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Thread: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

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    Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I have been looking at these mf lenses and was wondering how much better IQ these zeiss lenses have over the nikon 24-70 2.8 and 105 2.8VR macro. At there equiv focal lengths. Is there a considerable difference. I know the creamy smooth bokeh of the zeiss' are absolutely amazing. Any input would be great if someone has experience with these lenses.
    thanks

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Have owned both the Zeiss-Cosina ZFs in question (the 35 twice, the 100 once and as well as the 50/2 macro) = all used on 1Ds2 with top adapters.

    Very sharp starting WO, nice bokeh, strong Zeiss contrast (not to everyones taste in all situations). However, CA control only average (Nikon body firmware and NX will mitigate that somewhat). Will purple fringe - especially the 100 at fast apertures.

    Some QC issues (some have had faulty 35s and some, self included, out-to-lunch 100/2 stiff focus) - but still far better than Canon. Personally came to conclusion they were over-priced (new) vs:

    a) similar FL used product from Leica, etc,
    b) the new Nikon 24-70 G or
    c) the amazing for the $$ Cosina-Voigtlander 90/3.5, 180/4 and 125/2.5 APOs in Nikon mount (having owned all three). SHARP, APO, buttery bokeh. The CV 40/2 and 58/1.4 also get good reviews - but bokeh can be busy

    Have used the 14-24, 24-70 and 105/2.8 VR (on a D300). The first two were a knock out - just amazing, prime quality in zooms. Found the 14-24 looked larger in pics than handling reality. Some field curvature (IIRC at 24mm) on the longer zoom, but minor. The 105 VR copy (new) I was trying was faulty - just a mess, so no real value I can add there other than test well upon receipt.

    YMMV
    Last edited by robmac; 2nd December 2008 at 15:15.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thanks for the response. I dont have that much experience with the zeiss'. I shot the 100 f2 at a store with D700 and the bokeh as far as i can tell on the camera screen was amazing. I know some people swear by them and i may dive into one. Possibly the 35 f2 first. I would love to hear more stories.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Your welcome. Like most lenses, opinions are usually in two camps on the new Zeiss's, so if you go that route, I hope it works out for you. The more hands-on testing time you can swing the better.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I found the 100/2 to be a fantastic lens, but I was borrowing Bondo's copy. I do agree that there is some noticeable CA though, particularly at f/2. It is mostly gone by f/2.8.
    As for the 35/2, it sounds great, but do consider the 40/2 from CV. The 40mm is noticeably better than the 24-70mm G, and it is TINY. I have found the bokeh to be pretty good. Since it is so small, so cheap and only 5mm different in field of view, it is worth considering versus the 35mm distagon. I think one thing is clear though, the 35/2 Distagon is not the 35mm Biogon -- the biogon is universally praised, while the distagon seems to be a very good lens, but not in the same league as the rangefinder primes.

    Finally, there are rumors of a new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AFS, so it might be worth waiting a little bit to hear about it.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    My opinion on the ZF35/2 differs from Stuart's.

    I own / have owned the L35/1.4, Biogon 35, 'cron asph 35/2, R cron 35 and the ZF35.
    Of all the above I like the ZF35 best, it is an amazing lens and the best 35 I have used in the SLR world. The only better 35 I know of is the asph lux.

    The ZF35 is highly praised in reviews by Sean Reid and Lloyd Chambers as well as the Réponses Photo review, where the distagon scored the highest optical rating of any lens ever tested.

    Rent / borrow it and form your own opinion.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    If you're interested in buying any ZF glass - I would recommend getting a subscription to Lloyd Chambers site and reading his ZF reviews and updates. Well worth the price.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thanks for all the great info. I DL the review from Lloyd and have a 35 f2 on the way. Cant wait to try it out. Any recommendations for focus/camera setup on a d700?

