Zeiss Planar 135mm f3.5 sharpness when wide open?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by joel_orbita, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Hi, Anyone had any experience with the Zeiss Planar 135mm f3.5 lens when shooting wide open? Is it quite sharp? How old is it? How much would you expect to pay for this lens? Am also interested in the Xenotar 150mm 2.8 and the Xenotar 135 3.5? Same issues as stated above? I plan to buy one of them for portraits shot wide open. Thanks. Any information you could provide would be great.
  2. For a Planar or Xenotar expect to dig deep on the money side to get a good one : To rich for my blood and wallet: If you go to Ebay and get in and do a search in the closed sales for planar lenses or xenotar lenses you should get some idea of what you may have to spend good luck and happy hunting
  3. Thanks Lauren, Have done exactly that, a somewhat scary prospect indeed!! Its hard to know if it is what you after without actually trying it out... Might have to hunt at some second hand camera stores and see if i can take a few shots with it... Thanks for your imput. Regards Joel
  4. Here's an old Fuji Instant (FP100C45) test shot that I took after Fred sorted out my shutter on my Planar
    Keep in mind that it's instant film, but it may be helpful
  5. If you want a fast lens for portraits with shallow DOF, I'd recommend a longer focal length - I have a pentac f2.9 which is quite sharp wide open in the centre and still pretty good at the edges- easily good enough for portraits wide open. Bokeh is very nice indeed, with little mechanical vignetting
    I have an aero ektar too 178mm f2.5 - its very sharp - sharper than the pentac - 100lp/mm at the aerial image in the centre. However it has some Coma wide open and the mechanical vignetting means cats eye highlights in the bokeh that are quite distracting. Also its twice the weight, much bigger and doesnt take standard filters (it has no threads)
    The pentac takes standard 77mm filters (or 67mm on the rear). Mine is single coated and seems to bee a good one, 60+lp/mm wide open- quality can be variable so you'll want to try it out.
    Both lenses show very good performance at f4 - the AE's coma and vignetting go by f4.
    At these focal lengths its easier to get a good head and shoulders without being in the subjects lap. At 135mm you are going to have alot of the environment in the shot.
    For portraits, where you keep the size of the subjects fixed, the DOF is only affected by the f no. and the size of the negative, being proportional to both. So any focal length f2.8 lens gives the same DOF if you frame the subject the same in each case.
    Beware, though of focal plane errors in your groundglass, as tiny errors are important. I suspect many lenses have been decalared poor performers by people with misaligned GG or holders. The accuracy needed at f2.5 is a tolerance of 0.1mm or less.
  6. Bart, that is really beautiful shot, now you got me thinking about getting a 135 planar.
  7. Thanks to everyone for your responses!! BArt that sample image is great and really helps me out.... I mainly plan to do evironmental portraits so a slightly wide lens is OK.. Kevin, from the examples I have seen of the Aero Extar it is just a little too wild for me... Quite beautiful but not really my style... ANyone have any sample images of the Xenotar 150mm 2.8 shot wide open? Thanks again
  8. Joel - wanted to thank you for asking this question! I have 135 Planar which was with the 4x5 kit I've assumed from my father, and after you post went to looking - and found it is not only wonderful on 4x5, but on a Tech 70 is absolutely an amazing lens.(And the standard 80/53 cam has a setting for 135!)
    At 3.5 it's Hollywood Golden Age pretty, narrow DOF but sharp, and 5.6-8 gives you enough DOF for handheld work but still gives nice separation - if you;re into bokeh, it's gorgeous.
    So thanks again for getting me curious to see if this would work - I love the 4x5, but the Tech is a lot easier to carry around, and you know, use:)
  9. And Bart - after looking at your flikr shots, I see that I'm going to have to find the cam wrench for the 4x5 as well - i love the smaller Fujis on 6x9, but the 4x5 size is something else. Great work!

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