Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2,0/135 ZF.2 (Nikon) mount lens review: Unsurpassed Moderate Telephoto

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday December 03 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Prime and moderate telephoto Prime ranking | Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2 Nikon lens performance | Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2 Nikon versus competition | Conclusion

Best prime

Along with the new Otus 1,4/55, Zeiss produce the two top performing primes in our database when analyzed on the Nikon D800. Although the DxOMark scores are close to the Otus and match the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.4, the peak sharpness score is significantly higher than the highly regarded Nikon lens and very close to the $4,000 Otus 1,4/55.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2 Nikon39994529
Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2 Nikon16004028
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G21994022
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G6904019
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Nikon8993923
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II58993928

Most of the gains in sharpness over the Nikkor will be made across the frame at wider apertures. Typically, 135mm lenses are much easier to design and produce than other focal lengths, but this is a high-speed model and aberration correction remains challenging.

Best moderate prime

Compared with others of a similar focal length the superior image quality of the Zeiss is quite clear. With a DxOMark score of 36 points, even the highly regarded Zeiss Makro Planar T* 2/100 is far off the peak sharpness of the Apo Sonnar T*.

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2 Nikon16004028
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G21994022
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G6904019
Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 100mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon18403617
Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherique IF Nikon3283617
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon9693518
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF12303316
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED8903216
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D4603217
Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2D10993217
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD Nikon7493219
Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon4993013
Carl Zeiss Planar T 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 Nikon12802917
Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO Nikon4602914
Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Nikon9692817
Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon6402817