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Author Topic: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2  (Read 28763 times)

JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2017, 09:31:52 pm »

Did anyone test it against the 135mm f1.8 lens from Sigma;
As it seems it is even sharper; and - not unimportant at f1.8- autofocus.
According to Lenstip only the longitudinal aberration is slightly worse than the Zeiss.

To answer your question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSKbMh_nGF4&t=517s

Dustin Abbot tests at close, mid-range, and long range.

Up close, there is no comparison: the Zeiss' micro-contrast and detail handily best the Sigma up to f/5.6.

At mid-range, they're equivalent (Zeiss' vignetting looks bad wide-open)

At long-range, Zeiss edges Sigma in micro-contrast, though vignetting spoils its advantage wide-open.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 09:41:10 pm by JKoerner007 »
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kers

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2017, 04:38:07 am »

To answer your question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSKbMh_nGF4&t=517s

Dustin Abbot tests at close, mid-range, and long range.

Up close, there is no comparison: the Zeiss' micro-contrast and detail handily best the Sigma up to f/5.6.

At mid-range, they're equivalent (Zeiss' vignetting looks bad wide-open)

At long-range, Zeiss edges Sigma in micro-contrast, though vignetting spoils its advantage wide-open.


Diglloyd also compared the two lenses and his findings are somewhat different, but he sees the Sigma as a reference for some types of photography.
Upclose the Zeiss is better. Both are outstanding.
I always thought the 85 mm was the easiest lens to produce into perfection but now it seems to be the 135mm.
My first 135 mm lens was a nikkor Ai 135mm f3.5 and it was really soft.


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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2017, 08:39:46 am »

Diglloyd also compared the two lenses and his findings are somewhat different, but he sees the Sigma as a reference for some types of photography.

The Sigma would be the choice for weddings, etc., with a lot of action and moments to be captured, due to its AF.
The Zeiss would be the choice for nature and perhaps model-like portraiture, where you have time to compose (esp. nature when you can compose in Live View).

I don't like the way Diglloyd tested compared to Dustin Abbot. I believe testing at the different ranges (close, mid, and far), and providing the Lightroom examples by video was more helpful than using still photos and written opinions.

Not just 'discussing,' but showing the difference between 'sharpness' and micro-contrast was also quite helpful in understanding the enormous advantage of the Zeiss.



Upclose the Zeiss is better. Both are outstanding.

Yes, up-close, they're not even in the same league.

Farther away, the Zeiss still has far better micro-detail, but the vignetting hurts it (wide-open). I thought the Sigma looked better in the corners, but not in the same league as far as micro-contrast. Still, I would never shoot a long-range shot at f/2; any landscape-type shot would typically be shot at f/8 or so, where the vignetting isn't a problem. I found the Zeiss best at f/4 up close, where it still handily trounces the Sigma in micro-contrast and color detail.

Again, I think differentiating between 'global sharpness" and micro-contrast was helpful in understanding the difference between the two.



I always thought the 85 mm was the easiest lens to produce into perfection but now it seems to be the 135mm.
My first 135 mm lens was a nikkor Ai 135mm f3.5 and it was really soft.

Both lenses are far from perfect IMO, though I believe the Zeiss is closer to perfection.

The Zeiss has a 1:4 reproduction ratio; the Sigma a 1:5 ratio.
If they had a 1:1 reproduction ratio, they'd be perfect (for me).

Both are weak in the min. focus distance department: the Zeiss 2.62' (80 cm); the Sigma 2.87' (87.5 cm).
If they had a 9-12" min. focus distance, they'd be perfect.

The Zeiss would be anyway. I don't think the Sigma is anywhere near as close to perfection.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2017, 08:12:36 am »

I have (or have had) most macro lenses that can be mounted on the Nikon DSLRs. For my work, I feel we very much need a very finely corrected, sharp, and fast macro lens for the F-mount. It there were an Otus macro, I would buy it in a minute. I would expect, hopefully soon, someone will release a better macro lens than we have now. Such a lens is conspicuous by its absence, IMO. And yes, I know and love the CV-125, but it leaves room for a better lens.
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2017, 09:56:19 pm »

I have (or have had) most macro lenses that can be mounted on the Nikon DSLRs. For my work, I feel we very much need a very finely corrected, sharp, and fast macro lens for the F-mount.

