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Thread: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

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    Question APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Both are about the same price at the moment. One is compact and of limited capability while the other is huge, faster and is presumably one of the best ever for 35mm format.

    Though I decided on the APO Sonnar 135/2, a while back, I am still not sure because of the size.

    I easily can live with a lens that takes 49mm filters.

    This is for use with an A7R. The M lens is of limited use on my MM requiring an additional VF and such hassles. I am not in a rush as I am not in desperate need for a 135mm lens.

    Anyone has any input?

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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    The APO Telyt is definitely an older design. I own the lens, and am a bit disappointed that it shows quite strong longitudinal CA (stronger than the ZM Tele-Tessar 4/85, for example), despite its APO declaration. From samples I've seen and reviews I've read about it, the APO Sonnar is an absolute world-class lens that is in the same league as the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55, but it is of course very large and heavy compared to the APO Telyt. If you haven't already, you may want to take a look at Lloyd Chambers' review of the APO Sonnar (paid subscription required).

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    And there is the Sony ZA Zeiss 135/1.8 with adapter. But then you have AF, a bit childish

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    And there is the Sony ZA Zeiss 135/1.8 with adapter. But then you have AF, a bit childish


    Busted!

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Pfister View Post
    The APO Telyt is definitely an older design. I own the lens, and am a bit disappointed that it shows quite strong longitudinal CA (stronger than the ZM Tele-Tessar 4/85, for example), despite its APO declaration. From samples I've seen and reviews I've read about it, the APO Sonnar is an absolute world-class lens that is in the same league as the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55, but it is of course very large and heavy compared to the APO Telyt. If you haven't already, you may want to take a look at Lloyd Chambers' review of the APO Sonnar (paid subscription required).
    Thanks, Ron. Would you post any images (when you get to it) with the APO Telyt?

    From Leica's technical paper (pdf) on the Telyt:

    A telephoto lens without compromises, it offers outstand-ing imaging performance at full aperture that cannot be further improved
    by stopping down. Minimal vignetting and the very slightest distortion are additional strengths. Even the finest details are rendered
    clearly with rich contrast. It is the longest focal length in the Leica M system and it bridges considerable distances, thus judiciously
    rounding out any serious outfit.
    So, that is a surprise indeed.

    Yes, I have been told about the design virtues of the APO Sonnar (by a lens designer!). It is impressive!

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    Senior Member Taylor Sherman's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Vivek - knowing you, I'm surprised you're not going for the original Elmar 135/4! It's only about 1/10 the price of the APO-Telyt, and quite a good lens. It's definitely not APO, but I've only have problems there with really bright highlights, or when I miss focus.

    The APO-Sonnar definitely checks my "so well designed and executed!" boxes, and the results are beautiful, but I doubt I'll ever buy a lens that large again unless I have a really specific use for it (that involves tripods).

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Taylor, I am not so sure (about me)!

    I have 135mm Hektors and another lens of Tele Sonnar type (135mm f/3.5). The Hektors are sharp (they cover 4x5 area on their own without the focus mount) and the Tele Sonnar has nice bokeh. I want both in one lens and I do not think the Elmar will deliver that (thanks for your recommendation ).
    Also of consideration is the balance and not dealing with a front heavy lens.

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    I have been shooting the Leitz Tele-Elmar 135/4 on my D800E and like the results.
    It will be interesting to see how it compares on the A7R.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Thanks, K-H.

    No interest whatsoever in the Elmar/Tele Elmar.

    I will wait for Ron's samples using the 135mm f/3.4 Apo Telyt.
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Thanks, K-H.

    No interest whatsoever in the Elmar/Tele Elmar.

    I will wait for Ron's samples using the 135mm f/3.4 Apo Telyt.

    Vivek,

    Understood. I could use the TE 135/4 lens head on the D800E.
    Of course, the advantage of the A7R is that I can take M lenses proper.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I will wait for Ron's samples using the 135mm f/3.4 Apo Telyt.
    It won't be before next weekend until I'll be able to take some images with the lens. In the meantime, here some samples taken with the NEX-7:



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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Vivek: I finally had time today to take a good number of images with the APO-Telyt-M 135. First my general impressions:

    I had originally purchased this lens for use with the NEX-7, where it provided me with a convenient ~200mm equivalent for subjects that I couldn't get close enough to. When using this lens with the A7R, the wider FF FOV often resulted in me wanting to get closer than the 1.5m MFD allows. Perhaps something for you to be aware of.

    That said, I am very happy with the way the lens handles on the A7R. All samples posted here were taken from a light Manfrotto tripod with the lens attached to the A7R with the Novoflex NEX/LEM adapter and to the tripod with the Novoflex ASTAT-NEX tripod collar. With this setup, the vibration caused by the A7R's shutter mechanism caused a fair number of blurred images. It's not a show-stopper, and can be worked around by choosing appropriate shutter speeds and/or steadying the tripod. The A7R's excellent high-ISO capabilities certainly help here.

    OK, enough words. Sample images will follow in separate posts.

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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Let's get the negative aspects out of the way first. As mentioned, despite its APO label, the lens suffers from fairly severe longitudinal CA. As usual, this is worst at maximum aperture, and improves markedly upon stopping-down. It's also worth noting that the test scene is a torture test for any lens, and the issue is in my experience only infrequently seen in normal use. That said, I expect the Zeiss APO-Sonnar to be much better behaved with this respect.

    Edit: Also worth noting is the motion blur that is clearly visible in these images, particularly at f/8.





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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Performance is already very high at maximum aperture, even into the very corners.







    Please excuse the sharpening artifacts. They were introduced during export, and must to some extent be related to the currently sub-optimal RAW-conversion in LR5.3RC. I'm not used to seeing this.
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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Peak-performance is reached at f/4.0.



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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    By f/8.0, diffraction begins to take its toll, but the results are still eminently usable. Worth noting is the pleasant OOF rendition, which is a very nice characteristic of this lens at all apertures.



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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    While I realize that the subject matter of your images is quite different from the above, I hope these samples are useful to you. Please let me know if you'd like to see different crops or the same composition at a different aperture.

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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    Ron, Thank you very much for the samples! Greatly appreciate it.

    You pretty much covered all the salient points of the lens.
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    Senior Member Ron Pfister's Avatar
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    Re: APO Telyt 135mm f/3.4 or APO SOnnar 135/2?

    My pleasure!

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