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

reviewer#2516 date: Jul-5-2007
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; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:M/AF 135/2.8
M/AF 85/1.4 G
price paid:USD1350 (new)
positive:Build quality
Sharpness wide open
AF more than OK on a700
Expensive filters
Slow AF on D7D
comment:The first impression of the beast is - wow, what a brick. Then, after a few shots taken in the back yard, a feeling of "Huh - is that it?" slowly creeped into my mind. I was utterly disappointed.

Two days after that, I went for a nostalgia odysse and really gave it a go. It stood the test with flying colours ! I really wonder what made me so disappointed the first afternoon.

It is by far the best lens I ever have had in my hand ( including the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8 L USM ). Sharp, with vivid and saturated colours, and with a lovely bokeh. Putting it on a D7D with a 1.4TC gave me just the reach I needed and I was more than surprised to find pictures more than OK. Nothing of the usual TC degradation was present in the pictures. This is a true keeper - despite the price.

Having migrated from KM D7D to Sony a700, I find this lens an even better companion. It performed well on D7D, but putting it on an a700, turnes out a magnificent lens, quite obviuosly tailored for the a700, and the upcoming Flagship Model I guess. Far better AF perfomance, coupled with eye start, makes it a dream to use. Precise, fast, tack sharp, lovely bokeh and with vivid and satureated colours, without any tweak'n in camera settings. Outstanding performance with a Kenko 300 DG 1.4x TC as well.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 118
  • sharpness: 4.99
  • color: 4.91
  • build: 4.76
  • distortion: 4.97
  • flare control: 4.94
  • overall: 4.91 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania