Zeiss 50mm f/2 Macro Milvus 2/50M

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50mm $1,105
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image of Zeiss 50mm f/2 Macro Milvus 2/50M

(From Zeiss lens literature) Breathtaking details in close-up and traditional portraits are the strengths of the ZEISS Milvus 2/50M of the type ZEISS Makro-Planar. Thanks to its excellent performance at all ranges this macro lens can be used for a wide variety of applications. Further optimization of the lens coating reduces ghosting and flare effects in critical light situations. The currently fastest 50 mm macro lens on the market will let you highlight even the smallest detail in the foreground or background.

The famous symmetric lens design invented by Dr. Paul Rudolph at ZEISS in 1896. The Planar lens is the most successful camera lens design -- and, by the way, the most plagiarized -- ever created. It provides the lens designer with numerous means to correct aberrations extraordinarily well. And its performance is very constant over a wide range of imaging ratios, enabling such a versatile lens variety as the Makro-Planar lens.

All lenses features a T*® antireflective coating from ZEISS. Outstanding stray light reduction is achieved by combining a number of optimally matched measures. In addition to the ZEISS T* coating, all lens edges are provided with a special pitch-black lacquer in a complex manual process. Light traps in mechanical components and specially designed surfaces are integrated to prevent the occurrence of reflections. Each focal length has its own individual optical design with the use of special types of glass displaying anomalous partial dispersion. This reduces the occurrence of color fringes at high-contrast edges of subjects to an absolute minimum.

The excellent image performance of the ZEISS Milvus lenses is sharply focused on the requirements of current and future high-performance digital cameras. Thanks to the low level of stray light allowed by the lens design, high-contrast images are also possible with increasing high dynamic ranges of the sensors (HDR). The minimization of coma, astigmatism and spherical aberrations enables constantly high resolution over the entire image field. The optics are designed to ensure full utilization of the performance provided by high-resolution camera systems. Regardless of what the future holds -- with the Milvus lenses from ZEISS you are optimally equipped any time, any place.

Manually focusing a lens means controlling and therefore actively composing an image gently and precisely from your fingertips. Here, a good ergonomic design makes all the difference. ZEISS Milvus lenses feature a large rotation angle which enables pinpoint focusing. The top-quality focusing mechanism moves smoothly without backlash, optimally supporting the photographer's creative interplay with the focal plane of high-speed fixed focal lengths. Changes are immediately visible in the viewfinder or display. The engraving in meters and feet, and the focus scale provide additional support for manual focusing. The silent, continuous aperture setting (de-click function with ZF.2 mount) and the long focusing range lay optimal conditions for video photography.

An optimized ergonomic design enables fatigue-free photography and reduces camera shake. The all-metal housing makes every adjustment a haptic experience. The dynamic, precise barrel design sets new trends in the world of camera lenses. However, the ZEISS Milvus lenses will impress you not only due to their visual and haptic excellence, but also thanks to their inner qualities. Special seals for protection against dust and splashes expand the photographer's creative potential by guaranteeing the system's functional reliability even in environmentally difficult situations.

State-of-the-art camera systems and high-resolution digital image sensors are now demanding more and more performance from the lenses. The Floating Elements Design permits constantly high image performance in the focal plane -- from the minimum object distance to infinity. This is accomplished by changing the axial distance between individual lens elements or element groups. The adjustment of the element spacing is coupled to the distance setting so that it always results in the right correction. The mechanical design of the ZEISS Milvus lenses is highly complex and the workmanship must be extremely exact -- both specialties of ZEISS.

Zeiss 50mm f/2 Macro Milvus 2/50M User Reviews

9.0/10 average of 1 review(s) Build Quality 10.0/10 Image Quality 10.0/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Airy (16 reviews)
    Contrast, sharpness (also wide open), resistance to flare
    Aperture ring gets too easily manoeuvred inadvertently. More over, the half stops are too close to each other. I'd prefer a long throw and full stops.

    This lens overcomes the main shortcoming of its ancestor, the 50/2 Macro Planar: shooting against the light works better now; while the former MP would increasingly flare while stopping down, this one is fine. The main difference, apart from the styling, seems to be the coatings.

    Sharpness wide open is probably the best one can get at that aperture (f/2), at least as sharp as the Summicron-R and with much higher contrast.

    There is little barrel distortion, albeit more than one would expect from a macro lens, but it does not matter practically. CA is minimal. Some complain about the relative short focus throw at long distances; this is not a real problem as the focus ring offers some resistance. It won't defocus itself, by the way. On the contrary, the aperture ring is not so good for instinctive shooting. You'd better check its position before shooting.

    A fine allrounder, and not too big if you leave the shade in the bag (the front lens is well recessed). And never say "macro lenses are not good for portraits". This one is, also because of the nice bokeh.

    reviewed October 14th, 2016