diglloyd

The Speed You Need

Our trusted photo rental store.

100% Kona, 100% Family Owned

Mini Review: Zeiss ZF/ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar

Last updated January 12, 2010 - Send Feedback
Mini review of Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

The Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro Planar with ARRI optics is a world-class must-have lens offering bitingly sharp images wide open across the entire frame, with exceptionally beautiful background blur.

The f/2 maximum aperture is unique among ~100mm macro lenses, and the way in which the sharpness-to-blur gradient changes has to be seen to be appreciated— it’s unique. This lens is a classic. Outstanding flare control and color rendition.

Relatively heavy but of moderate size, the 100mm Makro Planar offers exceptional build quality consistent with its siblings. Its build quality and silky-smooth focusing helicoid distinguish the Makro-Planar immediately from autofocus lenses from Canon or Nikon. The focusing helicoid offers considerable “throw” and thus offers great focusing precision for close-ups. It is exceptionally easy to focus accurately.

The Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar exhibits some of most beautiful background blur available today, a conclusion over which there is little dispute among those who own it. The combination of its world-class optical performance combined with its beautiful bokeh is a combination that offers stunning “3D” image rendition. Macro and portrait photographers should consider this a “must have” lens, but it’s equally excellent for distance shooting.

The Zeiss Makro-Planar is all but free of distortion, this 0.2% or so is “distortion free” even in a world where both Leica and Zeiss call a much greater 1% distortion unobservable by the human eye (which is untrue of course).

Specifications

Canon and Nikon and Pentax versions are optically identical

Specifications for Zeiss ZF/ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar
Focal length: 97.5mm
Aperture scale: f/ 2 – f/22 (1/2 stop clicks)
Focusing range: 0.44m – infinity
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert.: 25 / 20 / 9°
Coverage at close range: 48 X 72 mm
Image ratio at close range:            1:2
Number of elements/groups: 9 / 8
Filter thread: M 67 X 0.75
Weight:

680g
As weighed: 583g, 661g with hood and caps

Dimensions (with caps): 76mm, 89mm long
List price: $1843 street price

Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar distortion

The distortion is about as low as it gets. This lens is effectively distortion-free, rendering exceptionally natural-looking images.

Distortion — Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar
Distortion — Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar

Examples

You can shoot a lot more than flowers with this lens, because it’s fantastic at any distance.

Sunflowers — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Sunflowers — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar (multiple exposure)
Sunflowers — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Rose — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Zucchini flower — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Zucchini flower — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Sunflowers — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Flowers — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar

The 100/2 Makro-Planar is a very strong performer at infinity, even though it is a macro lens.

Saddlebag Lake — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Saddlebag Lake — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar

The Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar offers high resistance to flare. This image sums it up nicely, showing outstanding image contrast with no observable veiling flare and only a few small internal reflections that are barely visible.

Sunrise in Tenaya canyon — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar
Sunrise in Tenaya canyon — Zeiss 100/2 Makro-Planar

Conclusions

It’s my reference lens! There are few lenses that deliver the results that the 100/2 Makro-Planar can.

You can get the 100/2 Distagon at B&H Photo for Canon or Nikon (Feb 2010 for ZF.2 and ZE model).

Learn more

Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE lensesFor in-depth coverage to these Zeiss lenses for Nikon and Canon, please subscribe to our Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE Lenses.

The Guide has numerous examples at much higher resolution, along with actual-pixels crops for each and every lens, in most cases several pages of examples per lens.

New material is constantly being added to the Guide, so don't wait, subscribe now!

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2014 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.