The Sony A7 and Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Lens Review
by Tomer Vaknin
First let me say how much respect I have for you and the other members of your website, I have learned a lot by exploring the wonderful photos you all shared, equipment reviews and inputs. I would like to share my own personal experience with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* lens.
As a proud and very happy owner of the Sony Zeiss 55mm, I was hesitant to purchase the Loxia. However, after reading the positive impression of the lens in Photonika 2014 and as a huge fan of M mount lenses that I am, I simply had to try the Loxia. Here are some photos I took with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* in Amsterdam streets, Marken village and Rennstrecke Zandvoort, during a holiday I took with my wife in the Netherlands.
I hope these photos, along with my personal impression of the lens, will help some of undecided readers in making the right decision for themselves.
My personal take on the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T*:
– Great 3D feel (Check the box shot that was -take on a bed)
– Wonderful Bokeh
– Lovely Creamy look
– Great character
– Great colors and contrast
– Very sharp!
Overall, The 3D look, the creamy bokeh and feel + the very nice tone and color makes it a winner. The shots taken with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* looks like they were taken with the Leica lens.
Although the Sony Zeiss 55mm is an amazing lens and you can’t go wrong with it, I personally prefer the Loxia.
The lady with the pigeons shot is excellent. I think the pp is just right. Well done!
The pictures are really great! May I know how you tuned in Lightroom? Or any other software you used? I love the style and color very much!
would have been nice to see the files without so much processing. Lay of the clarity tool 🙂
Very nice photos…. love the colors……. 🙂
Tomer, thanks for the images and your perspective. I love the image of the pigeons flapping around your wife. She is a good sport! congratulations on your lens and happy snapping!
Tomer, these are amazing fotos and great art! Thanks for sharing them along with your insights. I wonder, if you can say something on the quality of the Loxia 35mm? Could you try it as well?
Thank you very much For your kind word Boris.
The Loxia 35mm don’t avilable yet but I’m sure give it a try, but I don’t belive I replace the Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH that I’m using now.
Tomer, maybe you’re able to give advise. In my youth I was an enthusiast in analog photography but don’t own a camera and no glasses now. Steve and such phantasmic artists like you encouraged me to dive into photography again after a long time.
Now there are some thoughts I have, but can’t come to a conclusion:
1. I’ve been thinking of the Leica Summilux 35mm – but for the same price you can get a Sony RX1R, which glass, as Steve has written in one of his articles, comes very close to the Summilux quality. Only, you’ll get a package with an extra compact body for that price, which can be very convenient.
2. In a short while, the RX2 is rumoured to be launched, with even higher expectations. So currently, prices are dropping for the RX1R.
3. On the other hand, the Sony A7s with a Loxia 35mm is even cheaper than what I expect, the RX2 will cost. This solution would even bring more flexibility. With the fantastic images you are able to show with the Loxia 50mm. Furthermore, bodies will improve more and more over time, but an excellent lens will retain it’s value for a long time.
4. the A7s will probably be equipped with an image stabilisation in a few months…
I’d like to have some few but excellent pieces that are not heavy and not bulky so that the setup remains inconspicuous when travelling to poor countries.
So there are quite some options… would it be wise to wait? What would you advise? Steve?
– i was thinking about the RX1R but i really one camera body guy.
– if you ask me the Leica lens will survive a lot more time than RX1R
– and i can put the lens on any future camera i want to. you can’t know what the future will bring us. A7s mk2, maybe A9 or even maybe Leica next gen Camera who know?
so for me to but a fast hi quality lens that can last for many many years was the better choice
But i must say i was thinking about the RX1R it’s an amazing camera and it was not an easy choice 🙂
What is the use of this report if pictures are post processed and with completely different colors compared to those that come out of the lens? :scratching head:
Ditto. Scratching AND shaking my head. :p
Tomer, I think these are very nice photographs! So thank you for sharing them. I have no doubt that the Loxia lenses are amazing. And don’t worry about f/1.4. Digital cameras today are excellent at high ISO! And anyway, if you want an f/1.4 lens to be as sharp as the Loxia, you will need a bigger lens, such as… hmm… the Otus… 🙂
But – yes, you guessed it – there is too much (software) filtration. 😉 IMHO, let the light, lens and sensor/film do the talking.
