Site Sponsors
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 103

Thread: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Hi all. I'm getting out of Leica and into Nikon. Being used to using prime MF lenses, I'm wanting to get my two most used lenses for personal use in fixed focal lengths. I've been searching for reviews on the Zeiss ZF range of lenses and, to be honest, most aren't worth reading and many of the sample images provided for illustrations are often no longer linked properly.
    With this in mind I wonder if people could combine their thoughts on the Zeiss range of ZF primes here in one easy to access thread? Sample images and comparisons to Nikkor lenses would be great, especially for people like me who are tossing up between the AF-S 50mm f1.4 and 50mm Planar f1.4. No two reviews seem to agree on the quality of either of those! (Ugly bokeh, good bokeh... which one is it and where are the examples?)

    I look forward to reading all your opinions.

    Thanks.

    Tim

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Hi all. I'm getting out of Leica and into Nikon. Being used to using prime MF lenses, I'm wanting to get my two most used lenses for personal use in fixed focal lengths. I've been searching for reviews on the Zeiss ZF range of lenses and, to be honest, most aren't worth reading and many of the sample images provided for illustrations are often no longer linked properly.
    With this in mind I wonder if people could combine their thoughts on the Zeiss range of ZF primes here in one easy to access thread? Sample images and comparisons to Nikkor lenses would be great, especially for people like me who are tossing up between the AF-S 50mm f1.4 and 50mm Planar f1.4. No two reviews seem to agree on the quality of either of those! (Ugly bokeh, good bokeh... which one is it and where are the examples?)

    I look forward to reading all your opinions.

    Thanks.

    Tim
    Tim, I honestly don't have time to search down shots taken with all the different Nikon and Zeiss lenses. But I will take a minute to write my opinion.

    For a 50mm prime neither the Zeiss 50/1.4 nor the new Nikon AFS 50/1.4 floated my boat. I never like the Zeiss 50 in any iteration: Contax 50/1.4 manual focus, Contax N AF 50/1.4, or the ZF 50/1.4. They are all sharp, but that design is infamous for wormy bokeh ... not anywhere as nice as ANY Leica 50/1.4.

    IMO the Zeiss 50 to have is the ZF50/2 Macro. A tad slower but head and shoulders above the 50/1.4 IMHO and direct experience. The ZF35/2 and ZF28/2 are also world class optics. I didn't like the ZF100/2 macro because of CA, IMO the new Nikon 100/2.8VR Macro is a better lens over-all for Marco work. VR is worth it's weight in gold.

    The Nikon AFS 50/1.4 is an okay lens but at f/1.4 frequently disappoints in terms of absolute sharpness ... however, the bokeh is consistently good.

    In terms of Nikon lenses the newer AFS 14-24/2.8 and 24-70/2.8 are absolutely stellar, and a primary reason I went Nikon from Canon.

    BTW, my way out of Leica SLRs was to replace my R9s and DMR with a Sony A900, and the set of Zeiss AF optics. The two zooms are incredible ... the 85/1.4 is pretty good (has some CA) ... and the 135/1.8 is the best 135 I've ever used, maybe one of the best lenses of all time. The AF Sony 50/1.4 isn't Zeiss (which is a good thing if Zeiss used the old formula to ever make one) ... but I found it to perform a bit better than the new Nikon 50/1.4.

    Hope this helps even a little bit.

    -Marc

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Tanks Marc, your comments do indeed help a lot. The 28mm and 35mm ZF lenses seem to get the best write ups. The 50mm Planar seems to divide people somewhat. I'm looking most seriously at the ZF 35mm but am undecided on what 50mm to get. I'll keep looking!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Tim, I honestly don't have time to search down shots taken with all the different Nikon and Zeiss lenses. But I will take a minute to write my opinion.

    For a 50mm prime neither the Zeiss 50/1.4 nor the new Nikon AFS 50/1.4 floated my boat. I never like the Zeiss 50 in any iteration: Contax 50/1.4 manual focus, Contax N AF 50/1.4, or the ZF 50/1.4. They are all sharp, but that design is infamous for wormy bokeh ... not anywhere as nice as ANY Leica 50/1.4.

