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06-11-2012, 12:55 AM   #1
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Best 135mm f2.8 MF Lens

There are plenty of cheap 135mm f2.8 lenses for sale here and on ebay, which are the best among them? (no f3.5 or f2.5 recommendation pls)

06-11-2012, 01:16 AM   #2
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My best 135 are

K135/2.5 for general purpose - good for all.
K135/3.5 also M135/3.5 for color rending.
Pentacon auto m42 135/2.8 (not old preset bokeh monster) for f2.8 and f4 shooting, sharpness, bokeh, neutral color. At f4 the iris is almost perfect circle.

Don't have any faster.
OM 135, canon fd 135, hexanon ar 135, minolta md 135 they are all good 135.

Vivitar 135/2.8: copy vary. Mine are very sharp, but cold color rending, BW is fine.
06-11-2012, 02:48 AM   #3
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Some will argue, but IMHO not many 135s are 'bad'. Of course, I haven't tried them all.

Too bad you don't want f/2.5s or f/3.5s, because some of my best are there: Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5 (because it focuses closest) and S-M-C Takumar 135/2.5 (quite the sharpest); S-M-C Takumar 135/3.5 (quite good) and SMC M135/3.5 (good & compact); also E.Zuiko and Rikenon and Enna Tele-Ennalyt 135/3.5's, and the glorious Jupiter-11 135/4.

But since you want f/2.8s, I'll mention the Sears and Focal (both by Ricoh) and Soligor (Komine) and Opticam (T2, preset, maker unknown). The Sears 'macro' with twistable front element is renowned for it aura -- I sold mine before I knew about that, dammit. Others may praise the Tair-11 and another Jupiter (sorry, I forget the number) and various Zeiss glass.

You could get kinky. I do. I use fixed-aperture projector lenses of 127/3.5 mounted on bellows for old-feel imagery, giving a Petzval Portrait look. Mine are GoldeE Anastigmat, and TDC (Three Dimensional Camera) VIVID Anastigmat lenses. Actually, the GoldE has its own helicoid mount and doesn't need bellows. But I also use a FAX-Kowa 137/4.5 and some enlarger lenses (with apertures) in that vicinity: Schneider Componar 135/4.5, and Ilex Solar Anastigmat 140/4.5. Other such lenses in the 127mm / 5in to 140mm / 5.5in range can be found. When they cost just US$5-$10 each, they're hard to pass by.

But if you just want a decent plain-vanilla sharp 135/2.8, anything marked Sears or Focal will be a good value. Good luck!
06-11-2012, 03:08 AM   #4
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I've always been partial to the Meyer/Görlitz Orestor (the earlier version of the Pentacon Auto), but there are many good. Vivitar Close Focusing is another one I'd recommend.

06-11-2012, 08:20 AM   #5
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I suppose since you don't want to hear about f/3.5 or f/2.5 lenses, you probably also don't want to hear about the M120/2.8, but I'd put it against any 1352.8 I've seen.
06-11-2012, 09:42 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I suppose since you don't want to hear about f/3.5 or f/2.5 lenses...
@Marc, I am aware of f2.5 & f3.5, my only reason to say 'No' to 2.5 & 3.5 in this discussion is to learn about best among the large 135mm f2.8 variations available on ebay.

In past, I owned Rikenon XR 135mm & Sears 135mm, personally I liked Rikenon 135mm a lot, here is one shot using Rikenon XR 135mm.

06-11-2012, 07:28 PM   #7
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Does anyone know anything about the Meyer 135mm f/2.8 in PK mount? There's a seller on ebay who wants $240 for them new (auction item number is 300539497541). They're made in Germany, and look well made, but sure seems like a lot to me. Looks like 5 people have bought them so far... anyone in this forum have one, and care to share what the lens is like?
06-11-2012, 07:40 PM   #8
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OK, so you have knocked 3 of my 5 135's out of the running (K1345/2.5, M135/3.5 and S-M-C Tak 135/3.5) so what's left?

how about a tele lentar 135/2.5 preset. rivals the SMC 135/3.5 in sharpness and color and is somewhat better in bokeh.

one to stay away from, auto rikenon 135/2.8 secew mount with 6 blade aperture, terrible color cast, one stop slower at every aperture, and suffers from reflections off the back lens retaining ring and the sensor

06-11-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
Does anyone know anything about the Meyer 135mm f/2.8 in PK mount? There's a seller on ebay who wants $240 for them new (auction item number is 300539497541). They're made in Germany, and look well made, but sure seems like a lot to me. Looks like 5 people have bought them so far... anyone in this forum have one, and care to share what the lens is like?
Probably made during the brief revival of "Meyer-Optik" 1990-1991, when the Goerlitz factory was privatized.
I believe those had plastic barrels.

