... and here I was sweating and choking over the $1,500 price tag on the new Zeiss ZA 50/1.4 ASPH with SSM Auto Focus ... of course it only has 8 elements.
... and here I was sweating and choking over the $1,500 price tag on the new Zeiss ZA 50/1.4 ASPH with SSM Auto Focus ... of course it only has 8 elements.
Apart from the price, which I can't afford to pay (I think), I can see the uniqueness of this lens. If it's absolutely sharp wide open, has beautiful bokeh at any aperture, can resolve the finest detail of 35mm sensor now and in any foreseeable future, this may be the lens that I could travel the world with with one lens only. It would be a fun and interesting experience. 50mm is useful for environmental as well as closer portraits. That's basically what I need. I do think should come up with a focusing screen optimized for the 55 though, maybe even include it in the price.
I think this lens moves 35mm format further to the MFD territory. This way the price is ok I guess (not saying it's on par to the MFD but we're getting there). But I'd prefer to have autofocus in this lens. Nikon, wake up!
I'm not sure what the issues are with the D800 focusing screen, sure it isn't the easiest ever made but it is far far from impossible to manually focus. I have a few af lenses and I have 2 Zeiss mf lenses, I alway use the Zeiss and have little real problem. When I'm shooting landscapes I have never used af, just switch it off on an af lens and focus manually, never really understood the need for it!
Obviously these are just my views, just saying I don't think it's that hard and I'm just the wrong side of 40.
So, this 55 looks amazing for me, if I can afford it. Great image quality, manual focus, I like to feel as though I've had some input to the photographs I take beyond half pressing the shutter and then pressing it a bit more!
I'm going to find one when they're available, take some shots with it and if it feels good, buy it, easy!
http://matrichardson.com/2 Member(s) liked this post
I find it difficult to focus accurately with wide aperture lenses at maximum aperture with modern digital cameras, particularly at close distance when the DOF is very shallow. The focusing screen on my Contax RX does a much better job in this respect, plus it has split screen. I consider installing Katzeye focusing screen with split screen on all my Nikon cameras because of this.
For sure it could be easier and especially as time passes, strangely I struggle to see this laptop screen clearly without wearing glasses and yet through the viewfinder, I can see perfectly, we all have different requirements.
If there was a split screen available then I'd probably buy it just because it would be easier but there is no way I'd not buy a great lens just because it was tricky to focus, I'd just practice and practice and the keepers would have much more value to me for that. I'm not a pro though so my comments should be taken as little more than the ramblings of an enthusiastic idiot!
I use 1 central focus point if I use af at all, have always focused that way, never even turned continuous af or focus tracking or whatever it's called so mf lenses make a lot of sense to me personally, I like the process, I like taking my time and sometimes I like the final result!
I appreciate that if getting paid required getting the shot then I'd maybe think differently but as there are many many guys like me who work hard, can afford to spend a little on stuff they enjoy and spend all their free time buggering about with cameras then this is a very exciting lens for the D800.
Have a good day!
This lens appears to bring an acuity that addresses the short-comings of some manufacturer lens line-ups when such acuity is the application priority. It is no secret that to avail yourself of the resolution available from the higher meg FF 35MM DSLRs requires flawless technique and superior optics ... in that respect, this lens does look to be amazing.
However, "Isn't the easiest, but far from impossible" is okay if one has the leisure time to enact the proper technique ... but keep in mind, they didn't invent AF no reason ... and AF is also getting better and better thanks to the new technologies. This newer AF ability really shines when spontaneously working with a fast f/1.4 aperture in lower light.
IMO, (other than rangefinders), there hasn't been a great manual focus 35mm camera since the demise of manual focus film cameras ... arguably the best being the Leica SL2.
Personally, I've always been a fan of Zeiss optics, and adapted many manual focus favorites to modern DSLRs ... great for studio and tripod work, or even more thoughtful, less spontaneous applications ... but in the end it was just a futile effort that went against the wave of what and how I shoot. When Sony went FF and offered a decent line of AF Zeiss lenses, it was the solution for me.
