Back to 50mm ! Even though....

Started Apr 7, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Dodi73 Senior Member • Posts: 2,056
Back to 50mm ! Even though....

My friends

during these years I had the opportunity to change many bodies and lenses, trying also some of the very best (and expensive) equipment out there in 35mm format, bar none. For most of the time I worked on the three-lens combo: 28-50-100 thus also my primes and zooms were accordingly set.

At the time, 50 was the "do it all" lens, although having D700 since 2009, I started to use as well the 28 in a cropped way, thus switching the two lenses quite often. By the time I had also the excellent (iq and portability wise) CV 40/2 but unfortunately its focal lenght (despite almost identical to the 28 crop > 42mm fov) always remained too wide for some, too narrow for other things, thus I sold it. What a pity, really.

In the past two year, I moved - partly for a healthy change, partly for some LL, to the 25-35-100 and in this both Zeiss lenses both the Tamron 24-70 I got with the D600 served me well. However, I still felt the need for a fast prime between 35 and 100. While waiting for a 75/2 MP from Zeiss ( lol ) I had the opportunity to get first a ZF2 1.4/50 at the end of January. Unfortunately, despite the excellent build, I never felt confident with such a lens because my copy had some focus shift (not field curvature) so that I was never sure of what I was aiming at. It was really frustrating.

By chance, a few after that, another opportunity came shortly. I decided to sell the first 50 with other mf stuff I had and I got an excellent trade for the 50/2 MP. Well, I couldn't be happier.

The new lens not only was spot-on focus, very flat field (as expected from a macro) but immediately became clear that it could compete head to head for the 2nd place of overall best lens I had ever had. I know I look like a fancy fanboy when saying that, however aside sheer sharpness (which is however on a very high level) I really like the different rendering such lenses have with my son and the whole world around me.

Back to the 50mm, though. I want to explain why I wrote "Even though" in the title, because it might sound like something "bad", while it's not at all. I just meant to underline how by the time I changed my perspective of using the 50mm. Now, loving more and more wider lenses, the 50 has become kind of short tele, especially when used in crop mode (and the D600 allows you to have a very detailed crop).

Something that I noted immediately when reworking images for what I call "brush-up" is that it was the only lens I had to move the "contrast" bar to the "minus" side. It has plenty of contrast, even more than the 100, probably. However, actually my own ranking for what I own would be:

1) 100/2 > simply the best, period. Along with this review let me provide you a few images

wide open, 1100 iso, 1/350s

Another one, f/4 - 1/350s

2) head to head 50/2 and 25/2, different lenses, different purposes, I know, yet they are equally good in dim light (and also stopped down) to create detailed and colorful images, rich in micro-contrast and textures.

50 MP - 1/160s - f/2- 3200 iso

25/2 - f/7.1 - 1/60s

3) Last but not least is the 35. Compared to the other two it has the same iq, however on the distance it looks strangely easier to focus with the 25 than with the 35 so far. Besides, in interiors it's more likely I use the 25 for its superior versatility and fov, while the 35 requires a little more space to give its best. However, despite the theoretical 1:5 max reproduction ratio, I think the 35 focuses very close.

35/2 - f/4 - 1/80s

-- hide signature --

All the best from northern Italy, Dino.
I'm on the NIK side of photography.

Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50mm F2
Macro prime lens • Canon EF, Pentax KAF, Nikon F (FX)
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