Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Nobody has any Tak 3.5 silver ring eggs, so I thought I'd add my 2c just to make your decision harder (or easier?!)!!

giiviak.

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id … amp;size=l

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

http://www.oomz.net/135/

Ill go for SMC takumar 135/3.5 for price / quality ratio :-)

28

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

There's simply too many good 135, but of all the one I own and use, I have to say the Minolta ( now Sony ) STF 135/2.8 T4.5 & the manual focus Pentax A* 135/1.8 take top honor, with the Contax C/Y mount Carl Zeiss 135/2.0 and the Leica 135/3.4 APO tie for 2nd. Of all the AF lens, I do agree the Canon 135/2.0L take top Honor, probably only matched by the DC Nikkor 2.0


Though if we had to go back to the old M42 & Exakta mount lens ( which is quite a different clasa and certainly quite a different price bracket ) Then I am all agree with the Sonnar 135/3.5 MC, just can't beat that one for anything. I have both the APO Zenitar, and the famed Tak 135/2.5 but IMHO both are not quite up to the Sonnar's sterling show of performance.

But lo behold, as I have mentioned before on the Yahoo M42 group. According to the ladies ( our models ) who come and review the print we have from a whole bunch of both expensive and dirt cheap 135mm, their pick of the bunch is the one done with the 135 Triotar, and what are we guys to argue about it. The ladies actually demand that next time that they want their " nice pic " be taken, they want to have that lens on the camera. SO much for money well spend ....... @.@/

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

I agree with Helios, the jupiter 37 is a stellar performer (at least my father's copy). We did a big test (36 (M42 and few canon)lenses  of all focal lenses) last week, I'll post the pics as soon as I'll have any spare time... the MC Jupiter 37am outperformed all other 135mm (incl the zeiss 135/3.5).

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

FTL ... I use a Triotar (On homemade mount) from 9x12 plate camera  f/6,3 135 mm to make portraiys. And other stranges "associations" : T-22 4,5/75 from lubitel, Kodak Six-20 meniscus , and a fantastic one : Lacour-Berthiot Eurygraphe 100mm f/6 , bought for nothing at flea-market, restored (lens cleaning, diaphragm  . This lens from 1911 is a symmetrical 6 independents elements design. When you remove the rear group (the half ! , you get a 200mm ...let's have a look on my portraits blog and you"ll appreciate (or not !) what kind of job is possible with near 100 years old optics which are easy to pick up from broken foldings ... I have seven "lens hacks"  to mount on my pentax and minolta bodies : Zeiss Triotar 135mm, Tessar 135mm, "noname" anastigmat 6,3/105 , Zeiss Novar 6,3/105, Lomo t-22 4,5/75, Kodak meniscus (90/95mm) , Lacour-Berthiot 100mm . I'm restoring an Apotar Agfa 4,5/105mm whiwh have a very good reputation. At this time, WD-40 is working ...
My copy of j-37 give an incredible contrast and color saturation . One don't need to screw a polarizing filter on it ...

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Ooops ! Portraits and not "portraiys" ... 'tschuldigung ...

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

I have to very good 135mm, both 3.5 : CZJ Sonnar Zebra and a Vivitar.

For sale
Contax PC Auto Bellows + Contax slide copier
http://forum.manualfocus.org//viewtopic.php?id=18640

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Himself wrote:

I have to very good 135mm, both 3.5 : CZJ Sonnar Zebra and a Vivitar.

If for some reason I had to start getting rid of lenses, my Zebra "S" would be one of the three or four that I would hold on to until the bitter end.

Ugly and clunky as it is, it just *works*.  It seems to snap to focus, and the performance is impeccable to my eye. Nice color, smooth bokeh, and sharp as can be. I was looking at an image the other day that was taken by this lens.  I kept stepping up magnification in ACR, the image kept holding detail. It was amazing.

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

helios wrote:

(snipped)
... and a fantastic one : Lacour-Berthiot Eurygraphe 100mm f/6 , bought for nothing at flea-market, restored (lens cleaning, diaphragm  . This lens from 1911 is a symmetrical 6 independents elements design. When you remove the rear group (the half ! , you get a 200mm ...let's have a look on my portraits blog and you"ll appreciate (or not !) what kind of job is possible with near 100 years old optics which are easy to pick up from broken foldings ...

