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Thread: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

  1. #1
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Ok, here it is - I have a nice Canon setup as follows:
    1Ds mk2
    14mm 2.8 L mk2
    Schneider superangulon SHIFT 28mm 2.8
    50mm 2.5 macro
    85mm 1.2 L
    90mm 2.8 Tse
    135mm 2.0 L
    180mm 3.5 L macro

    I have been using this professionally and have been doing interiors (stitching with the schneider), fashionwork (mainly the 85 and 135), studio conceptphotography (mainly 14, 50, 90 and 180).

    Now, I have after 18 years of doing this I have grown a little bit tired of it and want a change in my life. So, I have spoken to all my clients and told them to look for somebody else from now on...I know, not many have done this....

    I am therefore going to enjoy photography completely different. My plan is to shoot landscapes in B&W and in 3-4 years produce a big and mighty book of this.

    So, what I want is a small and light system with a maximum of 3 lenses, but not compromising image quality. I did look closely at the Leica M9 but it fell short because of two things, difficult with close range focusing and the potential problems with moiré (not a problem with the landscapes but IF I accept the occassional fashion shoot).

    Then after having written off the M9 I thought of this setup:

    Canon 5D II
    Zeiss Distagon T* 21/2,8 ZE
    Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 II
    Zeiss Makro-Planar T* Macro 100 mm f/2.0 ZE

    My reasoning is that with a small body and the pancake Ultron would be a brilliant travelcamera, for the size probably unbeatable. With the complementing of the other two I have (in my view) a perfect setup for hiking in nature but at the very same time I still can accept a fashionshoot or a productshoot (with the 100mm) or even do interiors (with the 21mm).

    What do you think? Does my thinking make sense?

    edit: spelling

  2. #2
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    So, if I understand correctly, you are selling list #1 and considering list #2?

    I think your proposed kit has a good foundation, and you seem to be partial to manual focus primes with high imaging quality.

    The 21/2.8 seems to be a good landscape lens, with a real strength for color rendition. I don't own it, but that's what reliable sources say. However, if you are going to be doing B&W work, that factor may not be very important for you. Also, the 21/2.8 has some moustache-style distortion, so depending on whether your clients will care, it may not be the 1st choice for architecture/interior. You might look at the 18 mm ZE if slightly wider is acceptable; the B&W images that I have seen from that lens are very high in contrast. Again, this lens is probably not going to satisfy the architectural photographer who looks for zero distortion.

    As for the Ultron 40, I'd suggest trying it out. The 5DII and Ultron may make for a lighter combo than you are used to, but make sure that the balance feels right.
    A 5DII is not a stealthy body, even with a small lens attached, so if your travel photography is street style, you may be more conspicuous than desired.

    I look forward to learning from others that have input too. Have fun with your transition!

  3. #3
    tokengirl
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    For landscapes, I agree with the 5DMkII choice. But you may want to consider the 24mm TS-E II instead of the 21mm Distagon. That is the combo I use most for landscapes and I am thrilled with it. If I could keep only one lens for my 5DMkII, it would definitely be the 24mm TS-E II.






  4. #4
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Notxorc: yes, I am aware that the 21 distagon has some moustache-style distortion, but it excels out in the field and that is where it would be used most.
    It is also wise to advise about balance between body and lens and I have not held a 5d + a Ultron 40 pancake in my hand, but small body + small lens usually works fine.

    Tokengirl: I'll let you in on a little secret... my second option with a 3 lens system could be that I stick with my 90mm Tse and buy the 24mm Tse mk2 and the Pancake 40mm. I do like tilt/shift a lot and maybe this is a smarter choice....mmmm..

    Not easy!

  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    I now shoot in the way you are moving -- BW natural and urban landscapes. I'm not much of a wide angle guy, though, so I can't help there. But I know the reviews of the Zeiss 21 say it's about the best optically of the Canon mount releases.

    I had the Ultron for a while with my 5DII. The size and weight were wonderful. I used it with a Nikon flared metal screw-in hood, which worked great. But one day I did some testing against my 35L and there was no comparison. So I sold it. The weight issue is no longer significant for me because I use a GF1 kit for travel and street.

    Are you sure you want to give up the 135? I really like longer lenses for landscapes, for isolating details and compressing space. The 135 is great, and even excellent with the 1.4 extender.

    Sounds like a real milestone in your creative life. All the best with your new endeavor?

    John
    Last edited by JohnW; 15th August 2010 at 09:10.

  6. #6
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Thanx John for input.

    It honestly is tricky to decide which way to go. On the wide side I am back and forth with the 21 Distagon or the new 24 Tse.
    Yes, you are right about the 135 L, this is a solid performer and I'll keep it.

    But the most difficult decision is actually the 35-50mm range. I have had the 35 L and had grand problems with CA and sold it. I am interested in the Voightländer Ultron 40 but have read about a few shortcomings. This lens is attractive due to its size also...
    The Zeiss 50 macro is interesting but some people witness that CA can be a problem. The Canon 45 Tse is copy-dependent for quality and not as sharp as the others mentioned.

    How is the Zeiss 35 compared to the Zeiss 50 macro?

