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

reviews found: 115    << 1 2 3 4
reviewer#4138 date: Sep-27-2008
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:sony 50mm 1.4
Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro
Sigma 50mm 2.8 Macro
Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro
price paid:1199 usd(used)
positive:sharp sharp sharp!
Awesome build.
solid feel focusing.
negative:CA when wide open in high contrast shooting. Weight imbalance when mounted on a body without a vertical grip
comment:Wish I had all the Zeiss Glass!
reviewer#3905 date: Jul-30-2008
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 50mm 1.4
Minolta 100mm 2.8 Macro
CZ 16-80
price paid:999.- € (used)
positive:Build like a tank, very solid, heavy, well designed, bokeh is lovely, sharp @1.8, makes almost anything look good ; )
negative:
missing
comment:I had to buy this,it was almost too affordable and I only had it one day so far, but this is a very special lens.
So for anyone doing portrait work and related stuff, this is the lens to get.
reviewer#3629 date: May-26-2008
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 70-200 G SSM
price paid:950 EUR (quasi-new)
positive:Sharpness
Fully usable wide open
Beautiful bokeh
negative:
missing
comment:Awesome, awesome lens. Get it if you can! Fully usable at wide open.

The only downside are the longitudinal CA's. They're generally hard to compensate for in LR. Stopping down a little, of course, solves problem, or just go B/W.

The Sony 70-200 G lens virtually does not suffer from that problem. I've made a direct comparison of the two lenses here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/el_floz/2583231323/
reviewer#3586 date: May-12-2008
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:M-AF 2/100mm
M-AF 2,8/200mm Apo
Σ 2,8/70mm-210mm Apo
price paid:25k CZK
positive:sharpness (as CZ standard)
colour and contrast transmission (as CZ standard)
flare (as CZ standard)
excelent build (as CZ standard)
long running of manual focusing ring (~ 105° - 120°)
negative:non-compatible with my older D7 (2001), but compatible with my new D7 (2005)
comment:Two questions:
- Why does this lens have two different serial numbers: in CZ inscriptions near filter and in Sony infos near bayonet?
- Is this construction (by massiveness) for middle format cameras (~ 6×4,5)?
reviewer#3406 date: Mar-28-2008
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:Sal 1680 Za
Beercan
Big Beercan
KM 28-75 ƒ2.8
price paid:1349 USD
positive:Sharpness
Build is great, heavy, but no problem
Hood is very well designed too.
Fast focus compared to the 85 mm ZA
Beautiful bokeh
"Macro" ability.
negative:CA at wide aperture.
A bit costly, but worth every cent
comment:This lens is by far the sharpest lens I've owned. It's fantastic. Even wide open. I did a few shots of people at 5-10 meters wide open indoors, and it's amazingly sharp. it takes some practice to fully use this lens, due to veeery thin DOF at large aperture and close subjects. At 72 cm and ƒ1,8, the DOF is only 1,5 mm. That has it's uses indeed. I used this lens at a theatre where flash photography is prohibited, and the results stunned me. Contrast and colors are unbelievable.
It is as stated in other reviews, heavy. This is no problem, it only helps you to hold the camera and lens still in low light situations.

I will enjoy this lens immensely in the spring when there is more light outdoors and the world isn't all gray any more..

Flare is no problem, due to t* coating and hood, and besides, I rarely take photos including the sun at 135 mm :-)

If you ever get the chance, go get one!


reviewer#3389 date: Mar-21-2008
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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:85/1.4 Zeiss,
Many pro nikon optics..
price paid:1550e
positive:Sharp sharp sharp. Awesome build quality!
negative:not really nothing... maybe price, size and lack of SSM. ;)
comment:Awesome optic, so sharp even from full aperture. Great build quality.. hard to find anything to complain about..
I love mine 85/1.4 Zeiss, but it seems that this is even more sharper..:)
Size was also little surprise, this thing is HUGE ;)
This 135 Zeiss need definetly FF pro body to go with, so I cant wait the new FF sony... but all I can say about this optic is that its tack sharp, great build quality.. SSM would be great, but anyway AF seems to be quite fine even now with a700. Both, this and 85/1.4 zeiss are awesome optics, highly recommended!
reviewer#3333 date: Mar-3-2008
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:70-210/4
135/2.8
price paid:1575 CAD
positive:Sharp wide open
Colors
Bokeh
negative:Heavy