Helios,

A lot of very old lenses are still viable even when used on formats much smaller than they're intended to cover, and the colour rendering can be very fine too. If the lens is symmetrical you can more or less use half of it as a convertible but there are lenses especially designed to do just that. However, by using only the centre of the image circle you can pretty much get away with it.

Another thought:

Convertible lenses were (and still are) designed to have the front half removed to be used as a long-focus lenses. Using only the centre of the image circle you might not find that much of a difference in actual image quality but it might make the operation of changing focal length a little easier.

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

FTL wrote:

(snipped)

But lo behold, as I have mentioned before on the Yahoo M42 group. According to the ladies ( our models ) who come and review the print we have from a whole bunch of both expensive and dirt cheap 135mm, their pick of the bunch is the one done with the 135 Triotar, and what are we guys to argue about it. The ladies actually demand that next time that they want their " nice pic " be taken, they want to have that lens on the camera. SO much for money well spend ....... @.@/

Apart from the difference between laboratory test and real-life performance, a lot of other personal factors come into assessing the merits of a lens' performance, especially when it cuts as close as pictures of oneself.

In that sense you might even want to go further and do some home-made lens-hacking. At another Yahoo Group (not the one I moderate) I suggested to the members to give home-made lens a try: an interesting start would be the Pulligny-Puyo type of symmetrical lens: get two identical close-up supplementary lenses of reasonably high power (say +2 or something), mount them back-to-back, with an air-space between them at least one-sixth of the focal length of each. Add a stop in the middle, and improvise a focussing mechanism which could be telescopic sliding tubes. Also add a lens hood to shield the front element too. Then get ready for swooning ladies and mother in law LOL

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Scribo wrote:
Himself wrote:

I have to very good 135mm, both 3.5 : CZJ Sonnar Zebra and a Vivitar.

If for some reason I had to start getting rid of lenses, my Zebra "S" would be one of the three or four that I would hold on to until the bitter end.

Ugly and clunky as it is, it just *works*.  It seems to snap to focus, and the performance is impeccable to my eye. Nice color, smooth bokeh, and sharp as can be. I was looking at an image the other day that was taken by this lens.  I kept stepping up magnification in ACR, the image kept holding detail. It was amazing.

You've right about that. It keeps the details even if you increase magnification.

For sale
Contax PC Auto Bellows + Contax slide copier
http://forum.manualfocus.org//viewtopic.php?id=18640

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

For M42 the CZJ Sonnar f/3.5 is very good, well up to modern standards of sharpness and delivering the kind of bokeh and 'feel' that Zeiss buyers know and love.

If you want something faster then the Nikkor f/2.8 is one big fat light-funnel and is very good wide open though it's significantly bulkier than the CZJ. I also have a Pentacon f/2.8 which is surprisingly good wide open but not as good as the Nikon.

Leica and Zeiss on Canon DSLR's. My Gallery.

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Isnt there a CZJ 135mm on that test ( www.oomz.net/135/ ) and seems like smc tak is better

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Oh yeah ! We cannot be wrong using only a little percentage of covering abilities of old lenses  ... Color rendition is often surprisingly good  from untreated lenses . Lens hacking or mounting or restoring became for me an other activity in photography domain . I'm preparing a mount for a monster , Schneider G-Claron 5,7/477mm (8lbs weight) which can cover 16" x 20" ...It is simply the fun , the pleasure to re-use  these optics which is important , and the results too, because they give differents images from those we know since 40 years : my first "normal" 135 was a czj 135 f/4 , bought in 1974 . I still use it , it is like a reference . After , I found S-tak 2,5/135 better , Jupiter-11 almost similar (same formula , who said "clone" ?)  , etc ...
Have a look on this link ,(known by a majority ?) : http://www.bubu.jp/photo/photo.htm .

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Helios,

When using lenses designed for considerably larger coverage on a smaller negative size, it does not guarantee superior results.

Supposing if you are a designer working on a lens covering, say, 13cm X 18cm format. You would not want to squeeze all the highest corrections in the middle and compromise the critical mid-field area of that intended format size, but would rather sacrifice a bit of the central performance. For a symmetrical lens, the spacing between the two groups can be altered so as to adjust this.

What I mean is that, when using only a small angle of view within a much larger angle of coverage, the ill effects of coma, chromatic abberrations, and other off-axis faults will be proportionately reduced because the lens would be effectively a long focus lens.

