Make no mistake- image quality is this lens’ bread and butter. In a word, it’s perfect. Sharpness is beyond comparison. Shot wide open, subjects pop, especially when centered in the frame. The outer edges of the frame are naturally a bit soft, but I suspect most of us won’t be shooting flat, brick walls that occupy the entirety of the image area, so this isn’t much of a practical problem. Stopping down to F/2.8 and F/4 increases our depth-of-field and allows for nearly flawless rendition of subjects at any distance. And no other lens I’ve used facilitates the practice of “F/8 and be there” more easily. Street photographers, who typically prize depth-of-field in their context-heavy images, will love this lens, especially if shot on a G series camera with the focus switch locked on Auto.
What’s most stunning, and what sets this glass apart from much of the competition, is the way the lens renders color and contrast. And though I hate vagaries and unquantifiable analyses, I can’t avoid them here. There’s just a certain quality and depth to the images this lens makes. Lock it at F/4 and fire away for photos that have gorgeous subject isolation and that infamous Zeiss Pop. It’s there. I hate to admit it, but it’s there.
Zeiss’ famous T* coating helps the six-elements in four-groups design bolster this signature look. It promotes vibrant images, and mitigates flares and ghosting to a near-perfect degree of nonexistence. In normal shooting situations you’ll never notice any flares, ghosts, or even the slightest drop in contrast. Even when shot directly into the sun, image contrast is only incrementally hampered. Chromatic aberration is completely absent. For someone like me, who considers optical aberrations to be the worst offense a lens can make, this thing is flawless.
Vignetting, or light fall-off, is about what we’d expect from a standard lens at F/2. The corners of the frame are slightly darker than the center when shooting wide open. Use this to emphasize your subject, or correct the problem in post-processing with a simple nudge of the slider. Because of the simplicity of the fix (whether you’re shooting film or digital) I’m not sure why we still mention light fall-off in 2017 in any but the most severe cases, but there it is.
The bokeh characteristics of the Planar may be a bit polarizing. It’s a bit harsh, even shot wide open with a far distant background. Stopped down to F/2.8 we see the hexagonal shape produced by its six-bladed diaphragm, and highlight bokeh shows edging that most people would describe as having too much definition. But I prefer this type of bokeh to the overly-blended blur that most people seem to appreciate. The out-of-focus rendering from the Planar gives images character. There’s a depth to it that most lenses fail to produce, and I appreciate that the backgrounds in my images remain somewhat contextual even as they fade dynamically into the distance. But as is always the case with bokeh, this purely subjective characteristic will need to be personally assessed by the shooter.
Product ($599) SN: **4420
Condition: Like New (LN)
Warranty: 2 weeks shop warranty, covering manufactural defects
What You Will Get
- Original Metal Hood GG-2
- Original Front Metal Cap
- Contax 46mm 1A MC Filter
- Original Pouch
- Original Box / Papers
**IMAGES FOR ILLUSTRATION ONLY.**
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Black Market Camera
Peninsula Shopping Centre
(NOT Peninsula Plaza/Next to Excelsior Hotel)
Opening hours: 12.30pm-7.45pm (Mon-Sat) 2pm-6pm (Sun)
Tel: 6336 6349
Next to Funan Mall
Nearest MRT: City Hall MRT