27 Jun 2016

A beautiful lens-Zeiss Planar 45mm f2.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I am a Leica fan. My enthusiasm for Leicas goes back a very long time - I bought my first in 1967-and I just like using them for all sorts of reasons but above all else for their lenses which are just stunning performers.
I also own a Sony a7 and for a change the weekend before last I did some photography of my grandsons using the a7 fitted with a Zeiss Planar 45mm F2 Contax G series lens which I borrowed from my son ( yes we are all into photography). This fits onto the Sony with a rather clunky adapter which has to turn as it operates the manual focussing of the lens.
This particular Zeiss lens is reputed to one of the sharpest lenses ever made and although it is an old design-and this particular lens is probably around 20 years old-it is still an incredible performer. The photos have a distinctly Zeiss look to them which is markedly different to the look from Leica lenses to my eyes.

I am not into pixel peeping and photographing walls for lens tests but I can say that even at very high magnifications the sharpness of photos from this lens is extraordinary even right into the corners and with the lens wide open. The sharpest lens I have ever used? I can't say but it certainly is up there.
You can find,with luck,find one of these lenses for sale for US$250-$500 depending on condition.

 It certainly holds its own with modern lenses but you do have to focus it manually and the adapter is clunky. Techart do make an electronic adapter which allows the a7's autofocus to work with the lens but I have not seen any reports on its performance and it is quite costly. I also see that B&H are advertising a DEO-Tech adapter which also promises to link the autofocus and the exposure controls. It is not available yet so there are no reviews of its performance.
All the photos below were taken with the lens wide open at F2.

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