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Carl Zeiss presents Apo Sonnar T* 135mm F2 manual focus telephoto lens

By dpreview staff on Sep 7, 2012 at 13:18 GMT

Carl Zeiss has announced the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 telephoto lens, which it will be showing at the Photokina trade show in Cologne later this month. This premium manual focus optic uses a floating focus system to maintain high image quality at all distances down to 0.8m. It uses anomalous partial dispersion glass elements to minimize chromatic aberrations, resulting in an apochromatic design. It will be available in mounts for Canon and Nikon SLRs from December 2012, at a recommended retail price of approximately €1600 / $2000 (excluding VAT).


Press release:

Carl Zeiss presents compact telephoto lens

 Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 offers new creative possibilities

OBERKOCHEN, September 7, 2012 - Carl Zeiss is presenting the new Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 during photokina in Cologne – Carl Zeiss’ longest medium telephoto lens in the range of high-quality SLR lenses. With the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135, the company is substantially extending the creative possibilities available in the medium tele range. Photographers and HD video cinematographers now have a total of thirteen SLR lenses to choose, with focal lengths of 15 to 135 millimeters. Carl Zeiss will exhibit at photokina in Cologne, the world’s leading trade fair for imaging technology, from September 18-23 at stand B011 in hall 2.1.

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is the ideal lens for capturing detailed images from long distances, such as the skyline at sunset, a leopard in the zoo, or a pop star on a faraway stage. The new lens offers outstanding clarity of detail, high contrast and high resolution at any aperture. This mix of attributes makes it the perfect choice for portraits in advertising, fashion and lifestyle, as well as for landscape and reportage photography.

After putting the lens through its paces in New York, Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson was clearly impressed: “I am delighted with the performance of this new lens. It is relatively compact for a telephoto lens. Its image resolution and quality are outstanding, and there is a touch of magic in the way the light is refracted by the lens elements. I took some amazing photos, including some in poor light conditions.”

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 can capture subjects up to a scale of 1:4. It has been built based on Carl Zeiss’s proven “floating elements” design. A special variable arrangement of the lens elements delivers excellent images over the entire focusing range, from 0.8 meters to infinity. The compact telephoto lens features eleven elements in eight groups. Because this lens is an apochromat, chromatic abberations (axial chromatic abberations) are corrected with elements of special glass materials with anomalous partial dispersion. The chromatic aberrations are therefore significantly below the defined limits. Bright-dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are reproduced almost completely free of color artifacts.

As with all other SLR lenses in the ZE and ZF.2 series, the Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating as well as the sophisticated treatment of the elements’ edges with a deep-black special lacquer make the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 resistant to reflections and stray light. Another advantage for the user is the large rotation angle of 268°, which enables ultra-precise focusing.

The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is equipped with an all-metal barrel, which enables long-lasting use with high-quality results. It will be available with F bayonet (ZF.2) and with EF bayonet (ZE).

The lens will begin shipping in December 2012 at a recommended retail price of approximately €1.600 or US$2.000 (excluding VAT)*.

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 specifications

 Focal length  135mm
 Aperture range  f/2 -22
 Number of lens elements/groups  11/8
 Focusing range:  0.80m (2.62ft) – infinity
 Angular field** (diag./horiz./vert.)  18.7°/ 15.6°/ 10.5°
 Coverage at close range**  145 x 96 mm (close-up)
 Image ratio at close range  1 : 4 (close-up)
 Filter thread  M 77 x 0,75
 Length with caps  128mm (ZF.2)
 130mm (ZE)
 Diameter  84mm
 Weight  920g (ZF.2)
 930g (ZE)
 Mounts  ZF.2 (F bayonet)
 ZE (EF bayonet)

* Status: 7 September 2012
** Based on 35mm format

Comments

Total comments: 153
jamesmdo
By jamesmdo (Feb 24, 2013)

I have mine now , and its a stunning lens . you can see images on my flickr if you like ;-)

0 upvotes
Opinionator
By Opinionator (Nov 6, 2012)

It's a bit nippy in the Zeiss air bubble.

0 upvotes
abi170845
By abi170845 (Sep 12, 2012)

another new lens? I can't even find 15mm for my canon!

0 upvotes
Timothy Stark
By Timothy Stark (Sep 11, 2012)

Missing the point!

Yes the existing Nikon & Canon 135's are excellent. But the don't offer what CZ does in this case; colour that matches all the other lenses in their line-up. I think that with a lens designed for MF a cinematographer who already uses other CZ lenses will welcome this as a great addition to the line.

Some photographers prefer MF for some applications. I shoot 85% of my stuff with old Contax, & Super Takumar lenses. I can see why this lens will appeal to some people. I'm sure that there is always room for (in this case minor improvements) over a lens designed in the mid 90's with new technology.

It just isn't for everyone, in the same way that a Ferrari 458 isn't for everyone!

1 upvote
Jun2
By Jun2 (Sep 9, 2012)

People are so caught up 2X price tag of Canon and Nikon. As far as I know, if Canon update 135mm, the price will be near 2X of current price. It happen to 24-70mm Mark II comparing the Mark I.

1 upvote
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 10, 2012)

the point is that the first generation of the Canon's 24-70 was not the most impressive peace of glass, where the existing Canon 135 f/2 is spectacular in every way and I think that one can hardly be improved further ... there is no need for that! The worst thing for this specific Carl Zeiss offer is that the latest 70-200 f/2.8 alternatives from Canon and Nikon cost the same, they are optically superb and conveniently flexible. Well, indeed they all had an maximum aperture of f/2.8, but the difference in the depth of field they produced doesn't look so vast at 135mm .... so tough call for the manual Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 I think !

