Sony Carl Zeiss FE 50mm 1.4 ZA Planar T* E-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 5   
reviewer#46974 date: Jan-15-2024
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.9
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Loxia 2/50
TTartisan 1.4/50 ASPH
Sigma 2.8/45i
plenty vintage 50mm range glass
price paid:500 euro
positive:Use of f/1.4 with accurate AF is a bliss
Colours straight out of camera much to my liking
Shaprness/details fall off
negative:Big & heavy for a 50mm
comment:Always had this lens on my radar since release. Just out of my reach money wise. Now a good deal come along I did not have to think twice.
It delivers top notch IQ images with plenty of character possibiblities if you push it.
Sure, latest & greatest GM lenses will be better/faster/sharper. As long as this lens keeps giving me keepers it will have its place and use in my bag.
reviewer#46882 date: Sep-9-2022
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Rokinon 45 F1.8 FE
Tamron SP 45 F1.8 USD (VC & non VC)
Minolta MD 45 F2
Sigma 45 F2.8 DG DN C
Lensbaby Sol 45 F3.5
Rokinon 50 F1.2
Samyang AF 50 F1.4 FE II
Rokinon AF 50 F1.4 FE
Sony A 50 F1.4 ZA SSM Planar
Zeiss C/Y 50 F1.4 Planar
Yongnuo YN50 F1.4
Canon EF 50 F1.4 USM
Sigma 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM
Minolta MD 50 F1.4 & AF & Sony (D)
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Meike 50 F1.7
Sony FE 50 F1.8
Yongnuo YN50 F1.8S DF DSM
Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM
Konica AR 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Neewer/Meike/Vivitar 50 F2
Konica AR 52 F1.8
Minolta MC 55 F1.7
Sony FE 55 F1.8 Sonnar
Minolta SR 55 F2
Lensbaby Velvet 56 F1.6
Konica AR 57 F1.4
Minolta MC 58 F1.4
price paid:830 USD (used)
positive:Minimal purple fringing
Extreme corners
Quick, accurate SSM
Low distortion
"Dust and moisture resistant"
negative:Size, weight, price
Low transmission
Alignment/variation
Tangential resolution
Plastic filter threads
Warm color cast
Breathing
MF switch
Aperture control
Unflocked hood
Limited to 20 FPS
comment:This was another purchase from the Fred Miranda forum. The retail packaging was included, but the Sony soft case was missing. "Made in Thailand"

This is a large, heavy prime. The older A-mount ZA Planar felt lighter on the LA-EA5. It is not clear where the mass is located. The front element is rather modest.

It has some optical improvements over that older ZA Planar. There is less distortion and much sharper corners. However it has less transmission. It is about the same brightness as the Minolta F1.7. It is not a very sharp lens, but it is sharper than the typical simple planar design. Tangential resolution is relatively poor and doesn't improve much stopped down. I was surprised that it has a warm color cast similar to the Samyang lenses.

The aperture only opens fully when focused at infinity. The aperture closes some as the lens is focused closer--maybe a third of a stop. This reduces the amount of background blur compared to other F1.4 primes. It also means the aperture is never actually smooth except at infinity focus. The aperture action also increases the noise while focusing. The transmission is also less than other F1.4 lenses at closer focus.

This lens uses an old-style ring-type piezo-electric motor (SSM) that is somewhat noisy--maybe even noisier than the older A-mount lens. While it is not the fastest mechanism, it focuses quicker and more accurately than the "faster" piezo-linear motors in the Rokinon.

Unlike the older 1.8/55 Sonnar this lens has extra unnecessary controls. Unfortunately there is no way to disable the MF switch from unintentionally overriding the desired camera focus settings. The switch itself requires a good amount of force. It is also another point of contamination entry into the lens.

The electronic aperture control's one third stop detents are not very positive perhaps as a side-effect of the mechanical de-click switch. Sony has been using similar mechanisms on more recent lenses. The aperture controls on the cheaper Sigma DN primes feel much better but cannot be de-clicked. At least the "A" position that allows the camera to control the aperture is fairly firm.

Like more recent Sony primes the bokeh is rather neutral. It lacks the background smoothing of under-corrected spherical aberration, but this likely helps the AF speed and accuracy and avoids focus shift. This would have been a bigger benefit on an SLR that had to focus wide-open. The Samyang 50mm F1.4 lenses give smoother backgrounds.

Overall a very decent if overweight normal prime.
reviewer#38884 date: Jun-19-2017
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:Zeiss Milvus 50 1.4
price paid:
missing
positive:Crazy Sharp
Nice AF performance on A7R2
Very round bokeh even at corner
negative:Background Bokeh not as smooth(milky) as my milvus @1.4 (difference is little but noticeable for myself)
Not true zeiss colour to me
A little plastic like (If you own milvus you will know what I mean XD)
comment:I am a Distagon fans. And when sony annoc. the Planer zeiss 50 1.4 and many review say it is as good as otus which catch my eyes. So I rent this lens and tested on A7R2. Very fast AF even at low light. Very sharp images. The bokeh is around enough even at corner of the photos thanks for 11 blades. But the colour is not as same as zeiss i think. A little bit over-saturated like other sony zeiss lenses. Yes you can change the colour settings in PS/LR. And the background bokeh is not as milky as my milvus. I finally got my milvus 50 1.4 and use on A9 with MC11 from sigma. Yes I loss the AF, but I love the result much more. If you are a one-hand guy to control the camera, go for sony zeiss. You will find yourself very busy on MF with milvus. E mount AF is very good now.
reviewer#34772 date: Feb-4-2017
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Any other 50mm prime including 55mm 1.8
price paid:1025 used
positive:Astounding, astonishing images! Wonderful rendering, razor sharp. I love the aperture click/clickless ring option.
negative:No OSS, heavy, expensive...but worth it!
comment:This is the most satisfying lens I have ever owned. The images have that Zeiss pop with wonderful bokeh. Just a spectacular optic.
reviewer#32707 date: Nov-12-2016
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: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL 50 1.4, SEL FE 55 1.8
price paid:1400 USD
positive:EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING, Sharpness, Bokeh and overall rendering is amazing
negative:None
comment:I'm not a 50 guy, as a matter of fact I find this FL a little boring, but this lens brake my rules, I just went to do El Camino a Santiago and was the only lens I use in my A7r2 during all the walking for more than 300Km.
This is after my 85 GM the best FE lens tied with the Zeiss 35 FE 1.4
reviews found: 5   

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 5
  • sharpness: 4.80
  • color: 4.60
  • build: 4.80
  • distortion: 4.80
  • flare control: 4.80
  • overall: 4.76

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