Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm F1.4 ZA A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 84    1 2 3 >>
reviewer#11682 date: Feb-6-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1300
positive:Sharp
Colors
negative:Heavy
comment:
missing
reviewer#11237 date: Jul-7-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Beercan
50mm lens on Pentax film camera.
price paid:1900 USD (new)
positive:Boke
Color
That "3d" like
negative:None at all
comment:It´s an amazing piece of glass. The bokeh is smooth soft. The colors are somehow different from anything else. In a complex background, one can see a "3D" like effect due to combination of DOF and great sharpness. The pictures taken, put side by side with pics from other lenses, show clearly the difference on having a Carl Zeiss top quality lens. It´s worth any cent.
Oh, yes, it´s noisy, but I can live with that. No problem at all.
reviewer#11208 date: Jun-25-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 85/1.4
price paid:1.200 € (new)
positive:It's producing outstanding pictures. Love it forportrait shooting.
negative:AF is old screw-driven. It is a bit loud and slow, so it is not a choice for street photographers.
comment:
missing
reviewer#11205 date: Jun-23-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 100/2
Sony 50/1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:build as a tank
sharp
colors
negative:no SSM
comment:That is a lens I have been using for a few days

I just love it. it i superlativ

I can't afford one for now, but anyway one day (ASAP) I will own one or a minolta one (if I can't afford it)

a must for portrait
reviewer#10984 date: Mar-15-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135 F1.8 ZA
price paid:1450 USD (new)
positive:fast, compact,
very sharp from wide open (the corners are almost as sharp as the centers),
solid all metal feel,
very smooth bokeh,
negative:expensive,
little slop on the focus ring (I don't like this),
color fringes around highlight circles,
old screw-driven AF approach (lack of SSM)
comment:
missing
reviewer#10816 date: Jan-4-2013
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:135 STF, Zeiss 24/2, Minolta 200/2,8
price paid:1090 euro (new)
positive:- very sharp
- great bokeh
- wonderful build
negative:- restrictive mfd
- extends when focussing
- slow and noisy focus
- purple fringing wide open in strong light
comment:I used this lens on my my A55, A77 and A99. it always gave me very pleasing results but now it is sold. Why? The negative aspects got more and more disturbing for me and maybe I was looking for an excuse to sell it and try something new.

I shoot wide open a lot and it is a joy with this lens. it appears sharp from
1,4 giving wonderful blur to the oof area. I consider this lens to be as sharp as my 135 stf and the 200/2,8. at least it will be hard to tell differences from the pictures.

the focal length appears to be about perfect on aps-c but on full frame i wish i could get a little closer sometimes. 85cm mfd is about standard for this focal length but a bit limiting.

the focus is slow when it has to work through the whole range. nevertheless it is very accurate, I didn't have any problems here. I wonder how this lens will perform with af-d support coming soon on the a99.

the front element extents when focussing which gives this quite bully lens a push to the front. the focus appears very noisy to me. In quite public places I mostly would focus manually. manual focussing is okay but not as good as with the stf or even the zeiss 24/2. ssm would suit this lens very well. I might buy it again in an updated version with quiet and fast AF (an maybe closer mfd).

I already miss this lens a little but now I will try to find out how the 135/1,8 performs in comparison.

some pictures with the Zeiss 85/1,4 can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixiepeeper/sets/72157630070130557/
reviewer#10471 date: Aug-26-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 2.8/85 SAM
Minolta AF 1.4/50
Sigma 1.4/50 EX DG HSM
price paid:1200 EUR
positive:- Sharp
- No distortion
- Neutral colour
- Very creamy bokeh
- Solid all metal feel, fits nicely in hand. Just the right weight
- Handles flare well (at least with the hood)
negative:- Strong colour fringing in high contrast areas (but easily removable in LR 4.1)
- AF is loud, but relatively fast considering the amont of glass being moved (certainly faster than Sigma 50mm HSM).
comment:I do wish it has SSM and less fringing, but it's still hands down the best lens I've ever used
reviewer#10333 date: Jun-26-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Canon 85L I, Canon 85 1.4, Sigma 85 1.4
price paid:$1100 (used)
positive:Carl Zeiss color and contrast, smooth bokeh
negative:slow focus, no SSM, not weather seal, really bad CA, long minimum focus distance, over price, the hood is on the inner part where extend or retract when focusing
comment:85mm is one of my favorite focal length, and I try out many different ones. Before I switch to Sony, I tried the Canon 85L, Canon 85 F1.4 and Sigma 85 1.4. The CZ lens has excellent color and contrast, but it has really bad CA which affect the sharpness in certain condition. I think you read any review will say the same thing. The focus is acceptable but can be faster. Bokeh is smooth. I think the retail price is way over priced compared to Canon and Sigma. The Canon 85L II is about the same price but better. I will buy the Sigma, it is as good but cost only half of the price.

