I am very pleased how my last editorial turned out, I will post the full spread once published (in about 1 to 2 weeks). Some of you emailed wondering if I will review the newly released Zeiss 135mm f2 and I thought this would be a good opportunity to share my experience shooting with this focal length and why I think a manual focus 135mm, regardless of its optical performance, is totally useless for anyone who shoots moving subjects….
more after the break
if you happen to only shoot static subjects, read no further and just order the Zeiss 135mm.
it is a fantastic lens.
get it in Nikon mount here from BH
or in Canon mount here BH
pictured in Nikon mount, focusing direction reversed on the Canon mount
you can also preorder it from Adorama in Nikon mount here
and in Canon mount from Adorama here
However, if you ever even consider shooting moving subjects with the 135mm, you will be much happier with the results from the Nikkor DC 135mm f2 or the Canon L 135mm f2.
You can also get the Nikkor DC 135mm here at Adorama
and the Canon L135mm here at Adorama
I have extensive experience with both lenses and love them. A 135mm on a full frame produces fantastic bokeh wide open-even at 2.8- and both, the Nikon DC 135mm and the Canon L 135mm produce tack sharp images. I regularly shoot with the Nikkor DC 135mm on the D800, D800E, and the L135mm on the 5Dmk3, both lenses focus extremely fast (even the Nikon with the screw drive impresses) and neither lens exhibits back or front focus issues, hitting the mark every time. I can’t imagine shooting a life style fashion spread with a walking model, a 135mm wide open in manual focus . There would be too many missed shots, I guess the keeper rate would be around 2~3% . Depending on the distance to your subject, lets take a full figure example, the focus zone at 2.8 is a whopping 6 to 8 inches! This means we have to refocus every time our subject moves. In the studio, strobing at f8 or 11 with a stationary model, the Zeiss will do very well, however, you will have to pin a Simens star on the front of your subject to really see and appreciate the difference in resolution when viewed at 200%. My advice for anyone considering the Zeiss, take a minute or two and really think about what you want to use it for, it is a fantastic piece of equipment, the focusing ring has a great feel to it and if you happen to shoot video, you should definitely take a closer look at this lens. Otherwise, you will be much happier with the Nikkor 135mm DC or the Canon L 135mm. I rarely shoot the 135mm DC in defocus mode, however, it is a very nice thing to have:)
UPDATE: Rumor has it Nikon has plans to replace the 135mm DC with an updated nanocoated G lens, possibly starting at f1.8, get this one while you can, you won’t regret it.
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