Daily Image: CZJ 135mm f/3.5 Test

Test shot with CZJ 135mm f/3.5 Sonnar and the Sony A7Sii. SOOC shot wide open.

A new-to-me Carl Zeiss Jena (CZJ) 135mm f/3.5 Sonnar medium telephoto lens arrived a couple of days ago. It was listed as excellent condition and CLA’d1. It sat on the table for a couple of days, but I decided to mount it on the Sony A7Sii and shoot it this morning. I might take it along on walkies as well.

The focus is a bit stiff and grabby, although not grinding as if the helicoid grease was hardened. It might just be the sample. It might be the age. Or it might need a little better cleaning.

The lens looks good, no obvious flaws. There is the usual minor internal dust and a few cleaning marks on the front element. Neither of these are of concern, although if I open it up to clean and relubricate the helicoid I will clean up the dust (of course).

I have a fondness for the Sonnar design. Lenses based on this old Zeiss optical formula generally produce very nice images, with out of focus areas smooth and a slight softening of the image toward the edge.

This is one of the things I prefer from legacy glass — the images do not have that clinical sharpness common to modern glass (and the computer designs), but have a certain character. There is nothing wrong with the former for the proper application. But for my images, which I shoot for art and fun, I like the character and quirky quality that some legacy lenses provide.

I think this is a keeper.

1CLA = Clean, Lubricate, Adjust.