Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 And Planar T* 50mm f/1.4; Lenses For Low-Light Photography And More… Page 2

The 17.72” close focusing of the lens won’t make macro enthusiasts’ mouths water and when focusing on close objects, I used the same “body focusing” techniques described earlier. Bokeh on this lens was pleasing, especially at the maximum aperture. This delightful effect became obvious to me when I was making available light portraits at wider apertures when there were lots of small lights outside the portrait subject’s area of depth of field.

The Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 lens is available in F bayonet (ZF), K bayonet (ZK), EF bayonet (ZE), and M42 (ZS, read screwmount) lens mounts and is designed for use with film and full-frame and smaller chipped D-SLRs. When used with a D-SLR that has a 1.6x multiplication factor, the lens becomes a compact, lightweight portrait lens with the field of view of an 80mm lens. On the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N, I tested it with, it produced 65mm because of that camera’s 1.3x factor.

A rat rod is a car that emulates early hot rods from the 1940s, ’50s, or ’60s and like this one, most rat rods appear unfinished (which sometimes they are), providing only the bare essentials to be driven. Exposure was 1⁄30 sec at f/5.6 at ISO 1600. Nik Software’s (www.niksoftware.com) Tonal Contrast filter that is part of the Complete Edition of Color Efex Pro 3.0 was used at the default settings to bring out detail in shadows and highlight areas that the Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 lens is capable of capturing.
© 2008, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Optical Perfection
The photographer not used to working with Zeiss lenses may be initially surprised at the weight of these lenses but they will also be impressed by their precision construction. These are solidly built optical devices, combining the finest materials and construction along with optical designs, such as the Planar, that are time tested and even legendary among their users. OK, maybe it sounds like I am in love with these lenses and that’s probably true, but the results will be obvious on your computer screen and any prints you make. Sure, I wished the focusing throw of the Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 was a partial turn less from lock to lock, especially when working with models in a studio, but the Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 is as perfect as a “normal” lens can be produced. Together these two Zeiss lenses are the available light photographer’s dream combo.

This portrait of Mary was made with the Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 attached to an EOS 5D using only the illumination from Christmas decorations at a neighbor’s front yard. Exposure was 1⁄30 sec at f/1.4 and ISO 800 with a +12⁄3 exposure compensation, giving me an effective shutter speed of approximately 1⁄10 sec, something I could not hand hold perfectly still but I liked her expression on this particular shot. The combination of some ISO noise and slow shutter speed produced not only spectacular bokeh off the out-of-focus lights in the background but added a nice softening effect to the portrait.
© 2008, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Technical Specifications
Lens: Planar T* 85mm f/1.4
Focal Length: 85mm
Aperture Range: f/1.4-f/16 (1⁄2 stops)
Focusing Range: 39.3” to infinity
Number Of Elements/Groups: Six/five
Filter Thread: 72mm
Dimensions: 3x3.3”
Weight: 21.1-24.6 oz (depending on mount)
Camera Mounts: F mount (ZF), EF mount (ZE), K mount (ZK)
Price: $1033 (in Nikon mount, price varies per mount)

Technical Specifications
Lens: Planar T* 50mm f/1.4
Focal Length: 50mm
Aperture Range: f/1.4-f/16 (1⁄2 stops)
Focusing Range: 17.72” to infinity
Number Of Elements/Groups: Seven/six
Filter Thread: 58mm
Dimensions: 2.39x2.71”
Weight: 12.34 oz
Camera Mounts: F mount (ZF), EF mount (ZE), K mount (ZK), M42 screwmount (ZS)
Price: $517 (in Nikon mount, price varies per mount)

For more information, contact Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, Inc. at: www.zeiss.com.

Joe Farace is coauthor, along with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Barry Staver, of “Better Available Light Digital Photography,” published by Focal Press and available from your friendly neighborhood bookstore or Amazon.com.

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