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Hi Todd
    I don't have the ZF 2/35 myself, but I have seen so many fabulous captures with that lens that I'm fully convinced it's a fantastic performer. I actually think it's probably one of the top three ZF lenses.
    I do have the ZF 2/100 but I haven't used it much since I'm sort of taking a break with photography for the moment, far too much work these days. Anyway, I really like what I've seen so far.
    Here's a trial shot from our garden. Late rose, summer's gone




    ... and an actual pixels crop



    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm • 1/160 sec. at f/8 ISO 200

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    harmsr (Ray Harms) made a comparison between the Zeiss ZF 100mm and the Nikon 105mm VR here:
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showth...=ZF+100&page=5
    Also take a look at the rest of the images in that thread.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    And Stuart Richardson made this comparison between the Zeiss ZF 2/100 and the Leica 2.8/100 APO
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showth...ghlight=zf+100

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I have found both the zf 35/2 and the zf 100/2 makro to be some of
    the best lenses I have used on any dslr, 35 film, or rf body by any manufacturer.

    On a recent trip the zf 35/2



    and the zf 100/2



    served me well on the D700 body.

    The zf 100/2 imho is one of the best ( if not the best ) lens in that fl made
    by any manufacturer.

    Regards.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Great images. i cant wait to try mine. if i like it unfortunately the 100 maybe in my future. I like the nikon 105vr that i own, but after test shooting the zeiss 100 f2, i have to say the bokeh on the zeiss seems in another league to me. Just my opinion

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Quote Originally Posted by toddbee View Post
    Any recommendations for focus/camera setup on a d700?
    D700 is great for focussing manual.
    I just use DK17/19 (magnifying and eye cup), no katzscreen needed.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Zeiss ZF 2/100, bokeh at f/2.8, somewhat cropped




    further cropped, not far from being actual pixels, at f/2.8 dof is very thin



    1/320 sec. at f/2.8 ISO 200 • Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm (despite exif says 85mm, forgot to change non cpu lens settings)

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Simply Amazing

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Todd, I think it depends on what you are going to use it for. As Ray summarized it in his comparison: "The Nikon goes 1:1, has great AF, and VR."

    The image rendering of the Zeiss ZF 100 is nice for e.g. portraits, while going 1:1 is important if you intend to use a 100mm macro lens for e.g. bug shooting, just as the autofocus is a necessity if shooting underwater. I think that's the reason why another forum member, Andree (deepdiver), has both lenses, obviously the ideal solution.

    So at least make sure you don't sell the Nikon 105 VR before you buy the Zeiss. In that way you can compare them shoulder by shoulder and then guide the rest of us
    Good luck with your decisions, and let us know the result.


    Here's the Zeiss ZF 2/100 bokeh at f/5.6




    - and an actual pixels crop - at this close range the dof is still very narrow at f/5.6.



    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm • 1/160 sec. at f/5.6 ISO 200
    Last edited by Steen; 6th December 2008 at 04:10.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    With regards to sharpness of the 100mm, here's a spider trying to hide on a tree of the same color (has also been shown elsewhere).




    and actual pixels



    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm • 1/400 sec. at f/5.6 ISO 200

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Played around with the 35 today. I have to say i am amazed at this lense. I only got to snap a few pics, but the look and bokeh is amazing. similar to my contax g2 from years ago. As far as d700 setup for manual focus, does anyone have recommendations? do i set it for center weighted metering or matrix metering? Center focus point? set it for manual focus on the front of the camera? do these setting matter or does it set automatically since it is a manual lense?

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I only have the D300 myself, but I found the D700 manual on the internet and it looks like D700 works the same way as my D300 with regards to metering with Non-CPU lenses.

    Non-CPU lenses
    The Zeiss ZF lenses are Non-CPU lenses (similar to the Nikon AI-S type lenses).
    This means that these lenses have no electronic contacts and do not automatically communicate with the camera, and thus the user has to tell the camera which lens is mounted on the camera in order to make the so-called "3D Color-Matrix II metering" work (the most advanced metering). For reference see p. 210 in your D700 manual.

