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

Sample Shots

The following sample shots were taken with a D3x and RAW-converted via CaptureOne.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window).

Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/60s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/2000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/2500s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.0
Exposure 1/4000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/6400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/1000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.4
Exposure 1/6400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/200s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/800s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/800s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1000s

Verdict

Zeiss Z-series lenses are controversial beings because they lack auto-focus. However, Zeiss is a legendary brand name and some lenses do live up to this reputation - the Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 does qualify here - mostly at least. The lens is capable of producing bitingly sharp results when stopped down a little. The vignetting characteristic is about typical for a lens in this class. Distortions are a non-issue. The quality of the bokeh is very good.

However, there are also a few weaknesses. The Zeiss lens 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 probably won’t. Typical for ultra-large aperture lenses there's also some degree of bokeh fringing at large apertures. 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 reminiscent of times when plastics were not the dominant form of mechanical design. Some users may complain about the lack of AF and it is indeed difficult to focus this lens manually without a split-image screen. However, the focus confirmation is available in the viewfinder and in critical scenes Live-View can give you the needed guidance. That said, it remains a bit of an anachronism these days.

Optical Quality:    
Field Quality: (Portrait Photograohy)
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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