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Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*

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Reviews Views Date of last review
22 34840 Jul 31, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
86% of reviewers $691.90
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.95
8.63
8.9
50mm

Specifications:
The Brilliant Glimpse
This bright and compact standard lens has a precise manual focusing mechanism and large rotation angle for precise control. The Planar T* 1,4/50 is designed for medium and longer distances and provides high-performance wide open, which only improves as the lens is stopped down. The lens construction controls flare and ghosting artifacts, resulting in a brilliant image with excellent contrast and natural color rendition. The Planar T* 1,4/50 is available with the F bayonet (ZF), K bayonet (ZK), EF bayonet (ZE) and M42 (ZS) 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 compact, lightweight 75 mm portrait lens.

Focal length 50 mm
Aperture range f/1.4 f/16 (1/2 steps)
Focusing range 0,45 m infinity
Number of elements/groups 7/6
Angular field, diag./horiz. 45/38
Coverage at close range 24 x 16 cm
Filter thread M 58 x 0.75
Dimensions (with caps) 66 mm, length 69 mm
Weight 350 g
Camera mounts F Mount (ZF & ZF.2) EF Mount (ZE) K Mount (ZK) M42 Screw Mount (ZS)


 


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mmajsw
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Registered: Aug 9, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 65
Review Date: Jul 31, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,280.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Zeiss quality build. Great images. Easy to focus- long throw.
Cons:
A bit heavy in weight. But I can live with that in the long run. Expensive but the purchase can be rationalized.

I have good access to quite a few primes in the 50mm range - Takumar SMC (1.4 and 1.8), Canon EF (1.4, 1.8 and macro), Cosina 1.4, Mamiya 1.8 , Pentacon 1.8, Yashica DSM (1.4 and 1.7) etc.
I have used them in various conditions - portrait, landscape and macro. I was reluctant to buy another 50mm but after reading the reviews of the Zeiss 50mm Macro, I decided to take the plunge and get one. 11 months later, I am not disappointed.
It is the heaviest of the lenses but definitely seems to be the best built of them. A great finish overall. Focus ring in nicely damped. The all metal lens hood is sturdy and all metal.
The images are great. Sharp out to the edges at all apertures. Minor chromatic aberration at F2 under certain circumstances but nothing worth complaining about. I have noted others say that it is soft at the edges at F2. I do not find this to be a major problem as it is not excessively soft - even at 100% viewing. I usually use the F2 - 4 for portraits and F8 - 16 for macro.
A great lens for macro (1:2), portraits and landscape. Definitely a lens that everyone should try.


Jul 31, 2014
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rosscova
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Registered: Nov 25, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 433
Review Date: Mar 25, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful rendering of images. What more do you want?
Cons:
Not very sharp, no AF, chromatic aberrations, field curvature, focus shift, stupid little fiddly lens cap.

This is my absolute favourite lens on my 5DmkII. Every other lens I have is sharper, most other lenses I have are AF. This Zeiss suffers from field curvature, focus shift, heavy CA wide open, and isn't particularly sharp unless you stop down a fair bit. I don't care, I love it, I want to marry it and have little half Zeiss half man baby lenses; they'll call me Papa, and they'll take amazing photos.

What I love is the way it renders. A combination of colour, contrast, micro-contrast... I don't really know what it is, but I find the look and feel of images made with my planar to be more pleasing than those made with most other lenses I have. It just makes amazing photos, and makes me want more Zeiss glass.

Also, whoever designed the lens cap was a sadist. The design does seem good, but for some reason it takes 3 tries to get it on right, and even then you're not really sure. Get an after-market pinch cap.


Mar 25, 2014
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rbussmann
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Registered: Apr 11, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 14, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $725.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built, bokeh, color rendition.
Cons:
Lens cap, focus shift in some situations, contrast when wide open.

This is a great little lens when used right. The bokeh is simply fabulous. The center performance wide open is nice, but don't expect anything from the borders or you will be disappointed.

