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Alternatives

Carl Zeiss lineup of lenses in the C/Y mount includes a couple of interesting alternatives to Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8. A faster version of the 135mm prime, Planar T* 135mm f/2 can occasionally be found these days, and while this lens showcases outstanding performance, it's price-tag is simply astronimical when compared to the commonly available Sonnar. You might want to consider Carl Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2, which is not as rare as Planar T* 135mm f/2, or its close cousin Makro Planar T* 100mm f/2.8. Both lenses offer superb image quality at a somewhat higher price tag. The recently released Carl Zeiss Makro Planar 100mm f/2 ZF is another potential choice. From outside of the Carl Zeiss lineup of lenses, take a look at Leica's discontinued Elmarit-R 135mm f/2.8. Of course there are quite a few other options, but if you are a Canon user, you might not even have to go the extra mile in your search for the best 135mm - Canon EF  135mm f/2L USM is an outstanding prime that does not require you to worry about all that manual this and manual that nonsense.


Recommendation

Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8 is a pretty interesting choice when it comes down to medium telephoto lenses in the C/Y mount. As I have been saying in other reviews, there is no need for a lens to produce MTF results that go off the chart to be considered an outstanding choice. Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8 falls within this description: performance on both APS-C and FF cameras are pretty solid. Combination of good build quality, reasonable handling of various artifacts like vignetting and distortion, as well as affordable price, should make this lens a good choice for anyone considering it as an alternative to their mainstream primes. All that of course assuming you're willing to deal with a manual lens.