They are super sharp stopped down and not too bad wide-open, but they could be sharper at the edges wide open and even at the center (especially the 1.2L isn't 100% sharp wide open). But more than that, they suffer from LoCA. The 85 1.8 has about as much LoCA as I have ever seen from a lens! Even under weak indoor lighting in a gym white uniforms become absolutely riddled with PF all over the place. They toss tons of purple in front and green haze behind all over stuff.
I, myself, do not mind on vignetting anymore (if it's fair below -2ev). First, I like em on potraits and secondmore they can be resolved in postprocessing... The LoCA on the 85 1.8 is visible, but those effects can be fixed within DXO/Lightroom, at most. Of course we want the perfect lense, especially if we're filming with it. I just think Canon has more open todos on a 50mm 1.2 L Lense, than on the 85mm range.
The Problem is, that everyone is pixelpeeping at the moment... and I think the Zeiss 55mm 1.4 is the answer to the question "what can be done"? It's like paying 20 grands more on the "S"-Modell of the Porsche Turbo. The last 15 horsepowers are expensive.
I can see a clear market for the lense... photographers with the medium format PhaseOne/Leica S2 have now a clear smaller alternative @the same IQ: Nikon D800+Zeiss (or something coming up from Canon).
"I can see a clear market for the lense... photographers with the medium format PhaseOne/Leica S2 have now a clear smaller alternative @the same IQ: Nikon D800+Zeiss (or something coming up from Canon)."
Lack of A.F and leaf shutters limits the audience,I have used quite a few Zeiss lenses and have the 15mm at the moment,but the Leica S 24 and HCD-28mm are better,and what happens when Medium format hits 120MP which it will at some stage.. and the huge bright viewfinder is another bonus...
Having said that it is as you say a smaller alternative when money dictates the gear you can buy or if you need a smaller kit..although with this Zeiss lens weighing 1kg the weight benefit is a moot point,the D800 is not much lighter than the Leica S..