Focal Lenght: 135mm
Max Apeture: 3.5
Lens Mount: M42
Min. Focus: 1m
Filter Size: 49mm
Lens hood built in
This is one of the lenses I’ve kept for the longest time. I usually try a lens, sell it on and buy a new one to try (and review).
The Sonnar is an exception to that, as it comes so close to the ideal colors i’m looking for in a lens. Maybe that’s part mysticism, because I overhyped myself on all things Zeiss before even getting it. Maybe it was the pure luck that led me to this lens, but I do fancy it and treasure it a lot. (Or it could be the fact it fell apart in my hands and I managed to repair it, degreasing the aperture blades in the progress.)
Now that I think about it… I’ve never shot color negatives with this lens, so be right back…
This lens comes very close to what I’m looking for in a lens.
49mm filter thread – check.
Built-in lens hood – check.
A/M switch – check.
Easy to adapt & popular lens mount – check.
The only down side on this lens seems to be on the mechanical side, which is surprising, since it is generally well made. It has good tolerances and a nice finish, but my copy, as mentioned has already fallen apart once (the helicoid somehow detached from the lens barrel?). Other copies I’ve seen seem to have the oily aperture blade problem too.
The lens controls flare well, has amazing colors, great contrast, and – even wide open just produces superb images. What more can one want? Well, a slightly faster aperture, but 3.5 is okay for an older 135mm lens I guess.
It’s always a thrill shooting with it and some of my favourite (although cliched images) are made with it.
The Sonnar optical formula is tried and tested, this is one of those “Cult Classic” lenses you hear people talk about, which means getting a cheap copy might be hard. Still it shouldn’t break the bank as much as other faster or modern lenses.
Still is it worth it? This is one of the rare cases, where I’d say it is.