Agreed. For mine too.



It there were an Otus macro, I would buy it in a minute. I would expect, hopefully soon, someone will release a better macro lens than we have now. Such a lens is conspicuous by its absence, IMO.

Macro lenses are typically relegated to 3rd class status.

It would be great if one of the companies tried to create a top-tier macro lens, instead of a 2nd or 3rd tier version ...



And yes, I know and love the CV-125, but it leaves room for a better lens.

As do I.

FYI, I re-purchased a Zeiss 135 Apo ZF.2. It's just too good of a deal right now to let a brand new version slide for $1499.

Although I may not bring it hiking with me, my dear 80-year-old mom always asks me to take photos of her flowers ... so I figured this would be the perfect lens for this specialized task.

At 1:4, I will doubtless find other key tasks for it, so I am happy that it is back in my hands again ...

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #65 on: July 27, 2017, 04:29:27 am »

FYI, I re-purchased a Zeiss 135 Apo ZF.2. It's just too good of a deal right now to let a brand new version slide for $1499.
Although I may not bring it hiking with me, my dear 80-year-old mom always asks me to take photos of her flowers ... so I figured this would be the perfect lens for this specialized task.
At 1:4, I will doubtless find other key tasks for it, so I am happy that it is back in my hands again ...

LOL. Well, that is a sign (like the first raindrop in a deluge) of liking to have good lenses just because they are superb, and not because we have to use them everyday. And blame it on your mom. :)

I predict more of that kind of lenses for you, and there are a bunch of them that I wouldn't sell. Although, I did just sell my El Nikkor 210 APO (too heavy), one of the great lenses, but I still have the El Nikkor 105mm AP0 version of the same lens, which is my most-used lens... probably.

El Nikkor 105mm APO, Nikon D810
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #66 on: July 27, 2017, 08:05:05 am »

LOL. Well, that is a sign (like the first raindrop in a deluge) of liking to have good lenses just because they are superb, and not because we have to use them everyday. And blame it on your mom. :)

Actually, Michael, I blame you ... your articles ... and your lovely photos :)



I predict more of that kind of lenses for you, and there are a bunch of them that I wouldn't sell. Although, I did just sell my El Nikkor 210 APO (too heavy), one of the great lenses, but I still have the El Nikkor 105mm AP0 version of the same lens, which is my most-used lens... probably.

Probably. There are a few lenses I've wanted to buy, "just because," including our thread subject.

I actually sold (and re-purchased) 3 items in the last two months, 2 of which I realized I really needed, and this last one because I really wanted it.

They were the Zeiss 15mm UWA, because it was extremely useful for photographing interiors for casualty losses I investigate; I sold (and re-purchased) the D500, as it is just too good and customizable as a bird/wildlife camera; and this lens here, the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2. The latter is just a satisfying lens to use; but it's not really something I am going to carry much. Like you said, "just because they are superb, and not because we have to use them everyday." I just couldn't let a brand new Apo Sonnar slip away at that good of a price.

Regarding the El Nikkor, I've rubbed my chin while viewing them on eBay ... but so far haven't felt the urge to hit the 'buy' button yet ;)

I am also waiting for Nikon to upgrade the 200mm f/2 into an E FL ED version ... but not sure how much I'd need it, given the Zeiss 135 f/2 and the 300mm f/2.8.

The lens I am most wanting to save for, at this point, is a 600mm E FL ED. Not sure I would really need anything else after that.



El Nikkor 105mm APO, Nikon D810

Very nice!

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #67 on: July 27, 2017, 08:40:24 am »


Regarding the El Nikkor, I've rubbed my chin while viewing them on eBay ... but so far haven't felt the urge to hit the 'buy' button yet ;)

At your age and inclinations (hiking and finding critters, etc.), the El Nkkor, which needs to be used on a bellows (at least the PB-4) is not what you need, but as you get older (as I am now), it may look more appealing. And be sure to get the El Nikkor 105mm APO and not the standard El Nikkor 105mm, which is not the same lens.

Nikon D810, El Nikkor 105 APO
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 08:55:20 am by Michael Erlewine »
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #68 on: July 27, 2017, 08:52:21 am »

At your age and inclinations (hiking and finding critters, etc.), the El Nkkor, which needs to be used on a bellows (at least the PB-4) is not what you need, but as you get older (as I am now), it may look more appealing. And be sure to get the El Nikkor 105mm APO and not the standard El Nikkor 105mm, which is not the same lens.

