusing/Light::

After getting it, I made some test shots indoors(dark and some window light). My immediate thoughts were, f/1.8 is no joke.

The fastest "long" lens I had before this was the 70-200/2.8 and it suffered with dark indoor lighting. And the 135STF with it's effective T4.5 would mean trying to focus on a dark screen or against some grainy noise.

With the 135/1.8, focusing, whether MF or AF was solid and quick to lock on. This lens rocks at shooting a subject sharply in available light. It doesn't focus silently like the HSM/SSM lenses, nor as quickly, but it does focus quickly.

When combined with the A99's soft focus limiter, the penalty for hunting is reduced/removed and you get VERY solid lock-on. Will update this review once I get the A99m2.

::Bokeh::

It's beautiful bokeh. I would say the bokeh from this lens is just a bit grainier than that of the 135STF. If I had to choose one lens based SOLELY on bokeh, it would be the 135STF. However, for other aspects like availability of AF and ability to shoot in low light settings, I believe that the bokeh on the 135/1.8 is very nice. It's a worthwhile tradeoff.

If I had to describe it... the bokeh out of the 135/1.8 has out of focus highlights that are more solid discs, but no ringing effect. The bokeh highlights from the 135STF are gaussian blurred circles. They look like shaded spheres. But that is only the case if you shoot the 135STF wide open at 2.8. If you stop down, that beautiful effect is diminished. At f/4.5 onward, the bokeh between the two 135mm lenses are very comparable and the benefits all go in favor of the Zeiss 135/1.8.

At the time of writing this, the lens is still retailing new at $1799.99 USD. I managed to get a decent copy off of Ebay for $945USD. The typical used price for this lens is between $1200USD-$1500USD.

It's a great lens. On an APS-C sensor(or running your full frame in APS-C mode), gives a focal length crop to 202mm-210mm. So photographers who want some low-light reach that provides AF and high image quality, this is a good lens to add.

It definitely sits happily in my A99 bag with the other prime/fixed-focal-length lenses: Sigma 35/1.4 HSM Art, Sigma 85/1.4 HSM. I have the Sony 50/1.4, but I haven't liked the handling/performance of the lens while shooting enough to keep it in my bag.
reviewer#11876 date: Jun-21-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 35mm F2
Sony ZA 50mm f1.4 planar
Minolta 85mm f1.4 GD
Minolta 100mm f2.8 macro RS
Minolta 200mm f2.8 G HS
Minolta 400mm f4.5 G HS
price paid:1700.00 new
positive:Sharp, Bokeh, Build, The best portrait lens on the planet!
negative:None
comment:Insanely sharp with outstanding bokeh and its built to last, its the best portrait lens I have ever used when capturing raw beauty it can see everything it hides nothing, at 135mm the compression is perfect for outdoor backgrounds. Its simply amazing lens!!!
reviewer#11875 date: Jun-21-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp, Bokeh, Distortion, Build
negative:None
comment:none
reviewer#11603 date: Jan-13-2014
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:None. Not much like it.
price paid:1400.00
positive:Build quality is top notch, Good sharpness at all apertures
negative:Terrible purple fringing wide open and a few stops slower, I mean i had to do the lens correction in LR for every picture I have taken. I wouldn't have to do this if i was a photographer for the Minnesota Vikings.
Focal length.
comment:I'm kind of on the fence with this lens. I think it is best suited for still life photography because I haven't been able to get a properly focused shot shooting anything with moderate to a lot of movement. Maybe this lens is better on full frame A99 but not great results with A77.
I would think for the price you pay for Zeiss you would get a near flawless lens. No SSM, purple fringing, yuck.
reviewer#11351 date: Sep-25-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:None
price paid:1500 EUR (new)
positive:Build, IQ, MFD
77 mm filter like 24-70CZ and 16-35CZ.
negative:AF near MFD tends to hunt. But focus peaking gives you much more control over the exact point of focus there anyway.
comment:Focus peaking with this lens is like taking candy from a baby. AF is instant (even though it is screwdriven) but twitchy at MFD. The optics are flawless, can be used wide open without any deterioration of IQ (but with next to no DOF). Built like a tank, including the lens hood. Feels great on A99. Colour is more neutral than Minolta glass, which is OK in the digital era. MFD is much better than the 85s.
reviewer#11261 date: Jul-22-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Really can only compare it to Minolta's 100/2.8 macro and the 80/200g but blows them both away.
price paid:1500(new)
positive:Unbelievably good in every aspect. A lens razor sharp at 1.8!, nice contrasty colors, build quality, speedy focus especially when considering the precision required! Build quality is great. Easily the best (maybe not the most utilized) lens in the A-Mount line up. Great film look for motion too. a99 nailed follow focus for me!
negative:Heavy, Green blob with high overhead sunlight is less transparent than I'd like, a little more aberration than I'd expect from a lens this refined- seems like everything else is as good at it could be without a trade off- but the aberration appears to be that surprising trade off to me. (surprising when you consider how well other zeiss pieces handle this) The DOF is so shallow WO that any image that's slightly off axis shot can make the image look distorted to the unfamiliar. This is especially true on APSC.
comment:Worth every penny for the pro- the best in the class among all manufacturer. Head and shoulders above every lens that I've used from any manuf. Makes a very sought after look for motion pictures too!
reviewer#11243 date: Jul-12-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1500 AUS (new)
positive:Sharpness
Rendering
Build
negative:Hunts in low light
No SSM
comment:After a lot of research through website and through these reviews, i finally took the plunge. It does not disappoint at all and is the sharpest lens i own to date with the smoothest bokeh i have seen (other than the STF) straight out of the camera.

