I got this lens few days ago for one of my customer. With his permission, I tested the lens to check for focus accuracy.
I must say that I really like short macro lens. You can go so close to your subject yet still be able to focus.
Depth of field from macro lens at such close distance in macro mode is very very shallow. This creates a very interesting effect especially if you are shooting some “interesting” subjects. For macro, most would have choose to shoot at F11 or more. For portrait or children photography, you can try shoot at the widest aperture, you will love it!
The high price tag of Zeiss lens doesn’t come with no reason. Every unit of Zeiss lens is individually checked and certified by Zeiss personal before leaving Cosina factory (yes, Zeiss lenses are made by Cosina in Japan now, with the exception of some very expensive Zeiss lenses are still made in Germany, eg. Zeiss 18mm F/2.8 ZF.
My personal experience with Zeiss lenses are they are extremely clean, no dust at all for a brand new unit! Everything is arranged neatly in the box.
Zeiss is famous for the T* coating. Lens coating has been one of the most important factor in a lens. Every makers has their own coating technology, and Zeiss lenses have the T* legend behind it.
What so special about this Zeiss macro lens?
It is a F2 aperture lens. There is no other faster macro lens in the world. Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Sony…etc. all make only F2.8 aperture lens, while Voigtlander has a very popular but discontinued 125SL F2.5 lens, but still none are as fast as F2 in Zeiss macro lens! Zeiss 100mm F2 Macro is also another one with F2 aperture.
The drawback? While is is good to have a F2 aperture lens, but it is not a 1:1 magnification macro lens. This is quite a big drawback for those who want to use this lens as macro photography lens. Almost all makers make their macro lens to 1:1 (life size) magnification now, I am surprised why Zeiss only go till 1:2. Perhaps that is the trade off for the big aperture…?
Anyway, I would say this is still a very very great lens! Focusing is ULTRA SMOOTH, yes very very smooth in the lens! If compared with my Nikon AIS 50mm F1.4 Lens, this Zeiss 50mm macro is definitely better in built quality and smoother in focusing! You will have to try it out yourself to understand it. 🙂
Just a short sharing from me. All photos above are taken at the widest aperture, F2, on my Nikon D200 DSLR. 🙂