1 upvote
Jun2
By Jun2 (Sep 12, 2012)

The point is that if one design a new lens and set up manufacturing process, the cost of doing that is much more expensive today than 10-15 years ago in dollar amount (dollar is considerably weaker than 10-15 years ago). They will charge accordingly.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (10 months ago)

Canon 28-70/2.8 was 20 years ago and was about the same or more expensive as 24-70/2.8L2 if inflation is counted (about 2,000-2,500).

the low price of the old 24-70/2.8L was more terminal.

before, 70 or 80-200/2.8 zooms were much cheaper than their prices now, less cheaper adjusted by inflation though.

0 upvotes
Photogaz
By Photogaz (Sep 9, 2012)

Are they having a laugh. Who is going to buy this lens when the alternatives are stunningly sharp, have auto focus and are half the price.

1 upvote
theninth
By theninth (Sep 9, 2012)

Will be interesting to see how this lens fares on the market. The Canon 135/2 image quality is so good that it is hard to imagine to get any better in terms of practical application. So what is left for the Zeiss is build quality and handling and I am sure for some who don't need AF this is worth the money.

1 upvote
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 9, 2012)

If you prefer manual focus just switch off that feature of your existing Canon 135/2L lens. I can only agree with you ... that Canon lens is a top performer and will be hard to beat, even wide open produces tack sharp images. My advice is .... keep that lens if you own it, or buy one if you do not, instead of investing extra $1000 for the Carl Zeiss alternative, and maybe you can buy some flowers for your wife for that price difference ... it will be a better investment!!! Unless your wife is ... Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton !!!

1 upvote
parkmcgraw
By parkmcgraw (Sep 8, 2012)

In place of optical challenges typical of HD cinema or daytime photography, this lens having 11 elements in 8 groups, would like to see a series of very demanding full field of view, full aperture astrophotos taken with this assembly.

Imaging stellar regions such as the dark background field star cluster Coma Berenices, areas with both bright and faint nebula such as the constellation Orion with Barnard’s Loop, dense star fields with a multitude of colors much like the Rho Ophiuchus nebula region, the Large Magellanic Cloud, ending with flair challenging images with a bright object placed in the corner of the field of view (FOV), set in a dark sky environment, e.g. Venus and the winter Milky Way.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 8, 2012)

Some manufacturers like Canon can offers precision Matte Focusing Screens which are almost useless for general use but a must have option for those who use their lenses manually .... like in this case with the latest offer from Zeiss. So the lack of manual focus in most wide angle lenses is understandable, mostly because even wide open those lenses produces very wide depth of field, so as the working distances for most of the macro lenses can allows for a precise manual focusing. Once you have a portrait lens and a subject in a distance of more than few meters, then the manual focusing can become a real challenge for many, except if you have installed one of those precision Matte Focusing Screens . I have no doubt that the latest Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is a magnificent lens, but the lack of Auto Focus can be a major drawback ...

3 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 8, 2012)

sorry....a magnificent lens? Have you seen it, did you hold it? Did you attach it to your camera and took it to a photo shoot? Did you come back with amazing images that you want to share and explain why this lens is so special and .... magnificent?

0 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 8, 2012)

No ...not this one but I own some other Carl Zeiss Lenses ...and they are MAGNIFICENT indeed! :)

5 upvotes
semorg
By semorg (Sep 8, 2012)

You can look at the MTF and combined with zeiss coating and microontrast you know it's going to be an amazing lens

5 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 8, 2012)

it is called being a fan boy....

0 upvotes
bradleyg5
By bradleyg5 (Sep 8, 2012)

I think based on how high performance typical 135mm F/2.0 lens are we can assume it will be magnificent if not near magnificent. It seems to be a focal length and aperture that is commonly the sharpest of lens available. Canons, Nikons, Sonys(F/1.8) lens are all blisteringly sharp lens.

1 upvote
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Sep 9, 2012)

It actually IS a great lens - I had in in hand briefly and talked to Zeiss guys. It performs incredibly wide open. There is a reason why it has 'APO' in it's name - there are practically no uncorrected chromatic aberrations left even wide open. And it focuses down to 0.8m. Do not ask me whether it is better than XY brand. I hope it is, but I have no idea - I am not an SLR shooter :)

To get the focus right wide open and close it is indeed important to have a proper focusing screen installed or use live-view.

0 upvotes
jdrpc
By jdrpc (Sep 8, 2012)

Yes, ZEISS! But when a 180mm or better a 200mm f/4 or so?
I'm using the discontinued 180mm Voigtlander, but would love to have a Zeiss Tele, with the same quality of the Cine lens!

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (Sep 8, 2012)

Well, Nikon is supposed to be coming out with a 135/1.8 AFS - hopefully soon - so this should be interesting.

0 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (Sep 8, 2012)

Problem is, DOF at f2 is very thin - MF will be difficult. Canon's 135/2 L is an APO although the Zeiss might be better for that matter - but the Canon has very fast USM and already very sharp - at less than half the Zeiss price...

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 7, 2012)

Wow, I guess for those deep-pocketed enough to stick it out with the flipping mirror-type DSLRs, a single focal 135mm lens priced at US$2,000 is a bona-fide bargain. They should have asked 5 Gs for it, really.

