Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZF - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Distortion

The Makro-Planar produces only a slight degree (~0.35%) of barrel distortion.

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.

Vignetting

The Zeiss lens is a full frame lens thus enjoying a sweet spot advantage on the D200 where it shows a relatively moderate vignetting of 0.6EV at wide-open aperture. Starting at f/2.8 the problem is absolutely negligible under field conditions.

MTF (resolution)

Macro lenses tend to be stellar performers and the Zeiss is no exception to the rule. At wide-open aperture the lens is already extremely sharp in the center whereas the borders are a little softer but still in very good territories. From f/2.8 to f/8 the edge-to-edge resolution is superb with a peak at f/5.6. Beyond f/8 diffraction is the limiting factor so even Zeiss cannot fool physics.
Compared to the Micro-Nikkor AF 60mm f/2.8D the Zeiss is quite a bit better at comparable apertures till f/5.6 whereas the Nikkor has an advantage at very small apertures. Due to diffraction neither is really good at f/22 or f/32 though. Nonetheless both lenses are outstanding in terms of resolution.

Please note that the test was performed at a distance of around 3m so it is not a macro test. Dedicated macro tests are not possible at this stage (not without a NASA budget anyway).

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Many of the recently tested Zeiss lenses performed good but not stellar in terms of lateral chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions). The Makro-Planar is very different in this respect with next to non-existent CAs throughout the tested aperture range. That's a truly outstanding characteristic here!




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