    Go to the SETUP MENU >> Non-CPU lens data >> specify the following:

    Lens number (your choice)
    Focal length (mm)
    Maximum aperture (wide open aperture)


    Metering
    The most advanced metering, the 3D Color-Matrix II metering, only works with Non-CPU lenses (e.g. the ZF lenses) provided you have specified the Focal Length and Maximum Aperture of the lens in the SETUP MENU as mentioned above.
    If you don't specify these data the camera will automatically (?) use the less advanced metering mode: Centerweighted metering.
    I other words Centerweighted metering does work with Non-CPU lenses as well, if you prefer to use Centerweighted in specific situations, but there is this limitation: you cannot change the width of the Centerweighted Area in Custom Setting menu "b5". With a Non-CPU lens the Area is the default size of a 12mm circle in the center of the viewfinder.
    And Spot metering works as well, but again with one limitation: with a Non-CPU lens the Spot is locked to the center focus point and you cannot change that. For reference see p. 112 - 113 in your D700 manual.

    I hope this is at least of some help. After all the above is just my personal interpretation of the manuals and the menu choices and of course I can be wrong about some of it. In that case I hope wiser members will correct me
    /Steen

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    With regards to autofocus settings
    I believe the autofocus settings are irrelevant when using Non-CPU manual focus lenses like the ZF lenses.
    But you can use the so-called Electronic Rangefinder i.e. the viewfinder focus indicator (green dot) to confirm it when the subject is in focus. See p. 82 in the manual.
    And with the Multiselector (joystick button) you can manually select among all the focuspoints after half-pressing the shutterbutton shortly. With the Multiselector Lock (the ring around the Multiselector) you can lock the focuspoint so that you don't change focuspoint by pushing the Multiselector by accident. See about Focus Point Selection at p. 76 - 77.
    /Steen

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    /steen,
    thanks for alll the great tips. im going to give them a whirl today.
    todd

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    After receiving the 35 f2. i just couldn't resist. i picked up the 100 f2 this weekend. all i can say is wow. these zeiss lenses are by far the best kept secret in the nikon camp. i simply cannot convey how much depth,sharpness and creaminess the images have. you would be hard pressed to say that they weren't taken with a leica m6/7. incredible

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I find the D300 green dot focus indicator works well with a my manual focus AI/AIS lenses. I do use a Katz-Eye spit-circle focus screen on my D200 and the green dot method agrees very closely with the spit-circle method. The D300 finder is brighter and the AF system is more effective than the D200's, so I don't think the Katz-Eye really pays off for the D300 body.

    Also, the D200/300/700/3 all have simple and convenient methods to tell the camera what manual focus lens is in use. Once this is set up properly, it takes about 2 seconds to set the camera up after a lens change.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I've been a big fan of the Zeiss ZF glass for a while now and have the 18/3.5, 25/2.8, 35/2 & 50/2. I fully agree about the quality of the glass and great rendering you get from these lenses. Let's also not forget that as manual focus lenses go these feel as good as, if not better than my Leica M glass. Absolutely buttery smooth focus action.

    The only one that doesn't spank my Nikon lenses is the 18 and that's only because the 14-24 is just so out of this world - it is however a lot more portable. The 24-70 is very versatile but the look of the 35/50 ZF lenses make me leave it on the D3 most of the time.

    These make a great combination with the D700 - almost a match made in heaven.

    The 100mm has my NAS salivation going at the moment although it may have to wait until after the D3X - the next serious purchase.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I recently got the ZF 35, and that lens is an absolute keeper. I like it even more than I liked the 50 makro (which I thought very highly of but sold).

    Now I'm trying to decide between the ZF 85 and the Nikon AF 85/1.4.

    Sold the 24-70. It's a great lens, better than the Canon 24-70 or 24-105, but it's really big and couldn't match the pop of the Zeiss primes.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Amin, I like my ZF 1.4/85 a lot.
    I believe I have already once showed you a crop from this shot in the "Photographing the Photographer (D3 Street!)" thread.




    Here's a crop illustrating its out of focus rendering and its ability to separate the subject from the background in a very three dimensional way




    And an actual pixels crop illustrating its resolving power.



