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Zeiss S-Planar as a normal portrait lens


New Member

I am just considering buying this outstanding lens.

My question is: has anyone tried to use it as a normal all-round lens or as a portraiture lens?

Is is suitable to other tasks except macro work?

Thanks, Horea


Well-Known Member
Go ahead.

This lens did not give me very good impression. I used to think it has a poor MTF chart.

As my understanding of the MTF graph grew, my impression to it changed.

This lens does not perform well at long distance, but when it comes to 1 meter or other close distance, it is excellent.

It renders the skin tone much better than 85 1.4, 50 1.7, 50 1.4. These latter ones are astigmatic but S-planar is not. The skin tone is a bit like those from 100 2, 100 2.8 and 85 2.8 at 2.8 which are just nice. To me, I feel the skin tone of S-planar could be marginally better than my 85 1.2 but I certainly need more experience of my 85 1.2 in order to tell.

S-Planar has wonderful bokeh.

At the distance of 1m, you get beautiful head shoulder shoot with a natural perspective. With 50, you get nearer in order to get this and might get a strange perspective.


This photo was taken with S-Planar at f4. The original is a print 8X10. I photograph the print with my Sony 717 at f8. I must say looking at the original print is a lot better, but at least this web image can tell you about the perspective I am talking about and the great bokeh.


New Member
Thanks for the reply.

Yes, this is exactly what I was talking about. I plan to use it as a portrait lens. I was thinking of selling my 50/1.7 and 85/2.8, now that I have a 60 mm lens, that is too close to these focal lenghts.

By the way, if anyone is interested in these lenses...

I can't wait to get my hands on the 60/2.8 (I bought one in the meantime on ebay)....


Well-Known Member
I wouldn't have much objection to sell the 50/1.7, but there is a significant difference between 60 and 85. You wouldn't be able to do these head only shoots with the 60. You can sell your 85 if you don't do these.

85 1.2 at f2 print photographed by sony 717 then photoshop



While the 50 is close to the 60, the 85 gives a different enough look. And the 50 is such an inexpensive and excellent lens (and faster) that I would keep them all. But that's me, with the bloated bag ... I don't have a 50 and a 60, just the 50, but I do have an 85 and 100 Macro, the reverse situation.