News

Carl Zeiss is presenting the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 during photokina in Cologne (September 18-23) at stand B011 in hall 2.1. Visitors to the world’s leading trade fair for imaging technology can experience 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 cinematographers now have a total of thirteen SLR lenses to choose, with focal lengths of 15 to 135 millimeters.

Compact, rich in contrast and pin sharp – the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 from Carl Zeiss.

Compact, rich in contrast and pin sharp – the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 from Carl Zeiss.

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.

Apo Sonnar T* 2/135

Captured by Stefan Czech with the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135.

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 relatively 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.”

Michael Schiehlen, Director of Sales for the Camera Lens Division of Carl Zeiss AG, describes the highlights and technical details of the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 in this video:

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 abberations) are corrected with elements of special glass materials with anomalous partial dispersion. The chromatic aberrations are therefore significantly below the defined limits. Brightdark 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 elements’ edges with a deep-black special lacquer make the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 resistant to reflections 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 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 €1.595,80 (excluding VAT)*.

 

Technical data
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)

*   Status: 7 September 2012
** Based on 35 mm format

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51 Comments

  1. Mike Devlin

    Thanks... this is what I have been waiting for... it will compliment my 25mm f2.0 Distagon, 50mm MP & 100mm MP perfectly.... now I just have to decide which to purchase first... the 15mm or the 135mm... what a tough decision ;-))

    Reply
    1. Alan

      Hey, that is EXACTLY my quandary! The 135 is pretty close to the 100 in FL, but it promises a much more demultiplied focusing mechanism, which is the "weak" point of the 100 MP at mid distances. So, it is a different beast indeed. I want that 135 and, while I cannot imagine ever letting go of the 100 MP, I just cannot imagine carrying both those lenses in the same bag at the same time. On the other hand the 15mm complements the 25mm very well.....

      Reply
  2. rich cower

    Hmmm...no ratings. I can assist with that problem, my D800 and I would be happy to test and rate this lens.

    Reply
  3. That's great news and seems to be yet another great piece of optics.

    However, >900 grams is quite heavy. Why does the lens lack a tripod collar? I admit that Nikon's 135mm F2 DC is >800 grams heavy and also lacks a tripod collar but from my experience with camera handling, anything above 750 grams should definitely have a collar, otherwise handling on a tripod will be impaired.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Philip,
      thank you for your interest in the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 with a Leica M mount. At the moment we unfortunately cannot provide further information on wether we will produce and sell the product in question in the future.
      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. Hans Christian Rasmussen

        Dear Zeiss
        The Apo-Sonar 135 mm seems a bit long for a rangefinder camera, but why not make a Zeiss Ikon film SLR? All those people around the world who scout the Internet for a mint condition Nikon F, or a Canon from the same age, would be able to get a perfect new camera in Zeiss quality! Besides, the sensation effect of such a venture would be enormous!
        Sincerely
        Hans Christian Rasmussen

        Reply
  4. Marco Faustini

    Well, this lens seems to be very similar to the Zeiss 1.8/135 for Sony mount. The same number of lenses (11) and optic groups (8), about he same size and focusing range ...Very very similar, indeed. Also the 1.8/135 ZA is an excellent lens, of course, but it is not an apochromat one. What are the differences between the two lenses? What is the characteristic that make a lens a real apochromat one?

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Marco!
      Sorry for such a late response. But here we go: The built-in Sonnar lens of the RX1 was exclusively developed for the requirements of the RX-1. It deliveres excellent sharpness and avoids color cast which can appear when a lens with a very short back focal distance (e.g. Biogon type) is adapted to a mirrorless camera with thick filter plates in front of the sensor.
      The Sonnar in the RX 1 has an individual optical design and has in fact nothing to do with the telephoto lens Sonnar T* 1.8/135 ZA.
      Now to your questions about apochromat lenses: A lens is called to be an "apochromat" when the longitudinal chromatical aberrations are extremely well controlled. Some other manufactures would call the lens design of our Sonnar T* 1,8/135 ZA to be a "apochromat" because of its excellent well controlled chrom. aberrations. Any further questions?
      Besr regards
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. Alan

        Hi there. The poster was obviously refering to the Sony 135mm f1.8 ZA for alpha cameras, not the 35mm lens on RX1! So, yes, his question is interesting: is that ZA the same optical design as the new ZF2/ZE lens ?

        Reply
        1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

          @Alan: The ZA lenses and the ZE/ZF.2 lenses have different optical designs due to the different focussing requirements.

