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: Features
The Carl Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 is a manual-focus lens designed for Canon and Nikon camera owners with full-frame or APS-C sensors. A T* accreditation lets us know that the brightness of exposure at any of the apertures will match exactly that of the same aperture on any other T* lens. This point is perhaps more important to videographers than for stills workers.
Zeiss has used ten elements in the construction, grouped into eight separate units, to create a retrofocal Distagon design, and has employed numerous special elements and surfaces to improve image quality. Six elements with aspheric surfaces are used, along with four in a low-dispersion glass that Zeiss calls ‘anomalous partial dispersion’ glass. This devotes itself to reducing the likelihood of colour fringes appearing along high-contrast edges.
Zeiss claims its correction of coma and spherical aberrations will ensure high-resolution capture right across the surface of the sensor. The T* surface coatings are designed to reduce flare and internal reflections so contrast can be maintained at a level that makes the most of the increasing dynamic range of modern imaging sensors – Nikon’s in particular.
The company goes to great lengths to reduce the likelihood of light bouncing around inside the lens, including manually coating the outer edges of each element with black pitch. This is a delicate process that I’ve been lucky to witness with my own eyes.