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Thread: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

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    85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I am looking at getting a new 85mm lens.

    How does the Canon EF 85mm/1.8 lens compare to the Zeiss 85mm/1.4?
    Is it worth the extra $600?

    The 85mm/1.2L is outside my budget.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I haven't tried the Zeiss 85mm, but I compared my Canon 85/f1.8 with a Leica 90/f2.8 ROM and truthfully, it was hard to see much difference between them (to my eyes). Shot the same film, same subject/day/time etc using a Canon EOS 1V and Leica R8 at various apertures. I was surprised at how good the Canon lens did when put up against Leica glass. Bottom line...I think the Canon 85/1.8 is an excellent performer, especially for the money.

    Gary

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    If you are looking for the extra half stop of speed and really want an 85/1.4 the Samyang (Vivitar, Bowen and many other names) is an interesting option. It beats, barely, the Zeiss wide open while the traditional designs are a bit better at the borders well stopped down. That's a nice budget surprise.

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    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I purchased a 85 1.2L yesterday from Park Cameras in England. I've been out today and brought this photo back. I can't believe a Zeiss would be any sharper or draw any better.

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Quote Originally Posted by wuffstuff View Post
    I purchased a 85 1.2L (...) I can't believe a Zeiss would be any sharper or draw any better.
    Hi wuffstuff,

    What aperture did you use for that image?

    @anyone,

    One has to say the discussions at this Canon board are very lively, no...
    I guess the OP will be back in a week...

    Cheers, /Jonas

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I think perhaps the way the question was phrased, anybody that has not shot both lenses will not respond -- which of course limits any "lively" discussion

    I have not shot the Zeiss 85, but will respond thusly:

    I have owned the Canon 85/1.8, Leica 80/1.4 R lens (with Canon adapter) and the Canon 85/1.2. My fist 85 was the Canon 1.8. It was very good, but then I got a 1.2 ver I. Wow! 1.2 is really different than f1.8! Then I got the Leica 80 Lux. Gorgeous rendering, very similar to the Canon 1.2 at f1.4, weighed half as much, cost a little less, and even manual focusing was not all that bad. So I sold the 1.2.... Then I got tired of manually focusing all the time, and re-purchased the 1.8 lens -- and lived happily with that until the faster focusing ver II 85/1.2 came out. Now I have the 1.2 ver II and love it.

    ALL of the above is a long way to say, if you don't mind manually focusing and no exif, then the Zeiss is certainly worth a look -- and so is the Leica R lens. However, if you want AF, then IMO the 85/1.8 is a bargain. If you plan on using the lens a LOT and want the shallow DoF, then break open the piggy bank and spring for the 85/1.2 -- after all, it really isn't all that much more than the Zeiss...

    Okay, my .02 on that ,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    FWIW - on the Zeiss front there's a strong disparity between the older 85mm versions and the recent Planar ZE/ZF. The latter is sharper and provides increased micro contrast, saturated color rendition, when the former had a softer general feel, with either " a more natural palette" or "somehow washed-out colors" depending on one's tastes.

    (results from both Nikon and 5DII bodies)

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    Member wuffstuff's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Jonas

    Aperture is 1.2. Focus is on the centre flower.

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Quote Originally Posted by wuffstuff View Post
    (...)
    Aperture is 1.2.
    Thank you. I like the rendering.

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    My experiences are the same as Jack has posted above re. the Canon branded 85s. I have owned both the f/1.2 L (v1) and the f/1.8. I owned them at the same time and finally sold the f/1.8 because I seldom used it after buying the f/1.2 L. However, if one is shooting indoor sports (i.e. basketball, volleyball, etc.) the 85 f/1.2 may focus too slow for one's needs, and therefore the f/1.8 which focuses very fast might be a better choice. (Even the f/1.2 mk II doesn't posses super-fast AF, though is faster than the mk I.)

    I have not upgraded my 85 f/1.2 to the mk II version because I'm not bothered by the slower focusing for my needs. If the OP's budget doesn't allow for the 85mm f/1.2 mk II, then one could consider a used mk I version for much less money IF the slower AF isn't an issue.

  11. #11
    rayman68
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    My 1.8 is on my camera 80% of the time. Love it! I'd love to try the zeiss, i'm just worried it may be too sharp.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    The other thing to consider is AF is worth something IMHO
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolce Moda View Post
    I am looking at getting a new 85mm lens.

    How does the Canon EF 85mm/1.8 lens compare to the Zeiss 85mm/1.4?
    Is it worth the extra $600?

    The 85mm/1.2L is outside my budget.
    I tested my Canon 85mm 1.8 against the Zeiss 1.4 and was surprised to see that the Canon resolved better at each f-stop. Surprised because all my wide angle primes are Zeiss ZF and I have been very happy with them.

    I bought the 1.8 several years ago after seeing tests that showed its resolution was comparable to the 1.2

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    FWIW, the Canon 85/1.8 USM and 100/2 USM generally perform like L lenses even though they don't carry that label -- both are really great bargains in the Canon lens line.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Agree with Jack about the Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens. It is a very good lens at a very reasonable price. I also have the 85mm f/1.2 L II and as much as I love the brightness and f/1.2, I find it heavy to handle. I also own the Nikon 85mm f/1.4. I find the Nikon has better micro-contrast but prefer the bokeh from the Canon lenses.