reviewer#10297 date: Jun-13-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 70-210 f4 (Beercan)
Sigma 75-300 f/4.5-6.3
Sony 50mm f/1.8
price paid:1500 USD (new)
positive:Razor sharp
Great results wide open
Focus hold button
Beautiful smooth bokeh
negative:CA/purple fringing in certain bright or backlit situations
Slow screw-driven AF
Loud
comment:This is my go-to lens. At the time I purchased this lens, I had the 35mm f/1.8 SAM, 50mm f/1.8 SAM, Tamron 18-270mm and the Minolta beercan. I got rid of all four lenses after I got the 85mm f/1.4. I have had my A77 since November 2011, so for about 7 months and out of 20,000 actuations I have had the 85mm lens on the body for 18,500 of those. I cannot wait to see how it does on a Full Frame body when I get one. I recently acquired an A100 body and the lens still does not disappoint. I was able to shoot a ballet at ISO 400 and the shots at 1.4 were sharp corner-to-corner and stopped down to f/4 facial details and strands of hair were apparent and I was in the 20th row! There was a little CA on the wide open shots but nothing Lightroom couldn't quickly fix. Do I miss my wide angle lenses? Yes. But I can always stitch multiple shots from the 85mm. Do I miss my telephoto lenses? Sometimes. The 85mm lens takes full advantage of the high resolution of the A77. This lens is worth every penny. Sure, I wish it had a little faster drive in it, but it has forced me to be a better manual shooter. The A77 focus peaking certainly helps.

Updated 10/12/2012 to reflect testing on A900. This lens is still my go-to lens even though it is so much wider on the A900 than on the A77. Sure, it was predictable, I get 66% of the frame on the A77, but words can't describe how much wider it is until you try it. Shots you would have stepped back to frame now are fully framed. Wide open, the backgrounds are unbelievable. If they ever update this lens to have SSM, I'll be the first one in line, but I will probably have a very hard time selling my non-SSM copy.

Updated 1/4/2013 for the A99. The lens is super loud, and in using this lens for video on the A99, it is definitely apparent, especially with the lens hood attached, the extra vibration is magnified. When video is set to manual focus, the lens is quiet enough, but then the depth of field wide open is just too low to realistically shoot at f/1.4 by hand if the subject is moving at all. On the A99, this lens shines in terms of image quality. If there is a negative, it is the lack of AF-D. Hopefully a firmware update will allow for AF-D on this lens.

Update 5/8/2013: AF-D helps a lot. I feel like the firmware update allowed the body to understand this lens a little better. I use AF-D almost exclusively in AF situations now. DMF when I need more speed than the screwdrive motor can process.
reviewer#10194 date: May-14-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sigma 50 F1,4 EX DG HSM
price paid:1400 USD ( new )
positive:All metal construction
Built like a vault and yet light enough
negative:purple fringing at F 1,4
noisy AF
comment:Internal Focus mechanism would be an added value to this lens considering the price tag, but overall, i am very happy with this lens, very sharp and vault like built quality, except it is one noisy lens, sounded like a car gearbox with no transmission oil, which attracts attention

