Reid Reviews: Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 T Planar lens|
(Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 16:27 EDT)
Sean Reid, Imaging Resource contributor and publisher of Reid Reviews, has just completed what we believe is the first English-language review of the new Nikon-mount Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 T Planar lens.
The new ZF - which Sean compares to the Nikon 50/1.4 D AF lens - is the first in a series of lenses that Zeiss is introducing in Nikon mount. A quick quote from Sean's
"So are there differences in the ways these two lenses draw on the Nikon D200? Yes. Are the differences stark? No, they're often subtle. These are both very competent lenses. For a photographer to whom autofocus is important, I can see no real weakness in the performance of the Nikon 50/1.4 D AF that would be worth sacrificing the automation that lens allows.The Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 T Planar lens review is one of many interesting articles at Reid Reviews. The site is available by subscription only, but we feel its $26.50 annual fee is well worth the price of admission for serious photographers - professional or amateur.
I would not hesitate to use the Nikon 50/1.4 for any kind of professional photography work. But for photographers who, like myself, enjoy working with manual focus lenses, the Zeiss is a real pleasure to work with and draws beautifully. It appears to be better made than the Nikon, seems more durable, and feels better in the hand. Its focus action is smoother and better-weighted and its aperture ring is more precise.
Nikon has certainly designed the D200 to be an effective tool for manual focus lenses and I was impressed with how well the D200 and Zeiss 50/1.4 worked together. Moreover, there certainly are some differences between these two lenses, in resolution and contrast, that might be significant to a photographer.
The Zeiss, in my view, particularly excels at wide apertures where it seems to "dig in" more than the Nikon and, as such, draws with more authority. The ZF 50/1.4 Planar is definitely worthy of the legendary Zeiss name; it's not a pretender.
On the other hand, the slightly softer and lower contrast rendering of the Nikon at wide apertures may appeal to many. If I began working with the Nikon DSLR system, I would want to own both of these lenses so that I would have a fast auto-focus 50 when I wanted one and the Zeiss 50 for times when I didn't."