          Reply
  5. Dear Sirs
    while not doubting at all about the qualities of such a lens, I'm sure it will be the best mid-tele around, I think the images posted should be seriously revised, since they are not up to the goodness of such lens. It's already the second time I see a lesser attention for the pictures taken with a Zeiss lens. First time was with the 25 F/2 when taking an urban landscape with clearly leaning buildings. This times the pictures taken are nothing special - nothing that any amateur could do himself. Aside the guys along the riverside (the only picture I like), nor the boy up there neither the dull cityscape seen elsewhere shows the real plus of this lens. Choosing them in my opinion is against your own interests. You might check the Zeiss thread in Nikoncafe (one among the many sites containing your pictures ) and find much more interesting and beautiful pictures taken with your wonderful lenses ( I too have myself a 100 MP and have no doubts it's my best ever lens, planning to get 25 and 35 asap )
    My advice is then choosing subjects where colors make the photography bright and interesting, not flat and dull. I'm really surprised to see such wonderful images in the yearly Zeiss contest and then others which are so-so used to advertise your own products.
    Consider it as a positive critique. What really matters is that the new Apo-Sonnar might become a must have as others have showed to be. P.s. if by chance you're thinking of a 180 APO-MAKRO, I'll gladly consider it :) Best regards.

    Reply
  6. ps: to be honest, the image mentioned about the leaning skyscrapes was later corrected and now looks much better, yet I was surprised to see such a mistake for a lens.

    Reply
  7. ZEISS Camera Lenses

    Dear Dino. Thank you for your elaborate feedback. We appreciate your comment and the time you took to get in touch in with us. We got similar responses about the images from others, too. We will discuss your suggestions concerning example images with our colleagues. Best regards, Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

    Reply
  8. Dear Sirs
    thanks for the prompt and pertaining reply. Let me reassure you I didn't mean to bash someone's work (in the meantime I also looked at the pictures taken by Mr. Anderson and I think the colorful door detail is more indicated for an ad photo, assumed it has been shot with the 135) only to express an opinion where color, detail and overall photo mood should prevail on the other technical aspects of picture (otherwise good for pj purposes) because they are more immediate and emotional for the potential buyer. Best regards.

    Reply
  9. Dear Sirs one more question. Given the new and groundbreaking lens just released, when will be available the related and meaningful article about (APO)Sonnar lenses by Mr. Nasse? I'm collecting them and looking forward for it with great pleasure.
    Best regards.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Dino,
      the article by Dr. Nasse is still in progress. As soon as the article is ready-made we will publish it.
      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses

      Reply
  10. Jappe

    Those Dr. Nasse articles are very useful to understand how lenses are are working and what are their best properties for different use. Looking forward to read Dr. Nasse article of (APO)Sonnar lenses!

    Reply
  11. Hello,

    What a promising lens !

    However, I have a little concern regarding the impossibility to mount a tripod collar.

    Beside the fact that the lens weight will make a tripod setup somewhat front heavy - which is inconvenient but can be handled - it will also exert a slight lever effect and thus stress the lens mount.
    This can induce slight lens/sensor misalignment in the long term, with less-than-optimal image results for every lens mounted on the body, as a consequence.

    This is not to underestimate with a ~1-kg lens like this one.

    Reply
  12. Peter Meyer

    Dear Ladies,
    dear Sirs,

    today the combination of an maximum image ratio of about 0.25 (4:1) with an extended available light capability in a telephoto-lenses is standard. It's great to see that Zeiss eventually starts to produce the badly missed telephoto-lenses in the ZE/ZF-range by introducing the remarkable 135 mm lense which lifts this specifications to the superb Zeiss quality level. Congratulations! Beside that I consider this as a strong commitment to the entire ZF/ZE-line by Zeiss.

    Hopefully it's just the starting point for the completion of this line. I agree with Dino that it would be a great idea to offer a 180 mm 2.8 lens with an image ratio of 0.25 or even better with macro specification up to 0.5. You're absolutely right with your Makro-Planars NOT to offer 1:1-capability. A tripod-collar or at least space for it between the aperture-ring and the focusing-ring and a collar as an accessory would be perfect for macro-flashes. Without collar the gear becomes too top-heavy (or front-heavy) for the tripod-mount of the camera.

    With a 300 mm 4.0 lens you can take this completion to its logical conclusion. Maximum image ratio of 0.25 is today's standard for this type of lens. A tripod-collar is a must. Longer focal lengths are expendable.