comment:Awesome lens! Perfect for concerts with not much light. Unbelivable sharpness on A700 wide open. Photos come punchy with perfect colors.
Best hood I've ever seen - full metal and on inside black matte fabric.
I don't recommend this lens for 7D - it has too weak motor or just bad AF. It hunts and very frequently miss the stop little bit - sometimes focus pass the target and sometime is little before target. I had to focus few times to hit the spot.
reviewer#3328 date: Mar-2-2008
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:135 F2,8
85 F1,4
80-200 G
price paid:1200 Euro (new)
positive:Best sharpness i ever saw.
Minimum distance only 72 cm.
Beautiful colors.
negative:NOTHING
comment:The best lens I ever had. There is only one negative thing:
The lens is to good for the Minolta 7D. Sometimes you get artefacts and to brilliant colors.

I use this lens together with the achromat 500D from Canon. This is a great combination for macros.
reviewer#2905 date: Nov-3-2007
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1100
positive:Build, sharpness, color, bokeh.
negative:Heavy, but that doesn't really bother me at all.
comment:I read other reviews about how heavy this lens is but was still surprised when I picked it up for the first time. This lens is a beast! Feels as heavy as my 28-70 2.8G! I love this lens and find that carrying this lens and my 85 1.4 with the A700 and Maxxum 9 (1.5x and full frame) gives me a lot of options. Great portrait lens on the Maxxum 9. I picked this one up as a demo from B&H and saved some money and the lens was like new. Highly recommended. It's a great lens.
reviewer#2859 date: Oct-18-2007
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:There is no lens with A mount to be compared with.
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp, sharp, sharp. Build quality.
negative:chromatic aberation
comment:This is the best lens, I have ever used. I mean quality. Accidentaly, there is nothing more to say :)

edit: came back to use this lens more. I can observe huge chromatic aberrations in some situations.
reviewer#2857 date: Oct-17-2007
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:- 85/1.4
- 50/1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:- sharpness (5***), from 1.8(!)
- bokeh
- hood
negative:- size
- price
comment:Best lens for α-mount?
reviewer#2823 date: Oct-6-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 3
build: 2
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4
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:Very sharp
Good image from full aperture
negative:Very high contrast
Average to Poor bokeh
Large
comment:The ZA 135 appears to be an all new design for ZA Sony Minolta mount, and represents the fastest 135mm prime lens ever made for an AF camera system (Canon et al have an f2 design). It is a full frame lens so is backward compatible with Minolta AF film bodies. As a result of its maximum aperture, the front element is a 77mm filter mount (an unusual size compared to Minolta lenses, which typically were made as 72mm). It is a very heavy lens, around 1kg, and it also "fat" for its length, the lens body the same girth from the filter ring until the lens mount. It has a single focus hold button.

Personally, I find hand holding this lens can be tiring. Shooting in portrait aspect especially, it is diffcult to support the lens and use the focus lock button, though anyone with smaller hands may have difficulty is either orientation. I find the weight on camera, even on a body such as the Dynax 7 (film) is very front heavy, making it difficult to support easily without camera shake in poor light. (Admittedly, its alot harder to run out of light when you can shoot a f1.8!). I would suggest it is important to support the lens when carrying it on camera, as cheaper plastic bodies may be unduly stressed by the weight if only the camera is held. It size and weight sometimes make it hard to handle, and it is not an ideal lens for travelling light!

Build all metal, although the deeply knurled focus ring (as with other Sony designs) seems to be a magnet for dirt and dust, and is hard to clean due to the depth of the knurling. The lens comes with a very deep metal lens hood and a faux leather draw-string pouch, which unfortunately is excessively tight when the lens is stored inside with the lens hood reversed.

