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Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*

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Reviews Views Date of last review
13 28288 Dec 20, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $850.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.92
8.83
9.2
85mm

Specifications:
The Concentrated View
This short telephoto is a classic portrait focal length which is further enhanced by the long barrel rotation for precise control of the focus point in the image. The Planar T* 1,4/85 is optimized for medium to longer distances and provides distortion-free performance, which only improves as the lens is stopped down. The fast f/1.4 aperture is very useful for creatively controlling the depth of field and the nearly circular diaphragm creates a pleasing ‘bokeh’ in the out-of-focus areas. The Planar T* 1,4/85 is available with the F bayonet (ZF), EF bayonet (ZE) and K bayonet (ZK) lens mounts and is designed for use with full-frame SLR and DSLR cameras. Combined with a DSLR with a 1.5 crop factor, the lens becomes a focal length of 128 mm.

Focal length 85 mm
Aperture range f/1,4 – f/16 (1/2 steps)
Focusing range 1 m – infinity
Number of elements/groups 6/5
Angular field, diag./horiz. 29°/24°
Coverage at close range 36 x 24 cm
Filter thread M 72 x 0.75
Dimensions ZF, ZK (with cap) ř 77 mm, length 85 mm
Dimensions ZE (with cap) ř 78 mm, length 85 mm
Weight ZF, ZK (with cap) 600 g
Weight ZE (with cap) 700 g
Camera mounts F Mount (ZF & ZF.2) EF Mount (ZE) K Mount (ZK)


 


          
mmajsw
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Registered: Aug 9, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 65
Review Date: Dec 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very good build, smooth focus, solid lens, amazing pictures
Cons:
Cost - but you do get what you pay for. Manual focusing - easy with live view or get a relevant focus screen

I bough this lens as my first Zeiss to see what all the fuss was about. My first image with the lens was of a flower that I had taken with other lenses - a Canon 100mm macro, 100mm Pentax, etc.. Needless to say, I saw what everyone was raving about and was struck with "Zeiss Acquisition Syndrome"!
All I can say is you have to try a Zeiss lens and compare it to your existing lenses. Got rid of all my other 85mm primes and I use the Zeiss unless conditions depict otherwise - like sports and moving objects.
Manual focus is relatively easy once you have live view or a suitable focus screen. Not as easy as pressing the button with an auto focus lens but it allows you to readily choose the feature you want to be sharpest. Just takes a little bit of practice.

Update July 31 2014 - By now, the novelty has worn off on getting a new lens. I have now owned this lens for a year. All I can say it that this lens continues to deliver amazing pictures. I do miss a shot every now and then but it now normal procedure to take two or three images in succession and look for the best one. Not much different that what I used to do using auto focus. I also find that due to the manual focus aspect, I now slow down and spend more time looking at the subject before taking pictures. The result is my keep rate is higher and my composition is better.


Dec 20, 2013
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rbussmann
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Registered: Apr 11, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic color rendition, IQ, built, compact.
Cons:
No weather sealing.

Starting to get hooked on Zeiss primes. The built quality is outstanding, and the lens has great IQ. Color rendition is excellent, provided you like warmer colors. The lack of AF is not a problem for me, nor is the focus shift of the lens in most cases. The focus shift is mostly an issue at close distance and f1.4, but if you know this it is easy enough to deal with.

Jul 19, 2013
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victoriae
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Registered: Sep 13, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 1, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, image quality
Cons:
NONE

Best 85mm I have ever used and I had the Canon 1.2 mk ii just love the pictures from this lens and very very sharp. OK fair bit of CA wide open but if using RAW and LR no problem. All Zeiss seem to work best on FF but also works very well on my 1D3's.

Jun 1, 2013
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BostonGreg
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Registered: Apr 19, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 2510
Review Date: Nov 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build Quality Image Quality
Cons:

This is my first Zeiss lens and I am extremely impressed. Build quality is just superb. Very solid feel with silky smooth focus ring. The images I've produced with this lens far exceed the IQ produced with my Canon 85 f/1.2 II. Tack sharp wide open with just the most beautiful colors and contrast. What I love best is the amazing bokeh and subject separation. The images truly have a 3D quality that my clients just love. Being one of the less expensive Zeiss pieces I would recommend this lens to anyone considering it. I loved it so much, I just dropped another $2k on the 100 f/2 Makro Planar. I am now a Zeiss fan for life as I know you will be after shooting with this wonderful glass!

Nov 21, 2011
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fsiagian
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Registered: May 23, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1869
Review Date: Mar 27, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful rendering, smooth focus, built quality.
Cons:
None.

This lens is simply amazing. Beautiful rendering. If you don't mind manual focus, get this lens. I use it with nikon camera and I just love the pictures much more than the nikon/sigma 85mms.

Mar 27, 2011
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imranaz
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Registered: Jul 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 55
Review Date: Oct 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, color rendition, sharpness except for wide open < 5ft, bokeh, build quality and size.
Cons:
Focus shift can make focusing without live view a challenge.


Posted a mini-review and comparison with Canon 85L on my blog here: http://imransblog.com/2010/10/24/lens-comparison-canon-85l-versus-zeiss-85mm-ze


Oct 24, 2010
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denoir
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4214
Review Date: Sep 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: colors, contrasts, bokeh, excellent at medium to long distances
Cons:
SA, LoCA, not very good for close ups

I would not recommend this as a first Zeiss lens to anyone as it is not good for every task. If you want a Zeiss tele that is excellent at all apertures and distances then the Zeiss 100/2 MP is a much better choice.

The 85/1.4 is a special purpose lens. It has been designed to be a portrait lens that produces flattering images with nice smooth bokeh. Heavy spherical aberration smooths out the skin of your subjects and produces forgiving portraits. That same trait makes it completely unsuitable for closeups as it loses a lot of apparent sharpness and contrast at that distance. It is far from impossible to get a good close up but you have to carefully engineer the scene. It's not what it has been designed for.

