Which of These 135mm Lenses Is Best?

135mm lenses have long been a popular alternative to the classic 85mm focal length for portrait photography, offering a little more flattering telephoto compression and a different perspective that stands out a bit. Sony users have a choice of two standout lenses, the Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE and Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM, both of which offer highly competitive performance. This excellent video comparison takes a look at both options to help you pick the right one for you.

Coming to you from Dustin Abbott, this great video comparison takes a look at the Samyang AF 135mm f/1.8 FE and Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lenses. Both of these lenses are impressive performers, and while there are certainly a few areas where the Sony edges out the Samyang, it is hard to ignore the massive price difference between the two. At $899, the Samyang is less than half the price the Sony ($2,098). If all that matters to you is image quality, it certainly seems like you should just save $1,000 and go with the Samyang. Either way, both lenses should satisfy the needs of just about any photographer. Check out the video above for Abbott's full thoughts on both lenses. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Maximum magnification is what matters most to me for the kind of shooting I do at the 135mm focal length. Was looking for one lens to have a noticeable advantage over the other, but the Samyang has a max magnification of 0.24x while the Sony is 0.25x, so pretty much a wash. Can't think of any viable reason not to get the Samyang, if choosing between the two.


At either of those prices I'd look again at F2.8's - for a portrait shot at 2.7m distance, the DoF for an F1.8 is 4.0 cm and the F2.8 its 6.2cm.

As Tom points out - there are more important factors in chosing medium telephotos than max. aperture now that 800ASA images are almost noiseless with modern sensors - such as close focus ability.

I don't know, but I would die before parting with my Canon 135 f2.

I would say this review is more relevant for people invested in the Sony system.

I am well aware of that, I just can't avoid sharing my love (hahaha) whenever I see the magical number 135....

forgive me please.