on a side note, Zeiss brand will somehow raise the jealousy among fellow photographer
reviewer#10110 date: Apr-11-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Tamron 90mm
price paid:L700
positive:Great contrast and colour rendition. Super sharp and very fast af. Lightweight. Low light/nightime v useful.
negative:None.
comment:Fantastic full-frame portrait. Sharp right from 1.4, perfect from f2 and delivers beautiful images without any PP. Only compared to Tamron as the only other lens I have had in this range. If you can get either this or the 135ZA don't refuse. Both is even better but this might be more practical on crop-sensor.
reviewer#10100 date: Apr-10-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:CZ 135 f1.8
Vivitar 85 f1.4
Sony 85 f2.8
price paid:1200 USD used, mint
positive:- superb resolution
- Nice neutral color rendition
- Amazing contrast
- Much lighter than CZ135 f1.8
negative:- strong purple CA wide open
comment:In summary, the best 85mm for Alpha mount period! This lens is a joy to use on both full frame and APSC. Build quality is high. Color rendition is more neutral and lighter than Sony and Minolta tone which is great for portraiture.

On A850, I find that focusing accuracy must be checked carefully when shoot wide open. On A77, my copy focuses more accurately most of the time (both using center spot). Focusing speed is respectably quick and doesn't hunt annoyingly.

On Full frame, there are some bokeh vignette (cat eye shape bokeh) around the edges. On APSC A77, bokeh vignette is non-existent and gives the same FOV as A850 + CZ 135f1.8. I prefer carrying A77 + CZ 85f1.4 combo to A850 + CZ135f1.8 due to much lighter weight.


Compared to CZ135 f1.8, both fully wide open, the 85 f1.4 is slightly inferior optically around the edges however on APSC, the 85f1.4 is the excellent choice for portraiture. Sharpness is high in the center even wide open. Contrast is amazing and because of the creamy bokeh it can render, the focused subject will pop up from the background like 3D image.

Purple fringing wide open can be very strong compared to CZ135. Other than that, I have no complaint whatsoever.

Compared to Vivitar 85f1.4 (Samyang) that I have, I like how CZ lens deliver more neutral colors than the Samyang which is more bluish. If you own A77 with focus peaking ability, the Samyang will save you 3-4x money spent on CZ. However you would find that it's indeed complicated when manual focusing with a constantly moving object, especially with a flash unit on, at least for me since I prefer setting ambient/flash exposure manually.

Compared to Sony 85 f2.8, the Sony is very sharp and contrasty. The colors are more vivid (modern Sony style). I'd not hesitate to recommend the Sony if you're short on Budget. It's a capable lens if you can live with f2.8 and do not need wider aperture.

See my photos with Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 on my Flickr collection at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeispixels/collections/72157628204412995/
reviewer#9665 date: Dec-4-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 35 1.4 G
Minolta 28-75 D
Sony 50 1.4
Sony 70-300 G
price paid:to much
positive:sharp, sharp!
Colors
Bokeh, bokeh!
negative:horrible, slow and noisy AF
comment:
missing
reviewer#9311 date: Aug-7-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Samyang 85/1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:sharp,
not heavy,
nice (cool) colors,
good contrast,
good bokeh
negative:Hood mount could be better (plastic bayonet? :( ),
AF is not perfect,
overpriced
comment:I think it is not as sharp as Samyang 85/1.4. However, colors and contrast are better.
Probably, old Minolta 85/1.4 has better (warmer) colors and new Sigma 85/1.4 has better AF and price.
Bokeh of Zeiss is not 'harsh' in my opinion and looks pleasant.
reviewer#8987 date: May-2-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:* Minolta 85mm f/1.4 G RS
* Minolta 100mm f/2.8 macro
* Sony 50mm f/1.4
price paid:1200 USD (used)
positive:* Sharp wide open.
* Great bokeh.
* Excellent build.
* Good color rendition.
negative:* I cannot think of a meaningful criticism.
comment:This is the sharpest lens I own, hands down. Even wide open, this lens is razor sharp. I know it's cliche to say, but my jaw literally dropped when I looked at my first few test shots. The build is excellent, the hood is useful, and the balance is good on a full-frame camera. This may be the closest thing to a perfect lens that I own.

