Zeiss Milvus 135mm F2 review: ready for your close-up?

The Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 aims for portrait perfection with Canon and Nikon DSLRs

Zeiss Milvus 135mm F2
(Image: © Zeiss)

Digital Camera World Verdict

I love the Zeiss Milvus 135mm F2’s focal length and fast aperture for portraiture and still life photography. It’s super-sharp and delivers deliciously smooth bokeh, with a natural roll-off between focused and defocused areas. As a manual-focus lens, however, accurate focusing can be a challenge with such a tight depth of field, and tracking the action of moving subjects can be tricky. It’s also very expensive to buy. Long story short, the lens is capable of delivering absolutely sumptuous image quality, if your manual focusing skills are up to the task.


  • +

    Sublime image quality

  • +

    Excellent build quality

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    Good handling characteristics


  • -

    No autofocus

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    Accurate focusing can be tricky

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    Very expensive to buy

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The Zeiss Milvus 135mm F2 has the longest focal length of any lens in the 11-strong Milvus family. It comes into its own for tight head shots and medium-distance portraiture, and also works well for still life, where you have the time to focus accurately with this manual-focus lens. The combination of focal length and f/2 aperture enables a really tight depth of field, so accurate focusing is often paramount. That can be tricky to achieve, especially if your subject is anything other than absolutely still. As well see, however, help is at hand.


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Mount optionsCanon EF, Nikon F
Lens construction11 elements in 8 groups
Angle of view19 degrees
Focus typeManual focus
Minimum aperturef/22
Minimum focus distance0.8m
Maximum magnification0.25x
Filter size77mm
Weight1,123g (EF) 1,059g (F)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.