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Carl Zeiss Planar T* 135mm f/2

Carl Zeiss Planar T* 135mm f/2

 

Introduction

Contax Carl Zeiss Planar T* 135mm f/2 is a rather uncommon lens in the now defunct Contax lineup. Carl Zeiss manufactured the prime from about 1975 until the end of 1990s, but even during the mainstream manufacturing, the lens was not as popular as its shorter version, Carl Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2 or even slower Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8. The lens was manufactured as an AE and MM versions, although MM versions of the lens are even rarer these days and fetch a slightly higher premium. The lens can be found on used markets if one is patient enough, with good quality copies selling at ~US1,200.

The optical construction of the lens costs of 5 elements in 5 groups. The lens sports usual to Contax lenses excellent build quality - metal barrel, broad rubberized focusing and aperture rings. The aperture ring is reasonably tight and requires a little bit of pressure to switch from position to position. The minimum aperture setting if f/22 and since the aperture is fully mechanical, the setting is communicated to the camera with an aperture lever. The focusing ring is smooth, and also requires application of some force to rotate. The minimum focusing distance is 1.5m (5ft).

The lens is about average in size and weight for a medium telephoto - 75 x 101mm (2.95 x 3.9in) at 790g (27.8oz), although the barrel of the lens extends by another 10mm when focused towards closeup. Because of the pretty large front element, the lens requires a 72mm threaded filters, which is not that typical among prime medium telephotos.

Image

 

Contax series of lenses were designed for traditional 35mm cameras and as such when used on APS-C type digital bodies with 1.6x crop factor the field of view of the lens will resemble that of a 216mm lens on full frame body. Like most Contax lenses, Planar T* 125mm f/2 can be easily adapted to a number of alternative mount cameras, including Canon EF/EF-S systems and Four Thirds systems, using readily available adapters. Within the scope of this review, the lens was tested on full frame and APS-C type Canon digital cameras.

 

Summary
Lens Composition 5 elements in 5 groups
Angular Field 18.5 degrees
Minimum Focus 1.5m/5ft
Focusing Action MF
stop Scale f/2-f/22, manual
Filter Size 72mm
Lens Hood Built-in
Weight 790g/27.8oz
Dimensions 75x101xmm/2.95x3.9"
Lens Case No.4 (included)