Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f1.4

Nikon ZF Ai-S Mount

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June 2006


I will let the photos speak for themselves...

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Carl Zeiss announced a new ZF series of manual focus lenses for the Nikon mount in January 2006, after Nikon has officially announce the stop production of all manual lenses. The first lens being introduce to the market is the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZF. Official on sale in April 2006, but due to the overwhelming demand, supply is not enough to satisfy photographers around the world.


Cost more than double the price of Nikon AIS 50mm f/1.4 lens, is the Zeiss 50mm ZF lens worth the money? Nikon AIS 50mm f1.4 lens is already delivering great sharpness and contrast, it would be hard for a photographer to differentiate a photo taken by the Zeiss or the Nikon even if the Zeiss is a better optical lens to the Nikon.


Make by Cosina, great built quality which definitely gives very high precision and quality product feeling to the lens. A new and currently popular snap on lens cap is designed for the lens.


Comes with a dedicated hood. Cosina uses a special bayonet mount for the lens hood, snap on and turn type. Full metal construction of the hood, which match the full metal construction of the body well.


Mounting the hood to the lens is tricky. You need to press and turn HARD. actually requires quite a push and turn to snap the hood onto the lens. Perhaps this is due to the still new (strong spring on the hood) lens and hood.


Carl Zeiss dedicated T* coating.


Rear element is quite protruded out from the lens. Hence mounting and removing the lens from a camera needs to be careful.


A new snap on type of lens cap for the Zeiss, which Zeiss wording on the cap. I find this cap not as good design as compared to the Nikon. It is nice cosmetically, but practically it is hard for the fingers to actually hold onto the cliff of the cap firmly, as the cliff is too narrow especially on the edges. Filter size of the lens is 58mm.


The blue and white colours box, typically Zeiss colours.


Comes with the price tag in Japanese yen, little manual booklet in Japanese, and most importantly a Test Certificate for the lens! Every lens is 100% checked and tested by a Carl Zeiss employee before it leaves the factory. As mentioned before, Cosina is the manufacturer of the lens, but Carl Zeiss is in charge of the quality control and assurance before allowing the lens to be sold on shelf.


Lens and hood and packed nicely in the box.


Details of the certificate, which includes: 1. Optical Quality ; 2. Aperture ; 3. Cleanliness, Optical ; 4. Cleanliness, barrel ; 5. Packaging. Finally, signed by the person who checked the lens.


Side by side comparing with the Nikon AIS 50mm f1.4 lens. The Zeiss 50mm ZF is fatter and larger in diameter. Slightly taller as well.


Weight 350g, which actually feels quite heavy in hand as compare to the Nikon AIS 50mm f1.4 lens. Not surprisingly as the Zeiss 50mm ZF is a full metal construction lens, I can't find any plastic except the cap on the lens. Focusing ring is full metal construction as well.


Nikon AIS 50mm f1.4 lens weights 267g, which is 83g lighter than the Zeiss.


Hope you like my new style of photo story writing above :)


(In case you still haven't notice, mouse over the photo and you will see text/story of the lens...)