Lens review

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM

12 September 2022
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between the Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM and other full frame 135 mm lenses whose apertures range from f/1.8 to f/2.0. The new Sony model, along with the Samyang, features the shortest minimum focus distance and the highest number of aperture blades. What's more, it is at the forefront when it comes to optics comlexity and filter diameter, once again sharing that with the Samyang and the Sigma. Even if the Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM is quite long, it is placed right in the middle of this group when it comes to physical weight.

In the photo below the Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM is positioned between the Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4 G OSS and the Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 65 mm f/2.

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding a black frame made of plastics with embedded contacts. A rear element is almost 33 mm in diameter but its size is limited by the 34×27 mm frame.

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Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality

The proper body of the lens starts with a black, plastic ring which diameter increases as you move further from the mount. On that ring you can find a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, the mount type (E-mount) the symbol of the lens, its serial number, and information about the place of production, China this time.

Already on the enlarged part of the ring you get an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens; a CLICK ON/OFF switch on the right of that inscription offers you two aperture ring modes, declicking it for smooth control without detent. On the left you see two buttons that control the focusing mechanism. The first one is a classic AF/MF switch, the second one is a focus limiter, with three positions: FULL, from 0.7 to 2.0 meters and from 1.5 meters to infinity.

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality

Then you see an aperture ring, as wide as 13 mm, moving every 1/3 EV stop interval. It is covered by ribbing and its performance is really beyond reproach. The ring can also work in a clickless mode, a fact that will certainly please those who prefer video work. It also can be set in A position that allows you to set the aperture from the camera menu level (you can use a controller or, in appropriate modes, it can be done automatically).

The next ring, this time immobile, features the name of the producer, a red G letter, and two Focus hold function buttons.

Then you see a manual focus ring, 30 mm wide. It is covered by rubber ribbing very pleasing to the touch. The ring is a focus-by-wire construction and its focus throw amounts to an angle of about 130-140 degrees, noticeably less than in the case of the 1.4/85 GM model, a very curious thing, especially as the 85 mm model has a narrower distance range. Behind the manual focus ring you also find a metal part of the casing which doesn't move; on it you can find inscriptions with the filter thread diameter, 82 mm, and the minimum focusing distance (0.70m/2.3ft) along with a red mark, making it easier to attach the hood.

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality

The front element is 70 mm in diameter, slightly convex, surrounded by a filter thread for 82 mm filters, and a hood mount.

The chassis of the tested lens is made of a combination of plastics and lightweight magnesium alloy. The instrument is also sealed but not completely waterproof – still it can be used in demanding weather conditions.

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality

The FE 135 f/1.8 GM consists of 13 elements positioned in 10 groups. Inside you can find also special elements – an XA (Extreme Aspherical), one Super ED, and one ED. All elements are covered by Nano AR coatings that are supposed to reduce unwanted reflections. Additionally, the front element is covered by fluorite in order to protect it against moisture and dirt. Inside there is also a round aperture with 11 diaphragm blades that can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: both caps, a hood, and a soft case.

Sony FE 135 mm f/1.8 GM - Build quality