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

reviewer#6386 date: Nov-14-2009
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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma - 10-20 F4-5.6 EX DC
Sigma - 12-24 F4.5-5.6 EX Aspherical DG
Tamron - SP AF 14 F2.8
Sony - AF 16 F2.8 FishEye
Tokina - AT-X 17 AF F3.5
Sigma - 17-70 F2.8-4.5 DC
Sony - AF DT 18-70 F3.5-5.6
Minolta - AF 20 F2.8
Minolta - AF 24-50 F4
Minolta - AF 24-85 F3.5-4.5 RS
Sony - AF 24-105 F3.5-4.5
Minolta - AF 28 F2 RS
Minolta - AF 28-70 F2.8 G
Minolta - AF 28-85 F3.5-4.5
Sigma - 28-300 F3.5-6.3 DL Aspherical IF Hyperzoom
Minolta - AF 35 F1.4 G RS
Minolta - AF 35-105 F3.5-4.5
Sony - AF 50 F1.4
Minolta - AF 50 F1.7 RS
Sigma - 50-500 F4-6.3 DG EX APO
Minolta - AF 70-210 F4 (beercan)
Sigma - 70-300 F4-5.6 DG Macro
Minolta - AF 75-300 F4.5-5.6
Minolta - AF 80-200 F2.8 HS APO G
Minolta - AF 85 F1.4 G RS
Minolta - AF 100 F2.8 Macro D
Sony - 135 F2.8 [T4.5] STF
Sigma - 180 F3.5 EX DG IF APO macro
Sigma - 400 F5.6 APO
Sony - AF Reflex 500 F8
price paid:1200 Euro (new)
positive:BOKEH with capital letters - you have to see this to believe it.
Creative double aperture
Amazingly sharp
Color - larger than life
Manual focus - smooth and good range
negative:No autofocus capability - not a big deal however
Not IF
comment:This must be beyond a shadow of a doubt the most impressive lens I have ever had the privilege of owning. It is a marvelous portrait lens. It really shines in landscape, interior and nature photography. Actually it's an all-occassion lens.

The nice thing is the really unsurpassed bokeh, due to the apodization element that enables the user to continuously vary the degree of back- and foreground unsharpness. And the smoothness in this unsharpness is very silky and nicely blended. It is almost rendering the use of studio backgrounds useless...well almost of course ;-)

Then of course sharpness. Well this is yet another surprise. While this is a standard tele prime, the depth of focus, while shooting with open aperture, is quite thin. Nevertheless I never have trouble focusing on the main subject in the composition. Even on the A900 I can achieve sensor limited 24.6 megapixel of shear resolving power.

Build however is very good, but it has this modern Sony SAL plasticy feel to it. I am not that fond of the the tiny ribs on the focusing ring. I much rather like the nice Minolta G type coarser ribbs as they do not tend to collect dust and skin fragments from rubbing.....

Colours are of a very nice neutral tone, well saturated, but without a special bias towards any of the prime colours. A crystal clear colouring would be my label for this lens.

I can also recommend this lens as a macro lens, when used in combination with an extension ring. Very nice!

I have not seen a tendency towards flaring. I do however always put on the "generously large" lens hood.

Distortion? What distortion? No complaints here.

If you can afford to buy this lens, I would say: Go for it! you will not regret it.

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