1 upvote
chris maytag
By chris maytag (Sep 9, 2012)

> "flipping mirror-type DSLRs"

DSLR = "flipping mirror-type" camera

0 upvotes
Suave
By Suave (Sep 7, 2012)

Manual 135's are typically ridiculously good and ridiculously cheap. My $20 Takumar is ROFL at suckers who will buy this.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Jun2
By Jun2 (Sep 8, 2012)

M42 screw mount now cost 150-250 USD

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

that is GREAT NEWS !

i sold my 135 f2 nikkor 4 month ago, missing it since then, and thinking of switching to zeiss lenses since two month.

i mean ho great is THIS ??

i even considered their 100 makro to get near to 135, and now they produce it for me, price is ok too

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 7, 2012)

Why would a company bother making a press release like this without some stunning images shot with the lens to back it up? Their website (lenses.zeiss.com) has none.

Maybe it's more about an idea than function.

Almost all AF lenses have manual focus as well. (Nikon 1 are the only exception I know of.)

Why are people so passionate about such a silly difference? You can take perfectly great pictures using AF and you can do the same with MF. There are challenges to both ways, and I wouldn't necessarily call one easier. Although with this aperture/focal length, AF has some precision advantages.

EDIT: Correction! There is a single shot available at full size from a 5Dmkiii at f3.5. Not bad. Nice bokeh. But not as sharp as the Nikon 135/2. However the Nikon has bad LoCA, and this appears to have none. I can fix LoCA in post, but I can't add resolution info--I'll pass on this one.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
semorg
By semorg (Sep 7, 2012)

Where is the image? I can't seem to find it?

Never mind, I think it's this one: http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Application_Sample_Sonnar_2_135_Stefan_Czech_01.jpg

I wish they had an image taken with D800e at some detailed skyline so we can see the sharpness.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

you seriously need shots for a 135 f2 from zeiss ? ^^

i must be daydreaming ...

1 upvote
Peter 13
By Peter 13 (Sep 8, 2012)

That image is awful, like an image taken with some vintage lens from the 1950's that the guy got on ebay for $20.

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Sep 8, 2012)

In the old days we would go to a camera store with our own camera, talk to a sales person, handle the lens, shoot a few frames (with film) and draw our own conclusions about a lens. Maybe we would even rent it for a couple of days to get a real feel for it. Now we listen to strangers make a pronouncement based on a press release and a single image on the web and wonder if we should take a chance on the lens. What a state of affairs for the manufacturers.

2 upvotes
DenWil
By DenWil (Sep 7, 2012)

Maybe this lens is not destined for use by amateurs who want cheaper and depend on auto focus.

How dare a company not cater to the needs and wants of the huddled masses.

Yearly capital depreciation deductions and business deductions in general make investing 2 grand for a lens that serves a need a non issue- and considering all the daddies out there using 2200$ zooms to shoot their 7 year old soccer stars -probably a non issue regardless. Oh that's right, those zooms focus for them. Lol.

8 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 7, 2012)

Time is money, why waste it focusing?

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (Sep 7, 2012)

Why bother looking through the VF when you can look somewhere else? After all, who seriously wants to a lifetime looking through keyholes with lenses on the end of them? ;-)

It's amazing the number of people that judge an entire area of activity by their own needs and wants. Not everybody is a bloody wedding photographer or backyard sports maestro.

2 upvotes
Lcky
By Lcky (Sep 7, 2012)

respect this lens all you handicapped, assisted focus modern children,

use your brain and sharpen those "decisive moment" skills,

before soon tech will auto live your life!

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
Edgard
By Edgard (Sep 7, 2012)

arrogant comment, show us your decisive moments pictures

11 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Sep 7, 2012)

Arrogant for sure, but they make a point. How long did people shoot without AF? What? Over 100 years? Zeiss knows its market and the autoprogram, af shooter is not it.

3 upvotes
Lcky
By Lcky (Sep 7, 2012)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson#The_Decisive_Moment

3 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 7, 2012)

Yes, no amazing pictures have been taken with AF. Ever.

6 upvotes
tojkr
By tojkr (Sep 7, 2012)

Lcky,
When you say we are crippled that that is why we use 'auto', I hope you will understand the computer you used is something automated and I hope you are not using your donkey cart to travel.

3 upvotes
Lcky
By Lcky (Sep 7, 2012)

dear jkr,
you've missed the point.
enjoy

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

totally arrogant comment, and now come up with some links of some decent shots and your lens park, you genius.

and whats a decisive moment skill, thats gambler talk, that its a skill to get something by chance

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

@lcky: you really thought that no one knew who hcb is ?

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
meland
By meland (Sep 7, 2012)

I'm amused by all these comments such as "It will draw better" (whatever the authors think that actually means on a 135mm!), or "It will have better colour".

It may well prove to be a very fine lens but how does anyone (outside of CZ that is) know how it will actually perform at this stage?

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Sep 7, 2012)

Actually, CZ make a point to make their lenses "look" the same.. this is esp. important since they are targeting budget cine market where you need to go from one lens to another, but, want the output to appear similar (in terms of colour, contrast, etc). If it performs anything like their 100/2 Makro-Planar, then it should be a knock out lens, whether its worth it to you is another issue.

