Image quality, weight and value for money. We have come to accept that most lenses are strong in only one or two of these three factors, that I personally focus on when researching lenses to buy. Sometimes though, we stumble upon a great lens design which is strong in all three. One of the prime examples of such a design is the “nifty fifty”—the 50mm F1.8 lens construction that many lens manufacturers provide. Another example is the 100mm (or sometimes 90mm) F2.8 macro lens. If you buy a nifty fifty or a 100mm macro lens you simply cannot go wrong—you will get a great and handy lens for your money, with great image quality.
Today I want to talk about another such lens design: The 135mm F2 lens. I use the word design, because although the available 135mm F2 lenses aren’t the exact same optical formula, they share many important traits. Perhaps you have seen the photos of masterful Russian portrait photographers such as Elena Shumilova or Anka Zhuravleva. They create a beautiful, mesmerizing dreamscape in their photos, and their secret weapon, besides an impeccable sense for aesthetics, is the 135mm F2 lens.
The moment I tried the Samyang 135mm F2 for the first time after purchasing it, I immediately felt that it was a very special lens. I took a few shots with the lens on my way home after buying it. I was blown away when I loaded the photos into my computer. I had of course heard that this lens is supposed to be very sharp, but I had never before had such a full blown “wow” experience when reviewing the sharpness of a lens.
The flawless image quality is only half the story though. Another thing that makes people go “wow” → continue…