How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?
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bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 871
Country: United States


Okay guys...

I am about to make a decision buying Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar, based on several reviews, forums and blogs I found out they're all consistent on claiming this lens is soft below f/2.8. DXO labs even rate this lens lower than the Cheapo Canon 50mm f/1.8

If this is the case how sharp is Zeiss 50mm 1.4 at f/2.8? Can someone please post a 100% crop shot f2.8.



Makten
Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Total Posts: 4044
Country: Sweden

Bad? It's an amazing lens and only soft at short distances, wide open.

Edit: These are shot at f/1.4...


















edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 7478
Country: Thailand

The Planar is not soft below 2.8, the resolving power is there. It has veiling haze wide open that lowers the contrast, which can be very useful for portraits and night shots. From 2.8 upwards, it is very sharp and clear.



Jim Schemel
Registered: Oct 18, 2006
Total Posts: 4809
Country: United States

There is nothing bad about the Planar.It takes a little time to get used to, not recommended as a first lens.IMO a lot of the complaints with this lens were user error.

Here are a few that i took when i had it in NYC taken with 1DsII

-Jim




















































reza187
Registered: May 28, 2009
Total Posts: 122
Country: N/A

wow jim, great shots! how did you mf-ing the lens? using precision screen?



bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 871
Country: United States

Jim Schemel wrote:
There is nothing bad about the Planar.It takes a little time to get used to, not recommended as a first lens.IMO a lot of the complaints with this lens were user error.

Here are a few that i took when i had it in NYC taken with 1DsII

-Jim




These are all f/2.8?



bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 871
Country: United States

Makten wrote:
Bad? It's an amazing lens and only soft at short distances, wide open.

Edit: These are shot at f/1.4...




The pictures you posted are converted straight from camera with no adjustments? I can see that the RED are really red...saturation and contrast are up there.



Johnny B Goode
Registered: Jan 15, 2012
Total Posts: 441
Country: United States

It's not as easy as my 35/2 to produce stellar results but it is sharp -even wide open. Here's some I recently posted in the zeiss ZE/ZF/ZM thread

wide open

IMG_6737 by Pete the Irish Guy, on Flickr


stopped down

IMG_6534 by Pete the Irish Guy, on Flickr



Peire
Registered: Apr 27, 2010
Total Posts: 1322
Country: Poland

I share edwardkaraa's and makten's opinion.

It is an excellent,sharp and contrasty lens overall.At f1.4 and f2 it shows some veiling and fringing but all those are gone from f2.8 on.



redisburning
Registered: Jul 16, 2011
Total Posts: 1094
Country: United States

bushwacker wrote:
Jim Schemel wrote:
There is nothing bad about the Planar.It takes a little time to get used to, not recommended as a first lens.IMO a lot of the complaints with this lens were user error.

Here are a few that i took when i had it in NYC taken with 1DsII

-Jim




These are all f/2.8?


what?

they are all obviously wide open.

OP the 50/1.4 planar is a really good lens but like all lenses has some compromises. Like was recommended, if you want something a bit easier to shoot the 50/2.0 Makro Planar is probably a better choice.

I'll say this about my preference: if you gave me a 50/1.4 Canon I wouldn't use it. If you gave me a ZE Planar I would, when I was using my dSLR. FWIW I own, use and love the ZM planar.



Xtobolic
Registered: Oct 17, 2010
Total Posts: 106
Country: Netherlands

I like this lens... it's not bad at all...it just has some kind of rendering you'll like or hate.







Mescalamba
Registered: Jul 06, 2011
Total Posts: 3147
Country: Czech Republic

If you gonna measure lens just by MTF..

..you gonna have bad time.



Makten
Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Total Posts: 4044
Country: Sweden

bushwacker wrote:
The pictures you posted are converted straight from camera with no adjustments?


Of course not. Why would you want to do that and get flat, boring images no matter what lens you use? You can see the character of the lens, which was the meaning with posting them.

The Planar is a "bad" lens if you are gonna shoot test charts. But it's great for real images.



Jochenb
Registered: May 25, 2010
Total Posts: 1793
Country: Belgium

I think it's great. It has a certain look. It's only soft when shooting closeups wide open. I never care for test charts, I prefer real world results.



zhangyue
Registered: Jan 28, 2011
Total Posts: 2781
Country: United States

I love this lens and I know people love this lens, but it is soft compare all other 1.4 lens I have. Since 50% of time I do portrait shooting, within 2M, the lens is worst in terms of snap. (Nikon/Zeiss 85mm 1.4, Nikkor 1.2, Zeiss 35mm 1.4, and 50lux 1.4 M ASPH/R E48, Zeiss sonnar 1.5)

Even nikkor 1.8G is sharper than it within 2M. Infinity is fine compare others.

Love of hate depend your value priority regarding what is good or what is not.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 15689
Country: Germany

It took me a couple of tries to understand this lens. The first time I used it, I was shooting relatively close up, wide open, in a high-contrast situation, and I hated the results, soft and fringy. Then with time I came to love the rendering, and now I accept its weaknesses and love its strengths. Look through the ZE/ZF/ZM and Zeiss threads, lots of examples.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6551
Country: United States

Mine had terrible, unusable focus shift. (I'm in the minority here, and the lens may have been faulty.)

I have outstanding results with my Contax Zeiss 50/1.4 (plus several Canon EF), so not bothering to pursue the ZE 50/1.4 again.



Jim Schemel
Registered: Oct 18, 2006
Total Posts: 4809
Country: United States

Gunzorro wrote:
Mine had terrible, unusable focus shift. (I'm in the minority here, and the lens may have been faulty.)

I have outstanding results with my Contax Zeiss 50/1.4 (plus several Canon EF), so not bothering to pursue the ZE 50/1.4 again.


The focus shift is real.But i learned to use the stop down button on the canon cameras with great success.Of course if you are shooting wide open then focus shift is impossible.



corndog
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 4073
Country: United States

I don't know if it's because of the contrast in the samples, but that bokeh makes me feel like I've had too much coffee. Unless of course, I actually did have too much coffee...



Makten
Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Total Posts: 4044
Country: Sweden

corndog wrote:
I don't know if it's because of the contrast in the samples, but that bokeh makes me feel like I've had too much coffee. Unless of course, I actually did have too much coffee...


You're right; the bokeh is a bit nervous wide open and at close to medium distances. But I actually like it when considering it as a "dual temperament" lens. Stop it down and the bokeh is just sweeter than any other lens, combined with sharpness and color out of this world.

Sorry for using the same old example all the time, but I've taken most of my stuff down from the net...







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