    IMO the Zeiss 50 to have is the ZF50/2 Macro. A tad slower but head and shoulders above the 50/1.4 IMHO and direct experience. The ZF35/2 and ZF28/2 are also world class optics. I didn't like the ZF100/2 macro because of CA, IMO the new Nikon 100/2.8VR Macro is a better lens over-all for Marco work. VR is worth it's weight in gold.

    The Nikon AFS 50/1.4 is an okay lens but at f/1.4 frequently disappoints in terms of absolute sharpness ... however, the bokeh is consistently good.

    In terms of Nikon lenses the newer AFS 14-24/2.8 and 24-70/2.8 are absolutely stellar, and a primary reason I went Nikon from Canon.

    BTW, my way out of Leica SLRs was to replace my R9s and DMR with a Sony A900, and the set of Zeiss AF optics. The two zooms are incredible ... the 85/1.4 is pretty good (has some CA) ... and the 135/1.8 is the best 135 I've ever used, maybe one of the best lenses of all time. The AF Sony 50/1.4 isn't Zeiss (which is a good thing if Zeiss used the old formula to ever make one) ... but I found it to perform a bit better than the new Nikon 50/1.4.

    Hope this helps even a little bit.

    -Marc

  4. #4
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    The most complete tests on the zeiss zf lenses seems to be at , http://diglloyd.com/

    This is a pay site but worth it if you are just starting with the zeiss lenses. I have some of Marc s lenses that he mentions as well as a number of others.
    As with all lens evaluations ..you need a context (what type of photography do you enjoy).

    My favorite is the 28/2 ZF because its perfect for street work and allows me to use a D700 (without grip) in a smaller form. I just received the 35/2 zf so no experience. Both the macro s 50 and 100 are well respected for their amazing resolution....but I find them requiring deliberate focusing due to a longer throw. (necessary for macro work but a PIA for street). I like the 85/1.4 zf . All of the zeiss lens have high contrast,high color saturation and outstanding resolution.

    The bokeh can be harsh and CA is a problem with several designs ...I tend to think of the zeiss when I want "razor sharp" ,high saturation and strong contrast. Not always the best for portraits ..start looking for shade or softer light.

    The other alternative is to convert Leica R lenses with the leitax mounts. The R glass provides another look altogether. The 80/1.4 summilux is a favorite due to the smooth bokeh ..lower contrast wide open ...when I think of this lens ...its "smooth creamy bokeh". Yet it is still plenty sharp. I use a 180/2.8 pre asph (a bargin lens at less than $500) for my 180. Got more to spend go for the APO version . The best 50 seems to be the E60 summilux (1.4) and these are I believe around $2000. Plenty written on the conversion process.

    But it all depends on what you plan on shooting and what type of light you will have.

  5. #5
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Tanks Marc, your comments do indeed help a lot. The 28mm and 35mm ZF lenses seem to get the best write ups. The 50mm Planar seems to divide people somewhat. I'm looking most seriously at the ZF 35mm but am undecided on what 50mm to get. I'll keep looking!
    A lot has been said, here and in other posts in this forum.

    My opinion, while sharing most of Marc's thoughts:

    50/2 -probably my favorite- is a superb lens , and truly the "divide people" part is mainly due to people judging from internet jpegs most of them never owned the lens. The others love it, with the two small reservations mentionned above i.e. 1/ it's not a 1.4... and 2/ focusing is not hyper fast (but extremely precise).
    Did i mention (again) that it's a very versatile lens once you get the habit? Incidentally half-stops is great when working with powerful strobes.
    Oh, and you often read or see brick walls shots stating that "50 1.4 and 50/2M perform equally from 2.8 up". That's wrong. The latter is a totally different animal. Much better.

    35/2 for me is the same as the 50 but not quite as performing planeity wise. In other words, you can use the 50 for studio products shots (i do it a lot, and customers are satisfied), less easily the 35mm.
    Then the 35mm has a shorter focus course, so as Glen says it's a great street oriented glass.

