Zeiss 85mm F/1.4 ZE Planar Lens

February 8th, 2011

The first time I shot the Canon 85mm 1.2L I thought it was nice, but this Zeiss 85mm 1.4 looks pretty nice. The lens itself looks very precisely built and is visually beautiful. The optics appear to be comparative to Canon’s 85, but in a number of cases the Canon 85 was better. It is really interesting to see how the Zeiss 85 handles direct lens flares. At f/2 and up to f/8 its clearly a much more pleasant flare (more around one point vs a flat flare across the whole image).

Of course just as the Canon 85, the Zeiss 85 is best suited on a 1.3x or full frame DSLR. Although it isn’t capable of autofocus. The price tag is just around $1280.

What do you think—would you buy the Canon 85 or Zeiss 85?

Posted by on 02/8/11 in Photography

6 COMMENTS   »  Leave your Comment

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  2. Dan says:

    Zeiss!! It’s on the wish list…

  3. Zach McNair says:

    I think the Zeiss is beautiful and a great middle ground for those who don’t want Canon’s 85mm 1.8ƒ, but can’t afford the 1.2ƒ. Personally, I’d still go with the Canon 85mm 1.2ƒ.

  4. It’s hard to go wrong with either. But autofocus is a huge plus for me personally. I own the 85 1.2 and it’s a crazy lens. The image quality is outstanding. If you shoot more video, I might lean towards the zeiss.

  5. Sean Wood says:

    I have owned the 85mm 1.2ƒ and, while it is a nice lens it’s a very slow lens to focus. The glass itself is great and it makes wonderful pictures but the manual focus ring feels cheap and imprecise. I completely understand what you are saying about lens flare. Canon lenses mostly give me (not sure about others experiences) some nasty green flares that just kill a shot (note to all who don’t own one. You have to point it in the sun to get this).
    I’d seriously consider the Zeiss as an option. I’m sure the colours out of it are different which is a nice start (nothing like shooting something that is not going to feel the same as everyone else’s shot) and the manual focus doesn’t bother me given the performance of the canon equivalent. I would, however, likely buy the Nikon mount as that would give me the option of using the lens on the office camera and the occasional Red rental.

  6. Itai says:

    Zeiss certainly make fine lenses, but they tend to have severe chromatic fringing.
    That’s the green/magenta spill in out of focus areas.
    I compared their 100 Makro to Canon’s 100L, and the Canon was way better.

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