Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Page 1 of 3
Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Peter-Cornelius Spaeth!
The Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZF is one of the few all-time lens classics. It has
seen many incarnations over time from the ancient Contax C/Y era over the also gone
Contax N-system and now in Sony ZA and Nikon F mounts - each with slight optical
variations due to the different lens mount characteristics and/or the requirements
regarding the focus group. It is based on a symmetrical Planar design originally
invented in 1896(!). "Planar" originates in the German word plan ("plane"
in English) and refers to the flat reproduction characteristic (minimal field
Typical for all ZF lenses the T* 85mm f/1.4 doesn´t feature AF nor an electronically
controlled aperture. Reads: the lens has an automatic aperture but you have to
stop down via the aperture ring on the lens (1/2 stop steps). Consequently the
lens is not really compatible to the consumer-grade Nikon DSLRs a la D40 or D70.
However, it works just fine e.g. in aperture-priority mode on the D200.
The build quality of the full-metal Zeiss (brass with chromium-plated brass front
bayonet) is superb. The fluted focus ring feels exceptionally well damped. The Planar
features a retro-focus (RF) design so the front element does
not rotate. The T* 85mm f/1.4 extends slightly by about 1cm when focusing towards
close distances. The rather long min. focus distance of 1m is a bit disappointing
for a brand new lens.
|Equiv. focal length||127.5 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. max. f-stops||f/2.1 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field - not speed)|
|Optical construction||6 elements in 5 groups|
|Number of aperture blades||9|
|min. focus distance||1 m (max. magnification ratio 1:10)|
|Dimensions||77 mm x 62 mm|
|Filter size||72 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||barrel shaped, metal, bayonet mount (supplied)|