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Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

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.

Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

Review Date: Apr 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: High image quality from close focus to infinity.
Vignetting; barrel distortion; lateral color.

This is a good lens, excellent even, but not superior. Owing to the floating-element design, the image quality of this lens is high from its closest focus setting to infinity. Contrast and resolution are high and the flare resistance very good. However, I need to subtract one point for the unavoidable vignetting at f/2 and the moderate barrel distortion, and another point for noticeable chromatic aberration in the form of lateral color. Although lateral color does not depend on the aperture setting, the resulting color fringing becomes more conspicuous when the lens is stopped down because other aberrations are reduced. None of these imperfections should prevent people from getting this lens, because, after all, it is excellent. The competition doesn't do better.