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

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 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 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:

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 115
  • sharpness: 4.99
  • color: 4.90
  • build: 4.77
  • distortion: 4.98
  • flare control: 4.95
  • overall: 4.92 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania