But it didn't really happen that way. I had the Canon 50mm 1.8 (type 2) and I bought into the big story. It goes something like this: The Germans invented all this optical stuff. They build the coolest mechanical things in the world. Zeiss makes magic glass. All the world's top pro's depend on magic lenses from either Leica or Zeiss. So when my friend bought a Zeiss 50 and then decided it didn't help grow hair in bald spots or enliven his sex life I rushed in from the sidelines to buy it cheap. "Like New In The Box."
I put it on the Canon 5Dmk2 and rushed around trying to shoot stuff. The focus was off. I did the whole micro adjust routine. It was still hard to focus. I got a new screen. Now I could focus it. And I shot and then waited for the magic to hit. And I'm still waiting.
Don't get me wrong, it's a very, very good lens. The colors are wonderfully saturated, just the like the colors in the image above. And it shows a high degree of sharpness, just like the sharp lines and detail in the photo above. And the "micro-detail" is stunning. Especially if you spend your life glued to your monitor at 100%.
But here's the problem: The photo above was done with my $90 Canon EF 50mm 1.8 mk2. And it's just as wonderful and breathtaking as the images from my Zeiss lens. And did I mention that it cost one sixth the price?
Sometimes we want something to be true so much that we'll spend a lot more money on it and a lot more time convincing ourselves that we need this particular piece of gear. We don't. Not always.
I have two favorite 50mm lenses right now. Neither of them are SEXY at all. I have the 1.8 and I have the 50mm Macro 2.5. I tested them recently against both the aforementioned Zeiss and the Canon 50mm 1.4 and guess what? At f2 they all look equally bad. At f4 they all look equally good. At f7.1 I couldn't tell the difference with an electron scanning microscope.
I'm keeping the Zeiss around for the "bling factor", and to remind myself that the best gear isn't always the most expensive gear.