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    If the aim is a nice walk-around 50mm lens that performs well and is on the light side, the Contax 50mm F1.4 Planar N (converted for Canon use by Conurus) has been working well for me. I've gone through the Zeiss' and prefer the Contax N. The manual focus lenses are nice in their ways too, but my keeper rate has been much higher with the 50N auto-focus lens. Contax 50mm F1.4 N review - http://www.pebbleplace.com/Review/Co...0N_Page_1.html

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Since you're going to be 'focusing' primarily on B&W, you may want to give some thought in your lens selection to the contrast delivered by of the various lens lines on your short list.

    Much like single vs multi-coated lenses, Zeiss T* glass will deliver a much higher (macro) contrast image straight out of camera than CV, Leica or Canon -- and that may or may not be to your liking or processing processing desires.

    Personally, I prefer a sharp but lower contrast image for both B&W (and color) work that I can the salt to taste in post as it were. It's one of the reasons I moved away from Zeiss CZ/Z_ glass (that and less than stellar CA control).

    Being a long-time fan/owner of CV glass, I re-acquired the the Ultron in EoS mount (Nikon mount + adapter was a PITA due to lens size) and it's a VERY nice unit. Well built, smooth operation, very sharp. Also nice to have full 1/3rd stop control.

  9. #9
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Interesting robmac!

    Is it the pancake Ultron 40 II you are refering to?

    I have read people loving it and people that sell it....so a mixed bag of opinions. I really like the idea of having a very competent walkaround lens that is so tiny!

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    It's the Ultron II. Like any lens, people's opinions will differ. As said, earlier, I've owned a lot of CZ and ZF lenses and while they have lots of string suits, was never a fan of the marked contrast, especially when trying to capture shadow detail and color tonality. Personally much prefer CV, Leica or Mamiya M645 lenses (on Canon) in that regard.

    IN the case of the Ultron II, it's is very sharp, very nice focus operation, good CA control, nice bokeh, full 1/2 stop or 1/3rd stop aperture control via camera, focus confirm and proper EXIF data, exposure looks fine. Bit of field curvature. Lloyd Chambers and Sean Reid both have review of the lens on their subscription sites. www.photozone.de also has a review (in English) if you've not seen it.

    Have always liked CV glass and at one juncture had the 40, 58, 75 and the 90, 125Macro and 180 APOs all, save the 125, in Nikon mount via adapters. The SLI 75 and APOs I sold after prices just got silly high. Figured they might get a re-launch and didn't want to be left holding the bag. The 40 I sold as being a pancake, trying to manipulate the aperture ring required fingers (and patience) I didn't have. The 58 I sold in a moment of stupidity.

    Vowed I re-acquire most of them when they came out in EoS. Have since done so with the 40 and the 90 (in transit) and got a cheap 58/1.4 in Nikon mount until the EoS unit is released. The 180 will also be an immediate buy. My idea is to have the 40 (along with the 90 and MAYBE the 20) as a small carry kit. I use the 1Ds2 and while it's not a small body, the use of the 40 allows for a very slim package that fits nicely in a small un-photog-looking courier bag.

    Keep an eye on the www.cameraquest.com website. Stephen Gandy, the owner and a prime CV distributor in US, often has used units on sale. Might be worth giving the 40 a try.
    Last edited by robmac; 17th August 2010 at 08:28.

  11. #11
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Thanks robmac! Very useful info. I am going to check out the 58 as well, seems very likable

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    No worries. Best of luck in your decision - you've got some nice glass to pick from.

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    When dong fashion you will find the 5d mk11 does not autofocus reliably. My 2 cents Good Luck David

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    Since Photokina is around the corner I will definetely not buy a new house yet.

    However, when it comes to wideangle I am more for the 24 tse mk2 now than anything else. I simply want the possibility to tilt and shift.

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    Re: Changing everything but staying with Canon?

    You may want to wait a short while, as Canon will likely soon upgrade the 1D, and it may well have a 30 MP sensor, which would be terrific for landscapes.

    I agree with the other posters that the new Canon 24mm TS-E is a brilliant lens. It tests as well as any of my Zeiss primes. It is a heavy lens, however.

    If weight is a concern, you can save quite a bit of weight in your kit by replacing the Zeiss 100 macro with the Canon 100 macro. I have tested my older Canon macro against the Zeiss and it was a draw, much to my surprise. Of course, it could be that my Canon is an excellent copy and the Zeiss was so-so.

    My experience is that you always have to test each and every lens thoroughly. You just can't go by reputation.

    The 28 and 35 Zeiss primes are also very good, all the way into the corners.

    The 25 is not so good, and I no longer use it now that I have the 24mm TS-E.

    The Zeiss 50 macro is the sharpest lens I have and I would think that it would be much better than the Voightlander--but only a comparative test would tell. Ken Rockwell thinks highly of the VL, and has posted some 100% corner crops that are much better than standard Nikon lenses.

    I would also recommend a 200mm lens. It compacts and flattens perspective. Remember that a normal lens for 4x5 is between 150 and 200, which gave classical black and white photos their 'look'. Using a 200 on a 35mm camera gives that same 'look', which I like.

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