It is a heavy lens but balances well with the a99 + vertical grip (both batteries), however it makes for a heavy piece of kit all up. Focus peaking is great to use in low light with this lens in manual mode, as it tends to hunt in low light\contrast situations in auto focus.

No SSM.... well i can live with that for now. Its amazing when using this lens for a while then switching to a SSM lens, you really notice the difference in noise and AF speeds. But to be honest, it focuses quite fast on the a99 if there is good lighting.

Originally was tossing up between this lens and the cz 85 1.4, i obviously went the 135. My reasoning was that i had the Min 50 1.4, so the cz 85 would be a little too close in focal length to be as useful as the cz 135.

But i have to admit, i tested out the cz 85 1.4 at the shops as well and I'm definitely going to save up for that.

Overall, a must have lens and highly recommended!!!


reviewer#11236 date: Jul-6-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony CZ 85mm f1.4
Minolta 70-210 f4
price paid:£1200 (new)
positive:Super sharp
Great clarity and colour
Useable straight from f1.8
Solid build
Large focus ring
negative:Not SSM
Massive lens hood
comment:Using this as my telephoto option for shooting live music, though hoping to make use of it for portraits.

This lens has been giving me the wow factor that I haven't experienced since first owning my CZ 85mm years ago. Both lenses give sharpness, clarity and colour that stands out though I think the 135mm has the slight edge.

I think the 85mm has more appeal to most users though due to it's smaller size and wider view. The lens hood for the 135mm almost doubles the size of an already big lens, I like to shoot without it as much as possible.

f1.8 makes this ideal for low light shooting. There's AF-D support on the A99 though I prefer manual focus.
reviewer#11225 date: Jun-30-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 135/2.8 STF
Minolta 70-200/2.8 G SSM
price paid:
missing
positive:great image quality straight from f/1.8
solid build
negative:
missing
comment:This one gets the "best lens I own"-badge. Spectacular performer. The look it produces is not necessarily in line with the Minolta lenses. It's a Zeiss after all (and shows the characteristics I have seen in my Contax Zeiss lenses).
reviewer#11125 date: May-19-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 200mm lenses
price paid:1300
positive:smooth bokeh,
excellent resolution
contrast
good accuracy
speed
build quality
negative:heavy with the a900
comment:
missing
reviewer#11083 date: Apr-27-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 135/2.8
Sony 70-200/2.8
Sony 85/1.4
price paid:1600 USD (new)
positive:extremely sharp
bokeh and colors
design
MFD
negative:slightly slow AF
no weather seal
no SSM
front element starts to rattle after some time because of too heavy hood.
comment:My favorite one among all A-mount lenses.
Outstanding performance at all apertures. Work of art. Pure definition of great bokeh and sharpness.

reviewer#10983 date: Mar-15-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Sony 85mm F/1.4 CZ
price paid:1300 USD (new)
positive:very smooth bokeh,
excellent resolution and contrast even wide open,
good accuracy and speed,
very good build quality
negative:little slop on the focus ring,
some vignetting at f/1.8,
old dated screw-driven AF approach,
quite high price
comment:
missing
reviewer#10889 date: Feb-1-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:N/A
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp focus.
Great color.
Quality build.
Pleasing Bokeh.
negative:Heavy (however it's a negative I can live with).
comment:In my short experience with Minolta/Sony lenses, I believe this is definitely the best lens I own. The images it produces are amazing. It's super sharp, great color and pleasing Bokeh. Since owning this lens I now aspire to get more CZ lenses.

