Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM on Sony NEX - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Sony Alpha/NEX (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2010


Welcome to the start of our quite extensive "Vintage Lens" test series based on the Sony NEX-5. Every once in a while we're having a look at one of the more unusual camera-lens combinations and this time it's about the Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZM - a Leica M-mount lens adapted via a Metabones Leica M to Sony NEX adapter.

Such adapted lenses can only be used with manual focusing and "working aperture" - there's no data coupling whatsoever here. However, due to the lack of fast prime lenses it's surely one of the more interesting fall-back solutions for the NEX-system. The field-of-view is equivalent to about 75mm in and in terms of depth-of-field it behaves like a f/2.8 lens in this scope - a rather obvious solution for portrait photography for instance. At around 650EUR the Zeiss lens isn't exactly a budget lens but compared to native Leica M lenses it is actually very affordable.

I reckon you'll agree that the Zeiss is a beauty of a lens. It's a full-metal construction build to the highest standards - except for the lens cap which is rather crappy. The focus ring operates as smooth as silk (dampened). The aperture is set in 1/3EV steps at the front of the lens. Any change of the aperture is applied immediately so you can check the effect on the depth-of-field on your screen (without the darkening like when stopping down a DSLR with a conventional optical viewfinder). The lens extends a bit when focusing towards closer focus distances. The front element does not rotate.

Manual focusing may sound like a major annoyance but it is not that bad actually. On Sony NEX cameras you can easily switch to a magnified focus view so accurate manual focusing is really simple ... unless you try to track a moving object of course. We recommend this camera-lens combination for static scenes only.

Equiv. focal length75 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/3 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 4 groups
Number of aperture blades8
min. focus distance0.7 m (max. magnification ratio 1:12)
Dimensions52 x 68 mm
Weight230 g
Filter size43 mm (non-rotating)
Other features-

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