Praktica B Lenses
06-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
@Marc, I am aware of f2.5 & f3.5, my only reason to say 'No' to 2.5 & 3.5 in this discussion is to learn about best among the large 135mm f2.8 variations available on ebay.

In past, I owned Rikenon XR 135mm & Sears 135mm, personally I liked Rikenon 135mm a lot...
I too had a great copy of the XR, but decided to cut the weight in half and get the Pentax 135/3.5. Ironically though another XR beat out the Pentax: the 70-150 f/4! That's what you'd call ironic.. though I wonder which XR was heavier? My 'records' show 415g for the 135, 440 for the zoom - close enough.

I guess that means my winning 135/2.8 is a 70-150 f/4.. that's not ironic, just a bit silly.
06-11-2012, 08:20 PM   #11
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my auto soligor is the best one i've owned so far.
06-11-2012, 10:15 PM   #12
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As Rico says...most 135s are pretty good with very few standouts. I am very fond of my Vivitar 135/2.8 (Komine).


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06-12-2012, 01:33 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As Rico says...most 135s are pretty good with very few standouts. I am very fond of my Vivitar 135/2.8 (Komine).
May be easier question would be then, what are the bad 135mm? Some Pentax 135mm are not reviewed so positively.
06-12-2012, 04:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
May be easier question would be then, what are the bad 135mm? Some Pentax 135mm are not reviewed so positively.
But bad amongst Pentax could still be better than the rest. I believe you are talking about the takumar bayonet
06-12-2012, 05:36 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
May be easier question would be then, what are the bad 135mm? Some Pentax 135mm are not reviewed so positively.
Here is a search of Pentax 135 reviews. The only Pentax prime that gets less than an 8.00 score is the Takumar Bayonet 135/2.5 with two entries: 7.83 and 7.50. That second entry is curious: 3 reviews, one with no rating, with with an 8 rating, and a 7 rating by someone who had never owned nor used the lens! Toss that out and include the others with the 37 reviews in the first entry, and the score approaches 7.90, not exactly a 'bad' rating. And the Tak Bayonet's main shortcoming is that it has MC rather than SMC coatings, so users shouldn't point it into lights without expecting flare. So it's still very good optically.

Here is a search of 3rd-party 135 lens reviews. Of those that score 7.00 or less, most have only one review, so it's hard to say whether it's bad design+production or a bad copy. Luzers include: Soligor 135/2.8 (but were many makers of Soligor lenses); and Ricoh 135mm f2.8 XR Rikenon. Yet elsewhere I've seen rave reviews of each. And these small-sample statistical results aren't really significant. Oh bother. EDIT: As Lowell mentions below, M42 Ricoh's were also the products of various lensmakers, so we can't ding them all for the shortcomings of one variant.

I can look at my own database of lenses, at the Pentaxable 135s I've sold or hope to sell and why, and I come up with:

* M42 Super Takumar 135/3.5: beat-up
* PKM Chinar 135/2.8: unexciting
* M42 Hanimar Automatic 135/2.8: unexciting
* M42 Hanimar Tele-Auto 135/2.8: beat-up
* M42 Porst Tele MC Auto D 135/2.8: fogged
* M42 Rexatar Automatic 135/2.8: fringing
* PKM Rokinon Automatic 135/2.8: unexciting
* EXA Schacht Albinar 135/4.5: sticky focus
* M42 Sears Auto 135/2.8: duplicate
* PKA Sears Auto MC 135/2.8 'macro': fringing ** this is the 'aura' lens I should have kept
* M42 Steinheil Culminar VL 135/4.5: botched rebuild
* M42 Sunset Auto 135/2.8: fringing
* M42 Suntar 135/2.8: unexciting

The Rexatar and Sunset were the only ones whose optics I didn't like, or at least they failed my PF test. But PF can be fixed in PP, and they buyers never complained. In fact the buyer of the both the Sears 'aura' macro and the Sunset both commented that they liked the sharpness. So only the Rexatar was a real luzer. All the others were either beat-up|damaged, or a duplicate, or just not exciting. Even *I* get bored by some lenses.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-12-2012 at 06:32 AM.
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