    One exception: your Hasselblad Telephoto Power Pack, adapted to modern camera systems is an option for longer focal lengths. This means an adaptor AND a modified converter which means for every camera mount a dedicated converter (please don't urge the user to handle the Hasselblad-converter when using an adaptor: this would be really annoying. For those who already have the TPP and want to save money sell the adaptor separately).

    Last but not least tilt-shift-lenses would be a plus. 21 mm, 28 mm (could be actually 29 or 30 mm), 45 mm and 90 mm are worth to think of. 90 mm with an image ratio of 0.5. The 21 mm and 28 mm fit much better than the 24 mm offered by Canon and Nikon.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Best regards

    PETER

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Peter,
      Thank you for your suggestions. We always appreciate hearing from our customers and receiving feedback. Also we care about our customers wishes and will keep your suggestions in mind.
      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
  13. Peter Meyer

    Dear Philip,
    dear Ladies,
    dear Sirs,

    a quick answer to the idea of adapting this lens to Leica M.

    Before I mention that to me it looks like an oxymoron to combine this lens (great AND big) with Leica M (great and compact, light weight, silent, almost invisible) it has to be checked wether the lens (with hood (!)) covers the rangefinder window or/and the 135 mm frame in the center of the rangefinder itself. To neglect that and use the screen for focusing instead looks to me like another oxymoron: Leica customers wants the best and not such an amateurish do-it-yourself-looking solution.

    But: anything goes and therefore feel free to think of a Leica-M-version. There is enough crazy folks out there so maybe there is a market for such kind of lens, I don't know.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Best regards

    PETER

    Reply
  14. Peter Meyer

    Dear Ladies,
    dear Sirs,
    If you intend to make a statement like you did with the Apo Sonnar 1700 mm 4.0 for Hasselblad an extended TPP is a chance to do so. The appropriate addition to the existing TPP is a 500 mm 3.4 which converts to an 840 mm 5.6 in combination with the 1.7 converter. But I'm not sure whether this is more a gadget than a serious gear...
    But in a way the equipment
    100/2.0 -- 180/2.8 -- 300/2.8+500/4.8
    or extended
    100/2.0 -- 180/2.8 -- 300/4.0 -- 500/3.4+840/5.6
    lookes versatile and therefore makes sense....

    Thank you for your attention.
    Best regards
    PETER

    Reply
  15. Peter Meyer

    Dear Ladies,
    dear Sirs,

    one addendum.

    If you want to surpass the Sigma 200 - 500 mm 2.8 a 500 mm 2.8 should be your choice. In a sense of unique selling proposition sometimes it makes more sense to stand out than to sell (did you ever sell a single Tele-Apotessar 600 mm 4.0?).

    So it may be not most important whether it is more a gadget or a serious gear, with or without autofocus or whatsoever.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Best regards

    PETER

    Reply
  16. Michael Battley

    A shame Zeiss do not offer international warranty. I only buy my photographic equipment from ebay. My local retailers are too expensive.

    Reply
  17. Juan José Pascual

    I'm in my dealer's waiting list for this lens, but I would like to see in the near future apo lenses of 180/2,8 and 300/4 with the image quality of 300/2,8 TPP. A friend lent me his TPP for a week. I used it on my Canon EOS1 Ds III and I was impressed, really impressed by the results. A TPP is very expensive, but a 300/4 with the same quality, and a matching 1,7 converter, would be a bit more "affordable". I also would like to see some Tilt-shift lenses of 24, 35, 50 and 65 mm. Although I already use with very good results a PC Distagon 35/2,8 and Hasselblad Distagons 50 and 60 with a shift adapter on my Canon DSLRs, I´m sure you can improve this.

    Reply
  18. Jeff Drew

    Yes, I would likely order a 135mm for my Leica M, but would settle for a Pentax K mount version. I'm willing to wait!

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Abdalla,

      We think that the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 will be shipped in January 2013. Due to many backorders like with every new high end product, we recommend to order it as soon as possible at your photo dealer to get one within the first half of the next year.

