Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

  1. #1
    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Tysons Corner, Virginia
    Posts
    490
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    18

    Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    I'm looking at both the Canon 5D mkII and the Sony A850.

    AF considerations aside (Canon provides an AF confirm) anyone have a chance to see how the the Zeiss (ZE) primes for Canon (ZE) stack up against the Zeiss Zooms and Primes on the Sony?

    Are they similar? Different? Just curious if anyone has had a chance to try both and what they thought of them.
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
    My job is to capture them.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    33
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    There is something else to consider in favor of Canon. The Canon can take the Contax/Carl Zeiss lenses from the Contax "N" system. The lenses can be converted by a company in Canada called Conurus that does incredible work. This gives you the option of Carl Zeiss 17-35mm 2.8, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, 70-300 4-5.6 and fixed 50 1.4, 85 1,4 and 100 2.8 makro.

    All of these lenses will have autofocus and autoexposure functionality, both for stills and video.

    I have these lenses. The quality is truly wonderful. The 17-35 is legendary and rightly so, I find it decisively superior to any Canon offering in that range. The 24-85 is the real "sleeper." Most people don't focus on it because of the slightly slow aperture, but, I can tell you, the resolution, color fidelity, flare control, lack of aberration, and lack of optical distortion is amazing. Better than the 24-105 Canon by a fair stretch and the best all-around lens out there. The 85 1.4 N is legendary as perhaps the finest portrait lens ever produced and I have no reason to doubt this from my experience.

    Using this option, you can have the "best of both worlds" on the Canon. Full autofocusing Zeiss lenses and access to the Zeiss ZE primes if you need them.

    Plus, the video of the 5DII is a decisive advantage over the Sony.

    Plus, you have the advantage of a much more comprehensive lens/flash/accessory system that Sony cannot even begin to match especially in the telephoto range or in the macro range.

    I am not dissing Sony, but, as photographers, lenses are our creative tools and Canon has the clear edge there. With the Contax converted lenses, you can have it all!

    Guy

  3. #3
    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    1,965
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    The ZA primes are newer optical designs than ZE with rather quick AF (especially the zooms.) I would agree with the above that Contax N lenses are outstanding, but I would certainly put the ZA 85 in/near the same class as the Contax N 85, and the ZA135 is probably one of the best primes created for any 35mm system. BTW, you can also use Zeiss ZS and Contax C/Y with Sony, so I would say that amount of Zeiss glass to use on both systems is relatively equal. However, the Contax N lenses aren't gonna approach the AF speed of something like the ZA 24-70. It's one of the fastest AF lenses I've ever used.

    As for flashes, I'd say Sony's HVL-F58AM is a better wedding/event flash than what Canon has to offer. However, Canon obviously has the overall accessory advantage.

    As for IQ, the 5Dii has a bit of an advantage at high ISO, but the 5Dii can't touch the A900 for color and DR at low ISO. The A900 has the best color separation/hue resolution of any current 35mm DSLR.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    33
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    Douglas,

    Yeah, I would love to have the 24-70 zeiss for the canon, too. That is one of the best zooms ever, but a little short on the tele end. I am happy with the 24-84's longer reach even at the price of smaller aperture.

    I will have, soon, a converted Contax APO 400 f4. Can't wait to get on the birds with that baby! Forgot to mention that lens--a truly unique specimen for Zeiss.

    I wish Sony would make more use of Zeiss as I have heard others speak of the great sensor quality on the cameras as well. I do not have any complaints about the 5DII at prints up to 20x30 (have not gone bigger so far).

    You are right that what the original poster wants to use it for makes a big difference in whether Canon has a true advantage for him or not.

    To Peter,

    Looking at your shooting, you might really love the Sony/Zeiss 135 1.8, but you are a generalist as well, so look at Canon's lens line-up before taking the plunge (they have a 135 f2 L that is very well thought of).

    You are in advertising. If your clients want video there is only one way to go.

    Seeing your talent, I wouldn't be too concerned whatever system you use, as you are going to produce great images no matter what!



    Guy

  5. #5
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    1,470
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    A900 IQ is what keeps me from getting a 5D2 and a full range of ZE glass. I have seen 5D2 samples where you can see banding even at iso 100.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  6. #6
    aprillove20
    Guest

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    I think the Canon can take the Contax/Carl Zeiss lenses from the Contax "N" system.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    33
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    The canon can take the C/Y lenses with adapter (stop-down metering and manual focus), the dedicated ZE lenses (auto metering and manual focus), or the converted "N" lenses (full auto everything), or, for that matter, Leica R, Olympus OM, Pentax FA and almost all other classic lenses with adapter (also stop down and manual focus). This is because the Canon lens mount allows the use of adapters for all of these while still maintaining infinity focus. It is something unique to Canon as far as I know.

    It is hard to "compare" the Canon to the Sony lenses because the sensors and RAW processor are different on the two systems and would contribute to any different "look". Within my Canon system (with these variables eliminated), I can say, that, using the RAW default settings of DPP, the Zeiss lenses offer a rendering that I just love and prefer to most of the equivalent Canon lenses.

