The 50mm focal-length lens is a true photographic icon and an essential piece of kit for any photographeru2019s kit bag, but there are quite a few to choose from. Richard Sibley and Andrew Sydenham test 12 such optics to assess their particular qualities

Specifications: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4

RRP: N/A
Street price: Around £600-£620
Filter diameter:
58mm
Lens elements:
7
Groups:
6
Diaphragm blades:
9
Aperture:
f/1.4-16
Minimum focus:
45cm
Length:
69/71mm
Diameter:
66/71mm
Weight:
330-380g
Lens mount:
Canon EF, Nikon F

Chart analysis

Tested on a Nikon D600

The resolution detail of the Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 is something of an oddity in this lens round-up. It clearly shows that the lens is very poor when wide open, and is actually sharper when shooting at f/11 rather than 2 stops down at f/2.8.

Conversely, it is the best lens when used at its maximum potential, and when paired with the Nikon D600 the results are excellent.

However, this lens does suffer from curvilinear distortion, and vignetting causes the edges of the image to be almost -0.6EV darker than at the centre of the frame.

Score: 4 out of 5

  1. 1. 50mm lens test - Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Specificiations: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  5. 5. Specififications: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  6. 6. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
  7. 7. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  8. 8. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM
  9. 9. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
  10. 10. Specificiations: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
  11. 11. Specifications: Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG
  12. 12. Specifications: Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM
  13. 13. Specifications: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
  14. 14. Specifications: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4
  15. 15. Specifications: Zeiss Makro-planar T* 50mm f/2
  16. 16. Our verdict
Page 14 of 16 - Show Full List