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Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

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20 44283 May 6, 2014
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100% of reviewers $1,650.43
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The Selective Macro Superstar
This extremely fast, short telephoto macro lens can capture the smallest details with maximum precision. The Makro-Planar T* 2/100 features a completely new optical design which incorporates fl oating lens elements to ensure distortionfree, maximum imaging performance throughout the focusing range. As a result, this lens is well-suited for macro photography and is also a superb portrait lens. An extremely wide and smooth focusing rotation provides superior control and the fast f/2.0 aperture allows for a short depth of fi eld to draw attention to the subject. The Makro-Planar T* 2/100 is available with F bayonet (ZF) and K bayonet (ZK) lens mounts and is designed for use with full-frame SLR and DSLR cameras. When used with a DSLR with a 1.5 crop factor, the lens has an effective focal length of 150 mm.
Focal length 100 mm
Aperture range f/2.0 f/22 (1/2 steps)
Focusing range 0.44 m infinity
Number of elements/groups 9/8
Angular field, diag./horiz. 25/21
Coverage at close range 72 x 48 mm
Image ratio at close range: 1 : 2
Filter thread M 67 x 0.75
Dimensions (with caps) 76 mm, length 113 mm
Weight 680 g
Camera mounts EF Mount (ZE) F Mount (ZF & ZF.2) K Mount (ZK)


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Registered: May 5, 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 35
Review Date: May 6, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp and amazing bokeh in largest aperture !
Heavy and no balance when use with small camera body.

May 6, 2014
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Registered: Mar 11, 2013
Location: N/A
Posts: 14
Review Date: Apr 1, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Terrific sharpness, superb bokeh, and wonderful 3-dimensionality.
Pronounced fringing, particularly in high contrast areas. Lens cap needs to be replaced right out of the box - a broken-record complaint for Zeiss' entire lens lineup.

A beautifully built, terrifically sharp macro lens. There is also that 3-D depth perception that I just don't feel is present in the Canon 100 macros.

I have owned both of the Canon 100mm macro lenses, and was thrilled with each of them. They are both very sharp, but don't possess the same "oomph" as the Zeiss. The Zeiss' 3D look is, I think, what separates it.

The best way I can think to describe the difference is that with the Canons you are looking through a window, and with the Zeiss, you've opened the window and are just looking at the scene. (Granted, it is a very clean window).

However, there is a pronounced issue with colour fringing when photographing high contrast scenes. This is certainly much more pronounced than in the Canon alternatives. If you take a picture of a leaf-less tree against a white winter sky, the tree will have a distinct purple glow to it.

The fringing is is not a fatal flaw, but you need to be aware of it. Sometimes, slight adjustment to how you photograph something can completely eliminate the problem. Other times, you'll need to do some adjustment in post.

The lens does do an outstanding job, and I was happy to trade my most recent Canon to get it.

Other differences are, obviously, that it does not have autofocus, and as compared to the 100L or most recent Nikon, does not have image stabilisation/vibration reduction. I did find that stabilisation was particularly nice for tripod-free wandering around macro work, and I do miss this. The lens also "only" focuses down to a 1:2 reproduction ratio, which I have not really found to be especially noticeable... but obviously, this will vary with your desired subject matter. (The lens is, obviously, compatible with extension tubes, though).

One annoyance for macro work, though, is that the chrome end of the barrel is easily reflected against reflective subject matter. A filter solves this, but without this it seems like a silly oversight for a macro lens.

The lens also scores over the Nikon and Canon macro offerings with an f/2 maximum aperture, and is still very sharp wide open.

As a walkaround lens, too, focused at infinity, the Zeiss is significantly shorter than either the Canon or Nikon offerings, and turns fewer heads on the street.

I have next to no experience with the Canon 100mm f/2, or the Nikon 105DC, and so can't comment on how the Zeiss compares to either of these non-macro, portrait-oriented lenses. I will say, though, the one time I handled the canon 100/2, I found the minimum focusing distance to be prohibitively large for what I would term "general purpose detail shots" - like a person's hand writing a note, or a tight-ish crop on a person's head.

I certainly find the bokeh on the Zeiss to be wonderfully smooth, as well. I have not used the venerable Nikon 105/2.5 enough, nor used the ZE100 enough for portraiture to really be able to compare these two, but my impression is that this would be a close race.

Apr 1, 2014
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Registered: May 18, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 57
Review Date: Jan 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: edge to edge focus- notably when stopped down a bit - build quality, sheer resolution, color rendition, lack of geometric issues
worst lens cap ever

I love this lens. When mated to my 1Ds MIII, the potential output motivates me to find new things to shoot. Taking a chance, and clearly entering new turf for me, I've used this lens on holiday exclusively as a way to master the thing.

Previously I hovered in the 50mm-85mm range as my preference for discreet walk around use - but more and more I find myself saying "screw it, I want this one" and off I go.

As a macro lens it is superb. As a walk around lens it is discreet enough (not being off white!) to blend in and still allow for decent pull.

The focus ring behaves like a properly designed microscope, no slop and an easy grip.

