The quest for the perfect lens is an eternal pursuit. Nikon, a pioneer in imaging technology, has once again raised the bar with its latest offering – the Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena. The Plena’s 135mm focal length gives it about 60% more reach than an 85mm lens, which should improve background blur and isolation. However, it gathers more than one stop less light at f1.8 than f1.2 lenses do. Nevertheless, the Plena’s entrance pupil is marginally bigger than the Z 85mm f1.2 S’s, which is necessary for producing large Bokeh balls.
In terms of size and weight, the Plena is marginally smaller and lighter than the f1.2 Z-Nikkors: Even without a lens hood, the lens weighs 995g and measures 98 x 140mm. Features-wise, the Plena includes two L-Fn function buttons, full weather sealing, and Nikon’s most recent Meso Amorphous Coat in addition to the “ARNEO” anti-reflective coating.
Nikon, a name synonymous with imaging excellence, has yet again pushed the boundaries with the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena. As we peel back the layers of this optical marvel, we’ll discover not just a lens, but a tool that encapsulates the essence of storytelling through imagery.
Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena
Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena Key Features
- Mount: Nikon Z
- Lens construction: 16 elements in 14 groups
- Angle of view: 18.2 degrees
- Diaphragm blades: 11
- Minimum aperture: f/16
- Minimum focusing distance: 0.82m / 2.69ft
- Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x
- Filter size: 82mm
- Full-frame: Yes
- Autofocus: Yes
- Stabilization: No
- Dimensions: 98 x 139.5mm / 3.9 x 5.5in
- Weight: 995g / 2.2lb
Design and Build
In the pursuit of photographic excellence, every detail matters. The Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena, a lens at the forefront of optical innovation, not only captures breathtaking images but also stands as a testament to superior design and construction.
Since this is a Pro series lens, the build quality is excellent, and it features a sturdy metal construction with an engraved Plena signature. Despite having a huge focus ring, a programmable button, and a rear control ring, the lens feels minimalistic.
Photography is as much about comfort as it is about capturing the perfect shot. The Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena excels in ergonomics, with a well-balanced design that feels natural in the hands. The smooth rotation of the focus ring and the easily accessible control buttons contribute to a seamless shooting experience. The lens features a large, tactile focus ring that facilitates manual focusing with exceptional accuracy. Photographers demand precision, and the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena delivers.
The Plena’s exquisite imagery is just one aspect of its well-considered design. The lens’s pleasant all-metal construction is directly influenced by its optical design, which results in a lighter, more portable lens that is compatible with 82mm filters. An assignable Fn button that is easily accessible and a clickless control ring that adjusts exposure compensation, ISO, and aperture round out the lens’s customization options.
Constructed with durability in mind, the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena boasts a robust metal build. The Plena’s water- and dust-resistant sealing allows it to be used in harsh situations, this not only imparts a reassuring heft to the lens but ensures longevity, making it a reliable companion for the avid photographer. Despite its robust build, the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena remains surprisingly lightweight. This makes it an ideal companion for photographers who are constantly on the move
Features and Performance
At the core of the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is its optical brilliance. The 135mm focal length, combined with an impressive f/1.8 aperture, ushers in a new era of imaging possibilities. This configuration allows photographers to capture images with striking clarity, even in challenging lighting conditions.
The Plena performs at an exceptionally high caliber. That’s because of a flawless design that prioritizes excellent glass over other features. The optical path has 16 elements in total and includes four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, one aspherical element and one SR (Short-wavelength Refractive) element.
Designed downstream of the Z-mount’s wide diameter, the 135mm f/1.8 S Plena lens is the first NIKKOR Z lens to completely fulfill the mount’s light gathering capabilities. The lens’ bigger back element permits this leap in peripheral lighting, giving continuous brightness to the extreme edges of the frame. The Plena’s striking spherical bokeh is created by a low amount of refraction and a clear channel of light through the lens, which drastically reduces vignetting.
Excellent sharpness, contrast, and color accuracy are consistently delivered by Nikon’s ED glass, which also minimizes chromatic aberrations, even at large apertures. The newer SR glass further minimizes chromatic aberration at the blue end of the spectrum, while the addition of an aspheric element can also reduce aberrations as well as the physical size of a lens.
Building on the quality of the glass itself, the lens has two coatings: Meso Amorphic Coat, which is even more successful in reducing reflections from light entering the lens from almost any angle, and ARNEO coating, which is especially good at minimizing ghosting and flare.
Along with its exceptional resolving power, the lens also excels at transitions between zones of focus, resulting in stunning subject separation and textural detail even at the widest aperture. Autofocus is a make-or-break factor in photography, and the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena excels in this department. The Multi-Focus System is a technological marvel, employing advanced algorithms to ensure rapid and precise focusing.
The Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena empowers photographers with customization options that enhance creative control. The customizable control ring, strategically positioned on the lens barrel, provides quick access to frequently used settings.
Image and Video Quality
The 135mm focal length, combined with a wide f/1.8 aperture, delivers images that are not just sharp but possess a depth and dimensionality that breathe life into every frame.
The NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena, a revolutionary telephoto prime lens packed with advancements, expands Nikon’s mirrorless Z System with outstanding image quality in a widely used focal length. Using the wider mount diameter of the Z-series, the painterly Plena achieves remarkable results in portraits, still life photography, and cinematic film by producing edge-to-edge clarity with surreal, circular bokeh throughout the whole frame.
One of the hallmarks of the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena is its ability to create a bokeh that transcends the ordinary. The wide aperture, coupled with the lens’s optical design, produces a creamy, dreamlike background blur that enhances the subject, making them pop off the frame.
The lens’s prowess in low-light conditions is a game-changer for photographers who refuse to be confined by the constraints of daylight. The wide f/1.8 aperture allows for exceptional light-gathering capabilities, ensuring that even in challenging lighting scenarios, the Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena delivers images with clarity, minimal noise, and a rich tonal range.
With two independent AF drive units that are coordinated, Nikon’s exclusive Multi-Focus System provides very quick and precise focusing across the zoom range. Dual STM stepping motors, which are used in this system, provide remarkably quiet and smooth autofocus performance that is ideal for both still and video applications. The programmable linear focus ring also features smooth rotation in both directions for manual focus.
The Plena was designed with cinematographers in mind, beginning with the lens’ popular focal length that lends itself to background separation and arms-length intimacy. The Plena lens offers fluid shifts between focus positions and smooth aperture transitions in addition to its amazing images. The Plena enhances any and all footage when used in conjunction with Nikon’s Multi System Focus autofocus, on-lens manual focus choices, and the entire array of video capturing modalities offered throughout the Z System.
The Nikon Z 135mm f1.8 S Plena is an amazing lens: It combines excellent sharpness and high contrast across the full frame with a gorgeous Bokeh which has the unique property of producing almost no cat’s eyes and renders out-of-focus subjects in the foreground as smooth as in the background. When used at f1.2, the Z 85mm f1.2 S may still offer a softer transition zone and background, but at f1.8 and up, the changes become more noticeable. The decision to choose one lens over the other is likely based on personal preferences, as both lenses have a slightly distinct Bokeh character. However, the Nikon Z 135mm f1.8 S is a special lens deserving of the term “Plena” because of its exceptional clarity and stunning Bokeh.