135mm Lens War

It just happened that I collected a whole bunch of manual lens, and plenty of them are135mm somehow. Of course, I have the "serious" lens for doing important shots (the legendary Canon 135 f2 L), but also a whole box of M42 lens, some of them legendary in their own rights, just from a few years back.

So, how to they compare ? Is a Takumar better than a Carl Zeiss Jena ? Are the Pentacon underrated ? Does the Canon lives up to the hype ?

Here are the contestants.


Believe me, that tray was heavy ! From top left to bottom right:

So the test was made on tripod, Canon 350D back, mirror lockup and remote control. I used compensation to ensure the exposition was similar between the shots by checking the histograms, but otherwise these 100% crops here are direct from the camera. I even did the crops using "jpegtran" that doesn't recompress ("lossless crop").

I did 2 series of shots per (manual) lens. I defocused them before refocusing them again, using my Haoda focusing prism screen. I have published the two sets of shots for comparison. ISO100 for everyone. All the lens had hoods on.

Executive Summary ?

Well, nope. Not really.


to email your comments about this page.You can also join my Manual Focus Forum ! Plenty of weird interesting lens to play with out there!


f2.5 f2.8 f3.5 f5.6 f8
Canon EF 135mm f2 L
Sigma 24-135 f3.8-5.6 Macro
Canon 70-300 f3.5-5.6 DO IS
Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f3.5 MC 'S'
Hanimar auto 'S' 135mm f2.8 MC
Super Multi Coated Takumar 135mm f3.5 (1)
Super Multi Coated Takumar 135mm f3.5 (2)
Super Multi Coated Takumar 135mm f2.5
Pentacon 135mm f2.8 Preset
Pentacon 135mm f2.8 MC Auto (1)
Pentacon 135mm f2.8 MC Auto (2)