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Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar for Nikon and Canon — Superlative Performer

Several readers have emailed with some excitement about the new Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar. The MTF (shown below) is exceptional, suggesting that this lens will be the best performer of the thirteen lenses in the Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE line, outperforming even the 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar.

My information makes me just as excited— the “APO” designation means something real in terms of the quality of image rendition (both in focus and out of focus), the clarity of the image wide open and the ease of focusing. But there are other characteristics that I think will make this lens nothing short of gorgeous in its image rendition.

If this focal length (and manual focus) suit your style, I’d suggest ordering one right away (note: B&H doesn't seem to have listed the lens yet, I'm unsure if it can be ordered by phone, I'll post a note when it becomes available for ordering).

Naturally the 135/2 APO-Sonnar will be covered in depth in my Guide to Zeiss, and I expect to have a sample just as soon as the first production run is ready.

Carl Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*

MTF

My commentary on the MTF charts as well as a discussion of how the 135/2 APO-Sonnar compares to the 100/2 Makro-Planar are in my Guide to Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE Lenses.

At about $2000, the 135/2 APO-Sonnar requires some thought, but compared to the about $1843 of the 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, the price is surprisingly “low” considering its apochromatic design and ultra high performance.

MTF for Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
MTF for Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*

Vignetting

No visible vignetting by ƒ/4. Pleasing effect at ƒ/2.

Vignetting at ƒ/2, ƒ/4, ƒ/4.8 for 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
Vignetting at ƒ/2, ƒ/4, ƒ/4.8 for Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*

Distortion

Mild pincushion distortion common among lenses of this focal length.

Vignetting at ƒ/2, ƒ/4, ƒ/4.8 for 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
Vignetting at ƒ/2, ƒ/4, ƒ/4.8 for Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*

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