This also means with a smaller format camera, such as the digital or 35mm reflex, we can indeed take advantage of lenses from "medium format" folding cameras or those for even larger negatives, but we would not be able to see what the true performance of the lenses really are, as they were designed to be. Moreover, if we are after out-and-out quality, we might have to think about how these lenses can be optimised so as to squeeze out the last drop of imaging performance within the reduced format area.

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Rollei Sonnar 135mm F2.8 for those that want the West German version of the Contax T* Japanese one:):):)

I think sharpness is one thing, but in the digital world, mixing lenses and cameras is an entirely different thing.  In other words, the sharpest lens may work well on one body, but not do much on a different body.  A cheapo lens may look horrible compared to the sharp lens on one body, but look superb on a different body.  This is what I have found in my experience with digital shooting and manual lenses.  Absolute sharpness AND the end result/look will come down to how well you mix/match the two (body/lens).  This is all IMHALRO=In my humble and likely redundant opinion:):):)

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Audioexcels wrote:

I think sharpness is one thing, but in the digital world, mixing lenses and cameras is an entirely different thing.  In other words, the sharpest lens may work well on one body, but not do much on a different body.  A cheapo lens may look horrible compared to the sharp lens on one body, but look superb on a different body.  This is what I have found in my experience with digital shooting and manual lenses.  Absolute sharpness AND the end result/look will come down to how well you mix/match the two (body/lens).  This is all IMHALRO=In my humble and likely redundant opinion:):):)

Agreed! I have also found out that some "cheap" lenses, that didn't perform well at my Praktica L2, show good results at the EOS 350D. I think, however, that really good lense (such as the TAIR 3-S 4.5/300 which I consider one of the best 300mm-lenses) peforms extraordinarily well with all cameras, at least ist did with my cameras I tried it with (Ricoh KR-10x, Practica L2, Zenit-E, Canon EOS 350D) so far.

So,  guess that excellent lenses will provide satisfying results, whereas cheap lenses can perform well or badly.

Carsten

Mostly in my bag ATM: Fuji X-T1, X-E2, X-E1, Leica M8, Nikon1 V1 and several lenses...
Things ON SALE!

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Accidentally get a Contax 135/2.8 from ebay.  I hope it is a good one.

Contax T2 + 167MT+25/2.8G+28/2.8J +35/2.8J+45/2.8J+50/1.4J+50/1.7J+60/2.8G Macro+85/1.4G +135/2.8J+180/2.8J
CZJ 35/2.4+135/3.5+Takumar SMC 200/4
Canon EOS RT+20D+Grip+28-80/2.8-4L+135/2.8SF+300/4L+1.4xII+Zenitar 16/2.8 FE
Konica S3

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

I have many 135mms, and more are on their way to me (a Jupiter-37A should arrive in the next days)
I can say I have tried most of them, with the notable exception of the Leitz ones (too expensive)

Of those that I have tried, the Carl Zeiss 2.8/135 (Contax) is the winner. But the very disregarded, almost neglected Nikkor-Q 3.5/135 is a close contender (at about 1/4th of the price).
The very good Carl Zeiss Jena 3.5/135 comes third, followed by it's older brother 4/135.
I will report about the Jupiter-37A when I receive it.

Orio

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

My order:

Pentacon 135mm
CZJ Sonnar 135mm

Nikkor 50mm 1.4/50 ,Nikkor 3.5/135mm, Nikkor 4/200mm,Nikkor 4,5/300mm

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

Emmanuel Amarger wrote:

I agree with Helios, the jupiter 37 is a stellar performer

Now that I have tried one, I have to agree!!!

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

And I agree too , I own a j37 and think it's the best 135mm lens. I also have CZJ 135/3,5 , 135/2,8 ,Leica R135/2,8 . I have yet to test a recently bought J11  .

I am a Pentacon and kiev( MF and35 mm) user,and also :contaxII,III,IIa  ,contaflex , contarex bullseye ,voigtlander ....

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

This is an interesting discussion with many excellent examples posted. I have 15 or 20 135mm lenses in M42 mount and any of them would do for all but the most demanding purpose. But - and this is important - any testing I do would only be valid for that lens and that camera body! The same lens on a different body could well yield different results.

