Zeiss 50mm F2 Loxia Planar T* E-mount lens review by wetapunga
|wetapunga#45572 date: Aug-23-2020|
flare control: 5
|ownership:||I own this lens|
|compared to:||Minolta 50mm f1.4|
Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro
Sony 50mm f1.4
|price paid:||$NZ 1459 new|
|positive:||Wonderful handling with outstanding image quality in a compact form.|
|negative:||Loxia lenses ae addictive. It's hard to stop after one.|
|comment:||All Loxia lenses have some common attributes. They’re sharp across the whole frame, but corners will be softer than the centre at wide-open apertures. Softer by Zeiss standards isn’t bad and closing the aperture a couple of F-stops sees a noticeable improvement in the corners. Optimal sharpness is around f8-f11. They’re also wonderful, tactile and precise lenses to use. These are manufactured to very high standards. |
The handling is wonderful. These are all metal and glass lenses. The focusing ring is ribbed metal, not rubber. Even the lens hoods are metal. The 50mm is the lightest of the set, weighing in at 320g as compared to the 35mm at 340. The lens has a good throw, ideal for manual focus. Attaching or removing the lens is easier if you turn the aperture ring right to the end of its range and adds to the resistance of removing it. Otherwise the small size is a little awkward to manage.
Wide-open the lens will also show some vignette. Microcontrast and sharpness is superb. Really outstanding. Flare resistance is superb. Sun-stars are clear and attractive.
Loxia lenses are clearly designed for certain users in mind. First, those people attracted to the E-mount for the potential to have a smaller kit. All Loxia lenses have gone for narrower apertures (f2-f2.8) rather than say f1.4 to keep the size down. It works. It’s easy to pack four of them into a smallish camera bag.
They’re also aimed at people who don’t mind, or prefer, to manual focus. Because they are manual focus only. So say, landscape photographers or videographers will find these lenses appealing (especially with the declick option). I got a set of 4 for landscapes.
And that leads to their next clever design feature. They all have a 52mm lens diameter. You can use the same filters on all. And an 52mm ND filter takes up very little space in a camera bag. Filters do not appear to generate any vignetting as well.
Manual focusing on a 3rd Generation a7riii is usually very accurate. You can take advantage of the focus magnification and focus peaking features to get the subject in focus. And you can still use the in-camera stabilization. While the lens is manual focus, it maintains electrical contacts with the camera. This feeds the camera EXIF data as well as focus-distance data for the IBIS. You are restricted to using A or M mode on the camera. Obviously though you don’t use the camera dial to change the aperture but the lens aperture ring.
The lenses won’t be for everyone. But once you handle one of them and see the images pop out on your screen, it is hard to stop and just having one of them. Especially if your photography requirements are orientated to portability, extraordinary optical properties and manual focusing.