    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 1.4/85mm • 1/2000 sec. at f/2.8 ISO 200

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thanks Steen, those are great examples. I think I prefer the look of the Zeiss to the Nikon. My indecision is mostly due to wondering how handy autofocus will be.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Yes, I agree it definitely is an important point. With my D300 I do miss quite a lot of 85mm and 100mm shots because of misfocusing manually. On the other hand I like to focus manually because it makes me feel like being in control ... and actually photographing again
    Many have said it is a lot easier to manual focus with the better viewfinder on D3/D700, and in fact the better viewfinder is the one single factor that makes me want to upgrade at some point.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Quote Originally Posted by bondo View Post
    Yes, I agree it definitely is an important point. With my D300 I do miss quite a lot of 85mm and 100mm shots because of misfocusing manually. On the other hand I like to focus manually because it makes me feel like being in control ... and actually photographing again
    That's a big part of it for me as well. It's just more fun to do photography manually.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I cant's express how much i am enjoying these lenses. The 35 ZF and 100ZF. I absolutely love the manual focus and feel of these lenses. I recently sold the 24-70 2.8 and don't miss it at all. The pop and look of the zeiss captured images are amazing. My biggest problem is i can never decide if i want the 100 or the 35 on the camera.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I'll join in the love fest. I have the 35/2, 50/2 and 100/2, all fabulous. It's affirming to read about some selling their 24-70 in favor of the primes. I sold a much loved and used 28-70, and resisted getting the 24-70, as I prefer having either the 35/2 or 50/2 as my standard lens on the D3. Having started with Nikon DSLRs, I moved to Leica 2 years ago and came to prefer manual focus and the results of top prime lenses. So when I added a D3, I picked up these Zeiss lenses and love the experience of MF using the electronic range finder. The ability to move the "rangefinder" around by selecting focus points is in fact a definite advantage over traditional RF focusing, especially when narrow DOF is being used. best...Peter

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Zeiss ZF 2/100, a cactus


    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm • 1/50 sec. at f/8 ISO 200

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I've been a big fan of the Zeiss ZF glass for a while now and have the 18/3.5, 25/2.8, 35/2 & 50/2. I fully agree about the quality of the glass and great rendering you get from these lenses. Let's also not forget that as manual focus lenses go these feel as good as, if not better than my Leica M glass. Absolutely buttery smooth focus action.

    The only one that doesn't spank my Nikon lenses is the 18 and that's only because the 14-24 is just so out of this world - it is however a lot more portable. The 24-70 is very versatile but the look of the 35/50 ZF lenses make me leave it on the D3 most of the time.

    These make a great combination with the D700 - almost a match made in heaven.



    The 100mm has my NAS salivation going at the moment although it may have to wait until after the D3X - the next serious purchase.
    Hey Graham

    Don't disagree about the results but make sure that either you or your dealer checks the focus stiffness before accepting the lens. The user variability ranges from "like stirring molasses with a stiff paddle" to "this lens focusses with no troubles at all. I am sure that both are true (and sadly I had the one that begins with Molasses) but you need the one you can trust.

    Woody

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    +1 on Woody's comment.

    Been there and done that with ZF (the 35 (twice), 50M and 100)and between the wrench needed to turn the focus ring on my 100 and the CA and purple fringing (actually green in my case), with all of them, despite the excellent resolution and bokeh, I gave up and moved on.

    This from someone who loves the older CZ and Hassy-Zeiss glass (thus it's not an anti-Zeiss thing) and CV SL glass (thus not an anti-Cosina thing ;>). I'll leave it at that.

    That said, if you have good ZF samples and they deliver what you want, all the power to you; that's all that matters.

    Also agree on the experience of MF, regardless of lens brand. You're more engaged in the experience and have to slow down and think of lighting angle, DoF placement, etc vs. just snapping away and selecting the best of the mess.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Well I got my Zeiss 100/2 and I'm pleased to say that it's one of the 'buttery smooth' variety vs 'turn with a wrench' model.

    I did some tripod resolution testing with it just after I got it last weekend with my D3X and the results were pretty decent. (Ignore the blur from the wind & compression etc).

