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6 108167 9/18/2012
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Keywords: Zeiss Canon Nikon Pentax Tele Prime Planar 35mm tested


Registered: October 2007
Posts: 2
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by mustha
Review Date: 9/18/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $900.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: excelent sharpness, beautiful color rendition, extremely acurate focus
Cons: lens cap

This is a special lens for special purposes, as said before by other reviewers, is not meant to chase around fast moving subjects or close range work. It will take long to move from close focus to infinity. It's a manual focus with all the compromises of tele: f/1.4 at close range is unforgiving of focus error.

Used on the proper subject it shines. Bokeh and color are just amazing. There is no distortion to speak of and very little vignetting.

Here are some images taken with either Nikon D700 or Nikon FM2:

Construction wise is very sturdy, a bit heavy with a smooth focus ring and a precise aperture ring.

The lens cap is a bit tricky to use, specially when you have filters. It may easily jump off in your bag our out of your hands.

Registered: November 2010
Posts: 19
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by 3systemuser
Review Date: 3/18/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $900.00| Rating: 6 

Pros: almost no CA , no distortion , very precise MF ring , compact and light, tack sharp from f2.8
Cons: technically not the sharpest lens , the metal hood can damage other lenses.

Technically as I wrote before here it is not one of these best 85mm primes but it has some very very special quality that is very hard to discribe clearly.

Some say it is Zeiss look or 3D but I dont think it is quite right , I mean no other lens even a Zeiss prime of this price range share it , maybe the 50f1.4ZE being a super exception.

I dont know how to discribe it well but there is really something very special there with this Planar 85f1.4.

This lens is not very sharp wide open , actually till f2.5 like this very site says here it is not that sharp at least does not shock me or blow me a way.

But once you get f2.8 , you better be prepared to be shocked how sharp it can be , it must be as sharp as any kind of lab test can record , it is tack sharp across the FF (I tested this one on 5D2 and D3X).

Technically the Sigma is sharper wide oepn and Canon 85Lmk2 is a bit sharper at f1.4 and till f4 but they do not have the Planar look and the Canon has more distortion and more pronounced vignetting and much more obvious CA.

I also prefer the colder color of this Zeiss, just incredibly nice , if I have to keep only one lens , I 'd keep this one or the Zeiss 50MP.

Also important to note : this lens has pretty good flare resistance as for a bright super fast prime of this class.

The Zeiss 85 , 50MP , 100 MP are really outstanding lenses and once you get any of them you will never go back to any of these Canon, Nikon plastic AF lenses.

MF is better and much mroe precise to nail the pinpoint focus on some very very particular part of your shooting subject and most importantly (at least to me) shooting MF is much more exciting than shooting AF.

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 1
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by Hankslat
Review Date: 1/10/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Great Lens for use on my Canon 5DMarkll
Cons: Lens Caps Small, hard to work and easy to lose(From Experience). I replaced them with Nikon Caps which work well.

Zeiss 85mm ZE

Registered: December 2009
Posts: 7
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by titi_elsass
Review Date: 12/23/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness from f2, colors, bokeh
Cons: Price

My opinion is based on the lens I prefer on my Canon 5D: Carl Zeiss Contax Planar T* 1.4/85 (adapted with contax-eos af confirm ring). Mine is the old brother of the ZE (or ZF) lens which is sold actually on EOS/Nikon mount. The optically formulas seems to be the same (and closest focus distance...) so I think I'm allowed to give my opinion here.

Image : excellent at every aperture value. Usable at f1.4 (but be careful of the very small depth of field), this lens really shines at f2.0 for portraits : images seems incredible with a "3d effect"). I compared its sharpness with a Canon 100mm macro : the Zeiss 85mm is the winner.

Construction : perfect and lightweight (about 600g, not the 300g specified in technical data here).

For me a good alternative to Canon L 85mm (more than 1500 Euros here, 1kg) for manual focus users.
I recommend it particulary on full frame sensor.
Cliff Beard

Registered: May 2009
Posts: 12
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by Cliff Beard
Review Date: 9/28/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: Seriously fast aperture, Sublime build quality, manual focus handling, Contrast rendition, distortion free
Cons: Manaul focus only, weaker performance close up and min focus distance of 1 metre

A classic portrait length on full frame and crop frame cameras and the distortion free images flatter subjects.

This is a niche lens that has to be used appropriately...forget shooting moving subjects and trying very close up shots....even Zeiss market the lens as being optimized for mid to longer distance work and if used within its optimum settings and on appropriate subjects it can give awesome results. Manual focus and manual setting of aperture on a ring...will only work properly on Nikon pro-level bodies...D300, D700, D3 etc as these can meter fully.

The rendition is typically Zeiss, with natural yet saturated colour and bitingly sharp contrast at F2 and smaller apertures. The effect can be almost 3D. Wide open its a bit soft and fuzzy, with a small sweet spot in the centre, which you can use to advantage for dreamy portraits. If you want more reach or to fill the frame with a portrait close to the min focus distance, you can use a crop frame camera to get a free 1.5x magnification.

The quality and feel of the lens, including its focus ring, is awesome.

This is a lens you buy in addition to more general purpose lenses and you will know if you need it, in which case it comes highly recommended.

Registered: January 2009
Posts: 2
Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/85 review by tomTom
Review Date: 1/7/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $1,300.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: no distortion, best colour rendition availiable for lenses with f.mount
Cons: lens cap

In my opinion the best portriat 85mm lens availiable for f-mount


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