Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM on micro-4/3 - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published November 2009


Every once in a while we're having a look at one of the more unusual camera-lens combination. This time it's about the Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM (Leica M mount) adapted to micro-4/3 via the Panasonic DMW-MA2M. This means that we're talking about manual focusing and working aperture only - there's no data coupling whatsoever here. Due to the lack of fast tele prime lenses it's surely one of the more interesting fall-back solutions for the system. The field-of-view is equivalent to about 100mm in and in terms of depth-of-field it behaves like a f/4 lens in this scope. A "100mm f/4" (full format) doesn't deliver a very shallow depth-of-field anymore but this is simply one of the drawbacks of the 4/3 system. At around 600EUR the Zeiss lens isn't exactly cheap. However, the non-kit micro-4/3 lenses aren't exactly budget items either.

I reckon you'll agree that the Zeiss is a beauty of a lens. It's a full metal construction build to the highest standards - except for the lens cap which is rather crappy. The focus ring operates as smooth as silk (dampened). The aperture is set in 1/3EV steps at the front of the lens. Any change of the aperture is applied immediately so you can check the effect on the depth-of-field on your screen/viewfinder (without the typical viewfinder darkening when stopping down like on conventional DSLRs). The lens extends a bit when focusing towards closer focus distances.

Manual focusing may sound like a major annoyance but it is not that bad actually. On micro-4/3 cameras you can switch to a magnified focus view so accurate manual focusing is really easy ... unless you try to track a moving object of course. We would recommend this camera-lens combination for static scenes only.

Equiv. focal length100 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 4 groups
Number of aperture blades8
min. focus distance0.7 m (max. magnification ratio 1:12)
Dimensions52 x 68 mm
Weight230 g
Filter size43 mm (non-rotating)
Other features-