Damien Demolder finds out whether the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 is worth its near-four-figure price tag
Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 review: Introduction
If you’re happy with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, standard lenses for full-frame cameras are usually reasonably priced, of good quality and compact enough to avoid adding weight or bulk to your camera set-up. Recently, however, there has been a growing trend for faster standard primes that carry a premium in price, weight and size.
This Zeiss Milvus 50mm is one such lens – but it demands that premium and more. It’s a monster of a lens, with a vast forward element, a bulbous barrel and a weight that suggests it’s smuggling lead. For most of us these characteristics will be placed firmly on the negative side of the balance sheet, so a lens like this needs to offer something very special just to even out the scales, let alone put the unit in a positive light.
This 50mm is part of a new range of lenses from Zeiss. All manual focus and with a striking family resemblance, the range is designed for Nikon and Canon users, and they provide a covering circle extensive enough for full-frame sensors. While most of the Milvus family has been re-clothed and adapted from the previously existing Classic ZE/ZF.2 range, this 50mm f/1.4 and an 85mm f/1.4 are completely new optical designs. And the design of the 50mm f/1.4 needs to be pretty spectacular to make this lens worth the money.