Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Sample Images

Here´re some quick and dirty sample shots taken with the Zeiss on the Nikon D200 and RAW-converted via RawShooter Premium or ACR 3.7.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE samples (=several megabytes) thus requiring a significant amount of bandwidth so please take care of the limited resources here.

Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.4 @ 1/2500s
Size 3898x2613
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.4 @ 1/4000s
Size 2613x3898
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.4 @ 1/1500s
Size 2592x3872
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.4 @ 1/1500s
Size 3898x2613
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/2.8 @ 1/800s
Size 2613x3898
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/2.8 @ 1/750s
Size 3898x2613
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/1.4 @ 1/1250s
Size 3872x2592
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/8.0 @ 1/500s
Size 2613x3898
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D200
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/180s
Size 2613x3898

Verdict

Zeiss ZF lenses are controversial beings because they lack auto-focus and an electronically controlled aperture. However, they also tend to represent a benchmark in their respective class and the same goes for the Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF. The lens is capable to produce bitingly sharp results when stopped down a little. The color rendition is very Zeiss-like - very saturated and neutral. Vignetting is usually no issue and distortions are absent. Judging the lens bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is a little difficult because similar to wine it is simply matter of taste - generally I found the out-of-focus rendering buttery and pleasing (except with close-ups). Nonetheless the Zeiss also has also a few weaknesses. It shows a somewhat "dreamy" contrast characteristic at f/1.4. Whether this is a bug or a feature is a matter of application - portrait photographers will like it whereas still-life photographers will probably not. Typical for ultra-large aperture lenses there´s also some degree of purple fringing and longitudinal chromatic aberrations at large aperture settings. Due to the large front element the T* 85mm f/1.4 isn't quite as resistant against flare as its (Zeiss) cousins but certainly not worse than comparable lenses. The build quality is also exceptionally high and a reminiscence to times when plastics were not the dominant form of mechanical design. The price tag of the Zeiss comes almost as a surprise - at 1000 €/US$ it costs about the same like the (optically slightly inferior) Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D. If you can live with its manual focusing approach you don´t need to go any further!

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