Up above, I mentioned I cannot think of a meaningful criticism of this lens. Sure, there are things that I could nitpick, but I feel like it's the type of stuff that are either unrealistic or unfair. It's heavy and expensive - but so are other lenses of this quality/performance level. It doesn't have "classic Minolta colors" - but neither does anything else made in the past twenty years. It doesn't have a SSM or SAM motor, so I guess it would be a pain to use while trying to shoot video?
reviewer#8984 date: May-1-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 85/1,4 G
Tamron 70-200 f2,8
Sony Sonnar 135/1,8 ZA
price paid:
missing
positive:Everything
negative:Nothing but colors little bit too cold for me
comment:I have jut tried it once on portraits and fell in love...but I still consider Minolta 85/1,4 G little bit better than this.
Its big brother (the Sonnar, King Carl) defeats it hands down
reviewer#8960 date: Apr-24-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 85mm f1.4
Minolta 100mm f2.0
Sony 135mm f1.8 ZA
Sony 24-70mm f2.8 ZA
Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G
Canon 85mm f1.8
Canon 85mm f1.2L II
price paid:$$$$
positive:Clarity & sharpness wide open
Contrast & micro contrast
Color (though cooler than Minolta}
negative:Needs SSM
Hood could fit better
comment:This lens at f1.4 slays all competitors! Honestly, it is hard not to enjoy this lens. It has great color, which I would describe as solidly neutral. It is cooler than the Minolta variant. It is sharper than the MinO 100mm f2.0. Like the 70-200G it grabs every bit of detail in a scene (only a little better). Like the 135 ZA it makes taking portraits easy.

I am trying not to repeat what others have said so I'll close saying that this is the lens I was hoping it would be. If you need top flight gear then this is what to buy. Highly recommended to those who want the best and don't mind going broke to get it! LoL!
reviewer#8957 date: Apr-22-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 85mm/f1.4 G RS
Sony SAL50mm/f1.4
Sony SAL70-200mm/f2.8 SSM
price paid:1,242 USD new
positive:Excellent build, superb optics, rich colour rendition, sharpness, dreamy Bokeh.
negative:Nothing I can find. A bit heavy but that goes with the territory for top quality fast lenses.
Would have been nicer with SSM focus.
comment:Took advantage of the strong AU$ and a great deal from eBay seller 'simplyelectronics' in Hong Kong offering this gem at US$1,242 delivered, and am delighted. I've sold my Minolta 85mm/f1.4 G to offset this investment.
These two lenses are remarkably similar physically, although the CZ is heavier and more solid, having an extra glass element in the optical design, plus of course it has the CZ T* coating and the 8 pin lens to body connection for Advanced Distance Integration when using flash.
In comparison, I find the CZ is just a tad sharper and crisper and the colour rendition seems a bit richer. Perfect for portraiture as well as any low available light work like concerts, and candid medium tele shots (on my a700 it's a cropped equivalent of 128mm/f1.4).
Perfect for portraiture with full frame DSLRs the a900 and a850.
Early days yet, but so far, this lens is amazing. Superb , distortion free image quality, beautiful de-focussed effects. In low light autofocus can be a bit slow but there's a lot of heavy glass to shift.
I'm finding I just love leaving this lens on both my a900 as well as my a700 and continue to be amazed by the superb image quality it delivers.
Pity it doesn't have the quick and silent SSM focus mechanism of some of its Carl Zeiss cousins.
Unreservedly recommended.
reviewer#8940 date: Apr-18-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:50/1.4, 100/2, 100/2.8, 135/1.8, 135/2.8
price paid:1200 EURO
positive:Bokeh
Sharpness
negative:Nothing
comment:This is a perfect portrait lens. I love the MFD because at minimum focus you're right where you want to be for a vertical head shot. There's just a touch of vignetting wide open, I'd say it's just the right amount. At 1.4 sharpness isn't yet optimal but it's very close, and perfectly sharp for portraits - it's sharp enough that a light application of a sharpness tool in post is enough to make it seem razor sharp if that's what you need for a specific shot. I give distortion rating a 4 because it's sometimes visible on other types of shots where it may be visible from time to time. Because of this when I know that long, straight lines are going to be in the background I prefer to use the 135/1.8 the distortion of which is so close to zero. But then that's more a discussion of which lens for what purpose. Both the 85 and the 135 are portrait lenses but not the same type of portrait.
reviewer#8891 date: Apr-8-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Min 135 f2.8
Min 100 f2.0
Min 100 f2.8 macro
CZJ Sonnar 135mm f3.5
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp as anything
Fast as anything
Tank like build
negative:Heavy
Slightly slow focus
MFD
comment:Super super sharp and bright. The colours are great, the bokeh's lovely and creamy and it's built like a tank.
It's quite heavy and bulky though. The bulk is more of a nuisance than the weight for me 'cos of trying to fit it and other lenses in a camera bag. The focus isn't the fastest (slower than the 135 2.8 and the 100 2.0 for example) but then it's really a portrait lens so no biggy. It would be nice to have a slightly shorter MFD too.
This review is beginning to sound a bit negative but have no doubts, this is one incredibly good lens.
reviewer#8835 date: Mar-27-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm f1.4
Sony 135mm f1.8
Sony 24-70 f2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharpness
Bokeh
Overall image quality
negative:
missing
comment:I really like this lens and used it for some portraits. The sharpness wide open is stunning. The bokeh is wonderful. I also tried a shot at f8 and the 24 mega pixel frame was sharp from side to side. I have no regrets whatsoever for buying this lens.
reviewer#8533 date: Jan-17-2011
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:-M100mm macro (D)
-85mm F2.8 SAM
price paid:
missing
positive:-Über sharp from corner to corner
-All-metal
negative:-Slight play on focus-ring
-SSM would have been nice...
-Bokeh CA stronger than other lenses
comment:Getting perfect focus is really tricky, I'm sure almost everyone who dislikes this lens or is disappointed with it's sharpness has some kind of issues while focussing!