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

1) a 135 f2 can only be one thing : stunning

2) its a manual zeiss lens

end of story

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Sep 7, 2012)

For a macro lens, manual focus is just great ... can work, but for a portrait lens the lack of Auto focus can create some major challenges especially when the lens is used outdoor at fully open aperture, where the focusing field often can be less than few millimeters .... hm. Then lets get real here ... the Canon 135mm f/2L is simply phenomenal lens as most Canon users knows ... and has some pretty good auto focus. On top of that it is far cheaper in comparison .

6 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

why?

portrait is like macro, a static object, so you aim for the eyes and use the focus confirmation of your dslr , i cant see a problem.

also at135 and f2 you can easily see where the focus is, i used a 135 f2 ais nikon on a dsl, thats manual too and was really easy to focus, way easier then a 50 1.4 or worse a wideangle for example

iam definitly buying this lens before any other lens, the samyang 24TS is nice though

2 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

90% of photographs are, even slightly, edited today and when viewed on the web, you will never tell a difference between a 135L and this Zeiss - so what is the point? 135L is only 50% of Zeiss's price and it has AF, which will shine on bodies like 1Dx and 5D MKIII.

What is the point to have an expensive MF lens on a body with a spectacular AF system where you can use AF 135L lens?

4 upvotes
nemark
By nemark (Sep 7, 2012)

Well, I can talk for myself: I think this is a great portrait lens for both FF/crop bodies, and I focus portraits manually. At the moment I am using 1.8/105mm AI Nikkor on a D7000, and probably will never be able to justify this lens and D800, for example, but who can, should have a great portrait lens. Zeiss 2/100mm macro is another option. Both can close-crop face details.

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

i dont know, i have no canon but i would take this over the nikon version for sure
its not only optical quality, which i guess(!) is better then the nikon
its also the fact that its a manual lens, so there are only the minimum parts thats needed to operate the lens in it. no motors etc

that alone attracts me from a design point of view, but also from the failsafe point of veiw, and from material costs view

i mean you say a canon af lens cost half of what the manual zeiss lens cost you, and that tells me how superior this zeiss lens must be material-wise

i mean i know that might sound naive

its like leica, if you want to have the best of the best, you have to pay the real price, there are too much expert mechanics too much expensive materials and too much quality control by also experts involved to go down with the prices, i wonder what percentage of the price of a leica lens is just for the guy that does the quality control of the glass lenses

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 8, 2012)

"i mean you say a canon af lens cost half of what the manual zeiss lens cost you, and that tells me how superior this zeiss lens must be material-wise"

I am not longer buying these discussions...now that I have a Zeiss lens myself. What matters to me is the consistency and ultra IQ and Canon's L lenses are exceptional.

I have 5D MKIII which has a spectacular AF system, I take pictures with incredible consistency when it comes to focus accuracy.

With Zeiss on 5D MKIII (this body was not designed for MF) you have a problem.

So I am sure that I will have more in focus pictures and of a higher quality with 135L on 5D MKIII than other people with this Zeiss on a 5D MKIII.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Sep 7, 2012)

Zeiss, while you are at it, bring back the 180 sonnar, 200 APO Sonnar, and even the monster 300 APO tesser. Amen.

4 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Sep 7, 2012)

Plus the 100mm macro and the 21mm 2.8 Nice they were.

1 upvote
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 7, 2012)

To everyone who thinks it's a stupid move to go up against the 135 f/2.0L - Zeiss are making this lens for different mounts, not just Canon. Thus there are many people for which the 135L is not an option!

3 upvotes
PeakAction
By PeakAction (Sep 7, 2012)

Plus, there's the fact that Zeiss glass blows away Canon L glass. The difference in sharpness, contrast, and distortion isn't even close. I never thought I would thumb my nose at L lenses, but after shooting with them side-by-side, there was no comparison.

4 upvotes
Wyville
By Wyville (Sep 7, 2012)

That still leaves the ZE mount as an investment for which there would be no return. No, the Zeiss will have its own merits as they have always had.

A good manual focus lens is still of great value to those who are interested in video, and the Zeiss rendering is always very nice (be it sometimes personal).

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 7, 2012)

PeakAction - Maybe if you need to print 24x36 and up. Otherwise... let's see a link to your comparison test.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
tojkr
By tojkr (Sep 7, 2012)

We all know kodak used carl-zeiss lens and where is kodak now. This may be the sharpest 135mm lens, but with no auto focus, it is ....just useless except for printing huge posters.

2 upvotes
Rocker44
By Rocker44 (Sep 7, 2012)

I do find it a bit odd that some people down there who have a Canon 135L are saying 'why would they make this lens, how can it get better than the 135L'. Are they suggesting that no one should ever try to make a 135mm lens again?

To say something is perfect... kinda means you've given up on improving, I'm sure Canon haven't.

2 upvotes
nemark
By nemark (Sep 7, 2012)

Even for Canon users, both Zeiss 100mm macro and new 2/135mm are great close focusing f2 portrait lenses... Who can afford any of them.

0 upvotes
Tim Cooper
By Tim Cooper (Sep 7, 2012)

"Are they suggesting that no one should ever try to make a 135mm lens again?"

You could make one that was faster. You could make one that was cheaper. You could maybe make one that was ever-so-slightly-better at the same price point. But making one that might maybe be ever-so-slightly better at twice the price point is ridiculous. It's not like there's a lack of focal lengths out there to work at, with much more room for improvement.

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

i think its funny that canon shooters even compare their lenses to zeiss? its not ithe same league guys ...

