How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?
/forum/topic/1163096/2

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philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

I understand your point carsten and I do indeed wonder about the criticism of the 50MP - and your two images very persuasively illustrate my point!

I am guessing (we see differently) that others see a kind of artistic fade of focus and a soft attractive rendering of subjects and this car image does not have the lurid snippy bokeh of some others we see above. Corners look great to me here in the 50/2 image, and appear lighter than the 50/1.4.

But my tastes are less 'artistic' here, more technical, and we simply see the scene differently, as I have tried to explain. It is interesting that CZ make the MPs for general use, so perhaps they may agree partially with me. I do see a lot of great bokeh ( which looks 'accurate' to me) from the 50/2 and much prefer it.

Thanks for posting, of course, and please don't take offence at my expression which may come over as harsh. A final comment is that the 50/1.4 look was everywhere in the 1990s when everyone would have been blown away if they saw what the 50Mp could do. The Planar comes over to me as a poor cousin of the CY 35/1.4. An artistic 50 is harder to use also, it seems. I do like the 'this isn't the most exciting shot'.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 14909
Country: Germany

No, no, I am not offended at all, I just wanted to present the opposing viewpoint, which also exists. I understand that some people prefer the 50MP, and in the end I did decide to keep mine, so I own both.

This shot doesn't really show the problematic corners of the 50MP, but I have others which do. The trouble is that wide open, the extreme corners of the 50MP have extreme field curvature, and I can see things far away suddenly snap into focus when I am focusing quite close. This is probably related to the focusing distance in some complex way. When I get home tonight, I can post some more shots to demonstrate this, if anyone is interested.



bluetsunami
Registered: Sep 03, 2008
Total Posts: 1151
Country: United States

I got the C/Y version on Friday and it definitely shows great fine structure, wide open when pixel peeping. Its an interesting look, thin DoF, lower contrast but the texture coming through. I absolutely love how it performs stopped down though. There seems to be a misconception that all lenses perform similarly when you go past a certain aperture (especially with fast lenses, why bother? They say) but this lens and the 50/1.7 are truly something special around f/4 and f/5.6. Here's a shot at f/5.6 with the NEX5N...







I'm envious of you guys that are able to use all of the glass on FF cameras but hopefully a FF mirrorless is released next year and I'll be adapting this bad boy to it.


rirakuma
Registered: Jan 26, 2012
Total Posts: 335
Country: Australia

I own the 50MP and jochen is right about their differences. I've never owned a 50P before but you can't get that look closeup wide open with the 50MP. I personally find the 50P bokeh very interesting, it reminds me of the rokkor. Its also very attractive for video.



AhamB
Registered: Jul 11, 2008
Total Posts: 4857
Country: Germany

Great samples, Jochenb!
I have the Contax incarnation of the lens and I love it.



U.C.
Registered: May 25, 2008
Total Posts: 562
Country: Netherlands

I once did a test with a lot of "50-ish" lenses, also the 50P and 50MP. It isn't the best test around, but it gives some ideas about the differences: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/996387
The wall-test was at relatively close distance, so not the best environment for the 50P...



pingflood
Registered: May 03, 2006
Total Posts: 1552
Country: Sweden

The Planar is a bit different, but I like it. "Bad", no way.

























bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 842
Country: United States

kiddik wrote:
I'm a big fan of the 50P, I've come to love it's "weaknesses" as they make it stand out from most other 50s, and it's closed down ubersharpness is a bonus, although I'm the wide-open bokeh-lovin' type. For me there's reason to own both :-) Here's a quick demo I made once to demonstrate key close-up & wide-open differences between the 50P and the 50/2 Makro-Planar to my friends:

First the 50P:


Then the 50MP:


Close-up crop from the two:



You nailed it MAN!!! this is the post that I've been waiting for it confirms everything that I asked. And also one guy says sharpness is there wide open but lacks contrast on the 50P, these two crops says it all.

thank you very much.... sorry for being pixel peeper.



bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 842
Country: United States

Jochenb wrote:
Philip, I think the 50MP is fantastic. It was my first Zeiss lens and used it a LOT. However... I sold it after I got used to the planar.
The MP is sharper and the better allrounder (because of the great close up performance), but it looks more clinical. The planar has a character. One not everyone will like.
The bokeh of the planar really is something to get used to. Wide open, close up range it's indeed nervous IMHO. Stopping it down to f2-2.8 makes it a lot more pleasing to my eye.
It's part of the character of this lens. It can ruin a photo or make it really special (in terms of rendering of course).
When shooting a subject at medium distance you can get nice subject separation when shooting wide open.




Jochen,

When you say "subject at medium distance" can you please tell what's the approximate distance range.



Jochenb
Registered: May 25, 2010
Total Posts: 1634
Country: Belgium

bushwacker wrote:
Jochen,

When you say "subject at medium distance" can you please tell what's the approximate distance range.


