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Thread: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

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    Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    This thread tries to tie up the Zeiss universe in one place, to avoid having many little threads pop up and die, and the information getting lost.

    In this thread all Zeiss lenses are welcome, including ZF, ZF.2, ZE, ZS, ZM, ZA or older Contax 135 or 645 format lenses, Hasselblad V, Contax G, or even Zeiss large format lenses, not to mention Zeiss Jena lenses. In short, if the word Zeiss appear on your lens, you are welcome to post photos made with it here.

    Here is a partial list of Zeiss-related links from this and other forums, which I will update as I discover more (leaving out single-poster and minor threads):

    - ZE/ZF/ZM Lenses
    - Contax Lenses
    - Contax N Lenses
    - Contax N Camera
    - Contax 645 Discussion
    - Contax 645

    - Contax vs. ZE 21/2.8
    - ZF/ZE 25/2.8 vs. Leica 28/2.8 R II
    - ZF/ZE 25/2.8 vs. Olympus 24/2.8
    - Contax 35/1.4
    - Contax 35/1.4 MM on Canon
    - ZF/ZE 35/1.4
    - ZF/ZE 35/1.4 vs. 35/2
    - Contax 35/1.4 vs. ZF/ZE 35/1.4 vs. ZF/ZE 35/2
    - Contax 50/1.7 on Canon
    - ZF/ZE 50 MP vs. 50 P
    - ZF/ZE 50 MP and 100 MP Nodal Point
    - Contax 60/2.8 Macro
    - ZF/ZE 85/1.4 vs. Rokinon
    - ZF/ZE 85/1.4 White Spots
    - Rollei 85/1.4
    - ZF/ZE 100 MP vs. 85L

    - Contax 35-70/3.4
    - Contax 80-200/4
    - Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6

    - Which first Zeiss
    - Zeiss Infinity Adjustment
    - Zeiss MTF Charts
    - 3D Pop
    - Zeiss Ikon Contina lens on Canon

    I will start off with a shot taken in the rain last Friday in Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany. Nikon D3, 50 Planar ZF.2 (borrowed):

    Last edited by carstenw; 20th May 2011 at 04:13.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Great way to start it off, Carsten. Nice shot!

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Thanks Douglas!

    I have been looking for a longer Zeiss lens than 100mm (not to compete with my 200/2 VR) but the 180 doesn't have such an amazing reputation, the 200/2 is too close to the VR, and generally not as good. In the end, there was just two choices I was considering, the 80-200/4 and the 100-300, but the latter is too expensive (and slow) for a lens I probably will not use so much. Besides, Samuli Vahonen on FM has posted some gorgeous shots made with the 80-200/4, so I decided to try it out.

    I bought mine in nearly new condition from Japan, which with shipping, customs fees, the Leitax mount with pre-installed Dandelion chip ended up costing about 400 Euro all told. Now there are some sitting in Germany's eBay at around 270 Euro, Buy it now price. I thought briefly about buying an extra copy or two in case some kind of revival is kicked off, but decided not to. I am not doing photography to make a profit, and would rather spend my time shooting.

    Anyway, great lens, not all that large. Longer but thinner than the 100 MP ZF.2:



    My copy is very sharp, although not quite as sharp as a modern ZF lens stopped down. It takes sharpening in Photoshop well, however. It has very little CA, less than the 100 MP and other ZF lenses. The boke is very gentle in my shots so far, almost Leica-like, but it still has that Zeiss feel to it. The push-pull zoom mechanism works well, and it doesn't move when I point the lens down. It is a very easy-to-focus lens, coming crisply into focus. I would say that it is easier to focus than my ZF/ZF.2 21 Distagon, 50 MP and 100 MP, although the latter comes close. Something about the way it snaps into focus. I was very happy to discover this, since I was worried that the f/4 could have made it hard.

    At the current prices, buying one is IMO a no-brainer, although I don't know how much copy-to-copy variation there is. I do know that Samuli got his from a friend who bought 4, kept the best one for himself, sold the second-best one to Samuli and resold the other two, so at least there might be a little variation.

    I don't expect that this lens is as sharp or clear as the best lenses in this region, like the Leica 180/2.8 APO, but I sure don't find many faults with it, so for the price, it is a steal.

    Here are some shots made with it. The bird shot is a little soft due to its fast movement.





    Last edited by carstenw; 19th May 2011 at 14:14.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Good thread and a good move Carsten!
    Here is an image I once posted in a thread Richard, or Brainiac, started about his first impressions from the Panasonic GF1:
    .
    Looking good?

    Above: Panasonic G1, Contax Zeiss G Planar 45/2, into the mirror at f/2

    I took the image just after having received the Metabones Contax G -> µ4/3 adapter and I had that initial love affair with the Planar 45/2.

    regards,

    Jonas

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Nice Carsten, thanks for sharing

    Joe

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Carsten, when I met Samuli, he was shooting his 80-200, but considered getting a 70-200 (IIRC), which he considered to be "probably better".

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Great idea Carsten! Here's an image taken recently with my Hasselblad Zeiss 60mm CFi lens on Provia 100. It looks better than identical shots I took with a Canon 1D2 and Nikon D2X. Not sure if it's the Zeiss glass or shooting on film.

    I love your photo of the bird in the water!

    Gary


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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Another.....503CWD/CFV16 and the Zeiss 50mm CFE FLE lens.


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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    A panoramic stitch from the Contax 35-70/3.4, 35 or 40mm, ~f/11, Hoya HD polarizer on Fuji S5 Pro. Detail is only limited by my sharpen/resize skills which I'm trying to improve (original is 5000px high).

    Last edited by dcjs; 19th May 2011 at 11:58.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Nice shot dcjs. How were you able to get the 35-70 to work on the S5Pro?

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Thanks CVickery. I installed a Leitax Contax/Nikon bayonet. Not the easiest lens to convert, but not really bad either, and it's completely reversible too if necessary.
    Last edited by dcjs; 19th May 2011 at 11:57.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    David, did you make any photos of that conversion process? I have been pondering the same lens for some time now...
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Carsten, I didn't take any pictures, but there are some very good ones along with a description of th process here on the Leitax page. Have a look at the process and decide whether you would want to attempt the conversion. Once you are ready to go and have the lens in hand, read carefully, some images show steps from Canon/Sony conversions and need to be done differently for Nikon as described in the text.

    The most difficult thing was actually relocating the little spring, it was glued in place at both ends (no mention of that in the description) and it took some work to loosen it. Other than that, it is a pretty smooth operation for a person with decent mechanical skills, I'd do it again without hesitation.

    I like this lens for panos. The 2x zoom is actually pretty convenient here because if you use 35mm instead of 70mm, you can just double the rotation angle per shot, much easier to keep track of rotation this way than with an odd-number zoom ratio. 35mm stopped down is good for large DOF wide angle panos, 70mm/4 gives a very nice medium format look and beautiful bokeh unless the lens is focused too closely.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by philber View Post
    Carsten, when I met Samuli, he was shooting his 80-200, but considered getting a 70-200 (IIRC), which he considered to be "probably better".
    This was some time ago, right? When I contacted him recently to ask some questions about the lens, he was not really using it, and mentioned swapping it out for something else, but then he pulled it out and tried it again, and I think he intends to keep it now.

    The lens is not super-fantastic, like the 21 Distagon or the 100 MP, but it is a very good lens, and is very cheap. I will not insult it by saying it is a good deal for the money, it is just good period.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Great idea Carsten! Here's an image taken recently with my Hasselblad Zeiss 60mm CFi lens on Provia 100. It looks better than identical shots I took with a Canon 1D2 and Nikon D2X. Not sure if it's the Zeiss glass or shooting on film.

    I love your photo of the bird in the water!

    Gary
    Thanks Gary! That 60 shot of yours is a cracker! The colours and sharpness are so Zeiss. I also still fiddle with medium format film, and recently exchanged my 2000FC/M for a 203FE, for which I own the 50/2.8. I need to come up with a project for that kit, to start using it again.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    I forgot to compliment you on your stitch, which is very beautiful, serene even.

    I have seen that page, but felt that there were some steps which could have been explained in more detail. The 80-200/4 which I converted was about halfway between the simple mount exchanges and the 35-70, in difficulty, so maybe I will try it one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcjs View Post
    Carsten, I didn't take any pictures, but there are some very good ones along with a description of th process here on the Leitax page.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    For some reason, I thought the 35-70 couldn't be converted with Leitax, but obviously it can A look at the Leitax site though, and all thoughts of doing this myself disappear. This is way beyond what I would attempt, but cudos to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcjs View Post
    Thanks CVickery. I installed a Leitax Contax/Nikon bayonet. Not the easiest lens to convert, but not really bad either, and it's completely reversible too if necessary.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    I have a Contax 80-200/4 on the way. Looks like a decent lens. Thanks for bring it to our attention Carsten.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcjs View Post
    Thanks CVickery. I installed a Leitax Contax/Nikon bayonet. Not the easiest lens to convert, but not really bad either, and it's completely reversible too if necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    This was some time ago, right? When I contacted him recently to ask some questions about the lens, he was not really using it, and mentioned swapping it out for something else, but then he pulled it out and tried it again, and I think he intends to keep it now.

