Carl Zeiss Makro Planar 120mm F4 ZV

Review and Photo example of the Carl Zeiss Makro Planar 120mm F4 ZV.

Table of contents


  • Photo by Leica S typ007


Carl Zeiss Macro Planar 120mm F4 ZV is a Hasselblad V mount macro lens with a focal length of 120mm.
The aperture has a click every 1/2 stop and is spaced at almost equal intervals from F4 to F32.This lens is a C-type lens with no electrical contacts, and has a rotation angle of about 250 degrees from infinity to the shortest distance of 0.8m.

Equipped with a medium-format digital sensor, it is a medium telephoto lens that becomes 96mm when used with the Hasselblad is made of. Weighing 890g, it is quite heavy, and when combined with the Leica S typ007, the camera system weighs over 2kg.

The image is sharp even wide open and is sufficiently blurred even at F4. There is no unpleasant blurring in the front and back, and I like how it gradually blurs from the focal point. As long as you use it with the LEICA S typ007, the color tone is uniform, the gradation is rich, it is resistant to backlighting, and if you don’t mind the weight, it can be used as a versatile medium telephoto lens. The silver lens barrel is very beautiful, and the blue Zeiss emblem matches well.

This lens was released by Cosina under the Carl Zeiss brand in 2008 and is limited to 1000 pieces, but 1000 pieces of this kind of lens is considered to be a fairly large number produced. Two years later, in 2010, they were sold off at stock clearance prices, and the 50mm Y camera was sold at 150,000 yen, the 120mm at 120,000 yen, and the 180mm at less than 100,000 yen. It seems that the M camera has also been cleared out of stock, but all three were priced at 280,000 yen, which is milder than the Y Bridge camera.

Back in 2010, I had no interest in medium format, so I looked at the selling price with a sidelong glance, wondering if it was something like that. When I was looking for a lens for the LEICA S typ007, I found a lens with a hood on sale at a used camera store for a slightly higher price than the stock, so I hesitated for a day before purchasing it.

After I bought it, I looked into the older V-mount Makro Planar 120mm and found that the lens configuration had not changed at all. I’m convinced that the shortest shooting distance of this lens is 0.8m because it’s an old design.
If the intention of designing this lens was purely to reproduce the Hasselblad V-mount lens, it would be the right choice. It’s not a bad thing to stay the same, but if you don’t find value in the silver barrel of this lens, the lens configuration is the same no matter which Hasselblad V mount C/CF/CFi/CFE you buy. And used S Planar 120mm is sold at a considerably lower price.
The lens coating may be different depending on the year of manufacture, but I don’t think you will notice a difference except in extreme situations such as backlighting.

A unique macro planar is the Apo Macro Planar 120mm for CONTAX 645. This has a configuration of 8 elements in 5 groups with 2 lenses added to the rear of the planar 6 elements in 4 groups, which improves color blur due to appointments and has a minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, making it a very practical lens.


focal length(mm)120
Maximum aperture4
Minimum aperture32
Leaf blade5
Lens configuration4groups 6elements
Minimum distance(m)0.8
Lens length(mm)107.6
Lens max diameter(mm)80Excluding protrusions
Filter diameter(mm)67mm
Release date2008.9

Reference links

Update history

  • 2024.03.26:modified article
  • 2023.04.15:firest post

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