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Zeiss 50mm F1.7 (Contax mount) review

Important note : this “test” is not a scientific one. I’m not shooting charts, nor measuring anything with a tool. I’m commenting from my experience with the lens, shooting in all kinds of conditions, and all kinds of topics.

Review

The Zeiss 50mm F1.7 is probably the cheapest or one of the cheapest Zeiss lenses for the Contax Yashica mount. It’s not as heavy and solid as the other lens, with some plastic parts. It still feels good, it’s not made entirely with plastic, the size and weight are quite good for an A7 or A6x00, even if the adapter is adding some weight. It was my first Zeiss lens, as it’s quite affordable for a first test (you can find it around 100€/$).

I immediately loved the photos it was taking. It’s a bit limited, with its F1.8 max aperture (compared to the numerous F1.4 and bigger) and minimal focus distance at 70cm. But the Zeiss touch still works quite fine : colors, transitions, resistance to flare, micro contrast, sharpness, it’s all included in the cheap package. It’s a Planar formula, so the bokeh isn’t the best one, it can be a bit nervous. But I still love how it can isolate the subject and the 3D effect. And the sharpness is quite impressive : very very usable wide open, it becomes razor sharp when closing down. I’m not sure if many modern 50mm lenses will be any sharper even on a big print. Maybe by pixel peeping there will be differences, but this lens is still delivering terrific photos. From F4 to F8, it’s really sharp, corner to corner.

So in the end, I use this Zeiss 50mm F1.7 as much as the F1.4 version. Not really for close up portraits, as the bokeh can be a bit distracting. But it’s a good light “all around” solution for the A7, or a nice 75mm equivalent on the A6x00. Great value for the price, for manual focus lovers.

Samples

https://www.flickr.com/search/?sort=date-taken-desc&safe_search=1&tags=zeiss50mmf17cy&user_id=134592270%40N04&view_all=1

 

Zeiss 50mm F1.7 Contax mount

7.8

Build quality / handling

7.5/10

Optical quality / character

9.0/10

Versatility / functionnalities

6.0/10

Value for the price

8.5/10

Pros

  • Sharp from WO
  • Razor sharp closed down
  • Zeiss character (colors, contrast)
  • Cheap but decently build

Cons

  • No AF
  • Minimal focus distance 60cm
  • Build quality is not top notch
  • Bokeh can be nervous
  • No weather sealing

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