    100/2 vs. 105VR? Well, despite the Arri Zeiss unrivalled bokeh and nicely saturated colors i indeed chose to go with the 105VR. Just marginally for macro and VR (which is a plus though), but the 105VR is a terrific portrait lens on FF, and ideal for studio even with difficult products shots, providing the extra 22-32 aperture range.

    The one often overlooked focal in the ZF series is the 21mm. Stellar, but needing a bit of practice to account for metering variations if you use it, say, in the 2.8-5.6 range or in the 8+. Pricey, though. And definitely bigger and heavier than the 28 mentionned by Glen as a very convenient, lighter partner for the Nikon bodies. I have a slight personal preference for the 35, but of course YMMV.

    My 0.02

  6. #6
    ddk
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    I've been shooting with Zeiss ZF lenses since their introduction and have, use and love all of them. While I agree with Marc regarding the Leica's 50/1.4 having the best bokeh (its also the most expensive 50mm!), I don't have a problem with the ZF 50/1.4. I'll attach a few samples at the end of the thread. I'd post more but since my cameras either don't register manual lenses or need manual info input, my exif data is either non-existent or inaccurate, so I'll post what was basically a test shot where I recorded the data.

    As far as Nikkor vs Zeiss, having shot both I have to say that its all a matter of taste. Since one can shoot good and bad images with both brands, I can't say that one is better than the other, only that I prefer the Zeiss. In fact outside of 2 or 3 older designs (14/2.8, 58/1.2, 135/2 DC) I don't use Nikon glass anymore, and I own/owned everything under 200mm, including some of the latest zooms. Again not because they're bad, only that I like the look and feel of ZF lenses better for my work.

    Roger is right, Lloyd's reviews of the Zeiss ZF products are best out there and will give you a great insight of the nuances of each lens. I read them long after owning the lenses and still found them very informative.

    I was going to link some images from my pbase account but the site is down now, I'll do it later when its up again. In the meantime here's one that I had on a different server,

    50/1.4 ZF and Kodak SLR/n;



    100% crop


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Great comments everyone. Thanks.

    Coming from Leica, where my favourite two lenses were the Summilux ASPH 35mm and 50mm lenses in M mount, I've been really spoilt for quality. The thing is, I never shot Leica because of the optics, more because of the small package and rangefinder focusing. It's funny how deciding to change has provoked a kind of reverse "grass is always greener" thought process when it comes to lenses. I really respect and like the ZM range of Zeiss lenses (except for some QC problems.) The colour they produce, along with their resolution, was always very good. Hence why I'm thinking seriously about the ZF range.

    The only ZF lens I've handled is the 85mm f1.4 and I must say it was a real beauty to look through and hold. Totally first rate build, it seemed, and forgetting for a moment the lack of AF, more satisfying to shoot with than the then Nikon offering. Not sure why they insist on silver / chrome front rings though. Makes no sense to me.

    Most of my work can be loosely defined as portraiture. When shooting Leica a lot, I was mainly out on the street looking for the old decisive moment. But times have changed and for the last two years I've mainly worked with medium format and often with a tripod. Translating this methodology over to a new system with Nikon and manual focus lenses then wouldn't be an issue. I like having to really think about things and don't trust computers so why would I trust a camera to focus for me? It's not like I'm doing sports or motor racing!

    I'm sold of the ZF 35mm and 28mm but am still on the fence about the 50mm. I'd really appreciate f1.4 and a father focus throw for when working quickly but am freaked out by the many negative reports I've read regarding bokeh and resolution - again, I'm spoilt coming from the Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH. Having said that, I only shoot f1.4 when in real need of light. f1.4 is more for practical reasons than creative.

    The samples posted above are very impressive in terms of sharpness but also in proving the old Kodak cameras really did work well in controlled light! Thanks for posting.

    At the end of the day it would be good to handle and try a sample myself but Zeiss lenses aren't available off the shelf here, only on prepaid special order.

