Friday, April 17, 2009

Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS vs Zeiss 50mm f/1.4

I have had the opportunity to use these two lenses. Obviously the question is which is better. Let's see the qualities of these 2 lenses.

Wide open:

The Nikon is f/1.2 while the Zeiss is f/1.4 and the Nikkor is eminently usable at this aperture. The view through such a lens through a full frame camera is a real joy to use. You also get the one half stop advantage which may prove to be very significant in extreme low light situations.


The Nikkor and Zeiss run head to head in resolution but the Nikkor achieves it's top resolution by f/2 whereas you have to stop the Zeiss to f/2.8 or f/4 to match the Nikkor resolution.


Mostly they are comparable with no definite advantage to one or the other.


There is no contest here. The Nikkor has a superb bokeh while the Zeiss bokeh is average at best. Please see my Nikon 50mm lens review (link below) for a detailed description.

I wanted to write a detailed comparison but after using these 2 lenses extensively I do not think there is any question that the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS is better in every respect compared to the Zeiss. Zeiss does produce some excellent lenses like the 35mm and 25mm lenses but certainly the Planar 50mm is not one of them. Apart from the Zeiss brand name there is nothing that goes for the Planar 50mm compared to the Nikkor 50mm. I will definitely recommend the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS to anybody looking for a manual focus lens. IMHO the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS is the best 50mm lens available currently (with the caveat that it is manual focus only).

For a review of Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIS click here

For a review of Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 click here.


  1. This is amazing. Thank you so, so much for writing these reviews.

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)