Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T* Review

May 15, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |

Conclusion

The Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T* is the only lens in the Fujifilm X-Mount and Sony E-Mount ranges that offers true 1:1 maximum reproduction, so it's something of an essential purchase if you absolutely require that feature, especially as it delivers superb image quality with lovely bokeh. Macro shooters won't be entirely happy, though, as there's no distance or depth of field scales and no focus limiter switch either, manual focusing is something of a must at close-range, and for some photographers the 75mm focal length will be a little on the short side. The auto-focusing system at "normal" shooting distances is a lot more reliable, but not especially quick, even on the latest X-T1 camera that we tested it with, while the lack of image stabilisation or any kind of weather-proofing are also a shame given the Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T*'s premium price-tag.

The Carl Zeiss Touit 50mm lens is remarkably sharp in both the image centre and at the edges throughout almost the entire aperture range. The fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes it easy to creatively throw the background out of focus, with the nine-blade iris diaphragm achieving some lovely bokeh effects for such a wide-angle lens. Vignetting is very well-controlled, chromatic aberrations are hard to find, and there's some very slight pincushion distortion, but certainly nothing to worry about.

The Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T*'s auto-focus system is a little hesitant on the Fujifilm X-T1 that we tested it on, with a slight delay before locking focus. It offers a generously wide focusing ring, and on the Fujifilm XF version a very welcome aperture ring which makes it quick, easy and precise to set this key element of exposure. We did miss having a focusing distance scale with depth-of-field markings, though, for easier zone-focusing. The overall build quality is excellent with a lens mount that's made of metal and, thanks to an internal focusing (IF) system, the front element and 52mm filter thread do not rotate on focus, which is very good news for those using polarisers and ND grads on a regular basis.

Priced at around £780 / €755 / $999 the Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T* is substantially more expensive than the closest Fujifilm and Sony lenses, although as we said at the outset of this conclusion, it is the only lens that can capture objects in their original size. For macro photographers who absolutely need 1:1 recording along with and stellar image and build quality, the Carl Zeiss Touit Makro Planar 2.8/50mm T* lens certainly won't disappoint. More casual users would be better served by the significantly cheaper Fujifilm and Sony equivalents.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 5
Value for money 3.5