CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Initial Impressions

Today I took an early fall hike with the CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4.

CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 @f1.4

Backgrounds are pleasing with this lens. Just a random test shot of Anna above, but this gives you an idea of the bokeh quality. It’s perfectly sharp in the center at f1.4 at close distances but does experience some reduced contrast at longer distances at f1.4.

CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 @f1.4. 200% crop of a different image.
Original image. CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 @1.4

Personally I enjoy the loss of contrast at a distance at f1.4. Modern lenses wouldn’t still have this level of smoothness at 200% crop. Notice the lack of vignette in the corners even at f1.4.

Detail is incredible stopped down a bit. The below image was shot at f5.6.

CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 @f5.6

There’s so much detail in the above image that I had to scale it down to 2500 pixels on the long edge to get it under 10mb. If you zoom in you’ll also notice the beautiful sun stars this lens produces.

Another image of the fall foliage below:

CONTAX Zeiss 85mm f1.4 @f5.6

I have no optical complaints with this lens. It’s simply a joy to shoot with. My version is the AEG, so it will exhibit ninja-star bokeh at f2 and f2.8. No big deal to me since I’m either shooting the lens wide open or stopped down to f5.8 or f8.

I’m having a great time with this lens. Full review to come shortly.