Dec 14, 2013
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Dpedraza
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Registered: Jan 8, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 789
Review Date: Feb 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bokeh price build quality optics
Cons:
like all zeiss lenses the cap

I bought this as my second Zeiss lens even though it didn't get the best ratings. The bokeh is pretty decent but I usually use this lens stopped down. Stopped down it's insanely nice. This lens was actually on my camera 97% of the time the other 3% of the time it was my Zeiss 21mm.

Feb 3, 2013
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Lars Johnsson
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Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 33650
Review Date: Jan 5, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Build quality, Bokeh & OOF Blur,
Cons:
Large apertures at close distance, Funky bokeh at close distance



Jan 5, 2013
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Aug 31, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros:
Cons:



Aug 31, 2011
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Sami Ruusunen
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Registered: Jul 29, 2010
Location: Finland
Posts: 703
Review Date: Aug 3, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: build quality, smooth focusing, very sharp at f5.6 from medium distances to infinity
Cons:
very disapointing at close focusing distances, poor wide open perfomance, focus shift, crappy lens cap

I would not recommend this lens to anyone who is not sure what he is doing, it is capable of superb results in longer distances stopped down but the anemic close and wide open perfomance can be a disapointment for many. Try before you buy.

Aug 3, 2011
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tororo
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Registered: May 26, 2010
Location: Japan
Posts: 31
Review Date: Apr 4, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Build quality, light weight, size
Cons:
Really soft border/corner from 1.4-2.0. Even at 2.8, corners are very soft.

I tried many 50mm from six different brands (including Leica's summilux and Canon's 50/1.2) and I expected really good results from this lens. However, as some other reviewers mentioned, the performance between 1.4 and 2.8 turned out to be pretty disappointing. I sold this lens and bought Makro-Plannar 50/2 which is very sharp from corner to corner even at wide open! Bokeh is much better as well.

Apr 4, 2011
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defleppard
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Registered: Aug 21, 2010
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 13
Review Date: Apr 3, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: color rendition, bokeh, build quality
Cons:
focus shift, this is actually F2.0 lens.

I just owned for a week and yesterday I used it on a safari park trip, exclusively full day. I was aware that this lens is manual focus before I bought it, so I do not put manual focus as a cons here.

Good things:
- Very unique color rendition and bokeh. I own L prime lenses: 24LII, 85L, 100L, and this CZ lens deliver different color and bokeh. I think this is more about personal taste.
- This CZ lens is also tack sharp, but only after F2,0.
- Build quality is excellent, body and hood are made from metal. But since there is no rubber sealing in the mount, this lens can not be categorized as weather sealed.
- Focus ring is smooth and precise.

Bad things:
- F1.4-F2.0 are quite soft, but still useable (I am not pixelpeeper).
- Focus shift. It happens if one changes the aperture during focusing. Solution: set the aperture before focusing or use focus bracketing.
- Terrible flare control. Only 50L better in this regard.


Apr 3, 2011
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fsiagian
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Registered: May 23, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1846
Review Date: Mar 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Smooth focus, color, zeiss rendering, sharp
Cons:
None

Just got this lens. Super. It has a very unique characteristics. Nice colors and unique backgrounds. I really like the pictures it produces, much more than the nikon version.

AF is smooth, high quality lens, very well built. If you don't need AF, this lens is highly recommended.


Mar 8, 2011
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Schuit
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Registered: Mar 9, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 10
Review Date: Oct 27, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: This lens has a wonderful color rendition. It's heavy and made of first class materials. The finish is awesome and the focusring feels solid as a rock. From F 2.0 the lens is able to produce sharp pictures, if you are lucky
Cons:
Soft at F 1.4 till F 2.0, expensive, lucky guy when you make a sharp photo

It's soft from F 1.4 to F 2.0. Very sharp from F 4.0 to F 6.3. If you make about 10 shots I think 2 of them are really sharp. The rest is out of focus or soft. You can solve this problem by using Live View and a tripod but hey; walking around with a camera and tripod at a party or making a stroll thrue the streets of Venice isn't the way I'd like to make my photos. I switched from Sigma 50mm F 1.4 to this 'real thing' but I doubt I made a very good move.