The only filters that make any sense are physical ones: polarizer, ND, low contrast, UV, colour correction (e.g. 80A). Of course, the computer is useful for reducing excess noise, and changing contrast, and correcting some lens aberrations, but those do not interfere with the image fundamentally.
I don’t sure how much sharp is important to me against low lights.
But I guess that 5150$ f1.4 Leica lens will be sharp and great for low lights. The only thing that scares me is how it will preform on the a7
When have Zeiss lenses ever been bad !
A lot of them aren’t that great. Many of the wide angle primes have distortion – a Zeiss prime lens should never have distortion! One of the worst offenders is the 18/3.5 SLR lens. However, some Leica prime lenses have distortion, too. So: caveat emptor.
Tomer – I haven’t been tracking the Loxia lens, but these images are nice. The colors and contrast stand out. I like the cat, the F1 driver, the woman with the pigeons and the last one.
Thank you raul
great, great great pictures !!!!
Thank you very much!
These are phenomenal photos. You are very talented. I love manual lenses, and this post is giving me an itch for the loxia lenses. If only they were f1.4 I would be all over them.
Thank you very much juddweiss.
Like you i wish the Loxia was f1.4 and that the reason i may pass on the 35mm Loxia
For the last two weeks im trying to find all the info i can get on the Sony a7 + LEICA 35mm f/1.4 ASPH.
If i know for sure that this combo work great without flows i pass the loxia 35mm. I’m still looking:)
Tomer, have you seen these comparisons with Leica lenses, between a Leica M and a Sony A7r?
You have an A7, but the Leica lenses seem to behave in the same way as on the A7r. So these tests might be helpful. The A7s is a different thing, though!
Thank you karim ghantous and Børge Indergaard. I check the link you give. I hope to find some answers.
I hope maybe Stevenhave experience with tis combo on the a7 or the a7r and maybe share.
Thank you all again!
From all test reports that I have seen, the Summilux 35 ASPH Pre-FLE and FLE works superbly on the A7S. I have the FLE myself, and a A7S and I have zero complaints! The Summilux 50 ASPH however does not perform that good on the A7 cameras.
Are the loxia lens’s cropped on an A7 series are do they read as stated 50mm/ 35mm? Philip Bloom posted some pix with one of these Loxias that looked great and sold me, a week or so ago.
These images here are all very nice but a bit over processed for me too tell. It’s a subjective thing of course.
These are full frame lenses..
Thank you Tomar…can’t wait for the Loxia lenses to be available here…
Thank you very much Curt
Hi. Thanks for showing us the lens. Great shots, especially the timber bridge shot. Cheers Corey
Thank you very much Corey
Thanks for taking the time to reply Tomer. No need to provide any RAW links as davidrough posted one above that shows that. Typical and delightful Zeiss ‘pop’
Have fun with the Loxia! A sweet lens.
Thank you my friend i will havein fun 🙂
Tomer, Excellent set of images, though I am afraid with your talent, you would make 99% of all photo gear today look great…….
I’m surprised at all the “overcooked” comments. Nearly everyone does some sort of post processing these days, and I feel that these are very tastefully done. Take a look at pretty much any TV show, feature film or printed publication with photos, and you’ll see images that have been very deliberately (and often heavily) post processed to generate a specific look and feel. I much prefer the look of Tomer’s images to those where folks “undercook” images to make them look faded and old. 😉
Maybe people are objecting because the title said this was a lens “review”?
Thank you johnfor your comment.
