Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The best lens ever made!

Many photographers have a lens that they love more than any other. They will defend that it produces the highest quality images you've ever seen and will despise any negative criticism, finding it biased and incompetent. When we are in love, emotions get in the way of reason...
I also have my own special lens: the Zeiss Planar 85mm f/1.4. I bought it used, some 16 years ago, as soon as I got my Contax film SLR. It was already a well known classic in those days. Actually, Zeiss is still producing it, in a redesigned (and high priced) version, for Canon, Nikon and Pentax mounts (see link here). That's a heavy and bulky lens, but I loved the images it produced and it quickly became the lens I used the most. I liked the 85mm focal length and the image quality was exceptional, at least to my eyes (yes, I was in love).

Last year, when I discovered that some Zeiss-Contax lenses could be converted to Pentax K mount, I was disappointed to learn that the Planar 85/1.4 was not on the list, due to some detail in the bayonet geometry. So the lens stayed in the drawer and I bought a used Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8 for my K10D. The Sonnar is a good lens - read my related post here - but not as "mythic" as the Planar.

But now, thanks to the excellent work of Leitax, my dream came true: my Planar 85 has been converted to M42 screw bayonet, which can be used on the K mount via an adapter. I couldn't be happier. Actually, I could... On an APS-C sensor the 85mm focal length becomes 128mm, which is a tad too long for my taste. For this reason, I have for the first time regretted that Pentax does not have a camera with a (gasp) full frame sensor!

OK, let's forget I wrote that last sentence and move on. It is my great pleasure to present, for the first time on this blog, the exceptional (drum roll please) Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4:

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 85/1.4

OK, OK, probably you're wondering "So, what's the big deal?..."
And I'll say: "Look at the sharpness, the bokeh, the colors!!!"
Oh well, I'll surelly be posting more photos from this lens and, hopefully, some of you will understand why I love it so...


Ralph G. said...

Talking of Pentax, have you ever compared the A* 1.4/85 with the T* ? I guess you might be in for a divorce unless you shot at 1.4 often ;-)

Frank M. said...

No, I've never tried the Pentax FA* 85/1.4. Word has it that it is also a remarkable lens.