Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm f3.5 MC M42 Lens Review

One of the most popular and renowned lenses in Carl Zeiss Jena history. Good looking well designed very sharp lens, good for portrait and short telephoto. Almost all the time available on Ebay for reasonable price, generally good quality I never seen broken pieces in my experience, many of them looks brand new. Highly recommended.

Fact Sheet

Vendor name Type Product year
Carl Zeiss Jena
Focal Min(mm) Focal Max(mm) Focus Min(cm)
Aperture Max Aperture Min. Barrel length(mm)
Elements In Group Diaphragm action Weight (g)
3 in 4
Filter Size (mm) Push on diameter (mm) Angular field

How good for portraits ? In my opinion for animals portrait like dogs, cats etc wonderful, but for humans not recommended it shows all skin problems, simple too sharp for that. I like much better Pentacon 135mm for human portraits. See both lens here.

Comments (3)
Sonnar 3.5/135 from Carl Zeiss DDR
3Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:18
Very good lens, may need a soft focus filter for portraiture, not really fast enough at f3.5 for sporting use, unless on a bright sunny day, when it is knife sharp. For detail photos like flowers, car shows and architecture, it is excellent, pin sharp and handles colours beautifully.
Focus ring
2Saturday, 22 September 2012 12:22
I would like to know that too.

Mine was in rather good shape, but the hardened grease made turning the focus ring an uneven and at times rather stiff affair.

It's pretty easy to take apart and put back together so I cleaned out the old grease and re-greased it with Tri-Flow, a bicycle gease with PTFE, as someone on the internets said it made focussing very easy business; almost too easy in fact.

Well, the focus ring turns evenly now but it's at a rather too slow pace, so I've (thanks to the advice of another someone on the internets) ordered Super lube 51004 and will try that instead. I do not look forward to removing all the Tri-Flow. Optically, the lens is worth the hassle.
Focusing of 135
1Wednesday, 04 July 2012 21:34
I have just purchased a Carl Zeiss 135mm 3.5 MC lens on eBay.
I paid ÂŁ67 for it.
The body is in mint minus condition. However, the focusing is very stiff and "clunks" when rotated from one direction to the other. I am guessing that the grease has hardened but wonder how should the focusing respond since I am used to the silky response of other lenses.
How should this lens operate when in excellent condition?

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