While everybody is salivating about the new (2nd) Otus family member, the Zeiss 85/1.4 Otus (see thread here
) a different Zeiss lens arrived at my doorsteps: The Zeiss 135mm f2.0 Apo-Sonnar.
This lens is famous for making it the sharpest in DxOmark tests resolving the full 36Mp on a D800E at f2.0. It ranks even higher in this respect than both Otus lenses.
And at 1900 EUR (incl. VAT) it's less than half the price of the new 85/1.4 Otus. Plus it's smaller and lighter too.
Some first batches of test-shots confirm the superior sharpness even wide open and I'm excited about taking this lens trough its test-paces.
I'll be looking out especially for longitudinal (or Bokeh-)CA which causes nasty green coloration on contrasty objects behind the plane of sharpest focus and magenta coloration for subject in front of the focus-plane. And then there's purple fringing around bright, specular highlights another form of CA that can become outright nasty in large aperture primes even from respected amnufacturers.
But let me get one thing out of the way immediately: This lens (as well as both Otus lenses) still have some degree of loCA. The question is just how much loCA still remains.
Here's an image of the lens:
It's a little unfortunate that the 135/2.0 does not have the same sleek exterior design as the Otus lenses with their bright yellow distance markers and the rubberized focus ring. With the 135/2.0 the whole body is the focus ring so if you hold the lens anywhere other than the lens-hood you're bound to move the focus. But other than that, the construction is a very solid full metal one with focus action that is almost as smooth as with the Otuses.
It also has the same 270 degree focus throw as the Otuses that makes it very easy to focus correctly - remember no AF here only manual focus. The one difference in focusing between the 135/2.0 and the Otuses is that the lens extends in lenght when you focus closer: about 33mm when you focus down to the minimum focus distance of 80cm. This in turn is pretty close and gives you a very usable 1:4 magnification. With the "floating lens" design it'll be interesting to see what kind of resolving power the lens has when used close-up.
Here's a sneak preview of the performance at 40x focal length (5.4m) and fully open at f2.0:
All 100% crops from the same flat image, so no discernible field curvature: extraordinary!
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews
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