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What's the best overall inexpensive 135 for portraits ?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Amamba, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Due to the latest bout of GAS, I ended up with two optically mint copies of Minolta MD 70-210/4. From what I can see this lens sells for $50-70 on eBay.

    So, I want to sell it and use the money to buy a nice portrait prime. And I need some advice on what to get. My priorities are:

    - Bokeh
    - Sharpness
    - Colors
    - Light weight

    I do not care about edge sharpness as this will be primarily a portrait lens.

    I don't want to spend much as this lens won't be used as often as some others. So any 85mm is probably out of question. There's a number of135mm lenses that may fit the bill.

    Any mount would do, I have enough Minoltas now to justify getting another adapter.

    Any suggestions ?
     
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    If you like Minoltas, you can get an MD 135 2.8 for pretty cheap I believe ...
    I have the f/3.5 (last version plain MD) and it still has the beautiful Minolta colours, its lightweight (just 285g!!!) and small, gives a nice soft bokeh (but the 2.8 would be better IMO) and ok sharpness when stopped down at 5.6 or so

    Though for me a 135mm is not an ideal portrait lens - I find it a little long

    ;)
     
  3. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    210
    Aug 21, 2011
    As Nick says,...135 is long for portrait work. In fact, it's well into 'medium telephoto' and gives a 4x view compared to a standard lens (equiv. to 200mm on traditional 35mm film camera).....

    You might like to consider a 50mm as these will be easier to find with more examples/prices and will offer a short tele view ideal for portraits. Telephoto view is important for portraits as it helps to equalize the facial features and pevents anything becoming exagerated,...however, TOO long a lens tends to flatten and make the features bland and uninteresting. A 50mm gives just a touch of tele 'look' and is a light, small lens which is easy to handle and use, plus the usual large max aperture enables shallow depth of field when you need it.
     
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The Sony 135mm f/1.8 ZA is quite nice. Oh wait ...

    Jokes aside, why are 85mm lenses out of question? On APS-C sized bodies they are much more convenient than 135mm lenses for portrait work, and I bet there are some *relatively* cheap ones out there.
     
  5. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    Don't forget the Sigma 60mm. Reasonably inexpensive, doesn't require an adaptor, and with autofocus -- but not OSS.
     
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    In this case, the Sony 50mm 1.8 might be a better choice. More than a stop faster, OSS and great bokeh.
     
  7. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    85mm is ideal for portrait work IMHO - the problem is that the good 85s (for my case the MD 85 f/2) are expensive :(
     
  8. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I am simply not ready to drop another $200 on a lens, and I haven't seen them much cheaper. Also, 135mm would be a better general purpose tele lens if I don't want to lug around 70-210.

    Already have it.
     
  9. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm, Tair 11 and some Takumars/Pentaxes (but not all of them) are mentioned often in discussions 'what is best 135mm lens'. Pentacon and Jupiter 37a have some followers too. What is good portrait lens is very personal thing.

    I am looking (cheap) Tamron 135mm/2.5 (that is not great lens so won't pay much for it) or bayonet Takumar 135mm/2.5 (again, not a great lens, was Pentax budget line) or then something better.

    Minolta 135mm lenses are quite cheap. 3.5 version may be better to your needs. I prefer M42 or Pentax K mounts so I am not interested (I will try 135mm/2.5-2.8 with lens turbo some day).
     
  10. Mattithjah

    Mattithjah TalkEmount Veteran

    244
    Jan 17, 2013
    Czech Republic
    Matěj
    Even my Jupiter 9 (85/2) is too long for portraiture purposes for me... I rather use my Canon FL 58/1,2, ideal for aps-c sized senzor form me.. I have Jupiter 11 (135/4), he cost me about 50$, but i wouldn´t recomend him for portraits, because of low contrast, sharpnes and bad ability of subject izolation. It is only "longer lens", not backround blurer. Moreover, minimal focus distance of J 11 is 1,5m...
     
  11. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I already have SEL50F1.8, witch is good for the relatively tight spaces. What I am looking for is, basically, a cheap bokeh machine that is smaller and lighter than 70-210. I understand that it would be limited to outside shots due to FL. An 85 would be a natural FL and I used to have a very good 85 so I am familiar with this length, however I do not want to spend this kind of money on another lens. 135 mm lenses appear cheap and plentiful, I just need an opinion on witch one produces the best sharpness / bokeh.

    I have a number of portraits shot either with Canon 55-250 IS or Tamron 70-300 VC. I am sure that most fall in between 80 and 150mm. So 135 should work, 100 would be better, 85 would be perfect but too expensive.
     
  12. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    CZJ 135mm 3.5 m42 is very sharp, comparable to Contax g 90mm 2.8 that I also have. Although it is not a fast lens, min focus distance (90cm) is closer then most of lenses which makes it well suited for closeup shots and the bokeh is very smooth. It is a small lens which balances well with nex. For convenience it has a built-in lens hood that retracts when not needed. Here is one wide open shot with speedbooster:

    8442804591_8317d54609_o.

    Reviews:

    Carl Zeiss Jena MC Sonnar 135mm (M42) f/3.5 Lens Review
    Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm F3.5 Sonnar MC Lens Reviews - Carl Zeiss Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

    Flickr: Discussing Lens Review: Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 in EOS Cameras and Manual Lenses

    CZJ Sonnar 135mm vs Soligor 135mm comparison - Dyxum forums
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    That is a very sharp photo, serhan.

    Tony
     
  14. lordkifar

    lordkifar TalkEmount Regular

    34
    May 8, 2013
    I happen to have a cult lens that with an adapter will fit on your nex. I highly recommend a similar lens. It is a vivitar 135mm f2.8 which is excellent sharp and possesses some macro capability (1:2)....you need to find the version made by Komine and not any other and the serial number begins with 28...

    It should fit your price range. They pop up on the bay and in used camera stores.
     
  15. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    I have a non-macro Vivitar 135/2.8, also made by Komine, and it takes good photos. However, the closest it will focus is several feet. It is a good lens, but if get the chance, I'll replace it with the Close Focus version.

    Tony
     
  16. lordkifar

    lordkifar TalkEmount Regular

    34
    May 8, 2013
    Yes you are correct Tony...I forgot to specify the close focus. The one I have is the close focus and it is amazing.
     
  17. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Best of luck finding Vivitar 135mm Close Focus cheaply ... .
     
  18. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Yeah, the few Vivitar 135mm Close Focus I have seen were over $100. There is one on eBay now for $139.95.

    Tony
     
  19. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    I've tried some Soviet lenses on Canon and the experience was spotty at best. They seem to have a great optical formula but terrible quality control. My Helios 44 was very soft (while being in mint shape). A friend went through two of them until he found an acceptable copy (which was very good). So I am somewhat weary of Soviet glass.

    If I used that 135 all the time I'd have no problem spending over $100 on it, however it is going to be a speciality lens for me, only used for outside portrait shots. For this, the ability to close focus is not necessary unless I want a great shot of someone's buggers.

    Is the close focusing version better optically ?

    I kind of temporarily gave away the lens I wanted to sell to fund this, not that another $50 would break the bank but I am in no big hurry.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2