The Monster Lens

I literally agonized over whether to buy the Sony SAL-135F18Z 135mm f/1.8 or the SAL-70200G – 70-200mm f/2.8 when picking out this new lens. They are similarly priced and both excellent lenses.

While the 70-200mm 2.8 is more versatile in terms of focal length, the 135mm 1.8 is unquestionably sharper and more suited for my style of photography. I also had to consider that Tamron’s 70-200mm 2.8 is coming out later this year and is less than 1/3 the cost of the Sony.

I even went so far as to make my sales guy and friend Charlie from The Camera Exchange assist me with some test shots at the store which we compared on the computer. We took the 70-200mm and shot at 135mm and compared the results to the 135mm and you could see that the 135mm was sharper and had better color saturation. After much discussion and me attempting to mentally will the 70-200 to be as sharp I settled on the 135 and Charlie rung me up.

It is quite impressive when mounted to my Sony Alpha 700

And it’s also rather intimidating as evidenced by the expression on Dr. Matthew Wettergreen when he encountered it at close range:

The lens adds a little over 2 lbs to my kit so it’s giving me a workout just carrying it around.

The real test was how it would perform in a concert situation. The focal length means I need to have some distance from my subject. This has it’s pros and cons. On the one hand, I can shoot without crowding the stage which means I don’t have to crowd surf to get the shot. On the other hand, some venues may not have a stage with enough elevation or a clear shot.

At the Houston Press Music Awards I was able to give the lens a proper workout at The Tontons performance at Venue. Venue had outstanding lighting and an elevated stage. The results, well…the results speak for themselves..

While this is obviously some superior glass, I still like to think there’s something to be said for what’s going on in front of an behind the camera. It is, after all, just a tool. A means to an end as it were. But OMG!!!1!1! is it ever a fantastic lens!