I have had my eye on the Zeiss 35/2 for a while. I shoot a Canon 5D2 and currently use all Zeiss Contax lenses with adapters. For 35mm, I use today the Contax 35-70/3.4 zoom. I assumed the new ZE 35/2 would give me improved sharpness and better flare control.
I bought the Zeiss 35/2 ZE and compared it against my 20 year old 35-70/3.4 zoom. The result was the new Zeiss ZE was not quite as sharp as the Contax zoom. The new Zeiss also had some significant color fringing. These results were not what I was expecting!
Images from the test are attached. For this comparison, I focused 22' (22' is the hyper focal distance for 35mm) away at the cone in the center of the image using 10x live view and F11. I compared the corners and the center and the old zoom was slightly sharper, especially noticeable in the center. I am pretty sure I focused both lens correctly but I assumed being off just a little would not effect this test given I was focusing at the hyper focal distance and F11. F11 does bias the 3.4 zoom, given F11 is just 4 stops down versus the 2.0 Zeiss. However, I am a landscaper so this is how I would shoot the lens (near/far shots at F11).
I am wondering if I got a bad sample. Should I try another sample? Is it just too much to ask of the Zeiss 2.0 to complete with a 3.4 lens in this type of situation?