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Quick Hands on: Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon

by G Servo on 11/08/2011

While Chris was getting his hands on, at At Photo Plus Expo 2011, with the Zeiss 25mm f2 for Canon EF I was doing something I tried to avoid, playing with the Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF.2, lest I be tempted to whip out the credit card. I have played with a few macro lenses, but this is a totally different beast. In the quick moments I had with this lens, I was thoroughly impressed. This lens is a seductress.

Technical Specifications

From the Zeiss web site

Focal length 100 mm
Aperture range f/2.0 – f/22
Focusing range 0.44 m – infinity
Number of elements/groups 9/8
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert. 25°/21°/14°
Coverage at close range 72 x 48 mm
Image ratio at close range 1 : 2
Filter thread M 67 x 0.75
Dimensions (with caps) ø 76 mm, length 113-115 mm
Weight 660-680 g
Camera mounts EF Mount (ZE)
F Mount (ZF.2)

Ergonomics

Some things you never really understand until you hold them. The Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF.2 is one of them. There is a hearty weight to this lens and it felt great in the hand. The focus ring had a versatile size for different hand sizes and just such a smooth turn to it. Additionally the depth of field scale was very clear and easily to see.

Focusing

I found manually focusing with this lens (including in the macro range) to be an absolute joy. This was something I was worried about because manually focusing can be tough, but the clarity of the image assured me that this is rather easy. The design of the focusing ring enabled you to adjust minutely enough that if I were really still I could get the finest of details. This lens allows for the focus to be very selective with a fantastic depth of field.

Build Quality

This lens felt like it could take on a tank and win. The Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF.2 is built from metal and you can feel it in the construction. It’s a distinctive feeling that it rare amongst modern lenses.

Image Quality (Nikon D90)

For the most part, this lens renders colors well. The detail this lens brings out is phenomenal. I did not get to take many images but the few I did made me happy. The details were very nice and crisp. The bokeh for this lens is very nice pleasant. There was only one issue I had: and that was purple fringing when zoomed in 100% However, overall this lens is very impressive.

Problems?

The weight of this lens, especially when it concerns macro, will either make you stronger overtime, or make your want to use a tripod. For macro photography you want to be as still as possible. Too much weight for too long can get in the way.

Who is it for

The Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZF.2  is for the serious macro photographer who does not mind manual focus. Still life photographers as well as product photographers will find this lens delightful again for its details.

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