    Keep the images and opinions coming!

  8. #8
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Vivek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    13,607
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    21

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    50/1.4 ZF and Kodak SLR/n;



    100% crop
    Splendid, DDK!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    In terms of focus throw between infinity and 1 meter, how quick is the Makro-Planar compared to the Planar? Looking at the product pic on the Zeiss web site suggests the longer throw only really slows things down below the 1m mark. Would that be true? If that's the case the Makro-Planar is for me.

  10. #10
    ddk
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Thanks Vivek!

    The 50/1.4 is the fastest and the easiest to focus with out of the lot. I don't see why it gets a bad rap from some; the build is top notch, it has great color and contrast, fast in action, very sharp wide open. Yes it doesn't have Leica's bokeh but no other 50/1.4 that I've tried can match Leica either. The 50mm ZF macro is too slow to focus in street imo, but you can get used to it.

  11. #11
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Focus throw in the 1m-to-infinity range is indeed very short, not sure which pictures were on the Zeiss website so here's below (a dirty) one from the actual product for you, live from the table desk :

  12. #12
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Thanks Vivek!

    The 50/1.4 is the fastest and the easiest to focus with out of the lot. I don't see why it gets a bad rap from some; the build is top notch, it has great color and contrast, fast in action, very sharp wide open. Yes it doesn't have Leica's bokeh but no other 50/1.4 that I've tried can match Leica either. The 50mm ZF macro is too slow to focus in street imo, but you can get used to it.
    David is the throw in 1m+ range really different between the two models?
    Can't remember really, and it looks to me that the 50M focuses really fast in this range... I use it a lot.

  13. #13
    ddk
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Yes, there is a difference in use Corian, I find it harder and slower to focus the 50M, not by much but enough.

  14. #14
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Yes, there is a difference in use Corian, I find it harder and slower to focus the 50M, not by much but enough.
    ok thanks David, i did not notice that.

    Some discrepancies have been reported in regard to focus ring smoothness, mine required a bit of break-in time. Maybe the small variation can be accounted for...

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Thanks. That pic seals the deal. Look very quick in the range that's most important to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Focus throw in the 1m-to-infinity range is indeed very short, not sure which pictures were on the Zeiss website so here's below (a dirty) one from the actual product for you, live from the table desk :

  16. #16
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Thanks Vivek!

    The 50/1.4 is the fastest and the easiest to focus with out of the lot. I don't see why it gets a bad rap from some; the build is top notch, it has great color and contrast, fast in action, very sharp wide open. Yes it doesn't have Leica's bokeh but no other 50/1.4 that I've tried can match Leica either. The 50mm ZF macro is too slow to focus in street imo, but you can get used to it.
    I agree, the ZF50/2 is too slow for street photography.

    No doubt the ZF50/1,4 is sharp, but it gets a bad rap because it deserves it. The most wormy Bokeh of all the lenses being discussed is a good reason IMO. I'd go with the Nikon AFS 50/1.4D before that ZF 50/1.4 ... and then you'd have AF to work with also. I just wish Nikon had incorporated their new nano crystal coating on the new 50.

    For the best 50, I'm now considering a Leica Summicron-R 50/2 converted to Nikon mount for my F6 (if I decide to keep it). IMO, having used every 50 out there (including the sigma 50/1.4 which has amazing bokeh) none of the above mentioned lenses is its equal, and none manually focus as easily as the Leica ... Leica simply spoils you for manual focus lenses. Can be had for about $500. or less + the conversion. Just an alternative thought.

    -Marc

  17. #17
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Talking about bokeh / portraiture and autofocus with the Nikon/Sigma 50mm lenses, another alternative or complementary candidate is the good ol' 85 1.4 AF-D.

    Dustin Diaz calls it "the cream machine", some examples in his portfolio: http://www.flickr.com/photos/polvero...7621892940157/


    Just it get over with the ZF 50Makro pros, one area it really shines is distortion / planeity. When you get monuments or some more technical shots from time to time (my case), it's better than all its F-mount competitors.
    Last edited by Corlan F.; 26th September 2009 at 05:47.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    No one ever mentions the ZF 25mm f2.8. What do people think of it?