    Full image:


    This is a crop from the previous image:


    So I'm not too disappointed. I know that I could have shot even cleaner images if the wind hadn't been howling a gale at the time.

    Btw, I use Nikon Capture NX2 (these are straight from NX2) and I simply don't get to see any CA even with the Zeiss glass
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 28th February 2009 at 16:07.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I'm a huge fan of the ZF lenses, but perhaps for a slightly different reason.

    While I use a pretty full compliment of Nikon glass on a D3 & D700, those AF lenses are primarily for shooting weddings where every shot has to be in focus ... 14-24, 24-70, 50/1.4AFS, 85/1.4, 100/2.8VR Macro, and the incomparible 200/2VR.

    But on my F6 shooting true B&W film, it's the Zeiss lenses all the way. The contrast of the Zeiss optics makes B&W really sing. I outfitted the F6 with a split microprism screen and magnifier which increased the speed and focus hit ratio to almost no missed shots even with street shooting. ZF 18, 25/2.8, 28/2 (amazing!), 50/2 Macro(also amazing!), 85/1.4 (stunning!) and 100/2 macro (mine is buttery smooth) ... I have the VC 180/4 APO for tele work. The F6/Zeiss outfit basically replaced my film Leica M & R.

    This combination is one of my favorite 35mm set-ups that I've ever used.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Marc, would you at some point share your findings and conclusions with us about your new Nikon 1.4/50G AF-S now that we have seen Lars' pictures from his new Sigma 1.4/50, which you have also owned yourself ?
    I do like my Zeiss ZF lenses a lot, but now and then autofocus would come in handy and I've been thinking about getting one of those two new 1.4/50 lenses.
    Apparently we still have to wait for some new, fast, high end mojo primes from Nikon. So many new high-end cameras (D3X, D3, D700, D300, D90) but no new and fast high-end AF-S primes to replace the very old AF versions. What a disappointing PMA.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    I've done some sukkulent macro studies lately using the Zeiss ZF 2/100, here are some of the cactuses















    all the above images with Nikon D300 & Zeiss ZF 2/100mm

  40. #40
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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Quote Originally Posted by bondo View Post
    I've done some sukkulent macro studies lately using the Zeiss ZF 2/100, here are some of the cactuses















    all the above images with Nikon D300 & Zeiss ZF 2/100mm
    Wow, if you had told me those were done with a Leica I would have believed it.

    To answer your question about the Nikon AFS 50/1.4G. I had the Sigma for awhile, and it's a darned good lens. When the Nikon became available, I got one and afterwards sold the Sigma.

    The Nikon is smaller and lighter, and the size really "fits" the D700 perfectly. I noted that the Nikon AFS was a bit quicker. Bokeh on both lenses is very nice ... I slightly prefered the Nikon in this area.

    The one thing I did note is that the Sigma tended to Halo the bright whites and specular highlights where the Nikon supressed them better. Things like white type, rim lighting and bright details appear sharper and cleaner with the Nikon. But it's splitting hairs ... the real reason for me was the smaller size and bit quicker AF.

  41. #41
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thanks a lot Marc ... and here are some other sukkulent macro shots with the Zeiss ZF 2/100











    all the above images were shot with Nikon D300 & Zeiss ZF 2/100mm

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Beautiful shots Steen -- lovely light too.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thanks Stuart, the succulents made great subjects for macro photography, and as I'll probably never get the opportunity to dive at Great Barrier Reef I'll have to do with succulent shots on land

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Nice shots, Steen, particularly the first one.

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Thank you, Jorgen !

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    smoking as usual!!!!

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    "Who Sir ? ... me Sir ? ... NO Sir !"
    Thank you viable

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    in christiana of course, just kidding those shots are really really clear!!!

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    and after all the above vegetables (actual pixels crop):


    Nikon D300 • Zeiss ZF 2/100mm • 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 ISO 200

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    Re: Zeiss 35mm f2 and Zeiss 100 f2 macro

    Wow, it clearly outresolves the D300 by a very good margin, and the D300 has a lot of resolution! 12mp on a DX sensor....
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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