I have marked it down for build as my copy has developed the known problem where the section of the lens body in front of the manual focus ring becomes loose. It is known to fail completely in some cases, and when fixed can re-occur.

Sharpness is very good from full aperture. There is some evidence on full frame of vignetting at f1.8, this appears to clear up around f2.8. Performance improves wih stopping down, as expected, improving through f2.8 and f4, and probably reaches its peak around f5.6. The design clearly uses high edge contrast in order to boost sharpness, or perceived sharpness. Other tests of resolution that I have seen clearly show it is a high performance design, but not significantly higher than other quality lenses in this class. I would suggest that the high edge contrast is what makes it's sharpness very apparent - it is certain visible even on 6"x4" prints.

Colour is good and reasonably well saturated, though I feel the colour is less saturated than some Minolta designs. Although Zeiss lenses are often regarded as "neutral", I find it difficult to judge neutrality. Certainly, given that Zeiss designers have always tended to focus on resolution performance, this was often at the expense of neutrality and colour and contrast consistency from design to design. The lenses were often high contrast as a result of their resolution targets. The colour is good, but different from Minolta designed / coated lenses. I would suggest that it lacks the "liquidity" of colour and overall image compared to the best Minolta designs.

The high contrast nature of the design sometimes seems to have some side effects. Highlights seem to "blow out" more easily than other lenses, perhaps 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop earlier. As with some other very high contrast lenses I have used, in very bright or contrasty conditions it sometimes seems to yeild over-bright and somewhat washed out colours and images. It is hard to define exactly what is causing this, and it may be a fault or result of the printing process. In more moderate contrast conditions, overall colour and contrast is very good. In mixed scenes or in poor light, shadow detail does not seem to be held particularly well, and shadows tend to block up early, even on film with its wider lattitude than digital.

The combination of 135mm length, close focusing to 80cm (1:4), and that fast f1.8 aperture can be used to easily create slectivr focus and depth of field effects. Indeed, at larger apertures care must be taken as depth of field can become so narrow it is paper thin. In my opinion, the "bokeh" and nature of the defocused areas of the image are not particularly good. Highlights tend to be particularly bright, and "circles of confusion" (discs of light) appear to be produced not only from true highlights (points of light) but also any lighter areas of the image. Even mid-tones seem to be rendered this way a little, backgrounds being made of many intersecting defocused circles of confusion. In some cases, true highlights render circles of confusion with bright edges and dark centres. The high contrast design seems to be in part responsible. Additionally, backgrounds are often rendered darker than with other lenses, leading to almost black backgrounds where mid-tones stand out as bright details. In general, the ability to handle out of focus shading and tone is not good in my opinion. I can be used to easily create depth of field and out of focus effects, but the nature of those out of focus effects in not especially good in my opinion.

I have seen no evidence of distortions, which you would be as expected in a fixed length tele lens.

I have not experienced any problems with flare, the deep hood protecting the large front element from the problems of stray light hitting it at incident angles. I have not tried shooting into light sources with it, so cannot comment on that aspect of its performance.

Overall, it is difficult to sum up. The fast maximum aperture allows use in lower light and for candid use, and the sharpness is always very good. However, as already noted, highlights tend to burn out easily, shadow details are not held particularly well, and bokeh is mediocre. For me, it lacks the apparent "magic" of pictures taken with the best Minolta lenses, and lacks the liquid colour and tonality of those designs. These are important aspects of overall image quality, and sometimes I find the obvious sharpness at the expense of other image qualities a little "disappointing". It is a very personal view.
reviewer#2809 date: Oct-1-2007
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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:10990HKD
positive:Superb optical performance
Solid build
Love that blue zeiss logo on the lens barrel
negative:There's play in the focus ring
comment:Optically this lens is absolutely first class, like everyone else here has commented.

I'm very disappointed however, that there's play in the focus ring while in manual focus mode. It's so annoying I've given up manual focussing with this lens.

Up till now I've tested four samples of this lens (including my own) and ALL exhibit play in the focus ring. I contacted Zeiss Germany regarding this, and according to them, up to 1mm of play in the focus ring in this lens is normal. Well, I currently own fourteen AF lenses from various manufacturers, of which 8 disengage their focus rings while in AF (ie their focus rings don't rotate in AF mode), 6 of these do NOT have any play in their focus rings while in MF.