  19. #19
    fliangshir
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    I'm very interested! I would love to find out more inforamtion related to this topic. Thanks in advance.
    me too, I need more detailed info

  20. #20
    Member bcf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lyon, France
    Posts
    125
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    What about the Voigtlander lenses? The 40/2 and 58/1.4 are exceptional, inexpensive and still available new AFAIK. Lloyd Chambers has reviewed them as well. An advantage over the Zeiss lenses is that they are chipped: you will get the correct lens information in EXIF.
    -- Bernard

  21. #21
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    I tried both the CV 58mm and 40mm. The 58mm is outstanding. It's sharper than anything else I've tried in that FL. On the other hand, the 40mm was disappointing to me. It had virtually no flare control. I sent mine back after a week.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Took the plunge today and ordered the ZF 35mm from B&H. All going to plan should be here next week along with my new D700.

    Really want that 50mm Makro-Planar but good things take time...

  23. #23
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Here's the ZF 25mm and 35mm in action.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo2020 View Post
    Here's the ZF 25mm and 35mm in action.
    What's your opinion of the 25mm? I'd prefer a little wider than the 28mm but hear the 25mm is not so good? Your example looks good, although it's always hard to tell by looking at little jpgs.

  25. #25
    ddk
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    What's your opinion of the 25mm? I'd prefer a little wider than the 28mm but hear the 25mm is not so good? Your example looks good, although it's always hard to tell by looking at little jpgs.
    Not so good?

    Its only the closest focusing, sharpest with the most gorgeous contrast, color and rendering 25mm out there for the F mount!

  26. #26
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    What's your opinion of the 25mm? I'd prefer a little wider than the 28mm but hear the 25mm is not so good? Your example looks good, although it's always hard to tell by looking at little jpgs.
    I think once someone (we all know who) prints a few negative comments on the Internet about a lens they seem to stick forever and are accepted as gospel.

    My opinion, in general use the 25ZF is superb. I tested it head to head against the Nikon 14-24 and @f5.6 the Zeiss spanked the Nikon in the corners. Center resolution was about the same. The ZF also showed much less corner CA. The only place the 25mm lost ground was some curvature of field at closer distances, like interior architecture. In landscape type photos it was impossible to see. The 25ZF more than makes up for this in its extreme close focusing and light weight.

    BTW, click on the thumbnail to get a better view of the jpg file. Then imagine what the raw looks like.
    Last edited by Vertigo2020; 29th September 2009 at 10:38. Reason: add pic

  27. #27
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Here's a shot with the 35ZF. You may see some color banding in the right side of the frame. This is not a failure of the lens but due to the sun shining through the high temp mineral filled water vapor. Basically a rainbow effect.

  28. #28
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    2,077
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo2020 View Post
    Here's a shot with the 35ZF. You may see some color banding in the right side of the frame. This is not a failure of the lens but due to the sun shining through the high temp mineral filled water vapor. Basically a rainbow effect.
    If Aliens landed in Yellowstone and saw this they would conclude that there was no life on planet Earth

    JMHO

    Woody

  29. #29
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Not really sure what that means Woody.

  30. #30
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo2020 View Post
    Not really sure what that means Woody.
    It means if Aliens from outer space landed at that spot they would think ... "Earth looks like a hostile environment where life couldn't exist".

    Cool photo.

    -Marc

  31. #31
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denmark, CPH
    Posts
    2,500
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    12

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    "Pretty obvious if you ask me. Soon Earth will be a hostile environment where life cannot exist"


    Nikon D300 Nikkor AI-S 2.8/28mm 1/400 sec. at f/8 ISO 200 Sorry for the Nikkor lens in a ZF thread

  32. #32
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quick question...
    I've read people say that infinity / longer mid range sharpness of the 50mm ZF Makro-Planar is not as good as the 50mm ZF1.4. True or false?

