Canon EOS350D: A Manual Focus 135mm Lenses Comparison

Veijo Vilva

(Page under Construction)

Test shots with various 135mm lenses at ISO400, raw, f/5.6, 0.3s.

Camera on a tripod, remote release. Raw images converted with dcraw (Auto White Balance).


  • my test procedure isn't very rigorous
  • bad results may be caused by bad focusing as manual focusing in dim lighting isn't any too easy when the DOF for this level of expected sharpness is just a few millimeters in either direction
  • the test only shows that the specific tested lens is at least as good as my results -- even that individual lens might be better, and others of the same make and model may be better or worse
  • anyhow, the equivalent magnification of the 100% crops is just plain sick, i.e. about 48x on a typical 17", 1024x768 CRT. Normally, 8x has been considered a reasonable maximum for critical sharpness from film. At 48x magnification, a 35mm film frame would be about 172cm (68") wide, and even a 1.6x crop factor dSLR frame would be 107cm (42") wide!

Full Frame

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 3.5/135mm (Full-Size High Quality JPEG, 2.7Mb)
Note: the leftmost two books by de Maupassant are about 3cm behind the plane of focus.


100% Crops from near the upper right corners:

Pentacon electric 2.8/135mm:

Carl Zeiss Jena MC S 3.5/135mm:
The CZJ Sonnar has a much better sharpness and contrast than the Pentacon.

Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 3.5/135mm:
The Super-Multi-Coated Takumar, however, seems here to be even better than the CZJ Sonnar.
Taking into account the limitations of the 350D, the image could hardly be any better.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 2.8/135mm:
Well, the Sonnar just might be better. (Full-Size High Quality JPEG, 2.6Mb. Note: this photo was taken on a different occasion and the books on the left have been moved to the same depth as the rest.)

  • at this magnification and resolution level, even very small inaccuracies in focusing have quite large an effect
  • I was lucky with the Takumar as already the first shot was so sharp it would have been silly even to try to get a sharper one -- with the other lenses, I took about ten photos and selected the sharpest one.
  • the differences between the lenses are, in practice, rather minor
  • the non-MC Pentacon has an appreciably lower contrast than the other two
  • the tested Super-Multi-Coated Takumar is embarrassingly good compared with the highly regarded CZJ S(onnar), but this result may be spurious as there is a certain amount of variation even within the same manufacturing lot so maybe the Takumar is just an above average specimen and the Sonnar an inferior one -- for a Sonnar, that is.

Printed at 254dpi (15.6x magnification), the whole image would be 34.6cm (13.6") wide and the above crop would be 7.3cm (slightly less than 3") wide, i.e. something like:


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