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03-10-2018, 11:24 PM   #1
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How Pentax A* 135mm f1.8 compare to the Zeiss and Sigma 135mm f1.8

How does the Pentax A* 135mm f 1.8 compare to the Zeiss 135mm f1.8 & sigma 135mm f1.8? Don't have any of the lenses. It's just that the question's been revolving on my mind.

03-10-2018, 11:31 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Why has the question been revolving on your mind?

One is old, manual focus but auto aperture with K-mount, and superb.
One is newer, all manual and convertible to K-mount if you have a pile of cash, and superb.
One is newer again, autofocus and not available in K-mount, and no doubt excellent, but that is largely academic.

Guess which is which.
03-10-2018, 11:43 PM - 1 Like   #3
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.

Also, I was not aware that Zeiss made a 135mm f/1.8 lens that could be mounted on a Pentax camera. Zeiss of course makes a 135mm f/2 lens (both Milvus and Classic versions) in a Nikon mount that cost nearly $2,000 , and for another $200 you can have it adapted to fit onto a Pentax K mount. This lens is outstanding and said by most to be "Otus" quality. I am personally familiar with this lens.


I have never shot the Pentax A 135mm lens, but it too is expensive and highly regarded.


You can buy a new Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 lens from any of the major camera retailers. However, the Pentax A is out of production and can only be purchased on the used market. For my own curiousity I just checked USA Ebay. There are currently 9 such Pentax A 135/1.8 lenses listed with an average price of around $2,000.


I'd be extremely surprised if anyone here has used both of these fine lenses and would be able to give a good comparision between the two lenses.


But having used one of them and having read a bit about the other, I'd expect that both lenses are top notch and I'd expect each to have it's own signature. Selecting between these two MF lenses would probably boil down to which one's rendering that you prefer. To answer that question I'd suggest you review images posted on Flickr taken with each lens.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 03-11-2018 at 03:09 PM.
03-11-2018, 12:16 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Why has the question been revolving on your mind?

One is old, manual focus but auto aperture with K-mount, and superb.
One is newer, all manual and convertible to K-mount if you have a pile of cash, and superb.
One is newer again, autofocus and not available in K-mount, and no doubt excellent, but that is largely academic.

Guess which is which.
Well considering how well regarded the lenses are, for their optical quality. The questions been in my mind for while! I am really interested in finding out, which has better bokeh, sharper, contrasty, exceptional color rendition! Does any one of these lenses have all the quality or is it divided among them. Lots of questions in my mind!

---------- Post added 03-11-18 at 12:16 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Why has the question been revolving on your mind?

One is old, manual focus but auto aperture with K-mount, and superb.
One is newer, all manual and convertible to K-mount if you have a pile of cash, and superb.
One is newer again, autofocus and not available in K-mount, and no doubt excellent, but that is largely academic.

Guess which is which.
Well considering how well regarded the lenses are, for their optical quality. The questions been in my mind for while! I am really interested in finding out, which has better bokeh, sharper, contrasty, exceptional color rendition! Does any one of these lenses have all the quality or is it divided among them. Lots of questions in my mind!

---------- Post added 03-11-18 at 12:18 AM ----------

Zeiss used make it but for Sony A mount only! And thanks for the suggestion! I'm definitely going to do that. Check out flickr!

03-11-2018, 12:53 AM   #5
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Once again, I ask why? Are you merely curious, or seriously interested in paying the entry price to this club? I'm still not sure I am

Anyway, there are few options for K-mount shooters.

Forget the Sigma.

The A*135 is difficult to find on the second hand market, and very expensive if you can. It works natively on the K-1. Some photos HERE

The Zeiss is slower, even more expensive, and needs a conversion to even work at all on K-mount. I'm sure Fenwoodiam can furnish you with sample images.