3 upvotes
semorg
By semorg (Sep 7, 2012)

MTF @ f/4 looks amazing
http://www.zeiss.com/C12578B8004E8E1D/0/F2C77C92BD6CA27EC1257A72004157CB/$file/apo_sonnar_2_135.pdf

2 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Sep 7, 2012)

Indeed it does!

Thx for the link!

1 upvote
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Sep 7, 2012)

I used to have a Contax outfit and bitterly regret selling it for Nikon. I really miss that Zeiss glass, IQ was just heart stopping with their best lenses.

If only I could afford this beasty....

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 7, 2012)

Think Canon wil do a MK2 135 f2 (perhaps f1.8) with IS but their in no rush and it would also be a huge jump in price compared to the current (and excellent ) 135 f2. Difficult to improve when you get to this level.

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 7, 2012)

I'm sure this new Zeiss will be a cracker - HOWEVER its twice the price of Canon & Nikon best 135 lenses - perhaps, just perhaps it might just be a shade better being newer but this remains far from certain -(example - Canon 'soft' 50 1.4 is better than the more expensive Zeiss and the Nikon G 50 1.4 is simply better all round) this Zeiss is simply too expensive, perhaps if it were a REAL Zeiss lens made in German you could understand the price point. Sorry this will only sell to Zeiss nutballs - then again that's the whole point.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

There's no question that the Zeiss will have better colour.

German made would be like $4,000. You can look up German Zeiss binoculars or new Leica M lenses to get an idea.

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 7, 2012)

So if I want a real Zeiss it's gonna cost me $4000 ? No thanks. crazy money when pretty well ALL 135 lenses (even cheap ones) can provide sharp images. As I said one for the Zeiss 'nutballs' - eveyone else stand clear.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Nikon and Canon can't match Zeiss for colour, and colour is not the same as sharpness.

You really need to try to understand the reason these lenses are so respected.

This lens is also likely to beat Canon and Nikon for sharpness.

0 upvotes
brianric
By brianric (Sep 7, 2012)

I'll have to just put up with my Nikkor 200/2.0 VRII for portraits.

0 upvotes
oneANT
By oneANT (Sep 8, 2012)

But last time you said ....
Sure to be another fantastic Zeiss lens I can't afford (are these all made by those bad boys at Consina?) just as well it doesn't fit anything I own!

Bit shitty referring to other photographers just because they work hard for it.
Sad, Joe.

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 7, 2012)

I wonder, why not also on Sony A-mount? Well, since Sony already offers the Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* 135 F1.8 AF and the Sony 135mm f/2.8 Smooth Transition Focus, both fantastic lenses, they saw no need for that one ( although the 2.0 f.l. is interesting ).

1 upvote
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 7, 2012)

Its just Zeiss doing a Leica and charging their fans a lot for a good, perhaps great piece of glass, can't blame them but I also can't see Q's forming around the block to buy one. The traditional 135 lens is pretty easy to make and good (cheap !! ) examples can be found from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus and of course Minolta as well as Vivitar, Tamron, Hoya/ Tokina. Think in a blind real life test they wouldn't be a lot between any of them. Brought my Canon FD 135 f3.5 (ok - a lot slower) for less than £30 - sharp ? Oh yes !

2 upvotes
Maji
By Maji (Sep 7, 2012)

Sad Joe... I think you maybe correct. It maybe difficult, if not impossible to tell the difference between images shot of the same subject under same conditions but with different lens brands. The differences may not be evident unless you blow up the image to the size of huge posters and/or pixel peep.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Maji:

Nope, it's pretty easy to tell with a decently printed 9"by6".

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

who would try to mount this lens on a walkman or playstation? or what you mean? its an electronic company, zeiss wants to sell them their cheap lenses with their nametag on it, no need for serious lenses on sonys hehe

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 11, 2012)

To "inevitable crafts studio" - Hehehe... ignorance is bliss! I'm sure you know that Zeiss has a contract with Sony and supplies them several high-end lenses then sold as "Sony/Zeiss", right? Anyway, today the photo/video world is nothing but an "electronics world"! Guess who's in advantage now...?

0 upvotes
smokinjay
By smokinjay (Sep 7, 2012)

Yes the Canon is a great lens. The Zeiss will draw differently and I'm sure flare will be well handled like all their lenses. If I were an amateur looking for this focal length I would get the Canon. As a pro there is no question I'll buy this, but only after testing it first. The microcontrast on the Zeiss, coma, flare, and the rest of the troublesome things are usually better than all but Leica. Also this lens has a reproduction ratio of 1:4. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Just the lenses I've wanted for sometime.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 7, 2012)

It seems Germans have not learned about autofocus yet. Well, judging by their car problems, they don't know much about electricity.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

The Leica S2 has AF.

1 upvote
smokinjay
By smokinjay (Sep 7, 2012)

Zeiss has and still does make AF lenses. They also just announced a new line of af lenses that will be in ef an f mount.

1 upvote
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 7, 2012)

Sony Carl Zeiss lenses are all AF lenses. Sure they aren't manufactured by Carl Zeiss but then again neither are the MF Zeiss lenses (Cosina makes them).

1 upvote
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 7, 2012)

LOL! As an EX VW Golf owner I know what you mean and have vowed NEVER to buy another new new VW - I love classic VW's and will be out all day tomorrow in a 1968 Bay. As for Zeiss and Leica yes their glass might just (and I mean just) edge it but that's by no means certain. Test charts are one thing - I wonder just how many (how few) of the people posting here could tell which lens has been used to produce an actual print in a blind test - none I suspect. Simply put making a decent 135 lens is easy - making a fast lens less easy - but for £2000+ = their having a joke !

