Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/55: “the best fast 50mm ever”

Carl Zeiss published a new interesting video on their upcoming Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/55 lens which is supposed to be "the best fast 50mm ever". The lens is specially designed for high resolution, full frame DSLR cameras and is expected to costs around 3,000 EUR. The new Distagon will be available in both Nikon and Canon mounts. Some more images of the lens are available here, few sample images are available on NikonRumors.

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  • http://twitter.com/sperdynamite Mark Sperry

    I wonder how it stacks up against the absurdly priced APO Summicron.

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

      Optically, I’d expect the 50/2 to be better in the corners at f/2 but when the f/1.4 lens is at f/2, maybe it’s sharper in the center.

      Also, I guess the Leica doesn’t qualify as a “fast 50″ by Zeiss’s definition… maybe they’re talking about fastest 50mm SLR/DSLR lens.

      • jake

        evenso , no rational people pay 3k-4k for this kind of boring SLR prime regardless of its optical quality.
        there is no elegance and size of the Leica with the Zeiss, the Zeiss is just too huge and too ugly and MF only lens should beat all others optically.
        But I bet that the new Samyong 50mmf1.2 will beat it just as Samyong 35mmf1.4 beats the Zeiss 35f1.4 ZF2 in terms of resolution and distortion control.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          “there is no elegance and size of the Leica with the Zeiss, the Zeiss is just too huge and too ugly and MF only lens should beat all others optically.”

          You have much to learn, jake… look up the reason why rangefinder lenses can be made smaller than SLR lenses. Also look at the issues that conventional rangefinder lenses, especially in the wide-angles, face when used on digital sensors. And don’t forget to get an idea of the design difficulties when going from f/2 to f/1.4.

          The MF issue is due to licensing. Zeiss makes AF lenses for Sony and others.

          “But I bet that the new Samyong 50mmf1.2 will beat it just as Samyong 35mmf1.4 beats the Zeiss 35f1.4 ZF2 in terms of resolution and distortion control.”

          Well it’d be really funny if they do. But you got to keep in mind two things: (1) this is not the ordinary ZF/ZE line Zeiss is talking about here and (2) it’s not easy for a faster aperture lens to beat a slower aperture lens at the same apertures, if corners haven’t been cut (geddit) when making the slower lens :)

      • jake

        evenso , no rational people pay 3k-4k for this kind of boring SLR prime regardless of its optical quality.
        there is no elegance and size of the Leica with the Zeiss, the Zeiss is just too huge and too ugly and MF only lens should beat all others optically.
        But I bet that the new Samyong 50mmf1.2 will beat it just as Samyong 35mmf1.4 beats the Zeiss 35f1.4 ZF2 in terms of resolution and distortion control.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          “there is no elegance and size of the Leica with the Zeiss, the Zeiss is just too huge and too ugly and MF only lens should beat all others optically.”

          You have much to learn, jake… look up the reason why rangefinder lenses can be made smaller than SLR lenses. Also look at the issues that conventional rangefinder lenses, especially in the wide-angles, face when used on digital sensors. And don’t forget to get an idea of the design difficulties when going from f/2 to f/1.4.

          The MF issue is due to licensing. Zeiss makes AF lenses for Sony and others.

          “But I bet that the new Samyong 50mmf1.2 will beat it just as Samyong 35mmf1.4 beats the Zeiss 35f1.4 ZF2 in terms of resolution and distortion control.”

          Well it’d be really funny if they do. But you got to keep in mind two things: (1) this is not the ordinary ZF/ZE line Zeiss is talking about here and (2) it’s not easy for a faster aperture lens to beat a slower aperture lens at the same apertures, if corners haven’t been cut (geddit) when making the slower lens :)

        • Nishi Drew

          “no rational people pay 3k-4k for this kind of boring SLR prime”

          And I’ve seen so many Porsche Cayenne’s it reminds me how many irrational people there are around here, an ugly, boring and insanely over priced vehicle that has a fancy sticker to let everyone know it’s a “Porsche”.

          The 55mm may not peek the interest of many, but it happens to be the people with that kind of money to spare that end up with one of those, and if Zeiss weren’t making bank on these sorts of the products then they wouldn’t be making them now would they~

    • Zorgborg

      Regardless of how good the 50/2 APO might be, in terms of resolution, a comparison seems a moot point right now as the new M will have 24MP while the Ziess 55 can be paired with the 36MP D800.

      Even on the video though, In terms of chromatic aberration and contrast wide open it certainly seems better than the current gold standard, the Leica 50/1.4 asph (an APO lens even if not labelled as such).

      • jake

        well, then compare the M + Leica 50mm f1.0 vs your beloved D800 + this Zeiss toy lens and tell me which one is smaller ?

        for many people use the Leica , the look and practical size of the Leica is much more important than a bit better resolution of the D800 and we cannot stand the ugly bulky plastic toy like senseless cameras from Nikon, Canon and Sony unless they are priced well under the M.

      • jake

        well, then compare the M + Leica 50mm f1.0 vs your beloved D800 + this Zeiss toy lens and tell me which one is smaller ?

        for many people use the Leica , the look and practical size of the Leica is much more important than a bit better resolution of the D800 and we cannot stand the ugly bulky plastic toy like senseless cameras from Nikon, Canon and Sony unless they are priced well under the M.

        • Zorgborg

          Sheesh, calm down. No need to be such a fanboy. I am simply being realistic about which system as a whole has greater resolving power.

          I personally prefer smaller systems and primarily shoot with an M9 with a mix of Zeiss, Voigtlander and indeed Leica lenses including the 50/1.4 asph (which is brilliant but certainly has relatively low but still noticeable CA and loss of contrast wide open). I have no plans to get a D800 or 55mm.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          Leicas are the worst kind of toy in the camera world. They’re like a Corolla pimped with a heavier chassis, a less reliable but hand-assembled engine and leather everything. At the end of the day, it’s still a Corolla and only an idiot would think those other things make it any better.