True enough. I definitely haven't ruled it (or any new development) out ... but, right now anyway, most of my lens needs are met.

Thanks for the distinction, too.

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #69 on: July 27, 2017, 10:54:21 am »

Nice lighting, by the way, Michael.
People diss Canon, but every entomologist I know (admittedly, I know only a half-dozen or so, half of whom are amateurs - but everyone I know wants behavioral shots, not dead-bug-in-studio shots) swear by the Canon MP-E 65mm 1x to 5x lens, in combo with their own home-made flash diffusion setup. It is compact and sturdy, intended for field use.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #70 on: July 27, 2017, 11:32:48 am »

Nice lighting, by the way, Michael.
People diss Canon, but every entomologist I know (admittedly, I know only a half-dozen or so, half of whom are amateurs - but everyone I know wants behavioral shots, not dead-bug-in-studio shots) swear by the Canon MP-E 65mm 1x to 5x lens, in combo with their own home-made flash diffusion setup. It is compact and sturdy, intended for field use.

Action shots? Here are a couple.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 11:37:05 am by Michael Erlewine »
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Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #71 on: July 27, 2017, 11:55:34 am »


I am also waiting for Nikon to upgrade the 200mm f/2 into an E FL ED version ... but not sure how much I'd need it, given the Zeiss 135 f/2 and the 300mm f/2.8.

The lens I am most wanting to save for, at this point, is a 600mm E FL ED. Not sure I would really need anything else after that.

I have the 200/2 VR I. It is the sharpest 200ish lens I have. I understand the VR II is slightly better. If Nikon follows the trend, the new E version will be lighter, which would be welcome.

I have the Nikon 500/4 E lens. It is a fine lens, and the weight savings over the previous generation is welcome. Although it's a sharper lens than my 400/2.8 D non-VR in the lab, in the field the difference is negligible. The 600/4 E and 500/4 E are, I believe, closely related.

Jim

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #72 on: July 27, 2017, 01:32:26 pm »

I have the 200/2 VR I. It is the sharpest 200ish lens I have. I understand the VR II is slightly better. If Nikon follows the trend, the new E version will be lighter, which would be welcome.

I have the Nikon 500/4 E lens. It is a fine lens, and the weight savings over the previous generation is welcome. Although it's a sharper lens than my 400/2.8 D non-VR in the lab, in the field the difference is negligible. The 600/4 E and 500/4 E are, I believe, closely related.

Jim

Thanks, Jim.

I have fantasized about the 800mm E FL ED ... but, while it is extraordinary, the  size/weight/PRICE are somewhat crippling :o
I have also read that this focal length is extremely difficult to wield (like 'looking through a straw' in terms of being able to find most subjects, quickly).

The 500E is a worthy consideration, especially for the price, as it's lighter than the 600 E FL ED, and even 2.3 lb lighter than the 400mm f/2.8.
However, for this aperture, I would likely need to implement a 1.4x converter, which (x 500, and times my existing 1.5x crop) only gives me 1050mm effective reach.
Right now, my 300mm f/2.8 is serving me well, as it is still very good, same specs as a 500mm, with a 2x extender, where my effective reach is already 900mm (1.5x crop x 300 x 2x).

I never shoot long teles at f/2.8, so the fast glass of the 400 doesn't really do anything for me, besides add price, and weight, while shortening reach.
With the same 2x extender, on a D500, it would give me an effective reach of 1200mm.

With the 600 f/4, and a 1.4x teleconverter, I would get 900mm without a converter (superior image quality than what I am currently implementing) ... and it would give me 1260mm with a 1.4 TC ... which quality would be slightly better than a 400mm + 2xTC.

For a visual, this is 900mm (1.5x D500 x 300mm x 2x TC) on my current setup with a D500. I am already able to obtain very clean, and very good (IMO), results ... so I might just stay right here.

However, a 600mm f/4 E FL ED would offer 1260mm on the same camera + 1.4x TC, and even better quality.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:36:40 pm by JKoerner007 »
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #73 on: July 27, 2017, 01:39:56 pm »

Action shots? Here are a couple.

Nice, esp. considering they're crops.

