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Thread: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

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    Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    I read with interest a number of threads in 2010 regarding using some of the stellar Zeiss ZF.2 lenses on A mount bodies. I wonder if anyone actually went through with the Leitax conversion? I am very interested in either the 21/2.8 or the 18/3.5 for my A99. Recently exited Leica M9 system and finding using the CZ16-35 zoom for landscapes not as accurate as using a prime. Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated. Am loving the A99 though.
    David
    Auckland, NZ.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    David, It is easy to do so, and will deliver superior image quality to the Sony designed ZA lenses. Remeber that ZE/F are Zeiss's own lenses, so they are master of what they produce, rather than producing the Sony look.

    There are of course several gems in the ZE/F lineup, and Zeiss are committed to completing the lineup and even adding several (three are confirmed) evern higher end lenses beginning this year. I expect these to be a big step toward their stellar cine line, they begin with a 55mm f1.4 Distagon in 2013, followed by an 85mm and an as yet undescribed wide angle.

    Here is the Leitax page to look at for the new mount - it fits very easily, is entirely reversible, and you can fit a James Lao chip to obtain IBIS, highly recommended with the high res a99 sensor.

    Voigtlander lens for Sony cameras

    Write to David Llado at '[email protected]' for details

    The 21mm is the one to get of the super wides IMO, if the FL suits your work. I use a (perhaps better) version of this lens, the breakthrough Contax 21mm f2.8 from 1994, they go for about the same money.

    Both are fabulous, and will shade the Sony ZA offerings substantially, and deliver a more authentic CZ image rendering. I have six Contax lenses on Leitax mounts and one Leica Summicron-R, it is very satisfying for any manual focus lens user.

    Isn't the a99 something? I am amazed at the overall quality and effectiveness of the camera, the EVF and the sensor. What you see in the RX1 images, you will get as good or better with the 21mm on a99, as I found out on my trip this northern winter to Tibet.

    Also, manual focus with magnification and peaking is a breeze, removing much of the uncertaintly seen with the a900. But be warned you will need to turn down your peaking level with the 21mm as the thing has such high contrast and deep DoF, the whole scene lights up! cheers, philip.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Hi Phillp, thanks for the reply. Am loving my A99 for all the reasons you mention, especially the EVF. The CZ zooms are really good but aren't great for landscape and/or sunrises and sunsets and that is whet I primarily shoot.
    I have a Leica R PC28/2.8 that I adapted with a Leitax adaptor and love it on A99. Just have never used ZF lenses and wasn't sure if there was anything that hindered the adaption. The more I read the more I am drawn to the ZF15/2.8, really love super-super wide I had the 21/2.8 ZM when I had my Leica M9 and was always really happy with the Zeiss colours. The 15 intriques me because I will likely be the only with one on a A99 in little old NZ and that would be cool. Any thoughts on 15/2.8?
    David
    Auckland, NZ.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Yes, if I was purely landscape these days I would be very keen on one, esp. on the a99 due to its easy focusing. All the recent CZ lenses are excellent, if pricey.

    BTW, that 15mm is a special for them, they are checking every one for MTF, and they see it as a very important release. Takes filters, 750 grams or so. I have seen comparos with the Nikon 14-24mm and though the goggle eye zoom is strong at middle apertures, the CZ cleaned it up totally wide open...with great colours, no CA...so a good match I would say.

    Also, I think you are wrong about the Contax zooms, I use the 35-70 for landscapes and travel..it's a cult lens these days, some are knocked around, mine I bought NIB from Ffordes - at [email protected] better corners than the [email protected], stronger at 35mm than the 35/2 ZE at best aperture also, with less distortion. Very flexible in framing also. Even the lower macro contrast helps in bright Australia and Himalaya. But the 50MP is a mighty lens...super sharp for landscapes..if heavy, 100g heavier than my 35-70 zoom.

    The 100-300 is stronger at 100mm than the 100MP (!) with 0.75% distortion. Both these are best at landscape apertures of f8, and make fine Sonnar bokeh when needed. At 100mm I mostly use the CY 100/3.5 more for size and bulk, and even better bokeh. cheers.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Well I got the Zeiss 15-2.8 ZF.2 and ripped off the Nikon mount and put on the Leitax A mount and took it out this morning and I am stunned how sharp it is. Thanks for advice Phillp think this lens will be my go to lens for awhile now.
    David
    Auckland, NZ.
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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    I just mounted the 35mm f2 zf.2 with the Leitax mount and Lao chip(glued by Leitax) onto my A99. Peaking works fine, A mode as well. Though it shows F-- in the display and in the exif there is no data about the lense or aperture.
    What do I need to do?
    please help

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    It happened to my chipped Leitax mount too (mine was a Leica R mount). But after I turn the camera off then on again, the exit data showed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Orc View Post
    I just mounted the 35mm f2 zf.2 with the Leitax mount and Lao chip(glued by Leitax) onto my A99. Peaking works fine, A mode as well. Though it shows F-- in the display and in the exif there is no data about the lense or aperture.
    What do I need to do?
    please help

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    While I agree with many things the learned Philip has written, such is not the case about the Contax C/Y 35-70. Great colours and contrast, yes. But there are two important buts. One is that it is a bear to use, because it is not even close to parfocal, so you need to not only stop down, but also refocus every time you change the focal length. I found that a PITA, but what killed it for me was that its legendary sharpness is obtained at the expense of lots of detail.
    OTOH, I am not surprised that you are happy with the new 15. Pics from the all-new 135 are also stunning. This is in line with their newer designs (35 f:1.4, 25 f:2.0, 15, 135) showing improvement in some key areas over the older ones, however great they were in their time.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    nope switching on and off does not help. I'm disappointed by the conversion, I had to wait for weeks until I got the Lao Chip and then to till it was glued on the mount and the mount finally arrived at my home.

