New: Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 lens


After revealing their Photokina plans yesterday, Zeiss announced a new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 lens that will start shipping in December 2012 for $2.000 (€1.600). As usual, the lens will be available for F mount (ZF.2) and EF mount (ZE). US price will be $2,122. The technical specs are:

Focal length 135mm
Aperture range f/2 -22
Number of lens elements/groups 11/8
Focusing range 0.80m (2.62ft) – infinity
Angular field**
(diag./horiz./vert.)
18.7°/ 15.6°/ 10.5°
Coverage at close range** 145 x 96 mm (close-up)
Image ratio at close range 1 : 4 (close-up)
Filter thread M 77 x 0,75
Length with caps 128mm (ZF.2)
130mm (ZE)
Diameter 84mm
Weight 920g (ZF.2)
930g (ZE)
Mounts ZF.2 (F bayonet)
ZE (EF bayonet)
Price €1.600 or US$2.000

Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 lens sample image (by Stefan Czech):

Press release:

Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 offers new creative possibilities

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 07.09.2012.
Carl Zeiss is presenting the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 during photokina in Cologne – Carl Zeiss' longest medium telephoto lens in the range of high-quality SLR lenses. With the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135, the company is substantially extending the creative possibilities available in the medium tele range. Photographers and HD video cinemato- graphers now have a total of thirteen SLR lenses to choose, with focal lengths of 15 to 135 milli- meters. Carl Zeiss will exhibit at photokina in Cologne, the world’s leading trade fair for imaging technology, from September 18-23 at stand B011 in hall 2.1.

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is the ideal lens for capturing detailed images from long distances, such as the skyline at sunset, a leopard in the zoo, or a pop star on a faraway stage. The new lens offers outstanding clarity of detail, high contrast and high resolution at any aperture. This mix of attributes makes it the perfect choice for portraits in advertising, fashion and lifestyle, as well as for landscape and reportage photography.

After putting the lens through its paces in New York, Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson was clearly impressed: “I am delighted with the performance of this new lens. It is rela- tively compact for a telephoto lens. Its image resolution and quality are outstanding, and there is a touch of magic in the way the light is refracted by the lens elements. I took some amazing photos, including some in poor light conditions.”

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 can capture subjects up to a scale of 1:4. It has been built based on Carl Zeiss's proven “floating elements” design. A special variable arrangement of the lens elements delivers excellent images over the entire focusing range, from 0.8 meters to infinity. The compact telephoto lens features eleven elements in eight groups. Because this lens is an apochromat, chromatic abberations (axial chromatic abbera- tions) are corrected with elements of special glass materials with anomalous partial disper- sion. The chromatic aberrations are therefore significantly below the defined limits. Bright-dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are reproduced almost completely free of color artifacts.

As with all other SLR lenses in the ZE and ZF.2 series, the Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating as well as the sophisticated treatment of the ele- ments’ edges with a deep-black special lacquer make the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 resistant to reflec- tions and stray light. Another advantage for the user is the large rotation angle of 268°, which enables ultra-precise focusing.

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is equipped with an all-metal barrel, which enables long-lasting use with high-quality results. It will be available with F bayonet (ZF.2) and with EF bayonet (ZE)..

The lens will begin shipping in December 2012 at a recommended retail price of approximately €1.600 or US$2.000 (excluding VAT)*.

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  • Anon

    Those Germans have a weird sense of humor. Animals at the zoo? A T-Rex?

  • http://www.jsvfoto.com jsvfoto

    Wow! This lens makes me drool. My Nikkor 135mm f/2 is magic, but this, this is going to raise the bar. My guess is Samyang will probably come up with a 135 f/2 (or f/1.8) and then Nikon will finally revamp the 135 f/2 DC.

    2g’s is not cheap, but this may actually be worth it. I need to find the pictures taken by Chris Anderson.

    • Discontinued

      >>but this, this is going to raise the bar<<

      How do you know? All the samples looked like shit to me.

  • Rentos

    That’s propably almost as fine lens as Carl Zeiss 135mm f1.8 for Sony. And that’s with autofocus.

    • EnPassant

      Well, this new Zeiss lens is claimed to be APO-corrected and should therefore have much less problems with CA than all current 135/2.0 SLR-lenses.

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com genotypewriter

        “should” is the word. Zeiss has been pretty conservative with the use of the “APO” designation lately… let’s hope they live up to it.

  • Zaphod

    No AF? Nice, but they are about 25 year late.

    • pooh

      Hold one and you’ll come up with a different conclusion.

      • julia

        +1

        thinking selling my 100 :-(

    • Kevin

      Zeiss specifically makes cine lenses, so AF isn’t a necessary addition. Also it adds an extraordinary amount of weight. if you buy a lens like this you don’t use autofocus anyway. It’s built for precise MF.

      • Onkobu

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to carve the housing from carbon-titanium-fiberglass-space-shuttle-material, to save weight? I prefer Nikon’s 70-200/2.8, having auto focus, zooooom and a gold ring – for the same price. (Precise manual auto focus…in motor sports/ shooting a pelota match with 135mm, somewhat 90° to turn from 0.8m to infinity – you sir, are promoted for the congressional medal of Leica use in spe.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Turk/100002956759007 Thomas Turk

      Except it will jump ahead of Nikey and Canon in one leap, and be 25 years ahead on quality. I look forward to using it on my 175MP sensor,maybe add a 2X for longer reach. (175MP sensor is Velvia 50). Why so tough to turn the focus ring by hand? I never used the autofocus on my CZ 70-200N..

      • PK HUnter

        It’s related to my eyes. I wear contact lenses. I need AF help. Without it, I’ll be squinting into my camera most of the time — which I already have to do, but with even more wasted snaps. It’s not hard to make an optional AF, as most AF lenses are…all of them can be made manual with the simple click of a tab.

  • Jeremy

    The US is still awaiting delivery of the 15mm ZF2. Is this new 135mm lens actually going to be available in the next year?

  • Meh

    Zeiss lenses are precision tools, and their workmanship is to be seen/used to be beleived in the age of plastic. An-all metal housing isn’t just fancy, it’s a guarantee of reliability as opposed to plastic. My new Zeiss 15mm Distagon will probably outlast me, I doubt any of my nikkors will have their AF/VR working in 15 years’ time. Moreover, the colours and microcontrast coming out of my 15mm Zeiss are mesmerising compared to all my other Nikkor or Sigma glass – and the 15mm has been criticised for having a lesser degree of microcontrast than the other Zeiss lenses!

    Having said that, apart from the 15mm (due such to its ultra-wide angle), the only other MF lens I would ever consider buying from Zeiss would be a 1:1 135mm APO Macro.

    • PK HUnter

      Color and contrast — it’s tiring to see these are arguments. Shoot raw and then manipulate to your heart’s content in CaptureOne or Aperture, both of which have even more amazing adjustments.

      And no, it’s not a huge deal to struggle in PP because we use presets for that. So that’s hardly a criteria. Give me light, pragmatic performance in the field.

      My VRs will last for over 30 years, and that’s plenty for me. The tech would have changed by then, so I don’t want my lenses to outlast me or anything.

  • adaer

    when ??? Is December ,for video should be perfect . Otherwise in one ,two years all camera gonna get peaking tool .

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