Samyang also make an excellent 135/2.0 - reviews HERE

I have owned the Pentax K135/2.5 and FA135/2.8 - both were excellent but I stupidly sold them before the K-1 was released
03-11-2018, 02:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SunnyG. Quote
How does the Pentax A* 135mm f 1.8 compare to the Zeiss 135mm f1.8 & sigma 135mm f1.8? Don't have any of the lenses. It's just that the question's been revolving on my mind.
You did forget the excellent Samyang 135mm F2, which is easily available for small money ($499) for Pentax. In my opinion it is the best lens available in PK mount today and basically in Otus league.

From what I have seen the Samyang, Zeiss and Sigma are optically indistinguishable (not price...) and all excellent.

The old Pentax, not stopped down, is ... well ... not so good.
Look at this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/douglas_of_sweden/2928292466/in/album-72157609014256252/
If it was available new with full warranty I would not spend more than 2/3 of the Samyang price.

Other people have different opinions, but usually they are text only and not supported by relevant sample images.
03-11-2018, 02:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
You did forget the excellent Samyang 135mm F2....
On the same note, there is the oustanding Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL, rare, expensive for a K-mount, and a truly outstanding lens.

As Sandy said: "Once again, I ask why?". What do you want to shoot?
03-11-2018, 03:15 AM   #8
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If you are OK with manual focus and shoot in the K mount, the Samyang is the way to go. The A* 135 doesn't come on the market very often and while the samples I have seen are excellent, it is an awful lot of money for what it is. The out of focus rendering it offers are pretty nice, although it is a bit soft wide open.

03-11-2018, 03:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
You did forget the excellent Samyang 135mm F2, which is easily available for small money ($499) for Pentax. In my opinion it is the best lens available in PK mount today and basically in Otus league.

From what I have seen the Samyang, Zeiss and Sigma are optically indistinguishable (not price...) and all excellent.

The old Pentax, not stopped down, is ... well ... not so good.
Look at this album: portrait A*135 at f1.8 | A*135 at f1.8 corner crop this lens? | Flickr
If it was available new with full warranty I would not spend more than 2/3 of the Samyang price.

Other people have different opinions, but usually they are text only and not supported by relevant sample images.
Curious comments. I just checked the link and note the shots were variously testing the absolute boundaries of the lens. Some shots with 2x converter. One shot taken in dark with shutter speed of 1\40. All shots taken on the k20d.

I have only heard good things about this unicorn. But as others say it is a big price to enter that club. On that score I would tend to go for the samyang but only for that reason.
03-11-2018, 04:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wild Mark Quote
Curious comments. I just checked the link and note the shots were variously testing the absolute boundaries of the lens. Some shots with 2x converter. One shot taken in dark with shutter speed of 1\40. All shots taken on the k20d.
A number of images was shot normally without TC and they look absolutely crap.
Those images do not show any movement blur induced by shutter speed.
The K20 was absolutely able to produce sharp images as much as todays cameras, when watched at 100%.
What is worse though is that this is a FF lens and the samples only show the "best" part of the image on APSC. There is no FF edge or corner sample.

If this here portrait A*135 at f1.8 | A*135 at f1.8 center crop this lens? | Flickr is the best you can get out of a lens at 1/100 sec in the absolute center then any compact does better. That is not a "boundary" that is plain average shooting.
03-11-2018, 04:14 AM   #11
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I won’t argue with you but will say this. The link you provided was for a corner crop. Looked ok to me.

---------- Post added 11-03-18 at 10:21 PM ----------

Douglas from sweden is a fan

SMC Pentax-A* 135mm F1.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
03-11-2018, 04:49 AM   #12
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There is also another modern option: Mitakon 135mm f/1,4. This lens is made in small series and was available with K mount earlier. Its quite a heavy beast and it cost 3000 $. You could wait for it to become available in K mount again, contact Mitacon and ask them to make one with K mount despite its not listed, or look for a used one.

