Sony 135mm F2.8 T4.5 STF A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 43    << 1 2
reviewer#4447 date: Nov-29-2008
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Min 50/1.7
Tamron 90/2.8 Macro
Sony 70-200/2.8G
price paid:999EUR (new)
positive:Bokeh, bokeh, bokeh
Excellent Sharpness & Colours
Well Build
Great MF ring/control

negative:some purple fringing
quite expensive
comment:The 135STF is a speciality lens very easy to love. The sharpness and colours are absolutely stunning and it is clearly the bokeh dreammachine. You do 'only' get MF, but the focus ring and control is better than on any of my other lenses. One thing I do notice is that purple fringing occurs more often than with for example the 70-200/2.8G.

All things considered, I think it's a great lens.


Little update: I've bought myself a Minolta 7 a few months ago and now also an A850 and this lens really shines on FF, focussing is so much easier and more precise wit a good VF.
reviewer#4428 date: Nov-24-2008
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:the world
price paid:13000 SEK (new)
positive:bokeh bokeh bokeh bokeh bokeh
and bokeh
negative:some purple fringing...
comment:if you too have a BOKEH-FETISH then this is the lens for you!
it's not the best walk-around lens if you're not used to manual focusing.

this lens is in a world of it's own. nothing can really compare in my opinion :D
reviewer#3822 date: Jul-9-2008
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:Sigma 70-300 APO
KM 50/1.7
price paid:1200 USD (new)
positive:Bokeh
Build
Tact Sharp
Colors
negative:
missing
comment:This lens is simply "one of a kind". There is no comparable lens in any other mount. Although I listed MF as a negative, it is simply a mater of fact that goes along with what makes this lens great - the optics design that produces great Bokeh! And the areas that are supposed to be in focus are SHARP.

The build of this lens is above average with all metal construction. The extra wide focus ring is well dampened and a joy to use. I second some other reviewers however that the lens hood feels cheap next to the lens itself. It would be nice for Sony to include a metal version similar to their high end CZ and G lenses.
reviewer#3093 date: Dec-21-2007
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:120,000 Yen (New)
positive:* Good build
* Very good colours
negative:* Finnicky Focus
comment:A very good lens, but with a few... creative downsides. Anyone looking for this lens will likely be satisfied with it regardless of the few small negatives, but this is certainly a lens you need to know a lot about before buying.

The lens itself is of a very good build, nice and solid and looks like it could withstand a lot of harsh use. Unfortunately it looks as though the lens hood wouldn't, as the plastic build feels a bit delicate by comparison. It is nice to have the damping, though. Also, the lens looks great on camera and balances really well with a combined with a vertical grip. However, it may scare small children. ;)

The 'downside' to the lens is a very finnicky, small point that may or may not mean a lot to you. That is, the manual focus.

Of course, the STF is fully manual. It has a nice, long focusing ring and has a very handy minimum focusing distance as well. However, the problem with the manual focus is two-fold.

First, you may have a difficult time focusing on moving objects or with the lens wide open (despite acting like a 4.5, it is still technically at 2.8, with the dof the same to boot). However, this is only really a problem when shooting at something like sports or events, but you wouldn't choose a lens like this for that anyway unless you were confident to begin with. You do get used to it, however, and it isn't much of a problem on a full-frame camera.

Second, the long focus ring makes it easy to get dust inside the lens. You need to be careful of this, and I give it a once-over before putting it away.


On the whole, however, it is a wonderful lens to use and one I am definitely glad to have access to. It has been a big help to me on many occassions, and the fine boke is second to none. Colours are so vibrant I rarely find the need to touch them afterwards, and by its very nature the lens is optimized to work wide open and provide perfect sharpness and no flare. Of course, it is a specialty lens and probably not to everyone's tastes, but those that love it will love and those that don't will know the moment they touch it.
reviewer#3074 date: Dec-15-2007
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:1200 USD (new)
positive:Bokeh
Colors
Build
negative:Loss of light
comment:I used this lens for the October 2007 One Prime challenge, and loved it. It is expensive and not very flexible, but the results you can get are outstanding.