2 upvotes
StephanSwiss
By StephanSwiss (Sep 7, 2012)

Well, that's just a bit too much German bashing. But then by looking at your gallery pictures you don't need any German (or rather Cosina Japan) glass anyway. Sorry for this but....what goes around, comes around....

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 7, 2012)

Well, if they don't like a little mocking (not bashing by all means), they should look around and see that it is not 19th century anymore - only hobbyists make anything "manual-made", and everything has a useful computer inside. Which, BTW, must work forever.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Sep 7, 2012)

Your canon 135L sucks in AF when taking video/movie. People need a high quality lens with better manual AF and aperture ring.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
balios
By balios (Mar 22, 2013)

The Canon version of this lens doesn't have an aperture ring.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 7, 2012)

I have a bokeh monster for that. Cheaper.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

This is a telephoto lens, not really used for bokeh.

1 upvote
my username was already taken

Excuse my ignorance but what lens does one 'use for bokeh'?

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 7, 2012)

The bokeh monster is used for its characteristic smooth bokeh and most of the time there is also a subject that is in focus :p

look op the Meyer Optik Orestor 135mm F2.8

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

my username was already taken:

Smoothly blurred backgrounds, done with say a 50mm 1.4 wide open.

You see the longer focal lengths don't allow for good bokeh because dof goes up as the focal length increases no matter the F stop. This is why crowds in the back of football players are often in focus. The photographers are using big zooms that can't blur the background.

dof=depth of field.

50mm in 35mm film.

0 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Sep 7, 2012)

@ HowaboutRAW:

DOF is *inversely* proportional to the square of the FL. A 100mm lens will have 1/4 the DOF of a 50mm at the same aperture and shooting distance. Longer FL = Less DOF = better background separation (but you need to move back to keep the same framing)

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

"this is a telefocus lens not used for bokeh"

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

this is the best focal lenght for portraits EVER

you have no idea what youre talking about

also you dont know what bokeh means

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

scott_mcleod +inevitable crafts studio:

What neither of you has answered is that shorter focal lengths wide open produce better blurred backgrounds than longer focal lengths open to the same aperture.

And inevitable crafts studio: it's telephoto not telefocus. Won't touch your misspelling. (And I accept that English may not be your first tongue.)

Then scott_mcleod: longer lenses with the same aperture don't produce better bokeh. If that were the case people would exclaim over using 200mm F2.0s as portrait lenses. They don't; they choose 1.4 50mms and 1.4 85mm lenses.

Both: It's well understood that telephoto lenses flatten images--action movies use this trick. And that's a problem for good "bokeh". What that means is the background aint real out of focus. scott to give you some credit, what I think you're missing is that the focus fall off of a wide open say F2.0 50mm is faster than a wide open 135mm F/2.0 lens. And that fast change in out of focus helps with aesthetics.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Sep 7, 2012)

I agree with others this is going to be a hard sell, as both Nikon and Canon have really excellent AF alternatives at that same focal length and aperture.

CZ's 100mm f2 Makro-Planar is more unique, and makes more sense.

But I do not agree that manual focus is that difficult even with current high res DSLRs. Would be better with a proper ground glass screen, but it is not that hard, and, in Nikon's case anyway, the electronic rangefinder is not as useless as some seem to think. A bit quirky, but there are "tricks". I do not find I need Liveview for conistent focus.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Neither Nikon nor Canon can match Zeiss for colour.

2 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 7, 2012)

That MF Zeiss would be fperfect for the Sony A77 and its peaking MF peaking feature ( may be for the coming FF A99... )

0 upvotes
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (Sep 7, 2012)

Indeed, peaking is the new ground glass! Unfortunately I do not get along with EVFs for a bunch of other reasons....

0 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Sep 7, 2012)

Lucus the A77 already has the Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, this new lens not really needed for us.

3 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Sep 7, 2012)

Agreed - MF is a lot easier with longer lenses than short ones, because subject details are magnified making it easier to see them on the focusing screen. At least in my experience...

And yes the 100/2 is an awesome lens :)

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

scott_mcleod:

"subject details are magnified", pray tell how does that work, without digital magnification?

If you mean that a 135mm lens brings out details further away than a 50mm lens that's not the same thing.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 9, 2012)

Nikon's "electronic rangefinder" is not useless, but you have to take your eye off the subject.

I wish the selected focus point would light up as well.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 10, 2012)

Hard sell? Zeiss seem to be doing pretty well selling manual focus ZE and ZF lenses. I expect this one will be no different.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
candleJack
By candleJack (Sep 7, 2012)

What a dumb design to put out at that price point.

The 135L has been probably the best lens I've had from a purely technical perspective. There was nothing I could want more in a 135 prime except maybe IS.

Again a silly move by CZ.

2 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Sep 7, 2012)

It's more for the video/movie people. Your canon is not the same in regard to manual focus, aperture rings. This is cheap alternative to cine lenses, although the distance scale is less stretched out than cine lens but much more than normal lens.

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Sep 7, 2012)

I second your opinion.
There is no practical reason to demand a lens sharper than the 135L.

0 upvotes
Peter 13
By Peter 13 (Sep 8, 2012)

Somebody will shoot movies at 135mm, f/2 with manual focus???

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

Peter 13:

Likely yes.

0 upvotes
Peter 13
By Peter 13 (Sep 8, 2012)

Have you ever shot videos at f/2, 135mm? I have (tried). Unless you are shooting a statue, it is a disaster.