I think people want to see what the lens can do and not only what I’m as a photographer can do 🙂 lol
But like i say in most of my reply. If any one need a unprocessed raw file please fell free to ask me via Facebook and ill be more then happy to send
And thank you very much to like my process and work flow 🙂
Well, John, you are talking about two different types of ‘overcooking’. 🙂 I don’t like either – after all, if you can tell that something has been done to the image, you’ve gone too far. But Tomer’s overcooking is definitely more tolerable that the awful dreck that you see on Instagram.
Thanks man I guess:) lol
Which Steve’s photos inspired you? To be honest, I don’t think his images (mostly of his fiance) are any better than yours.
I’m sorry if i dont understand what you trying to say joseph my friend my English is not the best. I dident think my images close to steve images
And i really dont think any images should be against no one images. We All doing art here
Some may like it and may not but its our baby and what important is if we like what we are doing.
Steve inspired me alot with is shots and is way of explaining completed think in a cool way that any one can understand
I start to share my art only a year ago after visiting steve web site. All these years i keep my pictures to myself and to my wife 🙂
After visiting this great website i start share my love to photography on facebook and i start with 10 friends and now i have more then 200 friend that with most of them i chat once a week at least
And that what drive me
To see new people work and share my
Thank you very much for your comment my friend
Sorry, but these nice images are really not an justification for the new LOXIA lens! These images could be done with any other lens too! Sorry that I must say that!
Its o.k my friend you have nothing to sorry about 🙂
I start shotting to express my way of thinking and art. Some may like it and some may not (when some one dont like it i feel i doing a better job) lol 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment my friend!
And ifthe Loxia interstat you and you just can’t decide frommy picture you can send me you email via facebook and i send you unprocessed RAW files
Myabe its help you more
“The shots taken with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar T* looks like they were taken with the Leica lens”
To me the shots look more like they were taken with the Zeiss lens. Some photos without PP would have been great, but thanks for sharing your impressions of that lens.
First please forgive me for my not so good English:)
What i meant is that i use alot of diffrent lenses on my A7 and i still remmber how i amazed when i buy my first leica lens Leica 90 Summarit f/2.5 M.
I dont have alot of experience with leica lens befor but the sec time thats happen to me was when i take my capule first shots with the Loxia.
You can see one of them without process in the article.
If you like to see more un process fell free to send me a massage on my Facebook page and i’ll be more then happy to send your some RAW files
Great set of photos! Love the one with the girl with pigeons, just stunning.
Thank you very much andrew
Please provide images that are less cooked. I would love to see the OOC images, as these examples look very post-processed, and as such, cannot be used to evaluate the lens characteristics.
Feel free to send me you email via facebook and i’ll ve more then happy to send you Raw file without any process
Thank you for your comment
One of the few times I have gone back and looked again at a set of images. I really like most of these, particularly the F1 car and girl with pigeons. Lately I have been using a manual focus Konica Hexanon 50/1.4 lens on my Fuji X-E2, and I love how it imparts a subtle “vintage” look to images taken with it. To my eye, the Loxia lens is also rendering in a NICE “vintage” way. I don’t think the bokeh is nervous, and the Zeiss 3D “pop” is definitely in play. Very nice.
Thank you so much John
I’m curious. How is anyone here judging the rendering and character of the lens when all the images have had extensive PP done to them, especially with the clarity slider?
I like the compositions (which is due to the photographer not the lens), and the lens is obviously sharp, but colour and rendering? Maybe it is great. Most probably it is great. But I can’t tell from these.
I’m in agreement with Vivek.
it’s not a professional review of the lens it’s just first hand experience from my work flow with the lens.
if you do care about how the lens is performs i’ll be more then happy to send you the RAW files of each image and you can also visit my Facebook page i upload a ton of image there 🙂
Thank you for your reply my friend!
I would love to have the RAW files for review.
Thank you, Bob
I also have the same lens but with combined with a A7s. Here’s a photo from some moments ago shot indoors wide open at ISO800. DNG exported full size to tiff.