      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
  19. Hi!
    I still dont get, what is difference between Sony 135/f1,8 ans Zeiss 135mm f2. Looks very similar, but Sony is cheaper, faster and has autofocus.
    My second question is. When (in December) will be this Zeiss in shops? I already ordered one, but I am very impatient :)
    Thanks.
    Ales

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Ales,

      (1) The Sonnar T* 1,8/135 ZA and the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZE/ZF.2 have a completely different optical and mechanical design. The ZA lens has an internal focusing, optimized for AF operation. The ZE/ZF.2 lens expands while focusing to closer distances, ensuring highest focusing precision and constant performance at all distances.
      (2) The first items of the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 will be delivered in January. Due to many backorders for this new high-end lens, it will take some time until all backorders will be cleared.

      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
  20. marco

    I agree with Gerhard (September 8). The lens could be a good choice, but it is heavy and lacks a tripod collar. Perhaps, the Carl Zeiss could provide for a collar tripod as an accessory, a choice that Nikon has just made for its new zoom 4/70-200 mm.

    Reply
  21. I'm sure we all appreciate having the possibility to discuss with a Carl Zeiss rep. Throughout the comments posted above, I can see we are a few people who raise concerns about the lack of a tripod collar for this lens. It would be interesting to have the company's opinion as nothing was posted in this regard yet. Thanks a lot !

    Reply
  22. Bonnie,
    It won't come in Sony mount - just like any lens from the ZE and ZF.2 line, it's for Canon and Nikon DSLRs only. The Sony mount has its own line of Zeiss lenses. The 135/1.8 ZA is among them, and it's the right choice if you're looking for a bright prime in this focal length range.
    The 135/2 Apo Sonnar will be priced around $2000.

    Reply
  23. Tech

    There is a listing on B&H Photo for the Apo Sonnar T*2/135, but no pre-order available. For those of you who are interested the list price is $2,122.

    Reply
  24. dan

    This lens sounds like something I'd love to have. I was considering the 100mp and I know the 100mp is a great lens but I think this one might be better suited for what I need and I'm sure that my D800E could do it some justice. The 21mm 2.8 is usually mounted or my 50mm 1.4

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Nebu,

      We already answered you on our website but we'll also post it here so that others may see it: The optical design of the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 in ZF.2 and ZE version is identical. On both types the lens name "APO SONNAR" will be engraved. The ZF.2 version in this picture is just a prototype where the engravings are not final.

      Best regards
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
  25. R. Aker

    Not clear from the Zeiss website, does the new 135 mm f/2 APO Sonnar also have aspherical lens elements?

    Reply
  26. Georg

    I am currently using the 100mm F/2 for my macro needs, and at times I use an adapter ring to get to 1:1 reproduction rate. From the specifications of the 135mm, it looks like it will not get past 1:4 reproduction rate, which takes it a bit far away from being a macro lens. Assuming I would use a larger adapter ring, would I be able to still get the same quality and APO properties with this lens? If you could elaborate in general how adapter rings would affect the performance it would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Georg, when used outside its designated image ratio range, every lens shows a certain amount of reduced image quality. The Makro Planar T* 2/100 is designed for an image ratio between 1:2 and infinity, and could be used up to 1:1 with extenders at still good performance. The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is designed for an image ratio of 1:4 to infinity. It should still offer usable results when used at 1:2 with extenders. But we do not really recommend to use it as a "real" macro lens at an image ratio of 1:1 or above.
      Because this lens was never designed to be used at an image ratio of 1:1, we cannot really predict or guarantee a certain amount of performance under those conditions. Individual tests (at different f-stops) are strongly recommended.

      Best regards,
      Carl Zeiss Lenses Team

      Reply
  27. Parfumeur

    Wonderful lens, but the sunshade should not be metal, as this is the first part that transmit shock to the lens/mount when hit or camera lens combo is rested on a hard surface.

    The shade should be made of a plastic material that flexes enough to absorb minor impacts. Good engineering, but bad application design for field work. Great shade for the studio however!

    Hoping to see a revision.

    Reply
  28. pa

    For the marketing guru... maybe a slight cushiony lip around the shade (closed cell foam, I use a rubber hand bracelet), with a blurb about the shade protection from sun and minor shock. Also better marking on the shade for fit and lens p/n.

    Reply
  29. Max

    I bought this lens and it is the first lens that never gets in the way of what I am trying to accomplish as a photographer. Since getting this lens I rarely take it off even though 135 is not a focal length I prefer. If I could get a medium and WA that do as well as this lens I would only every need 3 lenses in my bag.

    Note to Zeiss - it would be nice if the new 55 Distagon is similar to the ZF.2s in appearance.

    Reply
  30. Georg

    After some time with this lens I love it. How about you re-do the ZF-100 and make it this good too?

    Reply

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