Just because you " ... can't understand the need for it (i.e., AF)", doesn't mean the need doesn't exist.
2 Member(s) liked this post
Like you, I worked with the Contax cameras and Zeiss optics or Leica R cameras and R optics ... why these cameras seem to be so good compared to manually focusing AF 35mm DSLRs using the same well dampened manual focus lenses remains a mystery to me.
Landscape photographers needing af I don't understand at all, never have but if you want it then you want it, there doesn't need to be any justification further than that.
Some people have said it is heavy, for me that doesn't mean anything either, I'm a full grown man, carrying a couple of extra kg's in exchange for a great hobby is no hardship at all but that's a turn off for some.
There are as many individual requirements as their are individuals, not having af means nothing to me but it may be a deal breaker for you, that's just the way things go.
Cameras are so advanced these days, there are those that need all the bells and whistles and that's great but it almost feels like the real skill is now in post processing rather than image taking itself, that's my view anyway. I love the files from the D800, I want to set up the tripod, compose, mess about with filters and sit with my nose pressed up against the screen until I like what I see, there are more people like me I should think than there are successful pro's, not that that means one need is greater than the other, just that the needs are different.
I don't think there are any screens available for the D800 other than the standard Nikon screen, could be wrong, I'm not sure that Jorgen even uses a D800.
I just checked my bag, the only af lens I use on occasion is the 50, the af/mf switch is set to mf from the last time I used it! Haha.
It's a bit strange that Nikon doesn't make focusing screens optimized for manual focusing of large aperture lenses. Nikon Europe shows 7 AIS lenses as "current" (20/2.8, 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 50/1.2, 55/2.8 micro). As far as I know, Canon, which hasn't made a single large aperture, manual focus prime for the EF mount, does have such a screen for some of their 35mm DSLRs.
Personally I agree regarding size and weight IF that is what is necessary to make gear that performs at this level. I want an 0.95 Noctilux, I pay the penalty of size. I read a ton of post on different sites where compromises are made for what amounts to laziness ... a world filled with noodle armed photographers I guess
I wouldn't go so far as to suggest those that avail themselves of modern technology are surrendering their creativity or control to the machine ... or worse, to "fixing it in post."
You may wish that to be true for some unknown reason ... but in my experience technology is nothing more than a faster way to get to the same place that allows more thinking time, than fiddling time.
I also wouldn't assume that those "Pros" you mention do not work exactly like you do, because most of them do. A good majority of professional work is very carefully thought out, and the cameras are on a camera stand, then variations explored until they like what they see. Most amateur photography, advanced or not, is of the spontaneous variety.
Yes, rambling may well be good to get thoughts out but they don't always come out clearly as in my case!
I use the term Pro's to mean those that are getting a shot to put food on the table, I don't and so I can see my needs are different. There's no doubt that there is added pressure to being a Pro, if I can't get the shot I need I go and have a beer and don't worry about it, I certainly can't blame the equipment I've got. Reputation and business can rest on gear choices as well as the obvious talent required, I need neither gear nor talent to enjoy what I'm doing! I can't imagine a fashion photographer asking the girls to stand still on the runway because their focussing screen is rubbish and they have managed to focus perfectly on an elbow rather than an eye with their heavy expensive manual focus lens! Those pro photographers who can make money by producing wonderful landscape images of stunning locations with their tech cams are complete gits, I hate them all! Haha!
