Sony SAL-50F14Z Carl Zeiss Planar T 50mm F1.4 ZA Fixed Lens
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|Compatible Mountings||Minolta Alpha|
|Maximum Focal Length||50 Millimeters|
|Minimum Focal Length||50 Millimeters|
About this item
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- A new optical design for top-end image quality
- Quiet and smooth AF operation thanks to SSM Dust and drip resistant design High-grade metal body Superior Large-Aperture Performance
- Dust and drip resistant design
- High-grade metal body
- Superior Large-Aperture Performance
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This ItemSony SAL-50F14Z Carl Zeiss Planar T 50mm F1.4 ZA Fixed Lens
|compatible mountings||Minolta Alpha||Sony E (NEX)||Sony E||Sony E||-||Sony FE|
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Adorama||Amazon.com||Amazon Global Store UK||Amazon.com||Focus Camera LLC|
|Compatible Camera Mount||Minolta Alpha||Sony FE||Sony E||—||Sony E||Sony FE|
|Focus Type||Ultrasonic||Autofocus||Stepper motor||Manual Focus||Auto/Manual||Autofocus|
|Item Dimensions||2.83 x 3.19 x 3.19 inches||7.64 x 4.65 x 4.72 inches||2.8 x 2.52 x 2.52 inches||4.25 x 3.29 x 3.29 inches||8.3 x 5 x 5.5 inches||2.7 x 2.34 x 2.7 inches|
|Item Weight||1.15 lbs||2.41 lbs||0.62 lbs||1.72 lbs||1.81 lbs||6.56 ounces|
|Lens Type||Standard||Standard||Standard||Sony E-Mount||Standard||Standard|
|Maximum Focal Length||50 millimeters||50||55 millimeters||50||85 millimeters||50 millimeters|
|Minimum Focal Length||50 millimeters||50||55 millimeters||50||85 millimeters||50 millimeters|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||72 millimeters||—||49 millimeters||72 millimeters||67 millimeters||49 millimeters|
Sony introduces the long-awaited, Carl Zeiss full-frame, large-aperture, single-focal-length lens with an all new optical design that sets new standards in resolving power and contrast.
From the Manufacturer
Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM Prime Lens
With a "normal" 50 mm focal length on 35 mm full-frame cameras, this is an unbeatable choice for photographers who like to work with a single prime lens, and a perfect starting point for a superb Zeiss lens collection. A refined Zeiss Planar optical configuration with two aspherical elements delivers superb sharpness and contrast throughout the image at all apertures. A 9-bladed circular aperture can produce beautiful bokeh as well.
When changing your aperture to defocus the background, the light sources appear blurred. This ‘bokeh’ effect of the blurred background can be enhanced with circular aperture blades used in this lens. Conventional aperture blades have flat sides creating unappealing polygonal shaped defocussed points of light. α lenses overcome this problem through a unique design that keeps the aperture almost perfectly circular from its wide-open setting to when it is closed by 2 stops. Smoother, more natural defocusing can be obtained as a result.
Aspherical lens elements
Aspherical lens design dramatically reduces spherical aberration while also reducing lens size and weight. Spherical aberration is a slight misalignment of the light rays projected on the image plane. This is caused by differences in refraction at different points on conventional spherical lenses which degrade image quality in large-aperture lenses. Specially shaped “aspherical” elements near the diaphragm restore alignment of light rays at the image plane, maintaining high sharpness and contrast even at maximum aperture and can also be used at other points in the optical path to reduce distortion. Well-designed aspherical elements can reduce the total number of elements required in the lens, thus reducing overall size and weight. Advanced Aspherical (AA) elements are an evolved variant, featuring an extremely high thickness ratio between the center and periphery. AA elements are exceedingly difficult to produce, relying on the most advanced molding technology to consistently and precisely achieve the required shape and surface accuracy, resulting in significantly improved image accuracy and quality.
Carl Zeiss T* (T-star) coating
Coated optics were pioneered by Carl Zeiss - and this superb lens features the Carl Zeiss T* (T-Star) coating that virtually eliminates lens flare, internal reflection and light scattering that can otherwise occur at glass-to-air surfaces. The T* coating contributes to outstanding image quality, with high contrast and uniformly excellent resolution right out to the image edges. Not simply applied to any lens - the T* symbol only appears on multi-element lenses in which the required performance has been achieved throughout the entire optical path, therefore guaranteeing the highest quality.
Focus hold button
Once you’ve adjusted focus to where you want it, pressing this button on the lens barrel will keep the lens locked to that focusing distance. The preview function can also be assigned to this button through the camera’s custom settings.
SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor)
SSM is a piezoelectric motor that contributes to smooth and silent AF operation. The motor produces high torque at slow rotation, and provides immediate start and stop responses. It is also extremely quiet, which helps keep autofocusing silent. Lenses that feature SSM also include a position-sensitive detector to directly detect the amount of lens rotation, a factor that improves AF precision overall.
Rear focusing elements
Only the rear groups of the optical system move to focus the lens, which allows for speedy AF operation and a shorter minimum focusing distance. Since the front of the lens does not rotate, operability is improved when shooting with a polarizing filter attached.
2013 Sony Electronics, Inc.
All rights reserved. Sony, the Sony logo, Alpha, “α” and Super SteadyShot are trademarks of Sony. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
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I have no complaints about this lens.
