Sony 135mm F2.8 T4.5 STF A-mount lens review by aegisphan

reviewer#6076 date: Sep-18-2009
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Leica 180 2
CZ 135 1.8
Pentax 50 1.2
Pentax 80 1.4
Pentax 77 1.8
Pentax 31 1.8
price paid:
Beautiful Color
Extraordinary Bokeh
Perfect focal on FF for portrait
negative:Very slow effective f/stop
The hood easily falls off
comment:The Good:

So I used to shoot this lens on the A700 along with my Pentax system. It is the sharpest in addition to very beautiful color rendering and creamy bokeh. Since this was my only lens for my A700, I've shot quite extensively with it to know its strength and weakness on a crop camera.

The Bad:
It's slow for some indoor shots, a bit too long too (esp on an APS-C camera). And the hood is just so easy to come off. I'd dropped my hood more time than I cared to remember that sometimes I just shot without the hood. LoCA on this lens is quite bad. But I can live with it after PP.

My personal experience:
I've shot mostly wide open since there is no point to get this lens and shot on anything less. It took quite a while to actually master the manual focus speed. I got through several wedding out-door sessions with much success (70-80% usable), so I don't think this lens has any precision problem as pointed out. Indeed, there was time that I wish I can auto-focus with this lens, but have to accept it due to personal limitation. The pictures came out of this lens often gave good impression on my clients. Nonetheless, it does lack the 3D/pop-ness of the typical Zeiss. Now that I got my Zeiss, this is probably needed for an exclusive portrait session. Lastly, I have to say it again: this lens is so sharp for its ability to render buttery bokeh. It's amazing how it can do that with that extra element.

Update: I sold the lens, but then just re-acquire it. In short, it manages to amaze me once again. I think I just like it much more than the Zeiss 135mm. But each has its own use so I'll keep both and shoot both. It deserves much more use.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 43
  • sharpness: 4.90
  • color: 4.95
  • build: 4.84
  • distortion: 4.86
  • flare control: 4.77
  • overall: 4.86 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania