The Sony SAL-135F18Z 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* AF Lens is an ultra-bright lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. In conjunction with the Super SteadyShot image stabilization system of the Sony α (alpha) DSLR camera, this lens will provide excellent results even when hand-holding the camera by available light.
With a 35mm-equivalent 202.5mm focal length (when used on the Sony Alpha camera) plus the ability to focus tightly on objects closer than 3′ away, this lens can cover an amazing range of photographic assignments.
The 9-blade circular aperture contributes to smooth rendition of defocused highlights, such as blurred points of sunlight coming through foliage.
At fully open f/1.8 aperture (the best in its class), this high-performance 135mm lens creates amazingly bright telephoto images.
Internal Focusing System
Internal lens elements move to increase auto-focus speed to help you catch quick action.
You can capture professional-quality images of both faraway scenes and objects closer than three feet.
In conjunction with the Super SteadyShot® image stabilization system of the Sony ± (alpha) DSLR-A100 camera, this lens gives you excellent results even working with hand-held camera by available light.
ED (Extra-low Dispersion) Glass
Two ED Glass lenses minimize flare and greatly reduce chromatic aberration, giving you sharp, clear telephoto shots.
The Zeiss ZA Sonnar T* 135mm f/1.8 is an exceptional lens – technically it’s even slightly superior to the already great ZA Planar T* 85mm f/1.4. The resolution as well as the level of contrast is nothing short of outstanding and that’s straight from f/1.8. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is next to perfect for a conventional lens. Unfortunately longitudinal CAs, sometimes also called “Bokeh CAs”, can be relatively pronounced at large aperture settings – a typical problem in this lens league but a bit unfortunate nonetheless. Distortions, vignetting and lateral CAs are non-issues in field conditions. Thanks to an all-metal body the lens feels very solid. If you’re nit-picky you may criticize the lack of sealing and a little play in the focus ring when changing the focus direction. The AF speed is still fine despite the rather dated screw-driven AF approach. The entry hurdle for the Zeiss ZA T* 135mm f/1.8 is quite high at around 1300EUR/US$ but if you want the very best this is the one. Highly recommended!
In our field tests the major difference between pictures taken with the two lenses was the higher levels of brightness and colour saturation provided by the Carl Zeiss lens. In comparison, shots taken with the Sony 75-300mm lens looked rather subdued and much less ‘punchy’. (You could probably adjust the zoom lens shots to look like the shots taken with the Carl Zeiss lens but they wouldn’t be quite as sharp.) Flare was well handled by both lenses but here again the Carl Zeiss lens had a competitive edge and out-of-focus areas were a little more attractively rendered. Autofocusing was very fast and very accurate, even in relatively low light levels, thanks largely to the speed of the lens. This also made the depth of field very shallow at f/1.8 – a fact that must be considered if you choose to use this lens for portraiture or close-ups.