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Orc, since there is no coupling between the lens aperture and the chip you will not be able to see the actual used aperture in the exif.

    However you should see the maximum aperture of the lens (if that's programmed in the chip) as well as the focal length used (again assuming a correctly programmed chip).

    If you're not seeing this there's probably a loose contact or connection somewhere.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    thanks for clarifying. Anyway I would at least like to see what kind of lense I did use for shooting. The focus confirmation does not work, which is no issue as focus peaking works. though I can't control if steadyshot is working correctly now.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Orc, do you see the focal length in the exif?

    If yes I think steadyshot will be working correctly, if not I think you have a faulty chip/contact and then it's a very high probability steadshot is not working correctly.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    philippe, yes it is hard to focus and not worth it to a lot of people, hence the steady turnover of the 35-70/3.4 around the place. The a99 makes it easy, you don't miss provided you do the focus mag routine. It (second stage) is 11.7x so the 70mm end is like an OVF seeing a spot through a 70 x 11.7 = 820mm telephoto. But the EVF is much easier than the LCD, the eye is so much closer and the screen is designed for this proximity. The feedback is a quantum better.

    I got caught out by some Tibetan girls who insisted I take their photos and send them the results..I'll do them this next week. Anyway I had been busy with 'general' work and all I had on the body was the 35-70, and it is no portrait lens as you can guess. The focus was fine at 70mm, using focus mag, I was quite relieved. That lens does have strange focus - it seems not to quite reach infinity and does not give you that 'got it' feeling for focus unless very close, but is fine in most images, I mostly use f5.6 or smaller anyway to cover any losses ands seldom use the hard infinity stop to get more DOF. It seems to close focus, I used to estimate with the a900 but the a99 lets me see what is happening.

    On chips I have not yet fitted any, but it seems to me we need a better tutorial on how it is best done...I am not sure at all how to proceed, how to apply the glue, best way to go about it? I have this fear of the chip coming off in the camera body too. Seems a lot of friction might get involved, put physical pressure on the chip. The a99 is almost in the Canon class at higher ISO and has the same 'fine grit' noise the RX1 has, but still I'd like the SSS for longer lenses.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Pegelli, no I don't see anything in the exif except shutter speed and iso.
    It's very annoying, I planed to change several leica and zeiss lenses, not if it's so bad implemented though. Just for the mount there are serveral much cheaper options on ebay.

    Did you setup something in the A99 Menu? my chip is for 35mm f2. The only thing I changed was to allow to shoot without lense, as it's not working if not set.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Orc, I've used it only on a A700 and a A850, but from the looks your menu setting is correct.

    If you're not seeing the 35 mm and f 2 in your exif there is definitely something wrong with the chip or the contacts. That's a real bummer, because indeed w/o chip there's much more and much cheaper alternatives.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    I have the same issue with my 15/2.8 ZF.2 on my A99 as well and think it is the chip. Had David at Leitax send me through a pic of exactly where the chip should go but still can't get it to work. My other conversion PC28/2.8SA works perfectly.
    David
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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    the zeiss 35mm f2 definetly pops on the a99 though shot today for the first time.
    I had to use about f4 to get them sharp in the sun against me.
    The first is unprocessed LR exported and second with highlight recovery on the sky only in LR.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    I must write to David to ask him to post an ilustrated guide to fitting chips as some of us are about to spit chips, hah. I have not used any yet out of concern they may fail or be hard to fit, I am either on the tripod or using the (for Sony) great mid-high ISO, and the first curtain shutter and lack of mirror slap really helps, IMO.

    And I add that the sensor will get the best from any CZ lens, like the RX1 it pushes colour to a level close to the edge but with such good control, and see the DR in these nice images of Orc's.

    LR4/ACR7.3 is now seemingly optimised for the new 24Mp sensor, recovery is at ridiculous levels at both ends, this sensor is gaining a reputation as having the most workable files around. You can, most times, get exactly what you want...

    Anyone using a tripod in good enough light/subject matter might want to give ISO 50 a try - DxO's sensor charts indicate the a99 at ISO 50 gets very close to the RX1 at ISO 100, for most measures that matter, like colour depth and DR. The sensor is great at both ends of the ISO range.

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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    Wow,
    I would love to try the 15 on my A99,
    Just out of my price range

    I love the Leitax mounts, I have not purchased the chips though.
    As I understand the chip is needed for Sony's IS to work correctly, if the A99 does not communicate with the lens I believe it assumes its a 50mm lens.

    I hardly ever use iS though, so not ans issue for me.

    I am actually saving up for the new Zeiss 135/2 this lens is suppose to be the bomb..
    Steven Kornreich
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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    The Zeiss 15/2.8 is an awesome beast. I use mainly with a tripod so so lack of STeady Shot doesn't kill me. Am waiting for a Heliopan 10 stop ND filter to arrive so I can get back into the Long exposure shots I bought Zeiss 15 for. 95mm is a huuuuge filter You can see some shots with 15mm on my 500px page. http://500px.com/Hausen
    David
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    Re: Zeiss ZF.2 lens on Sony A99

    David great stuff...
    Steven Kornreich
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