On the A700 it's often a hit or a miss (when shooting on tripod), but when shooting portaits handheld, it's usually a non-issue. (I use local AF with this lens, recomposing should be avoided!)

I've tested my lens with the A700 for sharpness, but got really mixed up results. So I tried it on my nex 5 an did everything MF. I focussed in the centre and then I focussed in the extreme corner...damn, I swear, those extreme corners are incredible when focussed perfectly!!! (Even MF is tricky + only tested in extreme corner on APS-C)

Bokeh CA is clearly visible, stronger than eg 85mm F2.8 SAM (which has very little of this), but it's not unusual for a lens with such bright F-stop. The bokeh CA does not rapidly disappear, but it doesn't bother me that much at all. It might to others. (When focussed perfectly, you should see none on your focussed subject).

My lens has some very little play on the focussing ring and SSM would have been nice, not just for it's silentness, but rather to improve the focussing of this lens!
reviewer#7824 date: Aug-17-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 85/1.4 GD
ZA 24-70
ZA 135/1.8
price paid:1100
positive:- Tack sharp
- Metal hood with rubber protection
- IQ
- Aperture
negative:- Nothing for the moment
comment:Great portrait lens. Amazing how sharp it is in comparision with the non-A-Mount lenses i owned earlier.

Certainly great for concerts too. Paired with my CZ135 and the Sony 50mm an amazing AL setup

In terms of weight, some call this heavy. Well, my Leica 25mm f1.4 was 550gr of weight too. So very common to me, for primes.
reviewer#7713 date: Jul-22-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50/1.4, Minolta 80-200/2.8,
Sigma 70/2.8
price paid:1000eur (little used
positive:Sharp wide open, great build quality, 'born to be portrait lens' Zeiss logo :)
negative:Little slow and noisy AF, but nothing serious. Some CA wide open as this is normal for any lens of this kind. Shorter minimum focus distance could be better.
comment:I would never ever sell this lens and will be carry it with me wherever i go. One of best primes i own, stunning optics,fantastic sharpness from F2 onwards. Great range on APS-C sensors for portrait work. My honest recommendations.
reviewer#7614 date: Jun-27-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:1100€
positive:one of my favortie lens
it stays sticked to my A900

