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Thread: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    I'm considering adding a 135mm to my a7R kit. Either the Sony/Zeiss 135mm f1.8 or the Zeiss 135mm 2.0 ZE.

    Anyone used both? Any significant performance differences or gotchas? (I know the Sony is autofocus, but that's not critical for me.)

    I'd use the Sony on the Sony LA-EA4 and the Zeiss on the Metabones SA3.

    Thanks.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Mike I had them both first the 135 F2 in ZF mount than sold it for the 135 F1.8 and currently have it in the bag. I never did a side by side but I have done plenty of tests on each of them. I would say at F2 the edge would go to the 135 F2 lens and here it's more about CA than anything else and that's by a small margin. I read a review somewhere the 135 F2 was much better but that's BS as I'm sure the reviewer had some bias. Not everyone likes Sony enough said on that. But they are very very close. I decided the Sony was better for me since I have the Sony adapter anyway and I certainly like the AF which even if you like manual focus the AF will get you to your focus point faster and manual focus on it is a dream. Its a toss up but the Sony is a little cheaper by about 400 dollars. I bought mine new for 1800
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Btw end of day I'm glad I did because I can use it on all 3 bodies which the A77II does not require a adapter and its a 200 1.8 which is huge for me and event/PR work
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Mike read this. I say its pretty accurate. I also like the fact at 1.8 it does have a nice portrait look to it but stopping down its a razor. Let's face it most images are rarely shot wide open and being a long lens the bokeh is still butter at 2.8

    Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm f/1.8 ZA (Sony SAL-135F18Z) - Full Format Review / Test Report - Analysis
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Case in point every 85 1.4 on the planet has CA wide open that's every brand just no getting around it unless someone like Sigma makes a ART series of it or Zeiss makes a Otus of it. But you will pay dearly for it

    FYI that review is a little old too
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Thanks Guy. I'm leaning towards the Sony. I don't have the LA-EA4 yet, so the total price for either lens would end up to be similar. Time to go shopping...

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Mike in all honesty the F2 may have that slight edge but the connivence of the 1.8 is just too strong. The AF is great and something that should be said here since I manual focus a lot. The Sony Zeiss lenses are the BEST Manual focus feel of any AF brand I have tried. That saying a lot there. The manual focus on these ZA lenses are outstanding. Now there is rumor of a new 135 1.8 with better SSM focusing since this one is screw drive but seriously I'm not sure it's going to be worth upgrading too or waiting for. Its dang fast now with AF and more important very accurate. I love this lens its one of my favorites. The other good part it will work on any Sony body now or in the future.

    Mike check around also you may find it used at our favorite spots.

    The Sony adapter is very nice as well and you always have other Sony A lenses to fall back on. Most of mine are the A mounts. Fast and good
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    I did an unscientifc comparison of the two you can see them here

    sonyalphaimages.com Forums - Zeiss 135mm 1.8 ZA vs 135mm f2 ZF

    The ZF beats the ZA for CA but by f2.8 or 4 all the CA is gone from the ZA.

    Love those CA/ZA/ZF abbreviations

    Also, if you want a ZA 135. contact me. I have an extra one

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post
    I did an unscientifc comparison of the two you can see them here
    Thanks for that! I'm a little surprised by the difference in CA.

    Let me know how much you want for your ZA lens.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Yea CA is basically a check mark away in most raw converters. I stopped putting to much stock in that as long as it is correctable.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Hope that all helps Mike but end of day I am very pleased with the ZA .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    One think to note as well you can micro adjust it as well to your cams.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Needless to say I have two ZA 135 Best bokeh I have seen and amazing contrast. I sold my ZF when I made the switch from the dinosaur type Nikon to Sony. Never looked back!

    Have a look at these

    Photo Gallery | Zeiss ZA Sonnar 135mm f1.8 Photos

    Photo Gallery | Zeiss ZA Sonnar f1.8 135mm Photos

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. I just made a deal for the ZA. Now the waiting...
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Congrats Mike . Your going to love it in the meantime get out the 5lb weights and do some curls. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    ...in the meantime get out the 5lb weights and do some curls. LOL
    I know; I already use the Zeiss 85mm 1.4 ZE. The 135 is only a little heavier.
    Last edited by MikeEvangelist; 9th July 2014 at 11:23.

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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    A quick question Guy; how is the Sony 135mm with the Sony adapter in terms of autofocus on the A7r camera? I have the Sony 70-200 zoom, and while it works relatively well overall, it will search on occasion. I am considering the 135mm lens option mainly for photographing people, and occasionally horses, primarily hand-held.

    Thanks,
    John

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    John great question. We need to remember both the 85 1.4 and 135 1.8 are both screw drives which are slower than newer SSM lenses. The adapter I don't think really effects there speed as it seems the same without on my A77II. It's more related to the screw drive . If you where shooting sports than yea I would say get the new 70-200 SSM which I am renting myself next week. Now one thing also with the adapter you don't get all the AF points the A7 series has you get like the A99 AF so a center cluster of I think 18 AF points. Right now really your only option unless you go for the FE 70-200 F4 but again it's not a fast lens either so interior work its by most standards kind of slow with Lens speed. But I will say this with the A7r it's pretty dang accurate. So end of day the focus maybe a touch slow but lens speed at 1.8 is far faster than the FE zoom. I kind of lean to lower ISO and higher shutter speeds. Now I will say its maybe the biggest reason to go Sony A mount is no one has a 135 1.8 so that's a big plus. Now I stick this on a A77II or my A6000 than the power of a 200 1.8 is pretty special.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    There are some rumors that speak of an update for the 135 towards SSM to be launched at photokina, which would be very siginificant on cameras such as your A7II for this type of work I think.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    Yes rumor has it but same optical , not sure I will need it for normal work since when I really need the AF speed I'm usually renting the 70-200 2.8 SSM for the extra reach.

    But have to see if it does make it to market and makes sense. The 85 1.4 I would probably do it if it came out. I bought the 135 new and a used 85 1.4. So the 85 would be on my list if one did hit the market. A lot of this depends on what Photokinia brings us. I'm not doing much until than as I'm hoping more fast FE glass comes to market also.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Sony 135mm 1.8 vs Zeiss 135mm 2.0?

    I did a new write up on the two 135. 135 vs 135

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