Many of Zeiss’s classic prime lenses from the Contax SLR era are being revived and reworked to meet the image quality demands of today’s ultra-high resolution D-SLRs.

When Kyocera pulled the plug on Contax back in 2005, Zeiss was left with an orphaned 35mm SLR lens system, but it was much too good to simply let it disappear. Among the gems were the Distagon 35mm f1.4, Planar 85mm f1.4 and PC-Distagon 35mm f2.8 shift lens. Yet with the SLR world obsessed by autofocusing and ever more exotic zooms, was there still a place for manual-focus primes regardless of how beautifully made they might be?

For a while the answer appeared to be “no”. But then things began to actually change. D-SLRs with 35mm-sized sensors appeared, followed by a renewed interest
in fast primes and the inherent image quality advantages of simpler optical designs.

Most recently, the next generation of 35mm format D-SLRs with ultra-high resolutions – led by Nikon’s D800/D800E – has arrived, focusing attention (no pun intended) on optical resolution and performance like never before.

In the meantime, Zeiss had been quietly reviving some of its iconic T* 35mm format lenses – adapting and upgrading them to meet the specific demands of digital capture, revising the ergonomics and re-issuing them with Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Subsequently, the stars have aligned and Zeiss’s high-end SLR optics are suddenly in high demand as less well made glassware is found wanting in front of 36.8 million pixels.

Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f2.0 $2530

Thank-you for looking up our  Zeiss ZE/ZF.2 SLR Lenses Review. This equipment review is currently available only as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages originally printed in the March / April 2013 issue.

You can download it here:  Zeiss ZE/ZF.2 SLR Lenses review.pdf

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