Note on price paid: I made a bulk purchase from someone who was leaving Sony. I was blessed to get a mint a77, CZ135, SAL100M28, HVL-F58AM, Sony camera bag, a Black Rapid sling as well as a few other bits & bobs. The price paid is only an average.
reviewer#10800 date: Dec-24-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100 F2
Minolta 85 F1.4
Minolta 50 F1.4
price paid:975 USD
positive:Sharpness
Build
negative:Not Minolta G colors
A bit buxom
comment: I really enjoy this lens. It has excellent optical quality. I own a Minolta 100 F2 which I can get nearly the same performance, with a little focus adjustment. The results are great, but the color is a little different from good Minolta glass. Great lens.
reviewer#10798 date: Dec-22-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Everything
price paid:1100
positive:Best build quality of any lens I've ever owned. Sharper than anything in existance (almost). Rediculous bokeh.
negative:None
comment:It's perfect. Perfect to hold, perfect optical quality, feels like money in your hands. It takes shots that are simply amazing...feats of optical quality that will leave you breathless. It quite simply is sony's best lens and any makers best 135mm.

11/12 Update

Still have it. In fact, it's the only reason I still shoot A mount because this lens does wonders for my wedding work. It's my favorite lens out of the 40 plus I've owned in the past three years. If only Nikon had AF for their Zeiss APO or an updated 135mm Nikkor- but alas, this still is the one and only 135mm 1.8 Zeiss. It truly is special.
reviewer#10568 date: Oct-6-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:cz85 f1.4
price paid:1,100 USD (used)
positive:bokeh
f1.8
carl zeiss
build quality
glass is awesome
very low CA
colors
contrast
sharpness
negative:none..
comment:I had been looking for this lens for a quite a while and came across an incredble deal on craigslist locally.i couldnt pass it up. I knew i'd would have a longer reach due to me using it on my A77, but i find the range to be great, shooting wide open with this lens is a dream, the sharpness, colors,contrast are always spot on. I was impressed back when i had the CZ85, but this one really takes the cake. If you can get ur hands on one, do it. you wont regret it.
reviewer#10502 date: Sep-11-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:CZ 85 f/1.4
Minolta 100 f/2
Minolta 200 f/2.8
price paid:1295 USD
positive:Everything. Very few other lenses (A-mount and beyond) are so close to perfection.
negative:Cross your finger so that the front element of your copy can forever withstand that huge and heavy hood.
comment:Once you correctly manage the extremely thin DOF at large aperture settings, you will have in your hands a miraculous tool.
reviewer#10472 date: Aug-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-300 G
price paid:1699 USD
positive:Sharpness
Colors
Build quality
negative:Weight
comment:I love this lens. It is sharp wide open, and stepped down it gets amazing. It is heavy and I wished it had SSM, but all in all it is now my favorite lens.
reviewer#10440 date: Aug-8-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm F1.4
Sony 70-200mm G
Sony 24-70mm F2.8 ZA
price paid:Mind your own!
positive:This lens is sharp beyond belief and the bokeh is silky smooth. The IQ is outstanding and you'd have to spend a serious amount of money to even come close, well done Sony.
negative:None, this is a perfect lens.
comment:This lens is a quality product and will test both all APC-S and FF cameras to come for a very long time.

I feel very lucky to be able to own this lens.

Si
reviewer#10400 date: Jul-20-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100 f/2.8
Tamron 90 f/2.8
Minolta 28-135mm "Handshake"
price paid:$1475 USD Like New
positive:Extremely Sharp
Beautiful Bokeh
Rich Colors
Near Zero CA
negative:Spendy
comment:I'm amazed at this lens! It instantly made me a better photographer :)

I love the 135mm focal length combined with the large 1,8 aperture. It's a very versatile combination.

Technically, the lens lives up to its reputation. Colors are realistic, distortion & CA are basically nonexistent.

Right now I'd say if I could only have one lens, I'd choose this!
reviewer#10341 date: Jun-29-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Leica primes
price paid:1600 USD
positive:Beautiful results with very little effort on my full-frame A900. Build quality is very good to excellent.
negative:Hood is a bit easy to cross thread but by no means a detractor from purchasing. No, it doesn't have SSM but for this type of lens I'm not sure it really matters.
comment:I have been using this lens since early December 2011 and it’s truly a pleasure. I purchased it new directly from SonyStyle with the extended accident/service warranty - just in case. It was a tough call as I debated between this one and the ZA 24-70 but I'm happy with my choice. It’s very accurate with rich tones and in some ways it exceeds my previous Leica primes. I attached the B+W 77mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 filter, and it's been on there since day one. I like the results with this combination.

