Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE real world travel and landscape image samples
Back in 2009 i bought in to the hype surrounding the Zeiss lenses and purchased the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE lens. This little lens easily exceeded my expectations with its image quality, color rendition and sharpness across the field that it quickly replaced the Canon 24-105 f4L as my primary travel and walk around lens.
At first i was a bit circumspect about getting a fully manual focus lens, but over time i've actually grown to enjoy it more and i find that i get better focus and more keepers with my manual focus lenses than my auto focus (AF) lenses. Ofcourse, for moving subjects i still prefer to use the AF lenses but in all other scenarios (probably 90% of my photography subjects) the manual focus works just fine for me.
The most impressive aspect of this lens is its sharpness across the frame (from apertures f2.8 and above). I've been consistently blown away by how sharp my images are, even in the handheld images. Instead of just talking about it, i want to show you a few sample images from my travels which exemplify how good this lens really is.
All the below pictures are shot using the Canon 5D mark ii camera. The 21 megapixel full frame images demand a lot of resolution from the lenses and any flaw in the lens will be easily apparent. The Zeiss 50mm passes the full frame 21MP test with flying colors.
Note : Most of these images were shot RAW, imported to Lightroom, had some level adjustments done and then exported back as JPEGs. No special processing has been done to improve their sharpness.
1. Ganges River, Uttarkashi : f5, 1/250s, ISO 250, Handheld.
2. Siror Bridge, Uttarkashi : f14, 3.2s, ISO 100, Camera placed on a roof.
The image was slightly processed in Lightroom (balanced levels and adjusted white balance).
3. Temple of Heaven, Beijing : f9, 20s, ISO 50, Tripod
4.Hong Kong Harbor : f8, 1/500s, ISO 400, Handheld.
5. Ladakh Festival : f11, 1/640s, ISO 500, Handheld
6. Thujke, Ladakh : f11, 1/125s, ISO 320, Handheld
7. Netala Village, Uttarkashi : f6.3, 1/320s, ISO 200, Handheld
8. Hong Kong : f2, 1/160s, ISO 2000, Handheld (near wide-open)
There is a bit of noise here (its ISO 2000 afterall) but once you look past it, you can see the edge to edge detail captured by this lens at f2.