I agree that my comment on technology may have come across negatively but I'm talking from my own view, with this D800 I have such a huge file, loads of dr, pretty advanced af and the camera can control absolutely everything, I don't even need to look through the viewfinder, just sit back and look at the screen, I can even sit in my armchair 50 feet away with an ipad and focus, take shots and everything without getting up! I don't but people must because the functions are there for a reason. I'm not saying that the skill is removed, actually I might be saying that! I'm sure with a D800 you could just stick it out the window and press the button and make something decent of it in post if you wanted. I don't see many of these tech advances useful to Pros really, I could be wrong but I can't see top flight photographers searching through the menu for the smile recognition function! I think these functions are mainly aimed at those amateurs who want the quality and the nice picture without actually having to know anything about photography. Nothing wrong with that of course, just because it's there doesn't mean you have to use it.
I see lots and lots of heavily manipulated photographs on lots of forums, some good, some really dreadful to my eye, it does appear to me that to a "fair" proportion of photographers, the image captured is one thing, what you can push it to in post is an entirely different thing. Again, if it pleases you, if you like it then that is all that matters. I saw that long thread over on LL about the guy who posted his workflow on the picture of the tree, Kevin somebody. I would never have taken the shot in the first place but he did and created what he wanted in post, to my eye it was just dreadful but I don't need to like it I suppose, he didn't take it for me. Manipulation has obviously been a part of photography from the beginning, I try and use filters, that's manipulation as much as running it through some software, to me it just feels less connected doing it in front of the computer, there's no right or wrong, I'm aware of that.
Anyway, i've taken this way off topic so I apologise, I like the look of the Zeiss, i will try it and if I like it I will raid the piggy bank! I think it I can't focus it, it will because of me, not the camera or the lens.
Has Zeiss announced what other focal lengths will be available in this series?
Hulyss, nice rendering but for the moment I think I will stick with DP3M for portraits :-)The 50f1.2 just rock, even hand-held, you have almost the same results on the D800, just a raw out of ViewNX2 without tweak...:
There's been hardly a peep out of Schneider about their new primes for still photography. Will be interesting to see how they compare.
Joke aside, I have all I need in APS-C (DP3m) and FF (D700/800). I see the limits more and more, clients after clients. I need more, even if a cool chap I know lend me his S2 when needed.
Time for me to buy a MF camera, time for me to save load of money because I know I need it badly ( Pixels aren't a problem, an AptusII/5 would please me a lot because the sensor is large).
All this marketing around DSLR and 35mm lenses bother me more than I admit...
I must admit that the more I use the RX1 the more I like the 24mp sensor which I assume is the same or similar in the D600/610.
I am very impressed with those samples from the 50/1.4 AF-S.
I just ordered mine. Coming from medium format land, and having been looking at Leica lately, it doesn't seem like such a big deal.
This will be the first time that I have had a plethora of 50's - an adapted R Cron, the adapted 28-90 and now the Zeiss.
Wow. Now that the lens is beginning to be listed for sale in the UK it is even more expensive than I thought it would be (I calculated it would be £3k).
It's £3170 in the UK. The Leica S 70mm (non CS version in order to compare on a like for like basis), which is 56mm equivalent is £3500. Not much in it at all, in terms of cost!
The advantage of the Zeiss therefore apparently lies in the significant additional functionality of the body of a Small Format DSLR compared to a MF DSLR like the Leica S.
Will f/1.4 for Small Format return shallower DOF than f/2.8 for Medium Format (in this case the Leica S)?
P.S the S70mm is also very very good wide open and you can use it at 2.5 without sacrificing much I.Q
I have zero doubts in relation to the calibre of the S70, or any S lens for that matter. I expected the zeiss to be expensive - that is a given. I guess I am just surprised that the cost is all but equal to the Leica S lenses.
I did forget about autofocus. Hmm, autofocus for an extra few hundred pounds. Never would have thought of considering the S lenses a bargain.
If you do buy an S/S2 I think the S is worth the extra dough.. it's a better handling camera,although I still think that Leica should get with the program and add an 80mp sensor to the next version so we can really make the most of the glass..
I think you can only consider an S lens a bargain if you've spend the £16k needed to get a body to put it on! I'd really like to try an S but have resisted because I'd struggle to afford it. Some really nice glass on the D800 will suit me personally.