Lovely shot david
I can only speak to my comment on rendering.
My judgement on the rendering of this lens is based on previous images I’ve seen online, not the images here. When I said I feel that Tomer’s processing works well with the rendering of this lens it was based on that previous experience. I can understand how my comment could be taken to mean I was basing my judgement of the lens on these images but that’s not the case. Likewise, my comment on the colors and contrast is referring to the processing, not the lens.
That being said, I think the character of this lens still comes through even with the processing. Having plenty of post processing experience I disagree when people say it doesn’t matter what quality of lens you use if you’re doing heavy PP. The lens character plays a big part in the look of an image even with PP. To the casual observer maybe not but to those who put time and effort into their processing all the little things add up. Similar to mp3’s vs. hi res recordings in the audio world. To some it doesn’t make a difference, to others the difference is huge.
Image processing is very subjective. Some may feel these images are “over cooked” but personally I like them. I think they work well in conveying a particular vibe with the subject matter. Others may disagree, but hey, different strokes…
Thank you for writing the same think i was thinking of writing
Unfortunately my English not that good so i just pass of trying 🙂
Thanks my friend
Couldn’t have put more poignantly.
Nice Composition, Tomer, but sadly way too much pp (for my taste at least).
Thank you naftafe
This is Amsterdam, cool and soft.Really? High contrast, super saturated color and for me offensive background shapes. Double image.Look at racer car and girl in background. I dislike, for me, the modern look of the images. I find the Aspheric lenses of Leica even more disturbing, with way more scary look. Looks like shattered glass shards.If this is what you want, well here it is at non Leica price, but certainly very expensive.
Thank you for posting. For some the perfect lens, simply not for me.
Thank you for your comment my friend
Hi Tomer – nice photos – are the straight from camera jpg’s ? or did you post process ? Also is that a lens hood I see on the Loxia (1st photo) ?
Hi david! only the first picture is straight from the camera RAW file that i convert to JPG for uploading to the site. all the rest are post
I think we can not objectively analyze a lens with overly processed images
Thank you for your reply
If you consider the Loxia lens and you want to see unprocessed RAW files please send me you email via Facebook and ill be more then happy to send you some files my friend
Looks great. My e-mount is an a6000, and I guess I wonder if the Loxia is a match, and if it would be worth it.
A bit overcooked images and telss nothing about the lens.
agree, for my taste great compositions, but some of them too much PP.
Thabk you for your comment please feel free to send my your email to my Facebook page if you need unprocessed RAW file to check the lens.
agreed, a bit harsh, though otherwise really nice.
Magnificent pictures, perfect lens/camera combination. More and more I’m convinced that Sony is the only one capable of changing the camera market with compelling new sensor technologies. Put Zeiss in front of that and a lot of other stuff becomes just mediocre, almost boring equipment. Where are you, Nikon & Canon, but also Fuji, Panasonic, even Leica,…? And the ones claiming that FF is not required to achieve the best result – beside of course MF – are blind.
I very much agree with you my friend
I cant see the saturated colors here some people are talking about. But I assume its more the camera and not so much the lens.
I really want to see this compared to the 55mm f/1.8. I just don’t understand why Sony and Zeiss would release two lenses so similar in focal length and speed, but then make one MF only.
I think that is exactly the point: the very best lens can only be MF. But the 55 FE is a very good compromise. So you have a choice. That’s just IMHO, because I do not own either lens. 🙂
I’m actually more interested in your pictures and the 50mm focal length than the actual lens – really very impressed with how you use that focal length and can envisage similar images in relation to my X100S teleconverter. So thanks.
Thank you very much John
Thank you very much for posting my review & photos, it’s very much appreciated!
By the way, my facebook link is broken
Thanks for sharing these. I love the colors, contrast, and pop to the images. I am eagerly awaiting my 50mm Loxia. I can’t wait for them to start shipping more stateside.
