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CZJ Sonnar 135: bad backlight performance
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: CZJ Sonnar 135: bad backlight performance Reply with quote

I borrowed a Canon EF 70-200/4.0 IS USM for a wedding next week and compared it with my CZJ Sonnar 135/3.5 electric MC. I did some test shots and was quite happy to see that the vintage Sonnar is still a good performer compared to a modern lens. The only huge difference i could find is in backlight situations.

It's not the first time i see the Sonnar not performing well in such situations. I am wondering, is this normal for that lens or is it in bad shape? Is cleaning the front lens too often bad for the coating, like some people say? Does "MC" from CZJ have anything to do with T* from CZ? Is there anything i can do to increase the performance of the Sonnar?

Please click on the images to see the difference clearly.

CZJ Sonnar 135/3.5 @f5.6:


Canon EF 70-200/4.0 IS USM @135/5.6


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most classic lenses won't perform well on such situations. I guess you had the bad luck of getting some stray light on places you did not want it to be.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is typical of several copies I've owned.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MC and T* are both multi coating, that's all. Very Happy


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, unfortunately I agree with your observation Sad
Most modern lenses seem to have better coatings
that can handle backlight.

I have compared my modern AF digital Canon lenses with
semi-old Pentacon 2.8/135mm, Tessar 2.8/50mm and Orestegon 2.8/28mm
and all of these were not good at all when backlit.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanx for your replies. My copy seems to be OK. So i just have to make sure i don't get any stray light into the Sonnar.

What do you think about wiping off the coating of the front lens by cleaning it too many times? Is it possible or just a myth?


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not acquainted with modern lenses but one of the things one must realize and be willing to accept is that vintage/classic is not always up to modern technology.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pholler wrote:
Thanx for your replies. My copy seems to be OK. So i just have to make sure i don't get any stray light into the Sonnar.

What do you think about wiping off the coating of the front lens by cleaning it too many times? Is it possible or just a myth?


If the lens' front element still has an all over even purple or gold colour then the coating is likely OK.

Using the built-in hood might mitigate the veiling flare somewhat though - do you use it?