Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Tele-Xenar 135mm 3.5

Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Tele-Xenar 135mm 3.5

Focal Lenght: 135mm
Max Apeture: 3.5
Lens Mount: M42
Min. Focus: 2 m
Filter Size: 49mm
Weight: 305
Coated: Single coated (as far as I can tell)

LENS STORY

This is one got to me in an interesting way. A very close friend of mine studied in an university abroad. When the year is over, students need to move out and sometimes clear out or leave their stuff. A friend of his, who knew he was into photography approached him with a leather camera case they didn’t need – it had 2 lenses and a Practika. He accepted the gift. 

Fast forward a couple of years and the lenses and camera end up with another friend – trying out manual focus, vintage lenses. In the end he settled down on landscape photography and modern lenses. 

Fast Forward a few more years and I’m visiting the town where both of them live now. I notice the lenses and and start inspecting them. My friend, noticing this offers to give them to me, since he doesn’t use them anymore. The Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Tele-Xenar 135mm 3.5 has a very interesting and intricate design, so I couldn’t refuse. 

HANDLING

First things first, I’ll just call this lens the Schneider, since Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Tele-Xenar 135mm 3.5 is kind of a mouthful. 

If I ever took into consideration how a lens looks, this one is it! It’s a simply beautiful lens. I have the first zebra version with the wider rings and it’s striking how well made and designed the whole lens is. 

The focus and aperture on the Schneider are well positioned and easy to grip. For a 135mm this lens isn’t that long and albeit on the heavy side, is a pretty compact little gem.

The A/M switch isn’t like anything I’ve seen before, more reminiscent of the endless knobs and levers on a leaf shutter than of a TLR lens.

What impresses me the most is the ingenious focus scale. While you turn the aperture ring, a little orange line expands and retracts in a transparent window. This gives you a nice visualisation of how each f-stop affects your DoF. It’s not something I used a ton, but it’s a marvel to look at and I do appreciate the design.

One note is that the original lens hood is a metal piece that makes putting on a lens cap a bother, although it looks good in the same style as the lens.

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

This lens is a mixed bag. I’m having a really hard time deciding what to make of it

Sharpess wise, I think it’s good, centre is sharp and corners catch up nicely by f8. (I mean how many lenses don’t right?) Contrast is mediocre, I caught myself bumping it up a bit more than I usually do.

Flare wasn’t an issue, since I always used it with the original lens hood, although I suspect the single coated elements won’t handle themselves that well without it. 

Vignetting is very noticeable wide-open and you have to stop down all the way to 5.6 to see good improvement. 

Chromatic Aberrations are rampart. They’re spread out and cover all edges in sunlit scenes. If you don’t zoom in on your photos you might shrug this one off.

Here’s where I’m most conflicted on the Schneider – the colors, they’re plain bland and flat. It’s not hazy wide open, but it feels like images are devoid of life in the RAW files. This could have it’s benefits, if you’re aiming at some subtle B&W shots, but it’s not my cup of tea. Almost all of the images from the Schneider had the colors corrected, to match what I liked.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s a beautiful lens, it’s sleek and solid, while still retaining a small package. It’s a mixed bag of optical pros and cons and while it was a nice ride, I doubt I’d reach out for it when picking a lens to shoot with.