Carl Zeiss Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 Review

The rare and legendary
Carl Zeiss Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 was something I wish it to be still in
production! Only 5,000 copies were made! I wonder why? Expensive?
Experimental? Hopefully someday we will see Zeiss bring it back like
other vintage lenses made a comeback like Meyer Optik 100mm f/2.8,
Helios 85mm t/1.5 (Carl Zeiss Biotar 75mm clone), Petzval 85mm,  among others.

The built quality of the
lens felt
very solid.
It
looks badass!
It
has the yellow tint coating which is much warmer tone than my Rikenon
55mm and Super Takumar 50mm lenses.
It
is recommended to s
hoot
RAW or manually adjust the color temperature.
It
is bigger and heavier than both Rikenon 55 & Super Takumar 50!

CZJ Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 vs Rikenon 55mm 1.4 vs Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 vs Rikenon 55mm 1.4 vs CZJ Pancolar 55mm f/1.4

CZJ Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 vs Rikenon 55mm 1.4 vs Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

CZJ Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 vs Rikenon 55mm 1.4 vs Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Here are the head-to-head comparisons between CZJ Pancolar 55mm f/1.4, Rikenon 55mm 1.4 and Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4:


CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

Super Takumar 50mm

For some reasons I think
Rikenon 55 was design by same lens maker who did Pancolar 55. Time
will tell. If I am wrong, please comment! As far I know the lens
diagrams shown that it is slightly different but similar concept in
mind. Bokeh on CZJ Pancolar much larger than Rikenon 55mm.

CZJ Pancolar 55mm

Rikenon 55mm

CZJ Pancolar

Rikenon 55mm

Here are my samples from Fujifilm X-T1 & Carl Zeiss Pancolar 55mm 1.4:

Flare looks beautiful!

Even looks great in monochrome!

Self Portrait

Verdict & Conclusion:

Sharpness: 9.5/10

Aberrations:
9/10

Bokeh: 10/10

Handling:
10/10

Value: 10/10

If you have the money to burn, I highly recommended it. If not,
you can get something look almost identical like my comparisons. I
couldn’t even afford it myself. I borrowed it by the way. But again,
something magical about the Pancolar 55mm f/1.4 that no other lenses
could produce! Good luck on finding one in great condition or get it
CLA by professional if its in bad shape.

The Carl Zeiss Pancolar lens wasn’t cleaned after purchased but CLA was done later. Thanks to the CLA Guy from Taiwan!!

Performs best in the hands
of the art photographers! It is not so easy to master from the start! Share if you like this!


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