This Carl Zeiss 500mm F8 T* Has Really Cool Bokeh for Good Reason

When you hear about a lens like a 500mm f8, you usually don’t think of Zeiss. Indeed, Canon created two lenses with similar designs recently. Those lenses are the Canon RF 600mm f11 and Canon RF 800mm f11. They’re what’s called reflex lenses. These are one of these “if you know, you know” types of situations. That should be enough to make any veteran photographer salivate. While we would’ve never guessed Zeiss made one, the Carl Zeiss 500mm f8 T* indeed does exist. This too was a reflex lens. Zeiss and reflex lens together in the same sentence? That’s the cherry on top of the sundae! And there’s currently one in stock through the Rare Camera Store with Blue Moon Camera. Curious as to what a reflex lens is? We’ll explain this and the really cool bokeh effect.

Welcome to the Rare Camera Store: a joint initiative of The Phoblographer and the wonderful folks at Blue Moon Camera. We work to bring you some of the coolest and rarest items for a great price.

According to the listing for $800 at Blue Moon Camera:

“This Carl Zeiss 500mm f8 T* Contax/Yashica Mount Lens (serial number 8118477) is a lightweight and telephoto lens of its focal length.  It also means this lens has a fixed aperture of f8.”

Blue Moon notes that there’s minor scuffing and the lens hood has a dent. But that’s not going to affect the image quality. You can adapt it to basically any mirrorless camera mount you can get your hands on. And I’d really recommend it to anyone who has a camera with built-in image stabilization. Of course, there are also great cameras with the Contax/Yashica mount like the Contax RTS II.

Again, what makes the Carl Zeiss 500mm f8 T* so tasty is the design. It’s very compact. There’s also this little circle in the middle of the lens on the front element. This helps give off a donut-shaped bokeh effect. So your bokeh balls will have this natural halo effect similar to the feeling you get when you consume angel cake. Blue Moon Camera has these lens samples to share.

Years ago, we tested the Tokina 300mm f6.3 Reflex lens for Micro Four Thirds. In that post, you can find color photos that really emphasize the donut effect. Today, there are curmudgeons that would sit there and hate on it from behind their computer screen. But seriously, it’s a beautiful effect. Companies are sitting there trying to engineer out things like onion bokeh. They say it’s distracting and folks have randomly, stupidly, complained about onion bokeh for years. But the donut effect takes that ideal and slaps it in the face. The superior donut has bokeh that will hug you and give you a warm kiss. Meanwhile, the onions will make you cry; and maybe that’s why Sony worked so hard to eliminate it! Of course, I’m kidding. But the donut bokeh is awesome.

For only $800, you can mount this lens on something like a Fujifilm XT4 or XS1 and get a 1200mm f12 equivalent lens. Plus you’ll get the donut bokeh, image stabilization, and Fujifilm’s film simulations. This would look incredible with the Classic Chrome film effect. Hop on over to Blue Moon Camera and check out this awesome listing.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.