Are these both with the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZF2?

The first one is cleaner than the second, although the second is prettier.

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2017, 01:44:47 pm »

I never shoot long teles at f/2.8, so the fast glass of the 400 doesn't really do anything for me, besides add price, and weight, while shortening reach.

These are all wide open with the 400/2.8:







I like that look, but what I'm doing with the lens here and what you're doing in the images you posted are quite different.

jim

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #75 on: July 27, 2017, 01:59:51 pm »

Nice, esp. considering they're crops.

Are these both with the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZF2?

The first one is cleaner than the second, although the second is prettier.

These are probably the CV-125. I started taking nature shots in 1956. Later, when I was mainly a naturalist (herpetologist), I was mostly interested in field-guide photos, shots for identification, with any action or composition considerations often secondary. Then, over the years I lost my interest in hunting rare species and found myself concentrating more on "action" or shots that involved some sense of composition. And now that I am still older (76), i am interested in composition, focus, and bokeh, whether indoor or out in the field. I am no longer going to Tibet (2 times), Nepal, India, China, and so on. Not only do things and cameras change, but people do too.

One of my photos from 1956. I was 14-years old. I did not make an attempt clean it up or process it. That is what I was doing then...with a Kodak Retina 2A.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 02:18:44 pm by Michael Erlewine »
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #76 on: July 27, 2017, 02:09:31 pm »

These are all wide open with the 400/2.8:

Nice (though the 2nd image is OOF, IMO).



I like that look, but what I'm doing with the lens here and what you're doing in the images you posted are quite different.
jim

True.

You also aren't hiking 2-6 miles in the mountains/deserts, with 2 cameras, a tripod, and 4-6 ancillary lenses :)

Also, my subjects are 1/30th -1/4 the size of yours :)

If I ever do get the 600mm/800mm lens, it will likely only be relegated to a blind. Can't imaging carrying this thing, plus all my other gear.

My 300mm is already heavy enough, with what I bring right now.

Still, it is good enough to take a 2xTC and still produce acceptable quality, way beyond zooms that get to 500-600 (IMO).

Because my 300mm VR II is tripod-mounted, via the lens collar, I can leave it positioned as-is ... and quickly-switch between 300-450mm (alternating between the D810 and D500, bare) and 600-900mm (alternating between the D810 and D500, with the 2xTC), just planting my tripod/lens atop. In every instance, it is superior to any mid-level zoom, including the Canon 100-400 II.

I am able to cover a lot of focal ground ("reach), 300mm to 900mm, with 1 lens and 4 options of dealing with it.

Here are some shots @ 300mm (with crops) using my D810:







Have a good one,

Jack

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #77 on: July 27, 2017, 02:12:57 pm »

These are probably the CV-125. I started taking nature shots in 1956. Later, when I was mainly a naturalist (herpetologist), I was mostly interested in field-guide photos, shots for identification, with any action or composition considerations often secondary. Then, over the years I lost my interest in hunting rare species and found myself concentrating more on "action" or shots that involved some sense of composition. And now that I am still older (76), i am interested in composition, focus, and bokeh, whether indoor or out in the field. I am no longer going to Tibet (2 times), Nepal, India, China, and so on. Not only do things and cameras change, but people do too.

Thank you for that ... and (the older I get) the more I understand. (Funny how that works :D)

You've turned me on to a number of good lenses, I'd likely not have been exposed to without your input, so I appreciate your uncommon level of interest to devote the time required to produce all those articles/perspectives.

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #78 on: July 27, 2017, 02:20:02 pm »

Nice (though the 2nd image is OOF, IMO).

You are correct. For the intended use, newspaper, poster and web publicity materials, that wasn't enough to make the image unsuccessful, and it's my favorite of the three I posted here because of the expression.

Lots of times, even most of the time, for me, pictures succeed or fail for other reasons than sharpness. Still, I wish it wasn't back-focused. I have lot's of others taken of the same person at the same time that aren't, but this is the one I like.

Jim

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #79 on: July 27, 2017, 08:45:50 pm »

My point about the Canon 1x to 5 x lens is that it makes for a sturdy field-capable set-up, because no-one gets enthusiastic about taking a bellows set-up into the field. Keep posting those herp and bug and spider and flower and mushroom close-up and macro photos, people!
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