That is indeed true RVB, 2nd hand off ebay I'm sure it's possible to buy one for that, I would want an S though as you state, it's a better camera and they aren't quite at the $8k level, soon maybe!
From the results of the D7100 we could anticipate 40-50mpixels for the next generation DSLR. I believe that Leica could try to match that, or move to CMOS (loosing part of the look, but gaming in other areas) and show superior dynamic range.
Leica is all about prestige, ethos and lenses.
The appeal of leaf shutters to me is the potential reduction in vibration...and it is well known that the S bodies utilise the focal plane shutter when engaging the leaf shutter.Apart from A.F (which is a big deal imho)the S system offers leaf shutters which is a great bonus over the 1/250th sec sync speed of Canikon..
If I was purchasing new then I would. There is zero chance of me puchasing a body new. Lenses, yes, but not the body.If you do buy an S/S2 I think the S is worth the extra dough..
I know. I have been observing them slowly reduce in price. My problem is that I consider the body overpriced even at £8k.Another option is a used S2 on ebay,they can be bought for about $8k...
If they used 4.7micron pixels like the D800 then it would be about 60MP and if they used 3.1micron like the D7100 then I believe it would be about 120mp,I doubt the next S will use 6micron's again.. but I could be way off..
1 Member(s) liked this post
The Leica S does seem to be overpriced, probably is in reality. But, the viewfinder is bright, clear, and allows manual focusing effortlessly. There is a certain pleasure in the camera's simplicity. It is critical to realize that its design, the demanding nature of its sensor and especially the lenses, definitely changes how (and to some extent what) you photograph, the images you create and the way you visualize your "art".
I will relate an incident that happened just minutes ago. A professional photographer and curator (who knows I use a S2) came to see a preview
of my exhibition on Iceland. He pauses in front of one image, takes off his glasses, looks again, then says, "that is what I am talking about... There is three dimensionality in this image. It is not just the resolution or "sharpness", it is the the 3-dimensional aspect
(he is pointing to one object in the image) . I cannot get that with either my Canon or my Nikon (D800), even with L lenses."
The question then becomes, how much is that character and draw
worth? How important is that to your artistic statement?
Of course I wish it was cheaper.. ;-)
I looked at some full resolution samples photos that Zeiss posted on flickr. I do find some of them rather impressive. Here's one:
All sizes | Otus 1.4/55 - High-contrast, Sample 02 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
This lens is a strong argument for the D800 vs. medium format. If Zeiss comes up with more of the same quality, that will be very bad news for some MF manufacturers.
Jorgen,I think the lack of A.F will remain an obstacle for many shooters,but If Sigma can produce similar I.Q in their new Art lenses at a lower price that may make a bigger difference,the 35 1.4 is a great lens,
But the bigger sensor will always have the advantage providing the tech keeps up with 35mm
I haven't used a Sigma lense in many years, and my memory isn't fond. Have they now started making lenses to match Zeiss and Leica? My recollection is that they always had a limitation of some sort. The only strong point was price.
Thanks, I'll check it out. I'm pretty set with the D800E now with Leica R adapted and the Zeiss 55 and 135.
SIGMA is actually reworking his whole lens line. I think we should expect 2 to 4 years before having a new useful SIGMA lenses panoply. They also design new lenses such as the 18-35f1.8, wonderful lens.
For me, this is logic that they should work on a new 50f1.4 ART lens, justly to counter this self proclaimed "wunderbar" Zeiss Lens.
The actual 35f1.4 ART is a masterpiece, it is notorious. This is the best 35mm out there. It is a solid piece of metal/composite and glass. They have nothing to envies from Zeiss about that. Actually, I prefer the SIGMA over the Nikon big times in build construction. They also test and calculate it to resolve the last foveon chip, which is very hard to resolve. Also the 35mm feature a lot of elements too, this is not a simple optic.