Hmm I would say starting from a few meters (3-4). My first photo on the previous page is an example of this.
From these distances shooting wide open is perfectly fine. Close up is the Achilles' heel of both the 50 and 85 planars.

Carsten also describes the differences with the 50MP well.

bushwacker wrote:

You nailed it MAN!!! this is the post that I've been waiting for it confirms everything that I asked. And also one guy says sharpness is there wide open but lacks contrast on the 50P, these two crops says it all.

thank you very much.... sorry for being pixel peeper.


This only shows what I'm (and others are) saying.
That example is in the close up range, the weak spot of the planar. The 50MP always destroys the planar when shooting close ups.
If you shoot a lot of those, look no further: the 50MP is better for you.



philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

I saw some landscapes from someone here on the ZE/F thread, shot with the ZE 50MP - not just good, but staggering amount of detail in the distance, about as good as it gets. The two MPs are the most improved Zeiss lenses over the Contax prededessors, in my view. Both are great all rounders.

Having said some unkind things about the 50/1.4 I am guessing it is harder to use but delivers a beautiful style when you get it right.



wayne seltzer
Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Total Posts: 3968
Country: United States

50P focus transitions faster to OOF even iwithin the DOF when stopped down so you can isolate a subject better from background and renders more 3-d than 50MP. 50P renders spatial relationship better objects front to back in a scene more like we see. Just look at Samuli's 50P forest shots in the Zeiss thread somewhere near pgs 60 I think.
Most of the time I use the 50MP for my landscapes but also use my N 50P for timers when I need AF or want the extra subject isolation and 3-d pop or with backgrounds which look better with the more painterly bokeh rendering of the 50P.
Look forward to getting the new 55/1.4!



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 6861
Country: Thailand

Wayne, it seems you're getting a big bonus at the end of the year?



wayne seltzer
Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Total Posts: 3968
Country: United States

edwardkaraa wrote:
Wayne, it seems you're getting a big bonus at the end of the year?


Ha! Ha! I wish!



philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

Zeiss are trying to drive people into the poor house.



kiddik
Registered: Sep 24, 2009
Total Posts: 179
Country: Iceland

Yes Zeiss has been making my life miserable for the past few years. Being addicted to glass is the worst. I look back to when I used to smoke cigarettes and think about how I easy I had it back then. Now I have trouble sleeping. I love all my Z's and can't stop thinking about how I'm going to pay for the next lens. Unfortunately their latest releases are getting more and more expensive... sigh.

But adding to the discussion, in my opinion my 50P has delivered all-round the highest IQ I've ever seen on my 5D2/3 when stopped down at distance. With regards to sharpness, color fidelity & distortion.



Toothwalker
Registered: Jan 24, 2009
Total Posts: 1240
Country: Norway

bushwacker wrote:
You nailed it MAN!!! this is the post that I've been waiting for it confirms everything that I asked.


You asked for f/2.8 and got f/1.4.



wayne seltzer
Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Total Posts: 3968
Country: United States

Sorry but I don 't think this is a fair comparison as the 50P is at 1.4 while the MP is at f2.
Also, the 50P is focused further forward in the scene than 50MP.
I would consider this close distance shooting for which we have already said. Is the weakness of this lens when wide open. Unless you try it you will not know how good it is. No sweat for any of us if you won't be open to trying it.
We are Zeiss lens enablers, not salesmen.


bushwacker wrote:
kiddik wrote:
I'm a big fan of the 50P, I've come to love it's "weaknesses" as they make it stand out from most other 50s, and it's closed down ubersharpness is a bonus, although I'm the wide-open bokeh-lovin' type. For me there's reason to own both :-) Here's a quick demo I made once to demonstrate key close-up & wide-open differences between the 50P and the 50/2 Makro-Planar to my friends:

First the 50P:


Then the 50MP:


Close-up crop from the two:



You nailed it MAN!!! this is the post that I've been waiting for it confirms everything that I asked. And also one guy says sharpness is there wide open but lacks contrast on the 50P, these two crops says it all.

thank you very much.... sorry for being pixel peeper.



bpark42
Registered: Jan 20, 2008
Total Posts: 1536
Country: United States

philip_pj wrote:
I saw some landscapes from someone here on the ZE/F thread, shot with the ZE 50MP - not just good, but staggering amount of detail in the distance, about as good as it gets. The two MPs are the most improved Zeiss lenses over the Contax prededessors, in my view. Both are great all rounders.

Having said some unkind things about the 50/1.4 I am guessing it is harder to use but delivers a beautiful style when you get it right.


I recently used the 50MP for a fair amount of landscape work. The lens is outstanding at infinity and keeps up with the D800 sensor, but from what I have seen, the 50P performance in a stopped-down infinity scenario is excellent as well.



Cadaver
Registered: Dec 03, 2008
Total Posts: 404
Country: N/A

I think the bokeh of the 50P is like what they say about drinking scotch, you have to acquire a taste for it. Whereas the 50MP tastes good right away.



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