titleds's reviews

  • Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 1.4/50

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great color rendition, Punchy images out of the box, Good resistance to flare, Precise focusing mechanism, All metal construction
    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!

    reviewed June 3rd, 2012 (purchased for $799)