Hi good people,
The Zeiss Fanboy strikes again.
Zeiss lens made for the Leica M-mount will have a ZM behind its long name.. And lenses were made with different lens elements and configuration. Usually they name their lenses according to the configuration like “Planar” or “Sonnar” or “Biogon” etc. SO anyways, today I will talk the Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 ZM. And I really love it.
Before I decided I wanted this lens, I got myself Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM but I could never get back the same vibe from the Planar lens with my previous system. I read lots of reviews for 50mm lenses and found limited information about the C-Sonnar 1.5/50. But the images created using it was overflowing with character. I caught on with the retro film photography look and this lens delivers that.
Firstly, the build quality is very good as expected with all Zeiss lenses, all parts were made with precision, no loose shaky parts found. The body is made of all metal construction and it feels very sturdy in my palms, even though its super small compared to DSLR lenses. Its slightly shorter than my previous Planar 2/50 ZM but a little broader in diameter. In my opinion, I’d rather my lenses were all short and fat. Because if its slim but long, it will become an odd shape when mounted on a camera, that would affect its portability when I stuff them in my bag. Maybe its because I like to stuff them in sideways instead of facing down, if you all know what I mean.
The lens was super compact weighing at about 250g. We live in an age where big cameras equates pro-photog(rapher), so the modern lenses were all big as hell. Not all big things are good is what I’ve learnt over the years. Ignore what your natural instincts say. Large natural occuring appendages can cause excessive pain as well, just some random knowledge I read online.
Do not let the diminutive size fool you, because it delivers amazing pictures full of old school film photo vibes. At f1.5 to about 2.8, your subject will take on an other worldly glow that’s actually the lens not being able to correct the blown out highlights. And after f2.8, at least in my copy of the lens, the focus would shift. Not a big problem to me. Although this lens has its flaws, I find its flaws appealing. I read online about people cracking their head between Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 and Zeiss Planar 2/50 lenses. Most people say to get the Planar one because its sharper, and nothing beats an interesting scene with a sharp lens, instead of playing with differential focus with the slightly larger aperture on the Sonnar. From the above sentence, they meant that the Planar design is sharper, and I can attest to that because I used to have the Planar too. But I ditched it for the Sonnar design. I am intrigued with the unpredictability and flawed old school film photography, and the Sonnar presented me with an option to replicate the same flaws of film photography physically instead of using some fancy software to create that unique film look. Anyways, after f4, the lens will become tack sharp like most other boring lenses.
The bokeh was buttery smooth IMO and I really can’t ask for more.
This lens was always on my Sony, almost like its welded together even though there was a time when I have up to 7 lenses. I only use the Sonnar for everything. But alas, I got myself the 2 Batis series and they were so much better than the Sonnar in everything except for the size and ‘glow’ that I had to part with it when I’m doing work. When I’m not working, I’ll bring The Sonnar out with either my Sony or the film Voigtlander R3M body. The lens doesn’t come with a pouch and lens hood, and to make the glow less distracting at larger apertures, I would recommend getting a hood.
In conclusion, I think you either love or hate this lens, depending on what you want in your life… I mean photographic style. I like those muted, low contrast, slightly faded style because I like to act like a hispter, if only I actually look like one.. But I’m not, unfortunately. Anyways I thought of putting together a list of Pros and Cons about this lens. But then I realised I will probably put all the point under both pro and con, because its very subjective, my pro is a con to another and vice versa.
So without further ado, I’m gonna say bye.