At medium distances it becomes a very interesting landscape/city lens. It is sharp wide open and you get a really nice separation of subject and background even at pretty large distances. You have to be careful though of LoCA which if you are not careful in the selection of your background and the distance to it can create a very nasty busy bokeh. Done right, the background blur is very very good.

Stopped down it becomes razor sharp. It is a great landscape lens due to its subtle color rendering and the spatial qualities of the image (i.e. 3D).

This is definitely not a lens for everyone and you really need to spend time with it and get to know its strengths and weaknesses. It is very rewarding to do so as when used in the right context it can produce really fantastic images.

I would like to stress though that this is neither a suitable first Zeiss lens nor a suitable general purpose lens. Its uses are limited but where it shines, it really shines.


Sep 2, 2010
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Choun W
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Registered: Jul 3, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 27
Review Date: Aug 3, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: excellence sharpness even wide open, sweet 3d look boken, very special charactor when shooting wide open in low and mix light condition, very very well build quality,
Cons:
focus shift at very close range (1m to 1.5m) but can manage with AF micro-adjustment on camera or using live-view still and movie mode

I love this lens, even focus shift happen but I found can manage with AF micro-adjustment on my 5D2 and if I use tripod with live-view still or movie mode then it will stop down the apperture to the select one then it not an issue anymore. Just starting my review here http://www.pbase.com/chounws3/zeiss_85mm_f14_ze
will come with focus shift testing later.
Enjoy your lens as mind.


Aug 3, 2010
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Lazyjoe
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Registered: Jul 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 50
Review Date: May 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Solid build, manual focusing smooth and accurate, superb image quality. Colors and contrast are excellent. CA is well controlled This lens is a beauty...
Cons:
none

This lens has very smooth and accurate manual focusing and you really need to understand it to get the most out of it.

It has great contrast, some CA but well controlled, colors are vibrant and bokeh is just creamy. As some previous reviewer mentioned the images looks almost 3D.

Good focusing distance is around 8ft at its widest aperture, not exactly close but I wouldn't give it a negative rating because it, just like I wouldn't give it a negative rating because it's Manual Focus. I knew that before buying the lens.

I use this lens on my Canon 7D for shooting HD videos and once again it shines - image quality is just spectacular. I must say that still images with this lens and my Canon 7D is not nearly as nice as the images from my Canon 1ds Mark II. Something to be said about FF camera.

I wouldn't use this lens for action shots like sports etc. If my situation calls for auto-focusing lens, I usually use my 24-70mm f/2.8 L or 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. This lens is not suited for all applications but Portrait and Video - You've got a winner.


May 20, 2010
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nycandre
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Registered: Apr 23, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 22
Review Date: Apr 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Feels (and v probably is) very well built, manual focus is smooth and accurate
Cons:
No A/F on the Canon (or any line)

I will leave the technical evaluations to other reviewers who have tested and commented on it extensively. My comment here is on the actual manual focusing: it is actually remarkably easy, doable and fast enough even in an indoor location with average lighting.

As expected the DOF is razor thin, and the bokeh is sweet -see this shot, with a 5D, 800ASA 1/400 sec F1.8. The eyelashes are spot on - well, some of them

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/3820793090/


Apr 25, 2010
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burningheart
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Registered: Mar 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2485
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Great contrast control on the edges, makes the object stand out very well. Smooth bokeh. Beautiful color rendition

CA on the frame edges of a high contrast areas at infinity such as tree branches against the sky. In the center CA is strongly controlled. I shot a waterfall wide open near inifinty and the whitewater cascading down the falls had no color fringing or CA. Though shooting flowers near minimum focus distance shows some blue fringing in out of focus area.

Slight loss of sharpness when going from F11 to F16 and F1.4 in flat or dim lighting. Sharp edge to edge at 1.4 in good lighting.

This lens has some tough competition Hartblei 80 T+S, Canon 85L, Nikon 85 PC, Leica 90 APO, Canon 90 T+S. Each has its strenghts and makes it tough to choose one over the other.

For IR shooters RG715 starts to hotspot at F8 and with a B+W 093 at F5.6.

I also have the 85 ZF-IR and it has no hotspots exceptional for IR at F11, terrific contrast and 3D look. My favorite 85 for IR.

When used as a regular lens on a regular digital camera there is a slight red cast and softness.


Apr 13, 2010
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philber
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Registered: May 20, 2008
Location: France
Posts: 7651
Review Date: Apr 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: World-class rendition of detail, colour, contrast and volume. Great "3D". Exceptional build quality
Cons:
Not perfectly sharp up close and wide open, some focus shift at less than 8', some CA. Not exactly a light lens, nor a cheap one.

The Zeiss Planar 85 is not for the faint-hearted. It is not light, not cheap, and not always easy to use. Its 85 mm means that depth-of-field wide open or close will be razor-thin, making manual focus a demanding exercise, with focus shift adding a little spice.
It is basically not optimized for close up-wide open-maximum background blur.
On the other hand if you stop down to f:2.0, it picks up unbelievable detail, and its rendition of colour is second to none. That makes it a world-class mid-distance portrait lens, as well as a phenomenal landscape short tele.


Apr 2, 2010
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Grenache
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Registered: Dec 17, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1952
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build quality and handling are extraordinary. It is quite sharp even wide open at greater distances than 8 or so feet. Nice 3D look to images and color throughout range.
Cons:
Sharpness and focus shift from minimum focus distance out to about 5-8 feet are sub par. I find the Contax version sharper and better at close distances.



Apr 1, 2010
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Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
13 28288 Dec 20, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $850.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.92
8.83
9.2
85mm