The build is rock solid and MF is a joy with it.
reviewer#2654 date: Aug-25-2007
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:970 USD 2nd hand
positive:Incredible bokeh
Very, very sharp
Solid build
Stunning colours
negative:Manual focus
comment:I've had this lens for a couple of days now, and it's not yet been off my camera - it just produces such outstanding results, especially when viewed full size. My usual procedure is to import pics into Lightroom and tweak levels slightly, but with images from this lens they just look perfect right out of the camera - the colours and bokeh are simply outstanding.
I've put manual focus as a negative, but it's not really - this isn't a lens for grabbing quick shots, it's a lens for carefully crafting a picture, so manual focus is no big deal - I focus-bracket to make sure I get a sharp image. I don't get the lens creep that other people have mentioned.
reviewer#2626 date: Aug-11-2007
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 AF 135/2.8
Minolta AF 200/2.8 APO G
price paid:
missing
positive:Bokeh
Manual Focus
Sharp
negative:Manual Focus
comment:This lens was one of those I didn't take too credit, I was completely wrong. This lens is a master piece, when you look at photo at fullsize you just become a bokeh freak.
The reason I have put MF in both positive and negative is that I like the way MF works on this lens, its possible to make precise focusing with the big and smooth focus ring. The negative is that sometimes I would like to have AF with this baby, but I can take the small 135/2.8 in my pocket.
Compared with the AF 135/2.8 the image quality is better overall (sharper, color rendition, micro details).
Compared with the AF 200/2.8 APO G the only noticeable difference (until now) is the bokeh quality, better on the STF, maybe the 200 is sharper but not by much.
reviewer#2428 date: Jun-9-2007
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:135mm f/2.8
100mm f/2.8 macro
price paid:1149.95 USD (new)
positive:Sharp and beautiful bokeh
1:4 magnification
negative:no AF (not too big deal for me)
comment:Back in the days of Minolta, this was my dream lens. I vowed to get it when I finally get a chance. Well, it's no longer Minolta but it's still the same lens. This really is a specialty lens but since I don't mind manual focusing, I use it to photograph flowers. It focuses down to 0.87 meters for 1:4 magnification. Compare this to the Minolta 135mm which has a longer minimum focus. If you shoot a lot of portraits, consider getting this lens. Or at the very least, try it out.
reviewer#2312 date: May-14-2007
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:85/1.4, 70-200 SSM
price paid:$1200 new B&H
positive:Very sharp, only 1 out of 10 pics need USM in PP! Very smooth focus ring
negative:If only she were an AF lens :(
Can price really be an issue if it produces images like this?

Crappy ribbed focus ring. Sand, hair, dust gets in and its a bi*ch to get out!
comment:I'm gonna have to say this lens is soooo very close to being my favorite lens. I used it directly after using my 70-200 SSM, and the images are ALMOST identical. You can barely see the difference in bokeh, but it has to be a just a bit sharper than the 70-200. This lens produces 'magic' all over the place. It just oozes with G quality and just takes beautiful images. If they ever made this lens an autofocus, I think I just might cry from sheer joy. If you can't own one of these, then borrow or rent one from Phototraveler on your next shoot. Check out the pics in the sample images database for more.

I didn't really test the flare from this lens. The humongous hood surely can knock it down, and if this flare rating doesn't suit it later, i'll come back to update it appropriately.
reviewer#1939 date: Mar-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:KM 100/2.8 D Macro
Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX DG
price paid:1200 USD (new)
positive:Excellent built quality, awesome image quality.
negative:Price.
Achieving proper focus' often tricky.
comment:Superb image quality, really awesome bokeh (yes, that's what it is all about).
It is kind of a niche lens, sure, but on its field it shines unsurpassed. To get it perfectly focused is certainly tricky, there's a noticeably steep learning curve — at least on my 5D's not so bright viewfinder — and as a rule (besides "focus bracketing") it does demand very good lighting and a tripod to get proper expositions (to be expected, being a not-so-fast-relatively-long tele).
Let's say it takes time and a little sweat to make it work. But then when it works...
reviewer#1702 date: Jan-25-2007
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100/2
Minolta 100/2.8 macro RS
Minolta 80-200 G HS
CZ 135/1.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Gorgeous bokeh
Build quality
Resolution
negative:Manual AF only
comment:For more detailed review please read my review here
reviewer#1606 date: Jan-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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 80-200mm HS APO G
Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro
price paid:1200
positive:Very very sharp
Bokeh is 2nd to none
Great build
negative:Expensive
Manual focus
comment:This is a luxury lens IMO. It has given me fits learning to focus it and I still have to shoot lots of frames to get it right. There's definitely a learning curve to this lens or maybe I need a split screen. If you do get it however, the pictures are absolutely stunning. Compared to the 80-200mm HS G, it's slightly sharper and has better bokeh - but that's just because it's a prime that specializes in bokeh. Compared to the Tamron 90mm, it's as sharp (the Tammy is very SHARP too) and the bokeh of course is much smoother. The 3 lenses mentioned are all awesome lenses IHMO, the STF is just gravy - something that I wanted rather than needed. I'm glad I purchased it though - the pictures really stand out from the rest given the correct subject.
reviewer#1507 date: Dec-5-2006
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 used to own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1200
positive:Wonderful Performance
Amazing Bokeh
Build Quality
negative:Really nothing for me
except the cost.
comment:This lens is an amazing engineering wonder. Minolta really knew what they were doing when they designed this lens. Everything said about the original Minolta 135 STF applies to this Sony version.

I don't care that it does not have AF, I use manual focus in critical situations anyway. Focus is very smooth and positive. The picture quality is outstanding on my 7D. This is an exclusive lens for your Minolta/Sony. Cost is high but what the hey.
reviews found: 43    << 1 2

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

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