Latest results for Zeiss lenses

Monday March 28 2011

Lens Review
Introduction | Distagon T18mm f/3.5 | Distagon T21mm f/2.8 | Distagon T25mm f/2.8 | Distagon T28mm f/2 | Distagon T35mm f/2 | Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 | Planar T50mm f/1.4 | Planar T 85mm f/1.4 | Makro Planar T 100mm f/2

Makro Planar T 50mm f/2



This lens belongs to the same Makro-Planar family as the 100mm we have also examined, and it is as reliable as the 100mm.
Sharp, it is gifted with very good light transmission, the T value being almost equal to the F value. Here again, this is a lens showing very little distortion, little vignetting and almost no chromatic aberration when coupled with an APS-C sensor.
It achieves its best DxOMark low-light score at f/2 on an EOS 7D, and f/2.8 on full-frame body.
Logically, this 50mm is a wonderful lens for portraits on both APS-C and full-frame sensors. On a full-frame body, again, this 50mm is very versatile, proving quite good for landscape shooting, and excellent for reportage.

On a full-frame sensor (EOS 1Ds MkIII):

The Makro-Planar T 50mm  f/2 ZE has an extremely sharp center (above 60lp/mm) from f/2.8 to f/8. Closing to f/8 widens the central very sharp zone, but the edges always remain good. Beyond f/8, the center of the field map is softened and loses definition.
Vignetting is noticeable when the lens is fully opened, but stopping down to f/4 makes it disappear.

On an APS-C sensor (EOS 7D)

On an APS-C sensor, the definition is quite good fully opened, although the edges are much softer. Stopping down to f/2.8 makes the resolution much more regular: at f/5.6 the field is good everywhere on the map, and above 50lp/mm.
Vignetting isn’t a problem as soon as the lens is stopped down to f/2.8.

Comparison 1:
Zeiss Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 ZE Canon v. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Comparison 2:
Zeiss Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 ZE Canon v. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM



Good for portraits, reportage and landscapes when mounted on a full-frame body, this 50mm is very sharp, produces very few chromatic aberrations, and shows almost no distortion. Its best low-light performance is achieved at f/2.8, although it has to be stopped down to f/4 on full-frame and to f/5.6 on APS-C to reach its best mid-light score.

On a full-frame sensor (D3X):

Full aperture provides a clear central zone over 50lp/mm, while the edges remain a bit softer. Stopping down the lens gradually improves the center and the sides, but the center is always sharper than the sides.
Vignetting is strong at f/2, but gradually disappears as the lens is stopped down. At f/4, only the corners are darker, and at f/5.6, vignetting is gone.

On an APS-C sensor (D300s):

On a smaller sensor, the scenario is almost the same, except that one has to stop down the lens to f/5.6 to achieve the best resolution for this lens. Wider apertures show very soft edges.
Visible on the external one-third of the field when the lens is wide opened, vignetting simply disappears 1 stop later and at f/2.8, it is invisible.

Comparison 1:
Zeiss Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 ZF2 v. Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4D

Comparison 2:
Zeiss Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 ZF2 v. Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D

Comparison 3:
Zeiss Makro Planar T 50mm f/2 ZF2 v. Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4G