Lens review

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 135 mm f/2.0 ZE/ZF.2

3 November 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution test of the Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 135 mm f/2.0 ZF.2 was based on RAW files from the full frame Nikon D3x. The measurement errors ranged from 0.2 to 0.8 lpmm. It’s worth reminding here that in case of tests performed on the D3x the decency level we set near 30-32 lpmm and the best fixed-focus lenses can reach as high as 46-47 lpmm. One glance at the graph, presented below, and you know at once that we’ll need to reedit this chapter at some point in the future because the tested Zeiss is simply breaking all possible records.

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 135 mm f/2.0 ZE/ZF.2 - Image resolution

In the centre of the frame, already at the maximum relative aperture, the lens reaches a level of 45 lpmm. This value is so high that we would consider the tested instrument very good even if it was the peak of its possibilities. Meanwhile it is just a beginning. By f/2.8-5.6 the MTFs get to truly record-breaking level of 47-49 lpmm. In order to realize how brilliant such a result is you might remind yourself that the maximum value reached by the incredibly expensive and optically great Nikkor AF-S 200 mm f/2G ED VRII was 47 lpmm.

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When it comes to the edge of the APS-C sensor the results are nearly as outstanding as in the frame centre. Already at the maximum relative aperture the MTFs go over 44 lpmm and, on slight stopping down, they even increase to almost 48 lpmm. The edge of full frame can be described in similar terms. There are simply no weak points here. If any other fixed-focus lens got in the frame centre such results as the Zeiss presents on the edge of the full frame we would still praise it for good image quality. It’s enough to add that the resolution level the Zeiss gets in the very frame corners without breaking out into a sweat would be difficult to achieve by many expensive zoom lenses in the frame centre. Hats off – there’s nothing left to say!

At the end of this chapter traditionally we present crops taken from the frame centre of our resolution testing charts.

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 135 mm f/2.0 ZE/ZF.2 - Image resolution