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Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar Aperture Series: Yellow Aspen at Meadow’s Edge, Blue Dawn (Canon 5DS R)

Get Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar at B&H Photo.

Zeiss ZF.2 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar T*

I did most of my review work on the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar nearly three years ago. But last fall I made a point of recording field images on the 50-megapixel Canon 5DS R, to explore lens performance limits.

The Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar is not an Otus, but it just about qualifies even so, at less than 1/2 the price. Anyone that appreciates the Otus lineup should have the APO Sonnar in the bag also.

In my estimation this series one of the finest examples I’ve made showing the actual and practical performance potential of high-end lenses on high resolution digital.

Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar Aperture Series: Aperture Series: Yellow Aspen at Meadow’s Edge, Blue Dawn (Canon 5DS R)

Includes full resolution images from f/2 through f/11 at image sizes up to 24 megapixels along with very large crops. Also includes ACR conversion settings and RawDigger info.

Going out on a contextual limb, my estimation is that a 100 megapixel medium format camera system could not hope to compete with these results: pixels are one thing, but this kind of ultra-high micro contrast over the entire frame is something only exceptional lenses can deliver (not to mention depth of field)—hard enough on the 35mm format. The win here is the 50 megapixel sensor getting its fill of detail from the 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar. Similar satisfaction should be delivered by its Otus siblings.

Image are best appreciated on an iMac 5K or similar ultra high-res display.

Yellow Aspen at Meadow’s Edge, Blue Dawn
f8 @ 1/5 sec, ISO 100; 2015-10-31 08:22:28
Canon EOS 5DS R + Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZE

[low-res image for bot]

JefS writes:

Love this shot...regardless of lens performance. I'm a sucker for beautiful, quiet tree shots!

I take that back.. this is a stunning shot when enlarged big. You need to print this one BIG! Awesome detail and awesome lighting to this scene

DIGLLOYD: I made a print at 13 X 19, which is tiny. I think it needs to be large to come alive but I’ve no wall space left. The main thing I notice in a print dovetails with what I’ve recently said: the future of stunning image display is not prints at all but a light-emitting display, e.g. 2 meter wide OLED displays. For now the late 2015 iMac 5K delivers a jaw-dropping rendition.

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