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Thread: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

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    ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Hi All,

    I shoot mostly B&W and own a Monochrom and A7R and would like a circa 18mm lens for both ideally. I am happy to use cornerfix to sort colour issues out on the A7R for colour images, but as the majority of images will be in B&W, I am most interested in corner smearing.

    I have heard the 18mm ZM Distagon has great corners on the A7R due to retrofocal design. Can anyone speak from real experience on the corner quality I can expect and overall performance of this lens on the A7R.

    If the 18mm ZM is not really very good in the corners on the Sony, I will be patient and await new Sony Zeiss offerings, but there may be a chance to kill two birds with one stone here!

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    I'm pretty sure the Zeiss 18mm 4.0 ZM (M-mount) is not a retrofocus design. But the Zeiss 18mm 3.5 (for Canon, Nikon and Alpha mounts) is. You could use one of these on both your cameras, albeit with no rangefinder coupling.

    I've seen a few comments about the ZM smearing on A7R, but the 3.5 design working well. I'm planning to buy a ZE version, but haven't found the right price yet.

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    According to this guy, the M mount works pretty well. I went ahead and ordered one. Will let you know my experience.

    Your A7r wants a wide angle lens. What do you do? | Leica BOSS

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Thank you for linking to my post about the Distagon ZM 18/4.

    The design is distinctly retrofocal, vs. a Biogon (symmetrical) design - but this is offset by the fact that the rear element still lands pretty close to the film/sensor.

    Attachment 80714

    To this end, especially on the demanding A7r - the lens is no walk in the park. Using cornerfix or Adobe's Flat Field plugin is a must. You have to be very careful with focusing and achieving 4 sharp corners can be challenging or impossible (particularly if you demand a tack-sharp extreme corner for some reason).

    Below is a fairly typical SOOC extreme corner without processing.



    I personally see the ZM 18 as the world's best 21mm lens. I can frame loosely, crop to about 21mm FOV, and have this amazing - almost supernatural contrast and color. It's a heartbreaker.
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Maybe, I'm just not very picky, but I'm fine with these extreme corners. I think the obsession with corners on the internet has gone way overboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeicaBoss View Post
    Thank you for linking to my post about the Distagon ZM 18/4.

    The design is distinctly retrofocal, vs. a Biogon (symmetrical) design - but this is offset by the fact that the rear element still lands pretty close to the film/sensor.

    Attachment 80714

    To this end, especially on the demanding A7r - the lens is no walk in the park. Using cornerfix or Adobe's Flat Field plugin is a must. You have to be very careful with focusing and achieving 4 sharp corners can be challenging or impossible (particularly if you demand a tack-sharp extreme corner for some reason).

    Below is a fairly typical SOOC extreme corner without processing.



    I personally see the ZM 18 as the world's best 21mm lens. I can frame loosely, crop to about 21mm FOV, and have this amazing - almost supernatural contrast and color. It's a heartbreaker.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    I couldn't agree more - but must be cautious about making recommendations. If someone is corner-obsessed, they may leave disappointed.

    Not me. I'm in love.

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    I ended up getting the ZE version of the Zeiss 18mm last week, and am thrilled with it on the a7R (via the Metabones Smart Adapter III).



    Zeiss 18mm f3.5 ZE on a7r at f7.1
    Last edited by MikeEvangelist; 15th April 2014 at 19:04.
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Distortion looks pretty well controlled in this shot. Is that your impression as well? Should be getting my copy today. Excited.


    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEvangelist View Post
    I ended up getting the ZE version of the Zeiss 18mm last week, and am thrilled with it on the a7R (via the Metabones Smart Adapter III).



    Zeiss 18mm f3.5 ZE on a7r at f7.1

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    Senior Member W.Utsch's Avatar
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    I am a fan of the ZE as well, it works extremley good on the A7R and its size is even with the MB nice as well.
    Posted lots of pics with it at the fun forum....
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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by arize84 View Post
    Distortion looks pretty well controlled in this shot. Is that your impression as well?
    That shot was cropped a bit, but in general the distortion is moderate. The Lightroom profile fixes it beautifully.

    Here are uncorrected and corrected shots which show it pretty well. Look at the bridge railing at the top edge.

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEvangelist View Post
    I ended up getting the ZE version of the Zeiss 18mm last week, and am thrilled with it on the a7R (via the Metabones Smart Adapter III).



    Zeiss 18mm f3.5 ZE on a7r at f7.1

    I like the ZE versions of the Zeiss glass. You feel outside of manual focus it acts like a FE lens
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Not bad at all. Really looking forward to trying out the lens. I received my copies of the FE 35 and 55. There are both extremely sharp and lightweight, but they leave me cold. They are way too clinical. I will take them out this weekend for some street shooting, I hope I'm able to bond with the lenses then.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEvangelist View Post
    That shot was cropped a bit, but in general the distortion is moderate. The Lightroom profile fixes it beautifully.

    Here are uncorrected and corrected shots which show it pretty well. Look at the bridge railing at the top edge.

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    At what aperture is your shot taken? I tried my ZM 18 on my A7R, and was very disappointed. Corners, and not just extreme corners, were pure mush. But I tried at f:5.6. Maybe f:11 is better.

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    Re: ZM 18mm F4 on A7R - Corner Quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by philber View Post
    At what aperture is your shot taken?
    Phil, are you asking about my shot(s)? If so, note that mine are taken with the ZE version of the lens, which is a different design than the ZM lens. That said, the shots I posted above are at f7.1 and f8.

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