Gear Talk > Lenses

Zeiss Planar 50mm 1.4 on Crop Body


I'm interested in buying a new lens this Christmas and I am thinking about the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 for my Canon 60D. At the moment my 50mm is the Canon EF 1.8 version. After reading some reviews it seems as if the Zeiss isn't all that great and that the corners are soft. My question is if it is a good lens on a crop body seeing that the corner sharpness wouldn't be as bad. Are there other problems with this lens besides corner sharpness? I have no problem with manual focus, if anything I think it looks kind of fun to have more to manually adjust when composing a shot.

Mt Spokane Photography:
50mm lenses typically use a age old optical formula which is not as good as some of the newer formulas using more elements. 
You are paying more $$$ for supurb construction and for the Name.  For manual focus, Zeiss lenses are wonderful to use.
Photozone previously tested the lens on a crop, but it has fallen off their list, probably because of the obsolete camera.
Here is what they say.  "Some years ago we analyzed the Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 on an APS-C DSLR and the results were truly impressive there. However, on a full format DSLR the performance leaves a bit to be desired actually. "
As more and more users switch to FF, the lens will become less popular, so its price may suffer, but thats just a guess.
DXO has also tested the lens on many bodies.  You can view the test results and select different bodies to compare here:
Their test data is fine, but their DXO Mark ratings are biased, just as is any rating that tries to give a overall score for a product is biased by the method used to score it.

I think you'll love it, it's an excellent lens, especially for video.  I've used it on full frame several times and found it to perform as well as my 50L, definitely much sharper on the corners than the 50L.  It's true that it's not that great wide open, but things start to get better at f/2 and it's pretty damn sharp from f/2.8-f/5.6.  I love the color rendition of all Zeiss glass and the way the bokeh looks.  On an APS-C sensor I'm sure it will look even better and sharp across the whole frame.

I have this lens and use it with the 7D and 60D. It's a beautiful lens. I'm actually selling mine to get a mountain bike, as my hobbies are shifting. But I have really enjoyed it. I use it for both video and photo. For video, the large rotational distance between focus points makes follow focus awesome.

The one thing I'd caution you about is that this lens, wide open, out resolves your camera's focusing screen. As in, looking through the optical viewfinder, it's hard to tell if you've nailed focus on someone's eyes or on their nose. Using LiveView bypasses this issue, and with the swivel screen of the 60D, that helps shoot like this. I've done that a lot with the 50mm and prefer to use it on the 60D for this reason.

Here's a test video I shot just after buying mine:

Sell you mine? It is a beautiful lens if you can cope with the manual focus that is.


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