As a focal length, it challenges me to zoom with my feet, as the saying goes. It seems to hit a sweet spot in the 4 - 5.6 range for landscapes, but mostly I run it wide open.

In summary, it's a joy to use. Precise and predictable, and ready to provide subtle views I missed with my mere eyes.

Some examples...


Jan 3, 2013
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 551
Review Date: Feb 18, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wide-open to closed-down edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity. Bring outs detail and contrast even in low-contrast lit scenes. Vibrant color and rendering style.
Expected aberrations and fringing wide-open, which are only apparent in high contrast edges.

While shopping for a multi-purpose 100mm lens, the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS was a strong contender. However, after trying the Zeiss 100 MP f/2.0 the winning choice was obvious.

Though macro focusing is limited to 1:2 size on the Zeiss, in comparison to Canon's 1:1, the ease of adding an extension tubes on an optically superior lens when closer that 1:2 macro is a simple solution.

This lens is exceptional for studio still life and portraiture, as well as out-in-the-field use.

For users accustomed to auto-focus, the all manual focus of the Zeiss may be the only hurdle to overcome, but once experienced with the well damped focusing ring, the accuracy of manual focus over auto-focus guesswork is a true reward.

Feb 18, 2012
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Registered: Aug 28, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 535
Review Date: Dec 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, image quality consistent across all apertures and focus distances.
Nothing really. It won't AF but you knew that. Also maybe focusing ring could have a longer throw as you get closer to focusing at infinity.

This is probably the best lens I have used. It has unparallel performance at all apertures. If 100mm works for you then don't think about it and just buy it. This has replaced my 85LmkII and I never missed it.

Dec 14, 2011
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Jim Schemel
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Registered: Oct 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4788
Review Date: Oct 27, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding Image Quality.If you are looking for a Zeiss lens that delivers the 3D look this one provides it in buckets.Great color, sharpness WO and the best bokeh of any lens that i have ever used.
Vignetting at f2 but mostly gone by f2.2/ and of course the price.But when you consider that this lens can do all types of shooting very well, has very few weaknesses and was made to last a very long time at least the price is somewhat justified.

Best lens that i have ever used.This lens can do it all.
-Great portrait lens.
-Outstanding Landscape lens
-Superb Macro albeit @ 1.2( good for most all occasions)

Oct 27, 2011
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Registered: Aug 21, 2010
Location: Vietnam
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 1, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp, excellent build quality, Very nice bokeh, beauty color rendering.

I had Nikkor AF-S 105mm F2.8 VR micro before. It is a excellent macro lens too. But I nerver have an enjoyable feeling with it when shooting macro. The zeiss one is totally different, I always feel happy to play with.

I like the sharpness, bokeh, color rendering of this lens so much! Highly recommended!

HERE is some my macro photos made by this lens.

Jun 1, 2011
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Registered: Jun 10, 2009
Location: Korea, South
Posts: 58
Review Date: Apr 17, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,210.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: bokeh, build quality, IQ, micro contrast
no weather sealing

The Makro-Planar T* 2/100 and I have had a long painful courtship of unrequited love. Despite its Makro moniker, I've lusted for it for portraiture application.

The lack of distortion makes the lens perfect for pano or Brenzier style photography.

While the 85L and Sigma 50mm can melt background/foreground to goo, the MP 2/100 gives a smoother transitional gradient between focus and OOF. The focal plane is thin and I'm having to stop down more then I originally anticipated. In that way it's similar to the 85L despite beng f2 vs. f1.2.

I'm currently using it with a 60D + EF-S Screen but find Live View necessary to get razor sharp focus. Makes me wish I'd hung on to my 5D2 or 1DMIV.

Color has typical Zeiss pop but lacks the "warmth" that Canon L users may be accustomed to and it's easy on a once over to dismiss the Zeiss as perhaps a bit desaturated.

The manual focus is nuanced, smooth, and precise.

My only complaint on a lens of this price and quality is the lack of weather sealing but given that no lens in the ZE line is weather sealed, it's more a nitpick then a true flaw.

It's more expensive then the Canon 100L. It doesn't have IS or AF. And in terms of absolute quality it's not 2x-3x the lens of Canon. But it is superior. The question, like all arguably best in class lenses, is if that 10% is worth the price difference.

For me the answer is - yes.

Apr 17, 2011
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Rajan Parrikar
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Registered: Sep 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Apr 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,843.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optical performance, drawing style, bokeh, versatility, build.

The Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 Makro Planar is a fantastic lens. Its remarkable performance both close up and at infinity makes it probably the most versatile lens around. I was somewhat dis-sastified with the performance of the Canon 135L f/2 for landscape photography (it is a terrific lens for portraits). After comparing it with the Zeiss - well, there is no comparison. The micro-contrast and detail that come out of the Zeiss are nonpareil. This is as good as it gets. If you value the finest in optics, reach for the Zeiss 100 f/2 MP.