0 upvotes
Boris
By Boris (Sep 7, 2012)

Not much wrong with the current 135f2L.....and yes it has AF...for 1/2 the Zeiss price.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Which current Zeiss F/2 135 are you referring too?

There's the F/2 100mm macro.

0 upvotes
Jeroen Bouman
By Jeroen Bouman (Sep 7, 2012)

Who says it will be better than the Canon 135/2? But it will draw different (!), and it will be exciting to see what that difference is.

By the way, on the inferior sensor of a 5d-III you will probably not see any difference, you'll need at least a 1Ds-III or -better yet- a D800(e).

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

It will be better for colour.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 7, 2012)

Umm, yeah I'll take a 135L for *half* the price and enjoy the autofocus.

2 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

90% of people will go this way....

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (Sep 7, 2012)

I'd wager 99%

1 upvote
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (Sep 7, 2012)

How do people manual focus? I can't imagine doing it with the default finder/focusing-screen.

0 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

very-very hard

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (Sep 7, 2012)

The wider lenses make more sense for manual focus, because the DOF is deeper. The CZ 21mm is worth considering. It's a great "f8 and be there" lens.

1 upvote
smatty
By smatty (Sep 7, 2012)

Most would probably use live view...

0 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Sep 7, 2012)

BY using 3rd party focussing screens. Just search the Internet. There are times, when manual focussing is actually more reliable than auto-focus.

1 upvote
njb311
By njb311 (Sep 7, 2012)

On the 5DII you could use the EG-S focusing screen, but even the standard screen wasn't so bad.

However, with lenses like the Zeiss ZE, focus confirm still works so you can if you want use the AF system to check your manual focus. Or you can use Liveview and zoom. The workflow is little different from using AF, with the focus confirm step happening before you take the photo rather than after when most people using AF seem to.

0 upvotes
Marcus Beard
By Marcus Beard (Sep 7, 2012)

Manual focus is pretty easy - I have a Zeiss 35mm and manually focus comfortably at F/2. In fact it's my default walk around lens.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

liquid stereo:

There are electronic focus indicators in Canons and Nikons for these lenses, Pentax too I'd bet.

Also with say a D4 you can get a split screen.

0 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (Sep 7, 2012)

I don't understand this. I do find using a DSLR harder to focus than an SLR, but I do fine with a 180 2,8 AiS even with teleextender attached. You just get used to it. It's very easy in good light, and with bad light, just takes a bit more work.

I gave up on Autofocus lenses a long time ago and only have AiS lenses. Overall, they are much easier to use, but I'll admit, that AF lenses on the same camera do give sharper images about 60% of the time. When I'm spot on with MF, it is usually as good, but I'm usually off by a little. No matter though, as there are very few instances when pixel perfect sharpness is necessary. Studio photography is the only time I can think that it is necessary.

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 7, 2012)

get a decent camera

1 upvote
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

I think these Zeiss lenses are not relevant anymore. They do not work properly with modern DSLRs and Manual Focusing is extremely complex on bodies like 5D MKIII as an example.

I think Canon will introduce 135 F/2 very soon and it will have AF...will be cheaper. The existing Canon lens is just stunning and is costs 50% of what Zeiss is asking for this lens.

I think Zeiss will need to change their business model very soon....of offer AF.

1 upvote
smatty
By smatty (Sep 7, 2012)

The Canon EF 135mm f/2 L is my sharpest lens. At twice the price the Zeiss has to work miracles topped with ferry dust to make it worth the premium minus AF ability.

But then again, if Canon announces a new 135mm L II, it'll probably go up in price by at least 50% the way Canon has priced it's current upgrades :(

3 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (Sep 7, 2012)

How is manual focussing complex? You just turn the focus ring.

8 upvotes
candleJack
By candleJack (Sep 7, 2012)

MF is complex because the 5D3 doesn't accept specialized focusing screens. So you have to deal with the stock screen which probably has a sensitivity of 2.8making it really hard to spot where the focus plane is for shooting distances longer than 2 meters.

0 upvotes
njb311
By njb311 (Sep 7, 2012)

I'm not sure why you think they don't work properly with modern DSLRs? Have you ever actually owned one? I've just sold my 5D MkII, but before I did the Zeiss 50mm/1.4 was by far my favourite lens. It wiped the floor with the Canon 50/1.4 which I owned for a month or two before selling on.

I also owned the 135 L and to be honest if I was in the market for a 135mm and the Zeiss was closer in price then, assuming it renders like some other Zeiss lenses, I would probably go for it rather than the Canon.

Autofocus is a convenience but the first thing I do is take autofocus off the shutter release and put it somewhere else, so I can do a quick AF to get close and then manually focus for the photo I want to take without the camera interfering. Maybe it depends on your perspective. For my first 20 years of shooting I didn't have AF and focusing has always been a natural action.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
njb311
By njb311 (Sep 7, 2012)

OK the point about the 5DIII and its focusing screen specifically is a fair point. But it is disingenuous to broaden that to "modern DSLRs". And it is by no means impossible to manually focus on the 5DIII, or use Liveview and the rear screen magnified, which is what people effectively do with autofocus when they push the shutter, allow AF to do its stuff, then playback and zoom in to "check focus".