very useful in studio with lowlight conditions thanks to its large aperture

my favorite for indoor portrait
negative:none
comment:
missing
reviewer#7612 date: Jun-27-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 50mm 1.4
Minolta 50mm 1.7
Minolta 50mm 2.8 Macro
Sony 24-70 2.8 CZ
price paid:$1,100 USD new
positive:Super sharp from center to corner wide open
Solid build
CZ reputation upheld [unlike the 16-80CZ]
negative:Noticeable CA in high contrast scenes
Pricey
comment:Amazing performer on the a900. Usually, I stop down on the 50/1.4 to get the best out of that lens, but on the 85CZ, this thing rips from the get-go and allows me to throw everything out of focus without losing sharpness and contrast. Comparing the other lenses I've used, this is the bar for performance on a prime.
reviewer#7553 date: Jun-11-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50 f1.4
CZ 24-70
price paid:£800
positive:Sharp with great contrast
Good build
Large focus ring
Usable right from f1.4
negative:The hood doubles the size
No SSM
comment:This was my first expensive lens after using only Minolta and third-party lenses. It is now my most used lens - i use it twice as much as any other in my kit. As I shoot in low light almost all the time the f1.4 is ideal, and its reassuring that I can use it at f1.4 and still get great results.

I also use this with the Panasonic GH1 and it produces really sharp, crisp video with the option of nice shallow DOF.
reviewer#7547 date: Jun-10-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:900€
positive:Very well balenced lens, edges are barely less sharp than center
negative:In the center, less sharp that 85L Canon.
Colors, I prefered the Minolta ones.
comment:Edge to edge, the sharpest lens ever seen.

I change my minolta 85 1.4 for the Zeiss, and I've to say that the Zeiss is better. Sharpness at the center is a bit better but it's not another world... Less purple fringings and CA, make the difference anyway.

But in the edge, by the way, it's another dimension! This lens is incredibly sharp in the edge, u can shoot wide open with the subject in a corner and be sure the quality will be awesome.

This lens feels very modern, bokeh is excellent, and colors look even too much clean for me, that's almost a flaw for me...

reviewer#7408 date: May-6-2010
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 28-135
Sony 70-300 G
Minolta 50mm 1.7 RS
price paid:USD1050
positive:Very Sharp lens
All metal build
Usable f1.4
Great punchy colour
negative:A bit CA
comment:This baby is certainly sharpest lens I've ever owned. Sharp wide open. Razor sharp at f2.8
I usually use f2 with this lens. As at e1.4 the DOF is really shallow that sometimes its hard to get a clean hit.
Noisy and rather slow AF though. But acceptable as this is a potrait lens.

Best lens besides CZ 135
reviewer#7397 date: May-4-2010
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 24MP24 MP36MP36 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Nikkor 85/1,4D
Nikkor 85/1,8
Zeiss 85/1,4 (ZF)
price paid:900Ł New from Warehouse Express
positive:+Sharp and contrasty
+Useable even @ F/1,4.
+Excellent color
+Buildt well.
negative:-Slow AF
-CA
-Small play in the focus ring.
comment:A 85mm prime that just like the Nikkor is optimized for close to medium distances, which makes it a perfect "in your face" shallow dof potrait lens.

For some it might be to clinical (not to the same extent as the Nikkor 85/1,4D which has a blue cast) due to its good contrast and closeup performance.

As no real SA is visible it dosent share the "softening" effect like the 85/1,4 ZF or the 135/2 Ais can produce at wider aperture and closer distances. Which many times can be preferable for natural female/child portraits.

It dosent seem to perform as well at longer distances as wider apertuer, here the Zeiss 85/1,4 ZF outperforms it.

Havent used it much in the studio yet, will update this commentary as i use it more.



reviews found: 84    1 2 3 >>

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 84
  • sharpness: 4.94
  • color: 4.86
  • build: 4.86
  • distortion: 4.92
  • flare control: 4.83
  • overall: 4.88

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