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  Reviews by: Keith B.  

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Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon T*

18mm
Review Date: Feb 2, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Striking, anti-blue, saturated color and high contrast even when resolution is down at the edges of the frame.
Cons:
Illumination falloff at the edges and corners is more than you get with a good zoom. Wave distortion, but not terrible.

I really like the 18mm focal length on 24x36 imagers. I've got this lens, the old Nikon 18/4, the Nikon 17-35/2.8, and the Nikon 14-24/2.8 that all cover this focal length. I plan to acquire a copy of the Nikon 18mm/3.5 Ais---which has a similar imaging style to this lens--- sometime in the future.
This lens takes a bit of practice to learn. You can get edge-to-edge sharpness, and then blurry edges on the same shoot at the same aperture.
I suspect there's a bit more convex-to-the-lens curvature of field than one could wish for.
Interestingly, this lens was close to my ancient Nikon 18mm/4 in resolution on the test charts, but the color and contrast are way higher than the old Nikon.
The Nikon 14-24 is superior in resolution and absence of illumination falloff on those same charts. However, this 18mm Distagon does not weigh one kilogram. And, the Nikon 14-24 doesn't have the Zeiss coloration which I describe as "anti-blue' rather than "warm".
This is the best 18mm prime---new or used---currently available for Nikon.


 
Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

50macro
Review Date: Dec 12, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: ZF: Great all-around 50mm f/2 lens. ZF.2: Coating changes reduce niceness. Get a ZF if you can.
Cons:
ZF.2 "chipped" version has AR coating changes that reduce resistance to flare, add blue flare to backlit shots. Color transmission also affected: ZF.2 has heavier greenish-yellow cast. Too bad

If you get a chance to compare a ZF version of this lens against a ZF.2, you'll prefer the ZF.