Oct 27, 2010
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edwardkaraa
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Registered: Sep 26, 2004
Location: Thailand
Posts: 7677
Review Date: Oct 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: All the usual Zeiss goodies.
Cons:
Dreamy effect at f/1.4



Oct 25, 2010
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alexnichol
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Registered: Aug 13, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, size, weight, sharpness, resolution, colour rendition, vintage bokeh
Cons:
purple fringing under certain conditions, manual focus (not necessarily a con, but not a pro either), no good as a close-up lens

Razor sharp right through, with a level of detail I haven't seen yet (I've owned a few L lenses). Barely any colour correction required, compared to Canon lenses which always give me an unnaturally warm tone.

I get purple fringing quite badly when shooting wide open in really high contrast conditions, but I'm convinced this is my lack of understanding of the lens, rather than a technical fault.

The thing that really does it for me is the aesthetic. It has a unique character to it that Canon and Sigma lenses can't reproduce, with the kind of bokeh you'd expect to see from a vintage european lens. It reminds me of my dad's old 1960's Helios 44-2 58mm.

Manual focussing can be tricky at times, especially when shooting candids, but it does force you to get to know your equipment in a way that auto-focus zooms do not.


Aug 13, 2010
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mattrosc
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Registered: Feb 7, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good optical quality, good build quality. Typical Zeiss colour and contrast.
Cons:
Terrible focus shift.

I had a love hate relationship with this lens. I had the ZE version on a Canon 5Dmk2. When used carefully it gave the same outstanding optical quality, colour and contrast we all have come to expect with Zeiss. However, I found focus shift to be a major hindrance to working with the lens. In fact the first time I used it (fortunately just a test series of shots) I got a lot of pictures with far distance out of focus. I learnied to live with this by using the manual stop down button on the Canon and then focusing. The quality of the lens is up with the best Zeiss lenses, but be aware of the focus shift issue. I have bought the 50mm Makro planar to replace it.

Jul 23, 2010
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burningheart
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Registered: Mar 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2463
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Contrast, colors, build, focusing, sharp
Cons:
Bokeh, darkened edges upto 2.8

Great contrast and of all the Zeiss ZF's it naturally gives the 3d ish look more often without trying to deliberatly get it.
Of all the 50s I have compared this with (Canon 1.0L, 1.2L, 1.4, 1.8, 2.5 macro, Nikon E Series 1.8, zooms at 50 50-200L, 24-70L, ZF 50 F1.4 IR) this is by far my favorite 50mm landscape lens. The colors are more saturated than the others, it is sharper, and focuses more precise than the others. I will usally shoot at F11 but will go down to 4 for landscapes.

Don't like the Bokeh when shot wide open too harsh for my liking, so will often opt for a different 50 for flowers or landscapes when shooting F4 or less.

The corners have some darkeness upto F2.8 but this is very minor and not really an issue.

For IR users with RG715 it starts hotspotting at F8, with a B+W 093 it starts at F5.6.

I also have the IR ZF-IR version of this lens and it has no hotspots at all, but one time and one time only, I did get a hotspot at F8 with a B+W 093 but have never been able to duplicate it. The ZF-IR version has a slight reddish color when shot on a regular 5D,D700, S5 and is slightly softer than the non IR version.


Apr 13, 2010
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Wilfredo
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Registered: Sep 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 841
Review Date: Apr 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $649.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid build, excellent value. Extremely sharp with superior micro-contrast.
Cons:
FC can be slow at times.

I live in the world of both Leica and Canon cameras. Leica glass has always been extremely expensive, and getting worse. The 50mm Zeiss is an exceptional value, and it will add to the DSLR experience of any photographer. I use it on my Canon 5D Mark II and simply thrilled with the handling, solid build, and the often mentioned 3D feel of the images it produces especially at twilight, on a beach. It produces magical imagery.



Apr 12, 2010
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Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
22 34840 Jul 31, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
86% of reviewers $691.90
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.95
8.63
8.9
50mm


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