    I have no qualms about the 5dII image quality nor do the many professionals and serious amateurs that I know who use Canon (and Canon is the pick of the majority). I shoot ISO 200 most of the time (better than 100 in my exerience), but I know I can get a clean ISO 800-1600 if I have to really stretch (indoor with available light, which I almost always prefer to flash).

    There is an amazing site, www.lensrentals.com, where you can rent both the Sony and Canon cameras. However, you cannot find any converted Contax lenses there, and I am not sure if they stock the Zeiss ZE lenses. Still, it's worth a look and having the cameras in hand is the best way to decide.

  8. #8
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    I have tried adapting C/Y to Canon but the results were spotty, I ended up abandoning the project. Modern DSLRs have very bright viewfinders which tend to be difficult to manual focus. The hit rate (in focus) was simply too low for me, even after swapping focusing screens. And of course stop down metering isn't ideal.

    Don't forget that Conurus can also adapt the NAM-1 which allows Contax 645 lenses to be used on the Canon as well, with full auto aperture and auto focus. The 80/2 is a fine optic and reasonably priced and the 120 Makro is great (which isn't autofocus of course.) Just another option, although the lead time with Conurus is long.

  9. #9
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    1,470
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    I've never had any problem manual focusing C/Y lenses on the 1Ds2 fitted with a center microprism screen. At the moment I use my ZA lenses in MF most of the time on the A900 which is fitted with the M screen. I agree though that MF is a pain with the standard screens.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    363
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    3

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    Manual focus - one reads so much about how hard it is. Just last night I was testing focus with a Leitax mounted Contax 100mm f3.5, hardly anyone's idea of a manual focus-friendly max aperture. I found it easy to focus in normal evening lamp light inside the house, say 2m to 6m distance...the same with the Contax 35-70mm f3.4, which I tried for comparison - the zoom is a little easier to focus on the A900's stock screen, IMO. These lenses are both intended for wilderness photography but I was pretty amped to see the results. I am now guessing we photographers have a wide range of natural ability to manually focus lenses. And a big vote for the Sony's VF must be in order.

    I know the reasons why people like the ZA series, and agree they are great for their needs. But I needed light lenses and the Leitax mounts for Leica R and CY were *the* factor in buying into Sony - no regrets whatsoever. I have read much about the 5DII's IQ release issues, skin colour depiction, body weather sealing, and handled both contenders extensively before plumping for Sony. I do miss the great base of knowledge about alt lenses for Canon...but the Sony's eccentric mirror path means no lens issues for a large number of delectable lenses. Too bad about the Voigtlander series, they are perfect for what I want.

    Guy, I was always curious about the N series Zeiss lenses,after reading Marc Williams's comments. But I just took a look at the MTF of the 24-85/3.5-4.5 and nearly fell off my chair - the lines resemble the path taken by a drunk looking for a way out of the hotel's public bar! Zeiss are the best at MTF so I rate these data sheets highly, and afford them credibility that calculated data does not deserve.

    Now MTF has shortcomings for many of a lens's character attributes, but I seriously doubt this one is even on the same page as the 35-70/3.4 with regard to three dimensionality (contour definition and micro contrast), fine detail rendition, distortion and corner resolution at 'shooting apertures' (f5.6-f11). To account for the different endpoint focal lengths, check out the 50mm data in particular. Maybe there is a good reason for low FL range zooms.

    See them here:
    http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/Vario-Sonnar3.5-4.5_24-85mm_e/$File/Vario-Sonnar3.5-4.5_24-85mm_e.pdf

    and the 35-70:

    http://www.zeiss.com/C12567A8003B8B6F/EmbedTitelIntern/Vario-Sonnar3.4_35-70mm_e/$File/Vario-Sonnar3.4_35-70mm_e.pdf

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    33
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    Hi Philip

    I agree with you on manual focus. I have no trouble focusing my Zeiss N lenses manually on my 5DII with the standard screen. I also have a voigtlander 125 APO macro and MF is no problem with that lens either. I didn't know you could adapt the C/Y and Leica R to the Sony, that is very interesting.

    As for MTF curves, I don't do them. What I see is what I judge by, nothing else. I learned to love the Zeiss look when shooting my Contax 645 with film (still saving for a digital back) and wanted to replicate it with my Canon. I have never heard, from anyone, that the C/Y 35-70 is a different league from the 24-85. Consensus seems to be they are pretty similar, but the focal range advantage of the 24-85 is clear and decisive for me (along with the full auto operation). I have not been disappointed, not for one second, with this combination. You might want to check the Contax N thread in the "Alternative" gear forum on fredmiranda.com.

    If a lens does not visually deliver for what I am shooting, I get rid of it. I photograph as a creative outlet. I know, from seeing, the Zeiss/Canon will deliver whatever I need in terms fo image quality, and I no longer even think about that.

    I was attracted to the Sony largely because of the Zeiss glass, but I need a variety of macros, super telephotos, and Canon has some absolutely unique things like the 28-300 "L" for when lens changes are just not do-able (Yellowstone in winter on a snowmobile). Not to mention their great history of weather-sealed and reliable bodies (I shot Canon film bodies for 15 years with never a fault). These things are far more important to me than MTF differences between lenses. Getting fully functional Zeiss glass to add to my system was just icing on the cake.