Yes, apart from the 135/1.8ZA I have one other lens that exhibits similar play in the focus ring, and that's the 85/1.4ZA!
reviewer#2808 date: Oct-1-2007
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:I could not compare it to other lenses, it is my second lens after kitlens.
price paid:1500euro
positive:Overall quality, both build and image quality.
negative:For me no negative aspects, besides the price.
comment:This lens is amazing. Its huge, but it is easy to hold. Focus works well, both automatic and manual. The focus hold button
is very practical.
Extremely sharp, and the out of focus is nice.
The lens can be used both for portraits and some macro work.
reviewer#2782 date: Sep-26-2007
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:50mm F1.4 D
Sigma 24-135mm F2.8-4.5
135mm F2.8 (ABramley's)
price paid:Ł653 (new, imported)
positive:Beautiful images,
with a gorgeous build,
very bright.
negative:Hood attracts dust and the rubber is not good glued on very well
comment:My impressions from shooting this during daylight are that it's bokeh is dreamy, the colours and are great, and in-focus subjects are very sharp and very contrasty compared to their background.

The lens is a giant, for someone shooting primes, yet it is well worth it. The weight stabilises the lens when you are handholding it in low-light, and with the A100 I can shoot as slow as 1/20sec without camerashake.

The front element is pretty accessible, so I recommend either using the hood or a filter to protect that.

EDIT: Using this lens on the Sony A700 is a breeze; the two were made for each other. My only gripe is that they put the AF illuminator too close to the lens mount, whereas they could have shifted it further to the right. As such, the AF illuminator does not function with this lens.
reviewer#2781 date: Sep-26-2007
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:70-210/4
135 2.8
18-125
price paid:Ł653 (new)
positive:Solid build (when nothing's broken...)
Very, very Sharp
Quality hood
Heavy, but not stupidly so - feels good
Very decent AF with a beasty body
Very pleasing bokkeh
negative:AF could still be improved for the price (SSM!)
Front section can work loose!!!
comment:Incredible piece of kit, a lot of fun to use and it seems to give spectacular results. Highly reccomended.

(Edit) After approx 6 months of use the build has had to go down to a 4. Although the thing's solid as a rock when screwed together, there's been numerous reports of the front section working loose - and now mine's done the same. Not best impressed!

Now been given a workout on a900 - still incredibly sharp and the AF speed has jumped up from the 7D and Dynax 7. An SSM edition would still make me put it on ebay though!
reviewer#2646 date: Aug-21-2007
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:
missing
price paid:MYR6300 NEW
positive:Magnificent sharpness at wide open f1.8 . Stopped down will be razor sharp. Colours are wonderful. Auto Focus is fast and spot-on. Focus hold button is a bonus. It's built like a tank. wonderful bokeh too.
negative:Flare and CA when shooting straight into light/sun
comment:If you can afford it, go get one.
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
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
Colours
AF more than OK on a700
negative:Brick-sized
Pricy
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.
reviewer#1927 date: Mar-8-2007
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1350 usd
positive:Amazing Color
Very Sharp
Great Build
negative:Slow AF for a 135 1.8 ..
comment:I bought this lens to get super sharp portraits and i got just this. I bought this lens from BH in New York 3 weeks ago i love it! It has the best build quality of any lens i have ever seen and is just plain sexay! If you want an amazing prime lens go for it. But because of its macro capabilities the AF is slower than you would expect..
reviewer#1804 date: Feb-10-2007
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
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 135/2.8, 70-200/2.8 SSM
price paid:GBP 695 (new)
positive:Very sharp; accurate AF; short working distance; build quality
negative:Weight
comment:AF is very accurate, more accurate than both Min135/2.8 and the 70-200/2.8 SSM in low-light situations. Images are sharp at wide open. It feels very solid and balanced on my 7D /w grip. Weight is OK if you're used to shooting with 1kg lenses. Am hopeful of even better results on a FF sensor. Definitely keeping this!
reviewer#1595 date: Jan-1-2007
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
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Build, Feel
Sharpness,
Bokeh
negative:price
comment:This is one amazing piece of glass. Very sharp at wide open.
Bokeh is great at wide open, smooth and creamy. Simply outstanding. After my first use of this lens, i knew that this is a real keeper. Weight is fine with me and i can really say that this lens is worth every penny of its price.

reviewer#1589 date: Dec-31-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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:
missing
price paid:1500
positive:sharp wide open silky smooth bokeh
negative:Heavy slightly slow AF for a fixed focal 1.8
comment:
missing
reviewer#1548 date: Dec-18-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta AF 85/1.4G(D)
Minolta AF 135/2.8
Minolta AF 200/2.8 APO G HS
Minolta AF 100/2.8 Macro RS
price paid:1300 €
positive:Very very sharp wide open
Color and contrast are just wonderfull
Superb bokeh
Fast AF and very accurate even in low light
Construction (hey, it's a Zeiss)
Minium focus distance very confortable (72cm)
negative:Heavy for a 135mm
comment:This Carl Zeiss come from another planet. It's heavy, it's massive, it's all in metal, the front element is really impressive (77mm), and its size is bigger than the 200/2.8 (the 135/2.8 compared to the CZ looks like a lensbaby).

It is incredibly sharp wide open (the sharpest lens wide open I ever seen). Color and contrast are excellent. And the bokeh is so smooth (maybe very closed from the STF), it might be the most beautiful bokeh of all minolta AF lenses.

The AF is very fast and very accurate. It does not hesitate on the subject even in low light. I am still very impressed after using it for one month. Images are simply superb.

Its 1.8 aperture make an ideal tool for sports, action, concert, and everything else in low light. You can also take some very closed portrait thanks to its 72cm minimum focal distance (vs 85cm for the 85/1.4, and 100cm for the 100/2).

Definitly the best lens I ever have.
reviewer#1528 date: Dec-10-2006
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 100 f/2.8
Sigma 90 f/2.8
Minolta 70-200 f/2.8 APO G SSM
Minolta 80-200 f/2.8 APO G
Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 APO EX
price paid:$1399.00 B&H
positive:Reeks of quality in build. Superb sharpness like I have never seen before on any lens.
negative:It's heavy but you forget about that as soon as you start shooting with it. I have to re arrange my bag to accomodate this lens. It is huge and bulky.
comment:I have never had such great sharpness from any other lens I have owned. It's surprisingly quite heavy and hard to handle due to it's oversize diameter. Risky in fact to handle it in cold weather.

The depth of field is so shallow at f/1.8 it will take some practice to get used to it. I hope the next Sony AF body has a better focus and viewfinder than the KM7D.

Later I will add to this after I have used it more.

I sold the lens. It is just too awkward for me to handle. If I kept it, I know I would drop it sooner or later. My fingers are just too short to grip it properly,

OK, it's 11-11-08 and I just bought another yesterday. Why give up such a great lens. I'll just not change lenses in the cold and be very careful as well. I'll mount it at home on my A700 and leave it on until I get back. Well, that's the plan anyway :-) I have a Christmas stage performance coming up in a few weeks too.
reviewer#1450 date: Nov-20-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
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:Canon FD 135mm f2
price paid:2400 AUD
positive:Brilliant colour. Outstanding sharpness. Fast glass and fast AF. Can focus in low light. Solid build worth its weight in creative possibilities
negative:Overweight for the light Sony A100, better suited to a heavier, professional FF body.
comment:I am switching over to the Sony system after 20+ years working with the Canon F1 and FD lenses. I invested in the Sony Alpha as I feel an electronics company with strong background in digital appliances will eventually emerge as one of the main players on the professional digital SLR camera scene. Plus I like Zeiss lenses and an autofocus 135mm f1.8 is pretty hard to ignore and an amazing creative tool for someone who shoots cars
As Canon dumped its superb FD range of lenses back in the 80s without offering an upgrade path I will not support them or their cameras.
reviews found: 115    << 1 2 3 4

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

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