Shooting Portraits by Holiday Lights


Tzeiss1he Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* is designed for medium and longer distances and provides high-performance capture even when wide open and improves as the lens is stopped down. The lens construction controls flare and ghosting artifacts, resulting in a brilliant image with excellent contrast and natural color rendition.

This bright and compact lens has a precise manual focusing mechanism and that same “large rotation angle for precise control” feature of the Zeiss 85mm but here feels more natural and there’s less focusing action required. This will be a big plus for those readers who grew up using autofocus cameras and may never have focused a camera. Don’t be afraid. It’s not only easy but gets you closer to the subject by making the process more interactive.


The bright viewfinder image the 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* produces wide open, especially when working under less than ideal lighting conditions, makes focusing a snap when doing night photography. Making portraits outdoors with a full frame digital SLR, such as the EOS 5D, using only the illumination from holiday lights was surprisingly easy. The big challenge for me was making sure to hold the camera steady enough to pull the maximum sharpness that this amazing lens can produce. My cold weather testing of the 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* was made when the temperature was in the mid-teens (F) in Colorado and the lens performed flawlessly.

Author: Joe Farace

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