The examples other posters have displayed are a good place to begin as they suggest what they've found to give excellent results. IMO, the Pentax/Asahi Super-Takumars and SCM-Takumars are consistent in their quality both optically and mechanically. They're a good place to begin your search as they are both plentiful and relatively inexpensive.... if you're using an M42 camera.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that for you to find the "best" 135mm lens for your camera body, you'll need to run your own tests and decide. While the results of others are useful as a starting point, there are too many variables and only your own tests will decide the "best" lens for you.

Good luck.

Walker

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

J-11 is slightly under the J-37 but give the same global rendition for color and contrast . I Own 4 copies and the best is the LTM39 one (Zorki,fed, Leica ) May be the body on wich I tested it was not bad ... Leica M3. Better than Hektor 4,5 ...

Re: Which is the "best" 135mm..??

helios wrote:

FTL ... I use a Triotar (On homemade mount) from 9x12 plate camera  f/6,3 135 mm to make portraits. And other stranges "associations" : T-22 4,5/75 from lubitel, Kodak Six-20 meniscus , and a fantastic one : Lacour-Berthiot Eurygraphe 100mm f/6 , bought for nothing at flea-market, restored (lens cleaning, diaphragm  . This lens from 1911 is a symmetrical 6 independents elements design. When you remove the rear group (the half ! , you get a 200mm ...let's have a look on my portraits blog and you"ll appreciate (or not !) what kind of job is possible with near 100 years old optics which are easy to pick up from broken foldings ... I have seven "lens hacks"  to mount on my pentax and minolta bodies : Zeiss Triotar 135mm, Tessar 135mm, "noname" anastigmat 6,3/105 , Zeiss Novar 6,3/105, Lomo t-22 4,5/75, Kodak meniscus (90/95mm) , Lacour-Berthiot 100mm . I'm restoring an Apotar Agfa 4,5/105mm which have a very good reputation...

I found this old thread searching the Web.
I instantly chose to revive it cause i have plenty of old, very old and not_so_old 135mm's, and i really love some of them. A few times i had the crazy idea to test the best of them, and maybe post my findings... but it never materialized :-)
I'm also very much into portrait lenses, as i have collected many large format portrait glasses over time, from "proper" soft focus ones (one over all? the Cooke Portrait Series IIE), to Petzvals (including a mid 19th century Voigtlander), to soft-ish ones (like an early 20th century Heliar).
Now i shoot only digital, and with my new Pentax K-1 i can finally use 135mm lenses the way they were intended to be used.
I own some of the lenses mentioned in this thread, like the wonderful Pentax A* 85mm f/1,4, though i don't like to use super sharp lenses for portraits, i find more appealing the rendition of older lenses with undercorrected spherical aberration. Some M42 or T-mount lenses are still wonderful 135mm's, perfect for portraits and also good for landscape/nature shots.
I am quoting this post cause it mentions a very, very old Kodak meniscus lens. The simplest optic!
I use "adapted" optics only for macro, namely repro or short enlarging lenses, but i own an early 20th century Kodak Autograph, purchased for next to nothing just because i wanted to rip off the meniscus, uncork it removing the very basic diaphragm, and adapt it for portrait use. I have seen the beautiful pictures made by a japanese pictorialist group, just after WWI, that impressed me. Such a simple lens and such beautiful, dreamy results. I can't wait to try it on full frame digital.
At the other end of the spectrum, for a subtle "rounded" optical signature, with a nice transition from in-focus to OOF, but still with plenty of sharpness, i love Sonnars. As others have already given their suggestions, i'll give mine.
I have one made by Schacht, the Travenar 135mm f/3,5, that beats the contemporary CZJ one. Much better mechanic (a wonder!), and slightly better IQ.

One simple note:
there are manual focus zooms, covering 135mm focal, that either do something no prime does, or perfectly fit a certain kind of use. Two come to my mind, the Tamron SP 70-150mm Soft Focus and the Vivitar Series 1 Flat Field.
One regret:
when prices were more affordable, i didn't buy the Pentax-A* 135mm f/1,8. I am fine with the Pentax 135mm f/2,5 series K and the Porst (Mitake) 135mm f/1,8, but the A Star seems to be in another league.
A general indication:
don't discount triplets. I love them, both the original Cooke design, and tele triplets, with all the glasses in front of the iris. Lately i have been impressed by a Feinmess Bonotar 105mm. I love it.

Cheers
Paolo

Last edited by cyberjunkie (2016-09-29 22:50:24)