    Sometimes I read about the 85mm f/1.2 L II being unsharp wide open. If you have a newer Canon body that has microadjustment of the AF, you should really do a very careful focus calibration because you'll find wide open DOF to be very very shallow and unforgiving.

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    The Canon 85/1.8 is the best non-L Canon makes but my 85/1.2 MkII from my cold dead hands. Until I shot it the all time sharpest wide open 85 I had ever shot was the Contarex 85/2.0 Sonnar (were there a way to use it on my 5D). Have prints from that 85 Sonnar that still take my breath away, 35 years later.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    RichardL
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    The Canon 85/1.8 is the best non-L Canon makes but my 85/1.2 MkII from my cold dead hands. Until I shot it the all time sharpest wide open 85 I had ever shot was the Contarex 85/2.0 Sonnar (were there a way to use it on my 5D). Have prints from that 85 Sonnar that still take my breath away, 35 years later.
    I would beg to differ. I believe the 100m f2.0 is, by a small margin over the 85 1.8, the best non-L lens Canon makes. Both the 85 1.8 and the 100 f2 are very similar in almost all aspects, but the longer lens wins for me

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I have had every canon 85 1.2 since the manual days great lens . I never shot the 85 f1.8 but when I tried the 100 f2 I thought it was a dog wide open that is . I shot concerts for my living when I tried it at f2 the 100 had no 3d effect I got from the 85 1.2 . Maybe I had a bad copy.

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    i had the ze85 and the canon 85/1.8 at the same time (i also have the 90 TSE), sold the ze85 to finance a Sinar Hy6 camera system. Both 85mm are sharp, with the ze better at infinity, the ze also has nicer color and micro contrast but it had a lot more color aberrations (CA and purple fringing) wide open! that killed it for me. the canon has AF and is much smaller and lighter and i like rubber focussing rings (the ZE is all metall and wasn´t too comfortable to focus for longer periods).

    Felpipe
    Philipp Derganz Photography
    Fotograf Wien Österreich

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Have you considered the Contax N 85mm F/1.4, after conversion to EOS, it is a spectacular portrait lens...

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    Senior Member Hacker's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    There is a nice comparison between the Canon 1.2 and 1.8:

    http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/85mm/index.htm

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    While I don t have the Canon s to compare ...I have the Nikon 85 1.4 ,the Leica R 80 1.4 and the Zeiss 1.4 . Sharpness really shouldn t be the most significant criteria..they are all plenty sharp enough. Its about micro contrast (which shows up in the tone separations ), color saturation,CA and bokeh.

    The Zeiss has by far the highest contrast and color saturation but this may not be an advantage. I don t want high contrast and color saturation for portraits . The bokeh is decent but not noteworthy like the images from the 85 1.2 or the Leica 80 Summilux.

    The other issue is the typical distance the lens is optimized for...harder to determine. The Zeiss is optimized for distance and therefore evaluating resolution on a test shot at 3M doesn t tell the story. Wide open the 85 1.4 loses resolution but maintains contrast and color saturation.

    This is why you get different perspectives on the lenses ..depends on how you plan to use them.

    The other issue is color matching...if you shoot the zeiss wide angles (you can set up for the zeiss rendering and of course you are used to manually focusing) then the 85 zeiss might make sense. If you have a mixed kit get the 85 1.8 Canon and save up for the 85 1.2 II..you can always sell an 85 1.8 for a modest loss.

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    Member roanjoh's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Now you can add the Sigma 85 f1.4 to the list.

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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    i've choose the 90 TSE...

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    tokengirl
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Quote Originally Posted by roanjoh View Post
    Now you can add the Sigma 85 f1.4 to the list.
    I'm looking forward to seeing some samples from this lens. If it performs anything like their 50mm f1.4, it'll be a beauty (fabulous bokeh). It may turn out to be the perfect solution for those who want something that's faster than f1.8 but costs less than the 85L II and focuses faster.

  26. #26
    LJ2004
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I agree with Jack.
    I only use manually lens, for the middle-long lens, I own russia 85/2, carl zeiss G90/2.8(change to EOS amount).
    I must say, if you are free to using manually lens, and don't want spend too much money, so the G90/2.8 would be the most worth one.

    Just buy G90/2.8, and ask sb change to EOS amount.
    Here is the photo connected with film slr 50E and DSLR 5d.






  27. #27
    LJ2004
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    Here is the photo of russia Jupiter 85/2.
    not your choice, but it is cheaper enough to just taste the lens.
    F2 full open.




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    Contributing Editor ustein's Avatar
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    >I believe the 100m f2.0 is, by a small margin over the 85 1.8, the best non-L lens Canon makes.

    What about the 100mm f/2.8 Macro? Not shabby either and no L lens.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

  29. #29
    wardeworth
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    Re: 85mm: Canon VS Zeiss

    I had try the Zeiss 85mm but i don't have Canon EF 85mm/1.8 lens. I heared about them both there is not large differece between them, I have a 5d version original, and don't know if the Canon 85mm autofocus has any lack
    of focusing which I suspect the Zeiss was exhibiting. As per my suggestion try Zeiss..

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