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Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*

50mm
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.