  33. #33
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denmark, CPH
    Posts
    2,500
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    12

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Read what Ray (harmsr) had to say when he tried both. He was shooting D3 with a lot of different ZF lenses, before moving on into Medium Format land.
    See his posts # 181 + 184 in this thread: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?p=17438

    In the same thread I showed some captures with ZF 1.4/50 and ZF 1.4/85. Just send me an email if you'd like me to send you some NEF files with ZF captures to play with. So far I have ZF 1.4/50 + 1.4/85 + 2/100.

  34. #34
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Hi Steen,
    thanks for the useful link. Interestingly enough, my conclusions (and Zeiss Nikon history) are extremely close to Ray's at the time:

    Quote Originally Posted by harmsr View Post
    Then came the 50/2.0 Macro which replaced my Nikon 60/2.8 Macro (not the latest brand new one). This 50 really blew the Nikor out of the water, so I kept it and sold the Nikon. Having listened to my dealer that it was a Macro range and not general range lens, I never really tried it at mid or long distance. (What a mistake that was!!!!!!) This lens is much better at close distance out to infinity than the 50/1.4 ZF.

    [..]

    Now that I have gone full frame with the D3 and bought the 24-70/2.8 (which is incredible), I first sold the 35 ZF as I prefer something wider and the bokeh reminded me of the sometimes strange 35 Cron version IV. I also sold the 50/1.4 ZF to just keep the 50/2.0 ZF.

    In search of something wider, I initially got the 25/2.8 ZF and was loaned the 28/2. Well after a week with both in hand the 25/2.8 went back and the 28/2 stayed. The 25 is a sharp lens but weak up close, shows some distortion, and has less desirable OOF areas for my tastes. The 28/2.0 ZF is a stop faster and a better overall lens for my use with beautiful rendering of textures.

    In between, all of this I had tried the Nikon 85 and preferred it to the Zeiss due to improved focus and it being a little more forgiving for portraits. It did not last long however either, when compared to the 105 VR lens on full frame.

    So I have consolidated down to ZF 28/2.0, ZF 50/2.0 Macro, Nikon 105 Vr for primes.
    Except i opted to try in depth the 21mm, but will probably go for the -cheaper, smaller- 28mm eventually.

    28 (or 35) + 50/2 + 105VR is a really nice and versatile outfit for FF body.

    If tele's needed then Nikon 135/2 DC + 200VR (!!) and you're set for good.
    As a prime-only user, that is.


    ( note: love your ZF 100/2 though, but personnaly couldn't justify the write-off difference in real use performance (CA, too) + 1:2 instead of 1.1 + AF which is still a useful feature at times )

  35. #35
    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,462
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo2020 View Post
    Not really sure what that means Woody.
    impeccable shot old boy!!!!

  36. #36
    Senior Member viablex1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,462
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    with the zeiss 25mm


  37. #37
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Quick question...
    I've read people say that infinity / longer mid range sharpness of the 50mm ZF Makro-Planar is not as good as the 50mm ZF1.4. True or false?
    Hi Tim,
    not sure what you're referring to, nevertheless here's a couple of examples possibly of interest regarding long range details with the 50/2.

    Please do not pay attention to color balance, processing etc., i just quickly picked three test files, converted them to jpeg with basic parameters (no added sharpen, just the "standard" mode from the D700).

    For each group, first picture is low quality jpeg (60) just to give a sense of actual framing and distance; then crops are mere 100% without further processing.


    Attention, all shots are handheld with apertures from f/2 to f/5.6.

    So the idea here is not to reflect the best possible performance of the combo but -as our good friend KR put it - some samples of "real life" shots in regard to your question.


    Of course posting jpeg is in itself deceiving and kinda defeats the purpose, but keeping in mind the restrictions, you'll get an idea...


    P1 f/2.8



    detail:




    P2 f/5.6



    detail 1:


    detail 2 (added noise here is due to jpeg compression):




    P2 f/2


    detail 1:

    (don't miss the leaves on the base of the tree trunk)

    detail 2 (slight wind in the upper branches):
    Last edited by Corlan F.; 2nd October 2009 at 13:05.