* Is it better than the good old Sony/Minolta 50/1.4? Yes!
- The new CZ lens is just sharp at any F number, while I find the old Sony/Minolta 50/1.4 sharp at f/2 and smaller. The old Sony/Minolta 50/1.4 is not very sharp wide open. Some wouldn't care because they don't use f/1.4, but then why would you buy the f/1.4 lens (especially when you can get cheaper Minolta 50/1.7 for FF or 50/1.8 for cropped body)?
- Overall the image is much more appealing with the new CZ - better bokeh, better colors. The images have the 'CZ look' that I like with the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 (it actually looks more like the 135/1.8 than the 85/1.4). I had a session with many photos of the same subject with different lenses, and looking at the photos later on the computer I could immediately tell when I switched to the CZ 50/1.4 even without looking at the EXIF.
- The AF of the new CZ is amazingly fast, even at low light.
- It is weather sealed, so can be used in snow/light rain.
* Why would someone prefer the old version?
- The old version is much smaller, giving a very compact setup.
- The old version is at least 3 time cheaper (and if you buy used Minolta 50/1.4, you can even find it at 5-6 times cheaper), while still good performer.
* Is it worth the money?
That is a personal call. If you are low in money, I think you can do well with the old version (or the Sigma 50/1.4) and save the money for other things. For me, as someone who uses f/1.4 often and lives in a place with rain and snow, I am happy I got it and I am going to keep it.
EDIT 1: October, 11 2013:
Still love the lens... :)
I have tons of indoors available light photos of my baby, some real studio portrait and many outdoors street photos (and also some landscapes...). The lens preforms well in all of them.
I especially like the indoors available light photos, when I use the main advantage of the lens - very sharp wide open and nice isolation of the subject from the background. The lens definitely has the pop-up effects that makes the subjects pop up and give almost 3D look to the picture.
** I will update this review as I get more and more experience with that lens. I will try to challenge it and see the performance under extreme conditions.
I never feel left wanting with Zeiss optics. The cool color rendition seems most natural and has an erie real life quality to it. Bokeh is pleasing to say the least. It cuts like a precisionary knife gradually working it's way toward the area in focus. The 50mm Sony was harsh IMO and this remedies the issue while increasing the sharpness wide open.
Build quality? Its a damn tank. Feels like a wad of cash in your hands. However, cheap bastards put a plastic hood in the kit. My opinion is that the optic is so far recessed in the frame of the lens so you don't need it. Maybe Zeiss felt the same way and skimped out here figuring we'd get that. Whatever, its a great lens. In fact SAR covered it on the new A7R with adaptor and said it rivaled medium format quality with that camera combo. What more do you need? Did I mention the motor is rediculuosly silent. Stop thinking about the stupid high cost and just buy it like I did. Its worth it for the grin it'll put on your face alone.
Quick Update- 6/30/2014:
I've been using this lens a lot more with summer kicking in. What a pleasure, the contrast on this thing is just astounding. Couple this with some of the most pleasing defocus I've ever seen and it's just marvelous. I've been doing some outdoor flash portrait work and when the sun starts going down the colors really come alive. I have multiple systems and almost all high end primes- this one is quickly making my favorite list.
Another update- 10/27/2014
I don't even own a Sony full frame any more and yet I continue to use this lens. I moved over to a smaller system for the time being, but now that I've experienced a few other brands I've noticed a few differences. This lens does something I can't quite get with others- it's the contrast and overall bokeh rendition. No doubt, it's smoother than most other lenses I've owed. I also can't replicate the contrast just by jacking it up in lightroom. I assume it's a Zeiss thing, but regardless it keeps me coming back to it.
For those wondering about the Sigma Art 50mm just announced. Yes, it is good but take a closer look. It uses 13 elements in 8 groups to achieve it's sharpness- sharpness wide open isn't everything. More groups mean more corrections where made. The trade off here is less pleasing bokeh and lack of contrast. Simply put, I find the Sigma a stellar performer, but sterile outside of critical sharpness. This glass uses two aspherical high precision elements to achieve a balanced approach. Look very carefully before determining if your willing to get a bit more sharpness from the sigma while sacrificing other features. Sharpness is the new ISO right now- to overhyped. This lens is razor sharp without diminishing the other quality features of good IQ.
I thought I'd add another update. I now have been using the 55mm 1.8 along side the 50mm 1.4. A few observations for those interested. The 55 1.8 is very sharp wide open and displays- at least to my eyes- no chroma. Of course, the 50mm 1.4 does- but that is to be expected. What you gain for an extra .4 is minimal. However, the bokeh renders slightly differently. It depends on whether you prefer the planar or bigon design. Both are metal- yes. But the 50mm 1.4 is most certainly more heavy duty. It has a bit of a more cold feel to the touch. The 55mm 1.8- I'd swear it was plastic if someone didn't tell me it was metal. However, they are similar in build quality so take from that what you will. The 50mm has a mechanical linkage for focusing while the 55 is fly by wire. I prefer the mechanical but the 55 is most certainly smoother. I don't like fly by wire- so IMO this comes down to opinion. Sharpness? I can see any real difference at similar aperatures between the two. The 50mm 1.4 is stupid sharp and the 55 does at times have cats eye bokeh. Both are gems, but I would suggest if you shoot FE- get the FE lens. If you have this one your missing nothing. I prefer it's rendering, but that of course....much like anything in photography...is subjective.