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Lens model: Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto

At a glance: Despite the fact that this lens currently sells for very little on sites like ebay, it's a real gem with excellent tonal contrast, great bokeh, and superb sharpness.

Our score: 7/10

Where to buy: ebay, Amazon

Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto Vintage Lens at a glance

The Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto lens is a vintage gem that continues to capture the interest of photographers and collectors alike. Manufactured during a time when manual focus and metal construction were the norms, this lens offers a nostalgic journey back to the basics of photography, while still delivering quality that can hold its own in today’s digital world. Here's an in-depth look at its characteristics, performance, and appeal in modern photography.

Historical Context and Build Quality

Soligor was a brand name used by the American company Allied Impex Corporation (AIC), which imported camera lenses and other photographic equipment manufactured primarily in Japan. The 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto lens, produced in the 1960s and 1970s, was known for its solid construction and excellent optical quality. It featured a durable metal barrel and precisely engineered mechanical components, reflecting the craftsmanship of the era. The lens's weight and build provide a satisfying heft that speaks to its durability and reliability over time.

Optical Design and Image Quality

The optical design of the Soligor 135mm F/2.8 consists of multiple elements that work together to produce sharp images with good contrast. While it may not feature the advanced coatings found in modern lenses, it still manages to deliver pleasing results with a distinct vintage character. The F/2.8 maximum aperture is quite fast for a lens of this focal length, allowing for excellent performance in low-light conditions and the ability to achieve a shallow depth of field, creating beautiful bokeh that is perfect for portraits and isolating subjects.

Chromatic aberration and flare can be present, especially in high-contrast situations, but many photographers find that these imperfections add a unique quality to the images. The lens's rendering has a particular warmth and softness wide open, which gradually sharpens as the aperture is stopped down, offering versatility and creative options.

Focusing and Usability

The Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto is a fully manual lens, with no electronic communication with the camera body. Focusing and aperture adjustments must be done manually, which can be a delightful experience for photographers who appreciate the tactile engagement with their equipment. The focus ring typically offers a smooth operation, allowing for precise control over focusing. The manual aperture control also enables users to adjust the depth of field and exposure with precision, encouraging a more intentional and thoughtful approach to photography.

Compatibility and Adaptability

One of the advantages of the Soligor 135mm F/2.8 is its adaptability to modern digital cameras. With the appropriate adapter, this lens can be used on virtually any mirrorless or DSLR camera system, giving it a new lease on life in the digital age. This adaptability has made it a popular choice among photographers looking to explore the unique qualities of vintage glass on contemporary camera bodies.


The Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto lens is a testament to the quality and craftsmanship of a bygone era in photography. Its solid construction, combined with the distinctive optical characteristics, make it a sought-after piece for photographers seeking to add a vintage touch to their images. Whether used for portraits, landscapes, or any subject matter that benefits from its telephoto reach and artistic rendering, the Soligor 135mm F/2.8 offers a unique shooting experience that connects the past with the present. Its enduring appeal lies not just in the images it produces, but in the tactile joy and deliberate pace it brings to the photographic process

Technical Specifications

Focal Length (35mm format): 135mm
Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
Minimum Aperture: f/22
Mount format: M42 Universal Screw Mount
Format: 35mm Film
Angle of View (35mm format): 18.2°
Focusing Distance: 1.4m to Inifinity
Elements/Groups: 5 elements in 5 groups
Number of Blades: 8 (rounded)
Focus type: Manual Focus (MF)
Filter size: 55mm
Manufacturer: Soligar
Country of Manufacture: Japan
Weight: 418g

Our Take on the Soligor 135mm F/2.8 Tele-Auto

Image quality: Excellent
Bokeh: Very good
Build quality: Superb
Micro contrast: Very good
Ergonomics: Good
Center sharpness (wide open): Superb
Edge sharpness (wide open):Good
Pros Cons
+ Smooth, creamy bokeh - Moderately heavy
+ Very sharp optics - Manual focus may present a challenge to first time users
+ Solid build quality
+ Low distortion
+ Excellent tonal contrast


The images of this lens were captured using a Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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