I recently purchased this Zuiko 135mm f/3.5 lens for backpacking and for a lightweight lens to carry around. Its very compact only stretching 73mm/2.9in and also light at 290g/10.2oz. The lens has a diameter of 60mm/2.4in at its maximum and has a small retractable lens hood. The filter diameter of the lens is 49mm, standard among Zuiko’s ‘slower’ lens line. The lens focuses nice and smoothly and is easy to achieve focus. As far as I know and have been able to find out the Zuiko 135mm f/3.5 line are single coated from their introduction till when manufacture ceased. It and possibly the 75-150/4 are the only two Zuiko lenses that were never manufactured in a multicoated version. The lens did at some point undergo a mechanical design change, but this didn’t impact the optical construction or formula as that appears unchanged as well throughout its production run. The changes, at least based on the diagrams I’ve looked at appear to center around changes from several parts to fewer in the focusing mechanism, barrel construction, etc. The same number of aperture blades has been used through out as well (8). Speaking of the optical construction, it is 5 elements in 4 groups.
Along with the Zuiko 50/1.8 and the Zuiko 50/1.4 the Zuiko 135mm f/3.5 had the largest production run of any Zuiko lens in OM mount. The lenses were a frequent second buy for people after getting an OM with a 50/1.8 or 1.4. The perspective is nice, a little long for regular portrait, well for me at least, but it compresses perspective nicely and gives you some reach.
I haven’t had the chance to really use the lens for shooting yet, but I have a few upcoming events and some hiking I’ll be doing in which I can try it out and see how I really like it. For me the biggie is a backpacking trip I’ll probably be taking in early November in which I’ll be taking this lens, a Sigma 24/2.8 and Zuiko 50/1.4. That will be the real test to see if the lens works for backpacking for me. I suspect that 135mm might be a little too long and that I’d rather a 100mm lens, but time will tell. If it doesn’t work out for backpacking then I’ll just have to try to track down a Zuiko 100mm f/2.8. So until mid November (’09) I may not have an update about the lens.
I’ve been using the Zuiko 135/3.5 quite a bit lately. It is a really handy lens and is very sharp, even decently sharp wide open. I performed a few tests on it, that unfortunately aren’t exhaustive. I shot a test target at f/3.5, 5.6 and 11, but the f/11 shot shows a lot of blur that is pretty obviously movement blur…I didn’t have the camera attached as securely as I had thought on the tripod (which I realized after I removed it, before I even got the film back). So eventually I need to redo my tests, but for now here is the f/3.5 and f/5.6 comparison. Good wide open and pretty sharp at f/5.6.
Click on the image for higher res, f/3.5 on the left f/5.6 on the right taken from about the center section of the image, 100% enlargement 3200dpi.
An example picture taken at about f/5.6