    As for the 5DII image quality, the user base speaks for itself, and we aren't even discussing the video aspect.

    I am sure the Sony sensor is every bit as good, maybe even slightly better at low ISO, but its system limitations were not suitable for me.

  12. #12
    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    1,965
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    The big issue with the 5DII IMO, outside of a subtle, hue resolution disadvantage, is the dynamic range. If you shoot a large DR scene with the 5Dii at ISO 100 or 200 and need to boost the shadows a few stops in post, there is banding noise that is nearly impossible to treat. The A900 has some shadow discoloration below ISO 320 when doing the same thing, but it is far less noticeable (disappears at ISO 320.) If the amount of usable DR at low ISO is a concern with your style of shooting, you may want to look at the Sony, because you can bring up shadows to increase DR much more effectively. Either way, both good cameras.

    p.s. wayne seltzer over on fredmiranda actually converted a ZA 135 to use on his Canons, and he can tell you about the differences between that and the 135L.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    33
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    Converting ZA to Canon?? That's GREAT. Is this via an adapter that can be purchased, or is this a "one-off" personal engineering project?

    BTW, I am sure, from my experience, that I would probably prefer the Zeiss 135. I just like the Zeiss "look." However, it was worth mentioning that Canon has a similar lens that is also very well regarded by working pros.

  14. #14
    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Tysons Corner, Virginia
    Posts
    490
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    18

    Re: Canon or Sony with Zeiss question

    These responses are great! On the FABULOUS Zeiss images website that another member posted (http://www.zeissimages.com/ ) the shots taken by Canon 5D seemed a bit 'punchier' and more 'detailed' and a tad 'contrastier' than many taken by the Sony A900/A850, which is what prompted the inquiry.

    I became a fan of Zeiss when I owned my beloved Contax 139 (with a superb kit of glass that included the 25mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4 and the 180mm f2.8 optics) and have been a big fan of Zeiss' magical 'bokeh' (which were equaled or occasionally surpassed by Leitz Noct and earlier Summicrons for the M cameras). No doubt the ZE designs have the same 'feel' as those for the Contax (albeit modernized to work on the Canon EOS body). The ZA's seem to have that magic.

    Now part of the differences could be resolved in post using Lightroom and other fine software. And, it could also be that the Canon users on the site were a bit better than the Sony users. (I don't want to make any generalizations here just that it's possible Canon, due to it's longevity in the biz probably has a more talented user base than Sony at this time.)

    No doubt the Canon 5D MkII is an incredible picture taking machine. And lower noise at higher ISO's is significant. My own approach in the digital age has been one of shooting color at lower ISO's (usually 100-400, 800 tops) and to deal with issues of noise at higher ISOs by simply shooting in BW which, in my opinion, even in at noiser ISO's has a more 'romantic' film quality about it that IMHO is FAR better than film was when it was available at those ISOs. The Dynamic range of the Sony at lower ISO's is almost legendary and the banding issues for the Canon 5D have been noted. (Athough I'd heard that Canon had a fix for that or am I mistaken?)

    The issue of manual focus is also not insignificant. Canon provides a bright VF. The Sony is even brighter. The Canon has a fine micro screen available (EGS?) that would be worth looking into (literally). A company called Haoda (http://haodascreen.com/default.aspx ) has some INCREDIBLE after market screens that rival the legendary Beattie screens may be even better. Plus AF confirm is a nice plus. All very nice.

    But I find that there will be times when rapid focus will be in order and AF is nothing to be sneezed at. From time to time I do do events and AF is greatly appreciated. For most events, clients aren't all that fussy which glass you use for them as the results taken by either Zeiss or the best of Canon's own would not be noticeable in their perception. But there may times when I'm out and about and a rapid AF to catch a moment (although shooting Aperture priority to insure reasonable DOF will also work). In the end, AF is simply nice. (Sony's recent announcement that there will soon be a ZA 24mm f1.4 in their Zeiss stable could make it even nicer.)

    Finally there is the matter of the menus. Sony's is far less extensive than the Canon but that may be a plus in that it is a lot less complicated. Again that's something that only use could answer.

    The two systems I'm considering would be Canon's 5D MKII with ZE 21mm f2.8, 35mm f2.0 and 100mm f2.0 (along with the standard Canon 24-105mm for general purpose shots possibly mating it with Canon's 100-400mm f4.5 for those extra long shots a bit later). Or, the Sony A850 with the ZA 16-35mm f2.8 and the 135mm f1.8 (possibly adding the 24-70mm for general work and then the Sony G 70-400mm f4.0 for the really LONG stuff even later.

    Guy, thanks for recommending that rental place in Memphis. They may be the best bet in comparing the two systems and what it would be like in real use.

    And also for your kind words about my abilities that you'd seen from going to my website.

    And again, thanks all for your comments that have been very helpful.
    Last edited by peterb; 15th June 2010 at 08:41.
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
    My job is to capture them.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •