View Full Version : Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 lens (Pentax K10d DSLR)

15-03-2011, 9:30pm
As a newbie to the forums and amateur DSLR photographer I am wondering whether the Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 lens is the most suitable, reasonably priced manual focus standard lens for a Pentax K10D. I am looking for optimum image quality in a good quality lens.:crossed:

15-03-2011, 11:04pm
Which Carl Zeiss 50/1.4? Contax or the current Zeiss line?


16-03-2011, 6:33am
HI JJ - Current Zeiss line.

16-03-2011, 9:10am
I haven't owned the current Zesis myself so I'm a little reluctant to parrot stuff I've read on the net but the consensus seems to be that it's perfomance is identical to that of the Contax 50/1.4. I have 2 of the Contax 50/1.4, both AE and MM. They are extremely good lenses and I think the MM has become my favourite fast 50 but I do quite like it's funky wide open bokeh, which one could describe as an aquired taste. It doesn't have the smoothest wide open bokeh but then almost all fast 50/s have funky bokeh at 1.4 and are quite a bit smoother at f2 or so. I think (but I need to test this for myself) that the Contax 50/1.4 has a mild amount of focus shift which isn't a problem but is worth knowing about (same for the Yashica ML 50/1.4).

If you do consider an older lens, like the Contax, then conisder the following too:

The Olympus 50/1.4 is cheaper and almost as good as the Contax, there really isn't much in it, but the Contax is slightly sharper wide open. The Olympus colours are more subtle, less saturated. Flare is a little worse on the Olympus.

The Yashica ML 50/1.4 is also nice and cheaper again.

The fact of the matter is that there really isn't a huge difference (optically) between lenses in this focal length but it depends on what you are looking for as there certainly are differences.

Here's some hard core pixel peeping, ie 100% crops from a 5d2.

Here's a $15 dollar lens at F8, Yashica ML 50/2.0

Here's a $500 dollar lens at F8, Leica R 50/2 E55 (latest)

Is the $15 lens sharper? Maybe. But it's quite poor wide open and for flare control, it's also flimsy.


16-03-2011, 7:45pm
Thanks JJ,
I have the kit lens; Sigma 18-50mm f3.5-5.6 - very basic. Need education in lens choice and function. Will learn by trial and tribulation. Thanks again for your wisdom and advice.

19-03-2011, 9:10pm
The CZ Planar 50 f1.4 is a lovely lens and well worth grabbing. Another option and a tad cheaper is the Voigtlander Nokton 58 f1.4, best price being the local importer Mainline. I have both lenses and no complaints about either lens. I did have the FA 50 f1.4 which I sold as it did precious little for me, competent glass but kind of as exciting as cold porridge.

30-03-2011, 5:10pm
Here's a Supertak M42 F1.4 @ 1.4 & 750


Here it is again @ 2.8 & 90


They were taken with tripod & mirror up on a K10D from about the minimum focusing length. I also have a split screen; very helpful for manual lenses.

Whenever it's appropriate to use this focal length & it's at hand, I use this lens.

At 1.4 you can see that the depth of field is severely limited at that distance.

I see that I'm set at "contact me before editing my 'photos." Don't worry about it, zoom away.

31-03-2011, 6:53pm
Hi jibbonpoint,

I have so much to learn about the capabilities of my camera as an amateur; but with the new lens, which I might add arrives tomorrow, look out !:) Must admit I prefer the shot @ @ 2.8 & 90, I think it is the contrast.

Cheers, and thanks again

03-05-2011, 1:01am
Another lens you should keep an eye out for is the Pentax K or A series 50mm f/1.2 which is a rather unique high-performance lens, on the K10D with it's weaker AA filter the lens is sharp even at f/1.2 - but these lenses always carry a premium price, the 50mm f/1.2 is so good people are reluctant to let them go the K version typically sells for less than the A series lens. Plus, manually focusing an f/1.2 lens on a modern DSLR is quite a challenge without manual focusing aids like custom focusing screens.

The carl zeiss isn't that sharp in the corners from my experience, the voigtlander nokton 58mm f/1.4 is superior optically (which is funny because they are both made by cosina) even on full frame the differences between the Zeiss planar and the Nokton are quite stark. IMO there isn't much going for the zeiss that you can't already get from any of the other 50mm f/1.4 primes from pentax, but at any rate they aren't making any more Zeiss lenses for K mount - same goes for the voigtlander.

04-05-2011, 12:52pm
I take it the CZ has now turned up?
Your opinion?

JM Tran
04-05-2011, 2:01pm
As an alternative, have you had a look at the Pentax 31mm Limited lens? Its regarded by Luminous Landscape as one of the top 3 best ever prime lens made for IQ, and highly coveted by those who know about it too. It outperforms all aforementioned lenses here, comes with AF albeit at a price - over 1k.

06-05-2011, 9:06pm
"As an alternative, have you had a look at the Pentax 31mm Limited lens? Its regarded by Luminous Landscape as one of the top 3 best ever prime lens made for IQ, and highly coveted by those who know about it too"

I wouldn't recommend the FA31mm f/1.8 AL Limited to just anyone, it can be hard to get the most out of the FA31 and there are few lenses in the pentax lens line up that can match it - though the K and A series 50mm f/1.2 lenses can, and they cost considerably less.