I have the 55mm 1.8 and actually plan to keep both. They appear to have a different rendering and sometimes I need AF. The ZM 50mm planar was a favorite of mine and this appears to be exactly what I am looking for.
Thanks again there’s not much out there on these lenses yet so I’m thrilled to see some shots.
Thank you for the kind word my friend
I sure buy the Sony Zeiss 55mm again like i say in my post both of thos lenses are diffrent and bo are amazine!
Feel free to visit my facebook page to see more shots and if you need unprocessed shots feel free to ask
Lovely photos and I’m sure most people find the IQ very good. For me, unfortunately, I think what this lens produces doesn’t look natural at all. Maybe it’s the post process, hard to say. I don’t care about bokeh while it’s not very important to my vision. Basically, what you have here is a lot of sharpness and a LOT of contrast but very little of love, dream and feelings. I’m much partial to the latter.
Thank you for your reply my friend. If you like you can get in touch with me via facebook and i be more then happy to send you the raw files so you can check them without process
Thank you. Excellent pop and colours, but the OOF background looks a bit harsh in some of the photos (the girl with pigeons and the girl on the bridge). This seems to be a trend with modern lenses and are very well corrected in focus, but the OOF range often shows halos or double edges.
Thank you for you comment Matus. you right about the OOF background that looks a bit harsh. i notice that also when the background was a trees
Good stuff. I am very excited about these loxia lenses. I only shoot manual focus lenses on my A7 so I was tickled when they announced these. I think its more pleasurable to focus manually and allows me the time to get in touch with what I am shooting. The photo with your friend, framed by birds looks like there was some post-processing done on the NR or CA or something? Fantastic photos tho. Your style and eye are great!
Thank you very much nyartboy
My friend is my dear wife my home model 🙂
The process LR and NIK
Excellent set of images. I love the rendering of this lens and your processing suits it quite well. Nice colors and contrast. Well done indeed…
Thank you very much for the good words
Thank you very much for the good words
This looks like an exceptional lens. As dedicated as my old eyes are to AF lenses, I could be persuaded by these new Loxia introductions. Thank you for the photos and your thoughts.
Thank you for your comment
I really like the look…..bokeh, color, and sharpness. I’m curious, which A7 did you use? A7, A7r, or A7s
I use the A7 my friend
These fotos are very nice shots and I am glad to see the Zeiss rendering there: clarity, nicely saturated colors, natural sharpness and contrasts. I like the picture of your friend almost framed with pigeons the most: sharpness and smooth transition to bokeh in the foreground as well background. Thanks for posting!
Thank you my friend
Thank you very much Dave
Your shots are great! Lightroom with VSCO? Just Lightroom?
There’s something I already was suspicious of. That creamy look you mention it’s not easy to obtain with the Zeiss FE lenses. Don’t get me wrong! Those lenses (35+55) have tons of definition but you have to work a little bit to obtain the referred “creamy” feeling. With loxia, I suspect it’s easier. Even with my nikons I do it faster in PP (http://www.miguelteotonio.com/post/101953693259/quintos-alentejo-portugal-mom-dad-my-folks). I end up taking a little bit of the native definition of theses FE lenses to get this look. Stupid no?! The zeiss FE are so sharp it hurts my eyes … 😀
Do you (steve/brandon/tomer and general readers) think it’s possible for “someone” to create a (let’s call it) “loxia profile” in lightroom to be used with zeiss fe lenses? :p
Thanks and keep on shooting!!!
Thank you very much.
I also think that the Sony Zeiss 55/35 are amazine lenses. (The 55 is one of the best lens i ever use)
I that soon adobe realses lightroom profile for the Loxia lens. For now i use the Zeiss profile for M mount and it’s seems to work great
And sorry for not mention i post with LR,NIK and alienskin
If you like you can see more on my Facebook page
Thank you very much santiago