Apr 2, 2011
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Edgars Kalnins
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Registered: Mar 9, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 708
Review Date: Aug 4, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: resolution, build
CA, focusing without tripod and live view may be tricky

Sold my 85L to free up money for this lens. I was partly motivated by its fame I have to admit. It did not disappoint me, but i wish I had a better camera to use it on. Focusing on canon 30D was difficult, especially for subjects far away. On a FF camera with live view it would shine.
I can also confirm that it had that CA wide open - the one you get with fast lenses almost always.
I sold it at the end, because the macro function was of no use to me and keeping this expensive lens for infrequent use for landscapes did not seem right.
Might buy again when I have more money Smile

Aug 4, 2010
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Ajay C
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Registered: Apr 30, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 674
Review Date: Jun 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: superb color rendition and very sharp wide open. Super bokeh.
CA in high contrast scenes.

I think this lens will be a classic. Exceptionally selective focus. Very sharp wide open. Beautiful rendition. High quality build. Bokeh is out of this world. Typical Zeiss micro contrast and very smooth (and subtle) delineation of in-focus and out of focus areas. CA in high contrast scenes.

Jun 29, 2010
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4209
Review Date: Jun 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colors

Probably the best lens I've ever used. It's optical performance is amazing - ultra sharp across the frame at all apertures with nearly zero distortion. The bokeh is out of this world as are the colors and the clarity of the images it produces.

It has two optical flaws - one is CA in very high contrast areas when shooting wide open (doesn't happen often). The other one, more common is LoCA which appears in the OOF regions at some combinations of aperture and subject/background distances.

These are minor issues compared to its otherwise superlative performance. The individual aspects only tell part of the story. It is the coming together of sharpness, colors, DOF falloff, bokeh and so on that make this lens one of a kind. It is rightly regarded as one of the finest prime lenses ever built.

Jun 14, 2010
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Registered: Jul 27, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 267
Review Date: Apr 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Pleasure to use, build, sharpness, color, contrast
CA, price, lack of weather sealing

I sold Canon 100/2.8 Macro L IS lens to purchase this Zeiss. The Canon is an excellent lens, but it's image rendering while of high IQ, was somewhat boring/clinical. The Zeiss on the other hand gives that unique Zeiss rendering and is pure joy to operate with its all metal build and smooth manual focus. I find manual focusing with this lens relatively easy as the the small DOF at 100mm and F/2 is easily seen in a 5D viewfinder with high-precision screen.

The lens is very sharp already at f/2, but the DOF at F/2 is very small especially at close distances. IQ starts dropping at f/16-f/22, which is normal with every lens.

Colors and contrast are unique Zeiss and with a little bit of curve/contrast adjustment in post processing you can achieve some amazing looks with image that pops out.

The lens vignettes significantly below f/2.8. I actually prefer it as it gives the image a depth. For macro purposes I use f/4 and higher where this is not an issue.

The lens has significant CA under f/4 in contrasty scenes.

Overall I'm very satisfied with this lens. It's basically a longer version of Zeiss 50/2 which I also have.

The price is twice as much as the Canon 100L. Only you can decide if it's worth it. The lens does not produce 2x better IQ compared to the Canon. It's simply different, has some extra IQ and is pure joy to use. I can see using this lens for the rest of my life.

Apr 21, 2010
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Registered: Oct 15, 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 50
Review Date: Apr 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, great micro contrast,"king of bokeh", easy MF, exellent build quality
price, lens cap design is poor, no 1:1 macro

One of the best lenses I have ever had.
I find its much easier to focus than a few of the other Zeiss lenses, ( i.e. the 85mm MP, 50mm MP )The focus plane "jumps" out towards you.

I love the weight and build quality.
To bad its not 1:1 macro

Apr 19, 2010
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Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 1290
Review Date: Apr 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Overwhelming optical performance
Some vignetting and out-of-focus color

All aberrations are extremely well corrected, and, consequently, the raw optical performance is overwhelming. There is noticeable vignetting at full aperture, but this is unavoidable. One may find the familiar achromatic purple and green artifacts in out-of-focus parts of the image, but this is not a primary design criterion and affects nearly all lenses. It is a certainly a challenge to nail the focus at f/2 without live view, but if you do, the definition in the plane of focus is superior.

Finally, two practical issues. The focus throw is a bit short in the 'normal' regime between 1 m and infinity, and the lens cap is clearly a disaster when the hood is mounted. Zeiss should provide slip-on caps for the hood instead. Until then my Contax metal hood #5 will serve me well.

Apr 17, 2010
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Registered: Mar 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2358
Review Date: Apr 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp details, colors, contrast, bokeh

Edge to edge sharp, excellent contrast and drawing style
The blues and greens produced by the lens are unmatched by any other macro lens. Beautiful smooth bokeh. Has some CA but not an issue. Feels heavier than it really is. When I first got this lens it was used all the time, but I now grab the Leica R 100 APO or Voigtlander 125 APO more often but I wouldn't hesitate putting the Zeiss on for 1 second because it delivers.

For IR shooters it has no hotspots for RG715, but put on a B+W 093 or equivalent and I have found it starts to hotspot at F5.6

Apr 13, 2010
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Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 44283 May 6, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $1,650.43
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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