10 out of 10 points and recommendedUltra-sharp corner-to-corner, terrific micro-contrast, superior build and Zeiss opticsBeing an SSM would have been better
This lens is ultra-sharp even wide open at f/1.4 ! On an APS-C 12MP (A700), there is absolutely no detectable vignetting and is sharp corner-to-corner with zero degradation as one moves to the borders. There is even resolution throughout the frame (on APS-C - never tested on Full-frame yet).reviewed August 31st, 2008 (purchased for $1,300)
The entire lens is cased in metal, with even the hood being metal and the whole lens has a VERY high precision feel.
The only (minor) point about this lens is that I wish this was an SSM lens than having the AF driven off of the body-based motor, even though the AF itself is fast enough, even for tracking action. The body-based motor obviously is not as silent as an SSM motor could be.
Other than the above minor gripe, I can unequivocally recommend this lens. Paired with its companion, the Carl Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 Sonnar, I think this is a terrific one-two punch from Sony, into the ultra-high-end of dSLR lenses. Remember that due to the body based stabilization of Sony bodies, all of these primes are "stabilized", whereas not a single one of Sony's primary Full-frame competition from Canon/Nikon have stabilized lenses.
Can't wait for their Full-frame model with its 24.6MP sensor, with built-in body-based Stabilization, to be released fast enough !
10 out of 10 points and recommendedExceptional quality on the A900 - none better in any system right from wide-open (my comparison point being my prior 135mm f/2L on 1DSMKII), excellent micro-contrastHeavy and massive (due to the massive max aperture), heavy metal hood, should have been SSM (IMHO) even though some other users disagree
Please note that when you say:reviewed August 11th, 2009
" The lens was designed by Carl Zeiss, and is the fastest 135mm lens currently available, but only by a hair (Canon and Nikon come in with close second places, both offering a 135mm ƒ/2 lens)."
you have to remember that "only by a hair" means the amount of light the Carl Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 lets in over the f/2 alternatives, is almost 24% more. Almost a FOURTH as much more light ! Thus the "only by a hair" can be a bit misleading.
Either way, I find this lens to be exceptional on the A900, right from wide-open. Recently, I printed out some 24"x36" portrait prints from the A900 (printed out on Canvas) and the results were just mind-blowing in terms of the sheer amount of micro-detail the lens managed to prise out. All I can say is "wow" !
I also wish they provided a lighter plastic hood as an alternative to the heavy full-metal hood that comes with the lens. Of course a plastic hood provides the same functionality, while being much lighter.