Or you could go a little shorter on focal length and get a Venus Laowa 105mm f/2,0 Smooth Transition Focus for 700 $. This should be close to portaiture bokeh heaven.
03-11-2018, 04:54 AM   #13
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Samyang 135/2,0 is very good option.
If you want 135/1,8 lens for portraits, there are other options - projector lenses. Youl will need to buy helicoid and 3 adapters, maybe cut the rear part of the barrel. But image quality, sharpness is more than enough for portraits.
Carl Zeiss Jena or ROW (Rathenower Optische Werke) 141/1,9 - some examples wide open, postprocessed in PS and LR.

MG Mindaugas - Reikia blendos? Pasidaryk pats :) ?od?iu...... | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - K? galvoju? Gal nor??iau kavos su desertu.... | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - ? tolius besi?valgant Pentax K-1, Visionar... | Facebook
Agnes by Medex G - Photo 245499035 / 500px

Carl Zeiss Jena Kipronar 140/1,9 - Petzval type lens. Absolutely different bokeh (swirly)... Price on ebay about 100-150 euro in good usable condition.
Examples here: kipronar photos on Flickr | Flickr

Alternative to Visionar lens - Belomo 35KP-1,8/140 - russian 6 elements in 6 group (heavy one, about 1,5 kg). About 40-60 $ on ebay
Some pictures:
MG Mindaugas - Agnija | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - Agnija | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - Mergina mieste Daugiau foto... | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - MG Mindaugas added a new photo. | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - MG Mindaugas added a new photo. | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - MG Mindaugas added a new photo. | Facebook

Alternative to Kipronar - russiant Belomo 35KP-1.8/140 (4 elements in 2 groups, weight about 800 g). Price on ebay about 30-40 dollars.
Examples:
MG Mindaugas - MG Mindaugas added a new photo. | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - El?bieta. Belomo 35KP-1,8/140 (4/2) -... | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - Agnija | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - Agnija | Facebook
MG Mindaugas - Neu?mir?tuol?s Belomo 35KP-1,8/140 Petzval type | Facebook

There are other alternatives too.
03-11-2018, 05:42 AM   #14
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It's very sharp wide open. It actually beats the K135/2.5 wide open for sharpness, and then wipes the floor with it at f/2.5. The bokeh on the A* is also much smoother in the same shooting conditions.

...But I don't think it's really worth the premium over the K135/2.5 unless you want to have the rarest lenses. I've not tried the Samyang but I can imagine it'd put up a great fight from the reviews I've seen.
03-11-2018, 02:50 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
You did forget the excellent Samyang 135mm F2, which is easily available for small money ($499) for Pentax. In my opinion it is the best lens available in PK mount today and basically in Otus league.

From what I have seen the Samyang, Zeiss and Sigma are optically indistinguishable (not price...) and all excellent.

The old Pentax, not stopped down, is ... well ... not so good.
Look at this album: portrait A*135 at f1.8 | A*135 at f1.8 corner crop this lens? | Flickr
If it was available new with full warranty I would not spend more than 2/3 of the Samyang price.

Other people have different opinions, but usually they are text only and not supported by relevant sample images.
.

Do you own the Samyang 135/2? Do you own any Zeiss Otus lenses? If not, how can you make this assertion?

I have owned 2 copies of the Samyang 135/2 ( I currently own one of them). I don't own the Zeiss 135/2, but have adapted one of them and did some test shooting with it. While I don't own any Zeiss Otus lenses, I do own some Zeiss Milvus lenses.

THE SAMYANG 135/2 IS EXTREMELY SHARP. BUT IN EVERY OTHER LENS CHARACTERISTIC, IT FALLS WELL SHORT OF THE PEREFORMANCE OF THE ZEISS 135/2 (AND ALL OF THE ZEISS MILVUS LENSES I HAVE USED).

The Samyang 135/2 is certainly a lot of lens for the money (my current one I paid only $350 for). But claiming that it's as good as the best Zeiss lenses that cost 10 times as much is disinformation and misrepresentation.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 03-11-2018 at 03:05 PM.
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