  38. #38
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Thanks for the crops, that helps a lot and obviously goes against what I've read.
    I'm going to order the Makro-Planar when B&H is open again. Then I just need the 21mm or 28mm and I'm set for all my personal work.

    Does everyone here buy their Zeiss glass in the States, or is it cheaper to import from Japan / Asia like much of he gear we know and love?

  39. #39
    Vertigo2020
    Guest

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by viablex1 View Post
    impeccable shot old boy!!!!
    Thank you. I was just lucky on the lighting. D700 and the Zeiss did the rest.

  40. #40
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Has anyone had to get their rig calibrated for manual focus errors like explained here:

    LINK

    Didn't know you could calibrate the mirror for manual focusing in SLR cameras. I've had to calibrate Leica M's many times before so should have known SLRs wouldn't be any different, being mechanical objects.

  41. #41
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Has anyone had to get their rig calibrated for manual focus errors like explained here:

    LINK

    Didn't know you could calibrate the mirror for manual focusing in SLR cameras. I've had to calibrate Leica M's many times before so should have known SLRs wouldn't be any different, being mechanical objects.
    Did not have to, at least until now... maybe just lucky!

    Here's a couple of macro / close-up tests (already posted in other threads, sorry for the repetition but they were handy in the gallery)

    These are AF:







    Then some MF:







    (first three shots here from 105VR, last two shots from ZF 50/2 - all handheld)

  42. #42
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    That's some crazy detail from the 105! What a great lens.

    I'm just getting impatient waiting for the courier from B&H and another from my local shop. With any luck I'll have a D700, 24-70 and ZF 35mm arriving today. It's hard keeping occupied in the mean time when I'm itching to take photos.

  43. #43
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    That's some crazy detail from the 105! What a great lens.
    Yup, that's a terrific lens and relatively affordable, considering.
    (hence my personal conclusions a couple of posts above)



    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I'm just getting impatient waiting for the courier from B&H and another from my local shop. With any luck I'll have a D700, 24-70 and ZF 35mm arriving today. It's hard keeping occupied in the mean time when I'm itching to take photos.
    We all know the feeling

    You're a lucky guy and wil have a lot of fun for sure.

    Don't hesitate though to read extensively the D700 manual for best configuration* , it might take a bit of time to get comfortable with the various options but with a reasonnable time for adaptation it's definitely a great body!

    * (i recommend two custom settings banks, one for your AF and one for MF ZF lens, the latter being much simpler -and maybe assign the Fn button (f5) to easily select your MF lens settings... more onthis in several threads here).

  44. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Yeah, I'm guessing I'll have to read through the manual a few times to get the hang of things. Coming from a simple Leica setup I'm sure all the extra "space ship" options of the modern SLR will give me a headache for a while. Not to mention getting to used to a new workflow with NEFs / Lightroom. I use digital for work, but for personal work I've always been 100% film. Lets hope it's not too hard a learning curve to get what I want / need.

    Received the ZF 35mm today from B&H, along with various Nikon accessories. Still waiting on the D700 and 24-70, which will come locally. The 35mm feels absolutely fantastic, Leica-like smooth - although a little in need of wearing in - but totally solid build quality. I put it on a students FM2 and noticed that compared to her Nikkor 35mm lens the Zeiss' focus markings, both on the lens barrel and on the cameras split prism, were quite a bit off. Actual 1m showed about 0.7m on the lens etc. Obviously, I can't speculate just yet as to if there was a problem with my lens or the camera, but I was quite surprised as to the difference. That's the beauty of digital - I'll be able to tell in 10 seconds flat when I get MY camera.

    Really lusting for the 50mm Makro-Planar now. I just love the tactile feel of these old style lenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Don't hesitate though to read extensively the D700 manual for best configuration* , it might take a bit of time to get comfortable with the various options but with a reasonnable time for adaptation it's definitely a great body!

    * (i recommend two custom settings banks, one for your AF and one for MF ZF lens, the latter being much simpler -and maybe assign the Fn button (f5) to easily select your MF lens settings... more on this in several threads here).

