Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* Review

May 14, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* is a new manual-aperture, manual-focus prime lens for Sony Alpha 50mm full-frame mirrorless cameras. It features an aperture range of f/2-f/22 and a ten-bladed circular diaphragm for smoother bokeh blur in out of focus areas. It features 6 elements in 4 groups, a precision-engineered full-metal casing, weighs in at 320 grams, and can be de-clicked using a supplied tool for movie making. The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* is also able to focus as close as 45cm and it takes 52mm filters. The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* retails for €849 / $949 / £699.

Ease of Use

With a maximum diameter of 62.1mm and a 66mm length, the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*4 is a a wide-angle fixed focal length optic that's well-suited to Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera bodies. Weighing in at 320g it's also not too heavy.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens mounted on a Sony A7S

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens mounted on a Sony A7S

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens mounted on a Sony A7S

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens alongside a Sony A7S

The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* also boasts superb build quality. The lens’ all-metal casing is dust and moisture resistant and it features a metal E-mount bayonet. With no need for a zoom ring, the manual focussing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a useful depth of field scale. Behind this is the aperture ring, with 1/3EV stops ranging from f/2 to f/22. A small adjustable screw on the bottom of the bayonet lets you select whether the aperture ring clicks into place at each aperture stop or rotates smoothly for silent operation during movie recording.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The side of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The front of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The rear of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The side of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The side of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens

The 50mm f/1.4 has 6 lens elements in 4 groups and an almost symmetric lens design that promises better distortion, color correction and image field flatness. A ten-bladed rounded diaphragm, combined with the fast maximum aperture, helps provide smooth bokeh blur.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens in-hand

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

There’s no optical image stabilisation, but the lens’ standard focal length and very fast maximum aperture alleviate the need for it. A special sealing ring on the bayonet also protects the interface between the camera and the lens. A round lens hood is supplied, although annoyingly we found that this invariably came off whenever we unmounted the lens from the camera.

Focal Range

The 50mm focal length gives an angle of view of 46.78 degrees on a 35mm full frame sensor.

 Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*Field of view at 50mm

Manual Focussing

The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*'s manual focussing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a useful depth of field scale. It also has a large rotation angle which enables precise focusing and moves smoothly without any play, thus also supporting the intuitive interaction with the focal plane. The precise engravings in meters and feet, together with the depth of focus scale, help make manual focusing a veritable pleasure, especially in conjunction with the excellent Peaking feature offered by the Sony A-series cameras.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is rarely an issue with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*, so much so that we couldn't find any instances of fringing in our test shots.

Light Fall-off and Distortion

Light fall-off is noticeable wide open at f/2, though this is to be expected for such a fast lens and can easily be corrected in Photoshop. Stop down to f/2.8 and the vignetting is already less prominent, but it is still visible when shooting pale scenes that fill the frame.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*Light fall-off at 50mm

Macro

A 45cm minimum focus distance makes the lens useful for shooting reasonably close subjects. This image is uncropped and shows how close you can get to a Compact Flash card.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*Close-up performance

Bokeh

A major appeal of fast, wide-aperture prime lenses is their ability to produce an eye-catching separation between a sharp subject and a very soft out-of-focus background. The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* generates exceptionally smooth out of focus areas through its use of a ten-bladed diaphragm, which provides smoother bokeh than nine, seven or five-blade designs. Bokeh is however a fairly subjective part of a lens’ image quality, so check out these 100% crops to see the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*’s bokeh quality for yourself.

Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*
   
Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

review, samples, test, sample images, lens, compact system camera, mirrorless, csc, jpg, jpgs, sample, full frame, full-frame, 50mm, sony a7r, a7, sony a7, Sony, a7r, zeiss, a7s, 50mm full frame, Zeiss Loxia 50mm f2 Planar T*, loxia., loxia 50mm

Tracker Pixel for Entry