Weighing in at 778 g (27.44 oz) with a filter thread of 72mm (same as the FE70-200F4 and FE1635F4 zooms) this lens will definitely appeal to the lovers of Bokeh – Its rounded 11-blade diaphragm follows in the footsteps of the FE85F14GM. It is just over 2/3 stop brighter than the 9 blade FE55F18ZA that weighs in at 221 g (9.9 oz) and has a 49mm filter thread (same as the FE35F28ZA). The new Planar 1.4 offers a ‘clickless’ option when adjusting aperture (good for videographers) and will be quieter in operation compared to the 85 1.4 GM. Time will tell whether the optical performance of the FE50F14ZA will exceed that of the impressive FE55F18ZA which is second only to the FE90M28G in sharpness (as measured by DxO). The lens costs 50% more than the FE55 so the extra 2/3 stop aperture an superior Bokeh comes at a little extra cost in terms of weight and finances required to purchase this lens.
NEWS UPDATE (July 31 2016): I had the opportunity to use a pre-production version of the FE 50 F/1.4 ZA for two portrait shoots. The lens does not disappoint as it renders sharp images when using the maximum aperture of f/1.4. I have posted Images(predominantly from the 2nd portrait shoot) to a Flickr Album. The 4K images will appear sharper than the ultra ultra HD images that follow – these are best downloaded and viewed in an image-editing app such as Photoshop to assess the sharpness of this lens.
Product Overview of the 1.4/50
- Based on the Zeiss Planar optical concept, this lens works with a 12-element in 9-group design that helps to reduce spherical aberration and distortion for a flat image plane.
- A normal-length prime designed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras, this 50mm f/1.4 is also compatible with APS-C models where it will provide a 75mm equivalent focal length.
- Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture benefits working in difficult lighting conditions and also offers a wealth of control over focus position when using shallow depth of field techniques.
- Zeiss T* anti-reflective coatings have been applied to each lens surface to help minimize reflections in order to provide greater image clarity, contrast, and color fidelity.
- One AA and one aspherical element are incorporated into the optical design for effective control over astigmatism, field curvature, coma, and other spherical aberrations.
- One extra-low dispersion element is featured in the lens design to help reduce chromatic aberrations and color fringing for improved clarity and color neutrality.
- A ring drive SSM system and internal focus mechanism provides quick, quiet, and precise autofocus performance and also contributes to more natural, intuitive manual focus control.
- Manual aperture ring can be de-clicked for smooth, silent aperture switching to benefit video applications.
- Rounded 11-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality when employing selective focus techniques.
- Dust- and moisture-sealed design better permits working in inclement conditions and rubberized control rings benefit handling in colder temperatures.