  45. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Got my D700 today and haven't even mounted the 24-70, it's been 100% Zeiss.
    Here's one of the first I took. Nothing artistic, just trying to understand how to use the different metering modes. Seems Matrix is overexposing by a fair margin, consistently requiring a drop in exposure of about 1.25 stops. Love the sharpness of this 35mm Zeiss. This was at 2.8 and is as sharp as any Leica lens I've ever owned - and that's a few! Beautiful out of focus areas too, about a stop at least of vignetting wide open but I like the effect.
    Tim

  46. #46
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Got my D700 today and haven't even mounted the 24-70, it's been 100% Zeiss.
    Here's one of the first I took. Nothing artistic, just trying to understand how to use the different metering modes. Seems Matrix is overexposing by a fair margin, consistently requiring a drop in exposure of about 1.25 stops. Love the sharpness of this 35mm Zeiss. This was at 2.8 and is as sharp as any Leica lens I've ever owned - and that's a few! Beautiful out of focus areas too, about a stop at least of vignetting wide open but I like the effect.
    Tim
    Hi Tim,

    regarding the metering issue (1+ stop sounds way too much):

    1/ did you properly declare the ZF in the "non-cpu lens" section of the "SETUP menu"?

    If/when done, for now you might want to investigate a couple of options (assuming you're using A mode):

    2/ try center weighted metering (icon on the right with the know around AE-L AF-L) instead of matrix then check the area size value (menu -> b5 / 12's ok for testing).

    3/ use the half-way shutter release AE-L option (check menu -> c1) to meter -and optionally recompose. Shoot the same scene where the only variable is the metering zone (shadows vs. highlights). Then repeat for various exposures values. This will procure a bunch of valuable informations.
    Before jumping to conclusions though, carefully check exif data when reviewing and comparing shots. For one thing, be aware of the possible ISO variations from one shot to another if Auto-ISO is ON. If needed this can be fixed in the "ISO sensitibity settings" item down the SHOOTING Menu.


    I'm sure you're already aware of most if not all that basic stuff. Simply it's sometimes a bit confusing with the various options of a new body.

    Just in case then

  47. #47
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Got my D700 today and haven't even mounted the 24-70, it's been 100% Zeiss.
    Here's one of the first I took. Nothing artistic, just trying to understand how to use the different metering modes. Seems Matrix is overexposing by a fair margin, consistently requiring a drop in exposure of about 1.25 stops. Love the sharpness of this 35mm Zeiss. This was at 2.8 and is as sharp as any Leica lens I've ever owned - and that's a few! Beautiful out of focus areas too, about a stop at least of vignetting wide open but I like the effect.
    Tim
    Did you set the lens in the menu? The ZFs are not chipped, so you need to tell the D700 what focal length and max f stop you are using. Once it is programed in, you can easily recall it ... you don't have to enter the lens into the camera every time you use it.

    Marc

    Oops, must have been typing when someone else already responded.

  48. #48
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Oops, must have been typing when someone else already responded.
    otoh i've typed too fast

    e.g. "know" instead of "knob" for metering type selection

  49. #49
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,588
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    Thanks guys. Yes, I entered in the non-cpu data but, to be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the other options who knows what else could be happening. Eg, I didn't know you could change the center weighted area size. Could make a huge difference. When using spot metering last night I got exposures exactly right. I'm so used to metering with a handheld and spot meter I probably just got a little lazy with the inbuilt meter.

    I'll try various settings tonight and get back to you...

  50. #50
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    381

    Re: Zeiss ZF Lenses: Can we start the definitive thread?

    It might sound overwhelming in the first place but you can look at the bright side and see the numerous fine tuning possibilities.

    Really once you've identified the most critical tabs it's not that bad, plus as said before you might want to save a couple of base custom settings banks. Then just shoot happily with very little variations, such as exposure comp when really needed.

    P.S. AE-L on shutter half-release is really a plus with the MF lenses (AI-S / ZF)

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
  •