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Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*

Zeiss ZF 85mm f/1.4 Planar T*

I’ve just begun to explore the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* [specs]. It offers exquisite detail and can hold a high range of contrast with tremendous “depth” to the image; as close as you can get to 3D in a photograph.

The actual-pixels crop below was shot handheld at f/2. Resolution is limited by the sensor and does not improve by stopping down further, though contrast increases a bit. Unfortunately, the original is so finely and subtly etched and nuanced that JPEG compression loses some of the life in the original.

Zeiss ZF 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* on Canon EOS 1D Mark III, actual pixels, f/2

There is so much to say about the Zeiss ZF line that I’m considering a full-blown review, which affords the opportunity for high-resolution examples. Remember, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow—treat yourself and try one of the ZF lenses (I recommend the 35 f/2 Distagon or either Makro-Planar for your first date).

But don’t stare at resolution charts—shoot real images and see that the ZF lenses “draw” with an elegant style matched by few other lenses. If you want a reason to not get one, you can certainly find “reviews” written by morons who think assessing a lens by the numbers tells all. I was once one of that crowd, but age and experience taught me better.

Want an in-depth review of the 85/1.4 Planar ? Look no further:

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