Quite frankly, manually focusing means you normally have it right first time and there is no need to check focus after.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Marcus Beard
By Marcus Beard (Sep 7, 2012)

Have you tried to manually focus with a Zeiss lens? It is far from complex - turn (beautifully weighted) focus ring, job done. You can of course even use focus confirmation lights and beeps if you want to "check" that you've done it right. I use a manual focus 35mm all the time and love it

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

I've had no particular problem using a Zeiss 50mm and a Zeiss 85mm on a D3s and D4.

0 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

njb311, try to use Live View for street photography where you need to react immediately and be able to nail the focus over and over again.

I have 5D MKIII and I have Zeiss 35 F/1.4 EZ - it just doesn't work when you need a precision focusing and you cannot use a live view.

I am not talking landscapes and making sure that a full body is in focus, I am talking about having eyes in focus where all you have a 1 sec to react.

0 upvotes
njb311
By njb311 (Sep 7, 2012)

Light Pilgrim - on the one hand, how did you manage in the days before AF then? On the other hand, it's fair to say that people should use the right tool for the job. Those that need AF to nail a shot should use it. And given a 50mm manual was my walkaround lens, I did a lot more street shooting at that FL than landscape. If by saying having "eyes in focus" you mean everything else isn't, then that is a particular style of portraiture that doesn't define street shooting by any means. If you just meant that the subject had to be in sharp focus, well you really don't need AF for that even with only a second to react, if the manual focus action on the lens is a good one. And that is one of the strengths of Zeiss lenses.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

njb311, yes - I know...I can use F.16 and everything will be in focus, not just eyes. Why then f/1.4 lens?

Before AF cameras were different. Below is from my conversiation with ZEISS: "For the EOS 5DMKIII as well as for the MarkII, we recommend to use a better focusing screen. Such focusing screens (with split-screen image and microprism collar) are offered by Brightscreen for both camera models.
The new AF system of the MarkIII allows a more detailed micro adjustment, but the accuracy of any AF system is still not good enough to focus a f/1.4 lens (at full aperture) precisely enough for high expectations.

Please have also a look at this article on our website:
lenses.zeiss.com/photo/en_DE/other/products/what_makes_th...

Best regards
Carl Zeiss Lenses Team "

0 upvotes
steven8217
By steven8217 (Sep 7, 2012)

Manual focus with 50mm F1.4 is not a big deal, but manual focus on 135mm F2 lens is very difficult and hard with modern digital camera. I own 50mm/F1.4, 105mm/F1.8 and 135mm/F2, manual focus on a moving subject on low ligh is super hard with my 105mm/F1.8 and 135mmF2, lucky that my 135mmF2 comes with AF and I am selling my great but manual foucs 105mmF1.8, it is getting harder infoucs with my D800.
Will pass on any manual focus lense beyong 85mm....135mm manual focus lens, no thanks!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RBFresno
By RBFresno (Sep 7, 2012)

Zeiss lenses "not relevant", and do not work properly with modern DSLR's" ?
Better tell that to those who have published a few of my Zeiss photos.

Some Zeiss photos here:
http://www.pbase.com/rbfresno/zeiss100_2&page=all

2 upvotes
njb311
By njb311 (Sep 7, 2012)

Light Pilgrim, I'm sure you said f/16 just to be inflammatory. Given when you're focusing manually the aperture is at f/1.4 anyway, then yes of course you can nail a street shot wide open. Just because the lens has f/1.4 doesn't mean you use it for every shot. You can stop down a couple of clicks if the composition needs it or to give a bit of margin for error. It's about having the ability to use the tool.

And I think that is part of this MF vs AF discussion. People who have never learned and practised MF will find it difficult and then say it's impossible. Those who have will know it is far from impossible. The 5DIII is a particular case where Canon has decided not to make a focusing screen that is better for MF. As Zeiss said in their reply to you though, there is someone else who does. And your quote from Zeiss also said AF is not good enough at f/1.4 anyway. So I'm not sure what your point there was?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
oneANT
By oneANT (Sep 8, 2012)

you've got quite an investment in this thread light pilgrim.
Live view, are you serious, for street ...WHAT?

Are you even a street photographer, you sure dont sound like one.
All I shoot is street, all I use is Zeiss, the other difference is I have pictures ...not sure what you have you dont even have a single Zeiss.
You guys that talk for everyone else are ...all talk

oneant.com.au

1 upvote
oneANT
By oneANT (Sep 8, 2012)

Ah you do have one zeiss, apologies you should put it on something else if you cant see to focus, its your eyes and not someone elses that you are using. Also really poor choice in that 35 if its just for street. The 135 and you and your 5DIII have nothing in common here, just sell the bloody thing ..plenty of others want it.

0 upvotes
Rocker44
By Rocker44 (Sep 7, 2012)

*Sigh* One day, after my lottery win.

1 upvote
facedodge
By facedodge (Sep 7, 2012)

I'll keep my Canon 135mm f/2L thank you. AF is more important that a boost in micro-contrast or whatever it is that the CZ fanatics go crazy for.

6 upvotes
Tim Cooper
By Tim Cooper (Sep 7, 2012)

If there's a perfect lens in the world, it's the Canon 135 f/2L. Why Zeiss wants to compete with that is beyond me. Maybe they're designing a camera in the back room somewhere?

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

facedodge:

Sure if you only shoot fast action. And have an AF system that can keep up.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Sep 7, 2012)

CZ lenses look really nice in photos, but, i wish the ywould put some rubber on their lens barrels.. it would make handhold better and you wouldnt be wiping grime and dirt from it all the time.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

Try looking for an industrial rubberband or big Oring.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 153