If you damage the hood it may cost you quite a bit to replace. I wish the hood were made of plastic vs. metal. It would be easier to mount, lighter, and likely more durable if dropped.

Overall, it’s a fantastic lens and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed after buying it. Yes, it really is that good. ~
reviewer#10336 date: Jun-26-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 135 F2 L
price paid:$1100 (used)
positive:Sharp, smooth bokeh, excellent color and contrast
negative:not SSM, not weather seal
comment:Sharp wide open, smooth bokeh, excellent color and contrast. Relatively short minimum focus distance. Focus is quite fast even it is screw driven. Maybe 135mm is easier to make, similar to the Canon one, I can't find any fault as well. If you like this focal length, then this is the lens.
My minor complaints are that it is not SSM, and not weather sealed.
reviewer#10301 date: Jun-14-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:$1700.00 (New)
positive:Very sharp
Solid build
Bokeh
Color
Fast
negative:Purple fringing (F1.8)
Focus ring play
AF Auto clutch grabs focus ring at times
comment:I love this lens although it is not perfect. It is very quick on my A77 and very accurate.

The image quality is like nothing I have ever seen before. The Bokeh is beautiful and what is is focus is razor sharp. I also like the way it handles colors.

I have noticed some purple fringing when stopped down to F1.8 in high contrast situations. I find it relatively easy to remove however with Lightroom.

I also have noticed that when you hold the focus ring and it is in Autofocus the autoclutch doesn't always disengage and it turns the ring in your hand. Im not sure if it is because it is new but will be watching it.

I saved for almost a year to get this glass and am not in any way dissapointed.
reviewer#10109 date: Apr-11-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 135 2.8
price paid:L850
positive:Amazing colours, beautiful bokeh, almost too sharp for portraits.
negative:The hood is stupid.
comment:An almost flawless lens. Definitely has that 'pop' quality to images. Weighty but in a quality feel way. Very fast on a900. Great colour rendition. Hood a nonsense, better to leave it at home and buy a cheap rubber one that will weigh a fraction.
reviewer#10101 date: Apr-10-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 200mm f2.8 APO G HS
price paid:1130 USD used
positive:- Amazing resolution & Contrast
- Neutral color rendition
- Focusing is fast for such a huge lens
- CA control is excellent
negative:- Hood & Lens are huge and heavy
comment:What more can I say. This lens reaches the level of perfection. If you're looking for the 135mm range and have enough money to spend, this is the best in the class.

Exceptionally sharp right from f1.8, bokeh is beautiful, CA control is excellent. Image is realistically contrasty and the color rendition is very neutral. The only downside for me is its massive weight and space needed in the camera bag. I have to make sure I really need this lens or other lighter alternatives are enough for that job. Anyway if the job demands absolute quality without any compromise, 135 CZ is the way to go.

Compared to my favorite Minolta 200mm f2.8 APO G HS, both of them can deliver stunning images. They're both so great there is no winner. Minolta colors are warmer (sweeter) though while the CZ are more neutral and paler. The only thing 135CZ can do that the Minolta 200mm can't is the better control of CA wide open and the circular aperture of the CZ 135 that can render completely round bokeh while the Minolta 200mm bokeh is hexagonal. On the contrary, 135 CZ size and weight are considerably more massive than the Minolta 200. I prefer the balance and feel of Minolta 200mm with A850 and A77 more.

See my photos with Carl Zeiss 135mm f1.8 and Minolta 200mm f2.8 APO G HS on my Flickr collection at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeispixels/collections/72157628204412995/
reviewer#10087 date: Apr-4-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-400G
price paid:$1700 (new, VAT inc)
positive:IQ
Build
FL
negative:Weight
comment:OK, it´s lighter than the G, but that´s about it. That notwithstanding, it has in no time become my second most favorite lens, only surpassed by my Sigma 50/1.4. Everything about this lens is outstanding!
I only wonder how it would be with SSM instead of the screwdriver...
reviewer#10030 date: Mar-15-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:70-400G
24-70ZA
price paid:1250 (like new)
positive:...uh EVERYTHING
negative:Lens "lust" will stop...
comment:Best lens I've ever used on A-mount... in FF. Lens is best used on FF for focal length (potraits)... would get the 85 for APSC or combination of both...

reviews found: 114    1 2 3 4 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 114
  • sharpness: 4.99
  • color: 4.90
  • build: 4.76
  • distortion: 4.98
  • flare control: 4.95
  • overall: 4.92

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