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Keywords: Zeiss Canon Nikon Pentax Mid Prime Planar 35mm Tested


Registered: March 2013
Posts: 14
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by hdhani
Review Date: 12/13/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $800.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: ALL-METAL build, focus ring is a JOY to use, takes 58 mm filter, surprisingly compact and lightweight
Cons: It's manual focus only, soft at f1.4, crappy lens cap

It is a MANUAL FOCUS ONLY lens, so this lens is not for everyone. I'd recommend using this lens with a FF body due to its brighter viewfinder. Personally I don't prefer shooting with live view mode (it's just counterintuitive and less enjoyable).

Once you hold this lens, you will feel the quality. The focus ring is a joy to use and it makes you think more about your subject and composition compared to autofocus lenses.

It's very compact and lightweight... just throw it in your bag and off you go...

At f1.4, images were rather soft (sometimes I had difficulty differentiating whether the softness were caused by missed focus or the lens' behavior).

In the end, I sold this lens because MY EYES cannot provide good focus judgment (I'm short-sighted and astigmat). Still, the pleasure of using this lens left in my memories...
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who LOVE manual focus...

Registered: November 2008
Posts: 5
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by Enrake
Review Date: 5/6/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $460.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Color rendition Very sharp. Constructionquality. Good hood.
Cons: Expensiv

I purchased the newer version, without the rabbitears, and chipped for Nikon. This lens are really a jewel. The picturequality in RAW (NEF) are outstanding from f 2,8. The lack of AF is not an issue for me. I do what I have been doing for a long time. Just turn the ring until the green light coming in the corner of my field.
A beautiful build lens with a real feeling of quality. Sits most of the time on one of my Nikon D 700.

Registered: June 2012
Posts: 1
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by titleds
Review Date: 6/3/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $799.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Great color rendition, Punchy images out of the box, Good resistance to flare, Precise focusing mechanism, All metal construction
Cons: Spherical aberration (but not an absolute Con, see below)

Using this lens always brings me to photographic ecstasy!
Lacking AF made me care more about key elements in taking photos especially framing, I shoot more cautiously and mindfully.

Back to the lens, this and presumably other ZF and ZE lenses (not Sony ZA, oops!) built to last and focusing is so precise and very smooth. Damped focus ring can help to stop focusing very accurately.
Image quality is superb, colors are rich and punchy but tonal gradation is also smooth even at widest aperture.
Resolution is the greatest among 50mm primes when stopped down just to F2.8 .

There is one thing I can't miss to mention, the optical designs of 50mm primes are still suffered from spherical aberrations esp. for brighter lens without asph elements.
Wide open, spherical aberration makes things looked hazy, and dreamy (in portrait photography terms).
Stopped down, the aberration contributes to Focus Shift phenomenon.

The aberration still makes some profit, hazy images at widest aperture can be used in creative ways esp. in portraiture. And this is the easiest way to the "pleasing" out-focus elements.

I think CZ made right decision not to correct the spherical aberations, if so, this would be sold at $1200 or more!

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 1
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by megastock
Review Date: 4/26/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $750.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Smooth focus, build quality, good for different purposes
Cons: Focus shift

Many will compare this lens to the manufacturer's equivalent, and reading the reviews it seems to come down to not offering anything more. I personally owned the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM lens prior to this similar Zeiss. While it is true that the Zeiss can be soft wide open, I find it is little different than the Canon at f/1.4 in that regard. The Zeiss is outstanding for detail when stopped down a bit and outperforms my Canon L zooms at similar focal lengths and apertures.

What I love about this lens is that it demands a different pace than my autofocus lenses. The focus confirm light on my 7D works nicely with the lens, and once focused I find I pay more attention to framing, rather than paying attention to locking focus again for each shot. The smooth autofocus is great for video or tripod work, the Canon equivalent AF lens gives up a lot in manual focus to make AF work quickly. The bottom line is that this lens will give you are very different experience than the Canon plastic AF lenses. It is worth it to me for that reason.

Finally, the lens serves two different roles very well. At wider apertures, the edges are softer, and the in focus to out of focus transition is very appealing. On the other hand, stopped down this is a very sharp lens capable of great results if sharpness is your goal. Personally, I don't shoot landscapes at f/1.4, nor do I except ultimate sharpness for a portrait photo a wide apertures. Corner blurring is a nice feature for that. The bottom line is that this lens can adapt to different uses - portrait, video, and landscapes. All in a very nicely built metal package. What more do you want in a specialty lens? My most positive remark about this lens is that I like the images I make with it !

Registered: August 2010
Posts: 12
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by edwardkaraa
Review Date: 8/20/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $750.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent sharpness from f/2.8
Cons: A bit hazy wide open but the resolution is there

This is an excellent lens by all accounts. Wide open there is strong haze which can be used to good effect for portraits but can be problematic for other uses such as shooting landscapes at f/1.4 Wink

Registered: January 2009
Posts: 2
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by tomTom
Review Date: 1/7/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $749.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: high quality build, fast prime
Cons: lens cap

This lens is an excellent alternative to comparable AF lenses.
The built quality, the IQ, and especially the colour-rendition is superior to af-lenses out of this class.
the boke is sometimes a bit flattering, compared to the zeiss makro plan 50/2, but the makro planar is just another type of lens.
This lens is no Apochromat, so here is a tnedency for purple fringing at wide open shots, but this can be avoided by stopping a bit down.

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 2
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by mustha
Review Date: 11/28/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $550.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Exc Image Quality and Sharpness, Smooth and Accurate Focus

I bought this lens to replace my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AI. I use it with an Nikon Fm2 camera, I also have a Nikon 50mm f/ 1.4D AF Nikkor, so my opinions are always drawn in comparison with my experience with the two Nikon lenses.

I admit that electronics might be useful though I don't miss it.
The focus ring is extremely smooth and accurate, more than the Nikon lenses, and the lens is excellently built.

Overall image quality exceeds both Nikons, notably in sharpness and colour accurateness.

I noted a slight barrel distortion on f/2.8 but less than the Nikon lenses.
I haven't tested it in digital cameras.

The following links will take you to some of the images produced with the combination "Nikon FM2+Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50 ZF + Fuji PRO 160C":

<a href=""> image1</a>
<a href=""> image2</a>
<a href=""> image3</a>
<a href=""> image4</a>
<a href=""> image5</a>
<a href=""> image6</a>
<a href=""> image7</a>
<a href=""> image8</a>
<a href=""> image9</a>

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 3
Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50 review by CronoZero
Review Date: 10/28/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast lens, great bokeh, colors are amazing, out resolves my 20D
Cons: No auto focus, no image stabilization, unable to sync to Canon cameras

I'm extremely pleased with this lens. Picking up the lens gives a feeling of reliability because the construction is rock solid. The f/1.4 is wonderful but usually leaves too much out of focus! I usually stop down to f/2.8 when I use this lens. In any case, the bokeh is great, as are colors. It makes for some nice portraits.

Unfortunately, the lens has no autofocus system and no image stabilization, so if you've gotten too hooked on those, it may be difficult to transition here. Plus, the lens only mounts via adapter to Canon bodies, and the camera won't recognize aperture size in the picture info.

Even so, I love this lens and recommend it. Unless autofocus is a necessity. This is my second lens, with my first being the EF-S 17-85 f/4.0-5.6


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