          35mm is a compromised format and rangefinders are very limiting as cameras. So they’re nothing but glorified point and shoots from the past.

  • St.

    Is it still MF lens?

  • St.

    Is it still MF lens?

    • http://alphacorner.eu/ Sky

      Yes

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelComeau Michael Comeau

    They missed by 5mm.

  • tim

    3000$ for a 50? they are kidding right?

    • Cheong

      Never heard of 50mm APO-Summicron?

      • jake

        as I said the Leica is a class above this junk!
        and the Leica is much smaller and that alone makes it worth the price but this Zeiss is just a overpriced Euroepan junk!
        Samyong is a much better buy!

        • CHD

          Jake….go to bed……past your bedtime.

    • Cheong

      Never heard of 50mm APO-Summicron?

      • jake

        as I said the Leica is a class above this junk!
        and the Leica is much smaller and that alone makes it worth the price but this Zeiss is just a overpriced Euroepan junk!
        Samyong is a much better buy!

        • Nishi Drew

          Hey look a Leica fanboi (a.k.a. troll), you can’t stand anything without a recognizable brand logo pasted on something yeah?
          Not all Leica lenses are small and the ones that can remain small are so because the sensor requires a special design for better angle of response for the light hitting the sensor to better resemble what film is capable of. Larger lenses are to compensate for that inherent issue with sensors and their poor angle of response.
          Now let’s see, a 50mm class lens going for that price? Ridiculous indeed, but Leica lenses topping that and not providing anything more in image quality… oh, aside from having a prestigious name to brag about over a golf match.
          Although I must agree, Samyang is a better buy, but sadly they don’t currently offer a 50mm

        • CHD

          Jake….go to bed……past your bedtime.

        • Andy

          Leica is european too. Dumbass

      • James

        Never heard of the Noctilux?

    • jake

      and it may not be as sharp as the Samyong or Rokinon anyway, Zeiss is just a name ,indeed a big European name, that’s all.
      only extreme fanboy , collector kinda people pay this much for this very unpractical lens even if it is a teeny bit sharper than Samyong or Sigma 50f1.4 models
      The Leica 50f1.0 is an amazing lens and obviously faster and more compact and that worth the high price but this Zeiss? NO , no way to pay this much for a 135mm format 55mm lens..

    • jake

      and it may not be as sharp as the Samyong or Rokinon anyway, Zeiss is just a name ,indeed a big European name, that’s all.
      only extreme fanboy , collector kinda people pay this much for this very unpractical lens even if it is a teeny bit sharper than Samyong or Sigma 50f1.4 models
      The Leica 50f1.0 is an amazing lens and obviously faster and more compact and that worth the high price but this Zeiss? NO , no way to pay this much for a 135mm format 55mm lens..

      • Nishi Drew

        Again, it is ridiculously priced for a 55mm, but the 50mm F/1.0 being better solely because it’s a faster and smaller lens? Speed isn’t everything, how shallow do you need to go in compensating for poor composition or plain boring subject matter to make everyone go ohh and ahh?
        And Leica is just as much a European name, they’ve come up with duds and poor equipment, and what they charge is nothing less than criminal

  • tim

    3000$ for a 50? they are kidding right?

  • mythbuster

    Better than best of Leica? I bet this is a bluff…

    • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

      In scientific comparisons, it’s very easy to find some special case where one of the things being compared is better than the other and play up only that aspect. In that sense, Zeiss is not bluffing any more than Leica.

      Also, the only cuurent Leica lens this is competing against is the 50 Summilux because the Noctilux’s purpose is aperture rather than image quality and 50 Summicron’s the opposite of the Noctilux. Then all you have to look at is the 50 Summilux Asph and the answer should be clear. And I’m assuming you’ve seen full res images from 50 Asph Lux since you’re so sure the Leicas are better?

  • john hamm

    so if i buy this lens, my photos will be as good as any top pro?

  • john hamm

    so if i buy this lens, my photos will be as good as any top pro?

  • RX1

    My RX1 SONY will take Pants to this 55mm ;) ;)

  • RX1

    My RX1 SONY will take Pants to this 55mm ;) ;)

  • cookie

    No doubt Zeiss is producing very good lenses. But not every lens is or was top class. I do remember my father was not satisfied at all with the Tele Tessar for his Hasselblad

  • cookie

    No doubt Zeiss is producing very good lenses. But not every lens is or was top class. I do remember my father was not satisfied at all with the Tele Tessar for his Hasselblad

  • Andy G

    I have the Zeiss 50mm Makro-Planar F/2 and it should be labeled a 55mm as well because it definitely has a narrower FOV than other 50′s and in fact it has the same field of view as my classic Canon FL 55mm F/1.2 Lens

  • Andy G

    I have the Zeiss 50mm Makro-Planar F/2 and it should be labeled a 55mm as well because it definitely has a narrower FOV than other 50′s and in fact it has the same field of view as my classic Canon FL 55mm F/1.2 Lens

  • http://twitter.com/Jodjac33 Jodiah Jacobs

    This looks like an awesome lens to me. I’d buy it if I had the cash. I love a manual focus lens. That’s some amazing contrast wide open. Wonder how well it works stopped down! It’s big, it’s heavy, but so is the 24-70. I think if I bought the lens, it would be a lens that I would use. Lord knows I’ve bought enough lenses that I rarely use.

  • tedtedsen

    i have tryed the 85mm 1.4 planar on my d800 for a vile buildquallity top optics well the lens is never sharper than myskills to focus corectley good for old filmcameras not for modern d800 focussystem

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