SIGMA is on a new way and we will forget about the old design once new lenses will reach the market. Let say a 24mm, a 35mm, a 50mm, a 85mm and why not a 135mm...
There will be always a sort of apprehension from consumer PoV about buying a SIGMA lens over a NIkon or Canon lens but SIGMA will prove that it is wrong and stupid, at the end. The Price, the excellence of build quality and the excellence of optical performance. They do and can do it.
So, lets wait for the new 50f1.4 (why not a 55f1.4). Sure it will be awesome and very close (if not identical) to this zeiss in performances, + AF
Do not forget that the lenses are mostly telecentric now, in SIGMA world. They are obliged to resolve the corners of a chip who do not have micro-lenses, as far as I know.
I think SIGMA will overcome Zeiss in a not so far future, in term market/technical reality. I mean, Japan people do not joke... You might LoL at my assessment but I'm pretty serious !
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Lens Review on Vimeo
A quick review of the 18-35mm 1.8 Sigma.. Another of Sigma's latest generation..
I've been waiting forever for Zeiss to offer a ZA 35/1.4 for the A mount Sony 35mm DSLR cameras I use for professional paying work. I need AF so adapting the excellent Leica R to Sony A mount was not an option ... (if it can even be adapted).
So when this 35/1.4 Sigma Art lens became available I did some homework. While it was universally touted as a step in the right direction for Sigma, and a truly good and well made lens, I ran into too many comments by credible users that delayed my purchase.
Low light AF was one issue ... despite the f/1.4 max aperture, it was deemed by many as slower to focus than the Zeiss lenses ... citing lenses like the ZA 24-70 workhorse zoom as faster/surer ... even slower than some camera driven AF Tokina f/2.8 and older Minolta AF lenses in dim conditions (exactly where one uses a fast aperture optic).
Plus, many stated that the Bokeh was nice, but showed more abrupt tonal transitions than the fast aperture Zeiss ZA lenses. I'm after reasonable consistency from one focal length to the next, and stuff like that is what I look for in a lens system ... which Leica and Zeiss are very good at delivering. The new ZA50/1.4 delivers better optical performance than the older ZA85/1.4, like much less CA if any at all, while retaining the color, contrast, and superb tonal roll off I expect of Zeiss.
Lastly, one user mentioned the need to micro adjust his Sigma 35/1.4 copy to -7 for accurate f/1.4 images ... in contrast, my new Zeiss ZA50/1.4 required none.
Cudos to Sigma for stepping up their game ... but I'll wait a bit longer to see if Zeiss ever delivers a ZA35/1.4 ... in the meantime make do with the new ZA 50/1.4 ASPH.
I think you should test it to make your own judgement Rent it and try it. Better having an AF, even if slow in low light (that also depend of the user behind the camera...).
For example, the 85f1.4G is also slow in low light in some situations... I mean, it can't focus at all !! On the D700/D800 I had some problems, less on the D4. Same goes for the 85f1.8G, but better results at the end.
The Sigma can be manually focused if needed so I don't really see any problems after all. Just test the f1.2 canon line in dim conditions
Marc raised some valid point's but the Bokeh issue is less relevant to landscape or cityscape shooters,another point is that this lens is less than half the price of the Nikon 35 and a hell of a lot cheaper than the Zeiss 55
Point is that I don't give a rat's about the price as long as I can afford it. I will always buy the best that I can possibly afford. I've always worked on the basis of wanting my tools to be better than my ability. That's why I used Hasseblad for many years. I didn't buy into the D800E because it was better than the H, rather I'm getting too old to lug it around.
here is an interview with Dr Hubert Nasse discussing this Zeiss 55Dr. Hubert Nasse Explains The New Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Lens Design. « Wide Open Camera
The weight of this lens makes even a d800 kit pretty much as heavy as a Leica S with 70mm...