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Thread: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

  1. #51

    Re: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

    Difficult to read with the frequent and odd interjections ...

    ZF15 is a very large, massive lens.
    ZF18 It's performance is not quite as good as the 15.
    ZF21 is about the same net IQ as the 18
    ZF35: Horrible resolution and excessive CA at 1.4 and 2 across the image, totally unusable at these apertures by anybody's standards.
    17-35 Nikkor Zoom: Bottom line if I owned this zoom, I probably would not buy a ZF18, or a ZF21, or even a ZF35!
    the 15 would be nice to own -- but then I rarely shoot that wide and have the 24 I can shift for essentially that same FoV if/when I need it.
    With the 21 and 18 performance being so close.
    The real surprise for me here is the 24 PC
    ....yes I would have been surprised by the 24PC as well.

    The views demonstrated here are nothing like the experiences of the Zeiss user and they are shared across multiple brands but in particular Nikon and Canon. We rarely see the zf18 in any discussion or images and its not regarded as anything a seasoned user would care to own. I'm the baby of the group at FM but the gallery there is an undeniable contradiction to the results here.

    Actual MFT data is available for each of these lenses and qualifies any discussion of optical property. Beyond this what is there but the photographers own preferences which are again evident in the replies of this thread.

    The current Zeiss designs are not from the film era and I've already had an old soldier tell me that "back in the day, sonny" ...but the realities are that these are new designs and are for a palate that is disappointed with the likes of the Nikkors 20, 28, 35, 50 and 105 and further we are disappointed with the 14-24 the 24-70 and the 70-200.

    Zeiss, horrible things they are ...don't even have AF.

    ɹǝpun uʍop puɐl ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ
    oneANT street photographer
    Last edited by oneANT; 17th August 2012 at 07:19.

  2. #52
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    Marseille, FRANCE
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    Re: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

    i've heard that there was a 35/2,8 VR and 17 PCe in preparation (patent... ) ... considering the fact that most 35 have to be used at 4 to get a decent result, this new lens could be the answer !
    considering the fact that the Canon 24 TSe is far superior to the Nikon one, and the fact that ZEISS 15,18,21 outperform the Nikon one's... Nikon are probably working on a 17 PCe or similar !

    But it says that nothing in the Nikon/Canon line, will get similar result as a Carl-Zeiss-"Hollywood"-Distagon-2-28 wide open... it's not technically perfect, but a really special rendering !

    i've bought a 80/1,9 Mamiya for the same reason, but i also use a 80 Phase one... differents lenses, different uses !

  3. #53
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    Feb 2009
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    Re: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

    It's not about a lens being designed "for film" or "digital" (despite symmetrical WA), although older designs are usually worse. Some of the very best lenses have been designed in the anlogue-age (e.g. the Leica SX35 Aspherical from 1990 is superior to any 1.4/35-competitor)
    The consumer-lenses offered with the Zeiss-brand are mostly very old designs and/or simplified to meet the skills of the manufacturer (Cosina, Sony...). Besides that, sample variation is a big issue (optically and mechanically) - so it's not surprising that results vary.
    Let's see what they're up to with the new high-end-series (Distagon 55...), until then, their consumer-lenses are built to similar standards as upper-class Nikon/Canon-lenses and there is no reason to expect general superiority just because of brand-name. Zeiss' own design/manufacturing-technology is proprietary and not given to Cosina or others - minimizing sample-variation will be expensive nevertheless, no matter who has to minimize tolerances.

  4. #54
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    Feb 2009
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    Re: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

    I've asked on PK: the Distagon 55 will be just Zeiss-branded like the other SLR-offerings.

    So it will be "cheap" but also not made to the quality standards of Zeiss-lenses - which is a shame IMHO since Nikon/Canon can make decent lenses (with AF) themselves, people trying to replace a MFDB with a D800E might have hoped for more.

  5. #55
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    Oct 2012
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    Re: Nikon/Zeiss ZF lens review, first impressions

    Interesting comments and opinions in this thread.

    When I went looking for a set of new manual focus lenses with good focus feel and aperture rings in Nikon mount, the ZF lenses seemed like the obvious choice to me.

    I already had a set of Nikkor G lenses; 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 2.8 zooms. They're great at what they do, but I really miss the omission of aperture rings on all modern Nikon G lenses. I've always thought adjusting the aperture on the lens barrel has such a direct and instinctive correlation with what you're actually doing. I can just about live with this omission on a zoom lens as they suit a more automated smash and grab style of shooting, but there's no way I'd buy a prime lens that lacks a traditional aperture ring and smooth focus feel for MF.

    The latest plastic 50mm/1.4 G lens manufactured in China was what finally pushed me away from Nikkor towards Zeiss. I had sold my old Nikon 50/1.4 to upgrade to the new one, and hated it. Everyone always says, good glass is something to invest in as you'll use it for a long time, but that lens just felt disposable. Ergonomics and build quality aside; rendering was the other reason I went for the Zeiss ZF. I wanted a set of primes that offered a different look to my Nikon lenses, but also maintained consistency as a set. Over the course of a couple of years I bought the following Zeiss ZF lenses. 28/2, 35/2, 50/1.4 and 100/2 Macro. The Zeiss feel like real lenses should. Being primes, they're obviously a lot less trouble to carry than my zooms. I end up using them more often as a result. I never considered the Zeiss 35/1.4 as despite the nice rendering it offers, it just looked too huge for a 35mm prime.

    Close focus is an interesting feature of the 28/2 and 35/2. They both have very short minimum focus distances. You can get some interesting perspectives on subjects with these wide angle lenses, where normally you'd have to use a longer lens to be so close.

    Even though the ZF.2 lenses were available when I bought the last few of my ZF lenses, I heard they're optically identical. I mostly shoot in manual mode, and very occasionally aperture priority. So could see little reason in going for the ZF.2

    BTW, as someone mentioned you don't get the aperture value for ZF lenses in exif data; if you open the MENU on a Nikon DSLR and set the focal length and maximum aperture of the ZF lens you're using under "Non-CPU lens data" it will show the current aperture value in the viewfinder and on the camera's LCDs. It will also record focal length and the correct aperture value in exif data for each photo. There are 9 slots available for different lenses. Once programed, you just have to remember to select the lens manually from the menu each time you change it. A bit like non-coded lenses on a M8/M9. I was using a D700 and D3s. It's probably the same for most new Nikon bodies.

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