- Excellent build quality and exterior design
- Fast and accurate autofocus
- Excellent smoothness and damping on the manual focus ring
- Brilliantly sharp, even wide open
- Beautiful bokeh
- Minimal lateral chromatic aberration
- Good color response and high contrast without being harsh
- Manual focus ring rubber doesn’t provide a lot of tactile feedback
- A bit fat for the focal length and aperture
- Pincushion distortion is strong for a short telephoto (but correctable)
- Some minor longitudinal CA and fringing
- Can flare strongly in the right conditions
It’s a longish cons list for a lens that I think is utterly fantastic, but overall, the complaints are minor. It’s a bit large considering the maximum aperture, but the optical compromises are small. Some distortion that doesn’t really impact image quality once corrected and some minor longitudinal CA and occasional flare is about all that I can complain about. The lens is expensive at $1199, especially when compared to similar aperture lenses from Canon and Nikon, but Zeiss lenses have always commanded a bit of a premium. However, the optical prowess is extremely evident here.
The lens is simply spectacularly sharp, and starts that crazy sharpness right from f/1.8. Wide open shots display exceptional clarity and gorgeous background blur while providing a flattering contrast profile for portraits. I simply love the look of the images from this lens. It’s an absolutely top-tier optic and one that I’m already saving my pennies to purchase for myself.
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