A quintessential wide-aperture 50mm “normal” lens, the new ZEISS® Planar F1.4 offers high resolution, high-contrast and overall exceptional performance
Sony today introduced a new full-frame lens for their E-mount camera system, the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA (model SEL50F14Z). (Press release 2pm UK time)
“This 50mm prime lens features a large F1.4 maximum aperture that offers impressive contrast and outstanding resolution that are hallmarks of the ZEISS® brand. It produces these consistently strong qualities throughout the entirety of the frame – from centre to corner – and at all aperture settings, even while shooting wide open at F1.4. The cutting edge optical structure includes high-precision AA (Advanced Aspherical) and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce spherical and chromatic aberration, as well as a ZEISS® T* Coating that minimises flare and ghosting, creating the classic ZEISS® clarity. Additionally, its Planar design ensures minimal distortion.
The large f/1.4 maximum aperture of the FE 50mm F1.4ZA lens provides a level of brightness and speed that are advantageous for dimly lit indoor shots, night scenes, and portraits, while its 11-blade circular aperture allows for stunning ‘bokeh’, or background defocus, in images. The lens also features an aperture ring with de-click option, an AF/MF switch, and a dust and moisture resistant design[i], further increasing its functionality.”
(PR blurb slightly edited but leaving in all the garbage, Registered Trade Mark symbols and stuff including the gratuitous capitalisation of Zeiss)
Editor’s comments: AA elements have no orange-peel microstructure, and thus reduce the granular appearance of bokeh circles created by point sources out of focus – they resemble traditionally ground and polished elements, even though they are moulded aspherical. Those who say ‘I love this lens in the A-mount version’ or Canon or Nikon or Contax are misguided, as although this is a Planar, it’s not the same 50mm f/1.4 Planar in any way as a traditional design.
The new lens is also equipped with a ring drive SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) system, which allows it to efficiently lock focus with speed, precision and in near silence, making it particularly useful for shooting movies.
Pricing and Availability
The new FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens will ship this July and will be available across Europe for approximately €1,800 (this price given by Sony). US price from B&H for pre-order is $1498 which is considerably less, possibly because Europe has VAT tax generally between 20% and 25%.
Although the design is dust and moisture resistant, absolute protection from dust and moisture is not guaranteed.