    The lens is not super-fantastic, like the 21 Distagon or the 100 MP, but it is a very good lens, and is very cheap. I will not insult it by saying it is a good deal for the money, it is just good period.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Congratulations, Cal. I hope it is as good as my copy. I am very pleased with mine.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Carsten, I converted a 35-70 f/3.4 to Nikon mount myself. It was a little more difficult than the directions on the Leitax page tell you but it was definitely doable. Worth it in the end as the lens is awesome. I had a major problem with moving the spring from one side to the other...other than that the conversion was flawless

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    What is the deal with the spring? Did you have to fabricate anything? For the 80-200/4 I had to come up with a spacer, and not having a home workshop I was having some trouble, but eventually cut a reasonably thick and hard piece of plastic with a scalpel. I would really like not having to fabricate anything, but other than that, I am fine with my hands.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    What is the deal with the spring?
    The spring sits in grooves in the screw and the brass pin, and it is secured with glue in those grooves (seems kind of excessive to me in the first place). On one of the copies I converted the glue really didn't want to come off at first, and you need to break it loose at both ends to be able to detach the spring from the screw at one side, turn it around and attach it to a different screw. You don't need to fabricate anything, but a soldering iron may be handy to apply heat to the screws/glue locally in order to loosen the spring more easily.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    I'm going to leave both my 35-70/3.4 and the 80-200/4 in C/Y mount for now since I have a Contax 167MT that I'd like to use them on, as well as the 5DII with an adapter. I haven't tried a Leitax C/Y>Nikon, but I have done their C/Y>EF (Planar 100/2) and the Nikon>EF (ZF25/2.8) and both were trivial installs. I have a Leica Macro 60/2.8 on the way and plan to use a Leitax R>Nikon mount. I own a Fuji S5Pro and I quite like the IQ, particularly the jpg color, but the Nikon mount is a bit restrictive for alt lenses.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Yes, it is, true, but I do really like the cameras and the operation in general, so I put up with the reverse focusing direction, the reverse aperture direction, the reverse everything direction, the need for Leitax adapters when they work at all, and just do it anyway. Sigh.

    I will keep my eyes open for a clean, reasonably priced 35-70 and see if I can even find one. I like my equipment to be in very good shape, both optically and the lens exterior itself, but I do have to pay more for that, and wait longer.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    I have been trying to get a good shot of this nice bush for a few weeks now, but nothing ever really caught it the way I wanted to. This is the first time that I come close, although I am not completely happy with the result. ZF21:

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Could someone explain the Zeiss naming convention to me? Are all the Zx (ZF, ZE, ZM etc) 35mm cameras and Cx (CY, CV, etc) medium format? I'm assuming that CV is for Hasselblad V-series Zeiss lenses (the only ones I own).

    TIA!

    Gary

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    ZF and ZF.2 are Nikon F mount, the latter with a chip so that you can get full EXIF, set the aperture with the wheel and use matrix metering.

    ZE is Canon EOS mount.

    ZS is m-42 mount I believe, although these are discontinued now.

    ZA is Sony A mount, and are completely different lenses from the above, which are all optically identical.

    The Hasselblad lenses are called Hasselblad, IIRC, and not Zeiss, although they are made by Zeiss.

    ZM lenses are Leica M mount, and are completely different designs, generally not as good as the SLR lenses, with possibly 2 exceptions: 18mm f/4 and 25mm f/2.8. The 85mm f/2 might also be very good, but it is so big and expensive that everyone just buys a Leica instead

    CY or C/Y is Contax/Yashica, a 35mm film mount corresponding to Contax and Yashica cameras. These are very good lenses, and the more modern ZF/ZE/etc lenses are often closely based on these designs. The 21mm f/2.8 Distagon is probably the most famous example.

    CV is probably Cosina-Voigtländer, and has nothing to do with Zeiss, other than they are also currently made by Cosina. The Hasselblad lenses are C, CF, CFi, CFE and FE series. I own three FE lenses. Very good lenses, and some are good enough to still be good adapted to a DSLR, but not all.

    There are also Contax 645 lenses, as well as the Zeiss lenses for the Rolleiflex 6008/Hy6 system, and these two systems have some of the best Zeiss lenses ever made. Then there are Contax G lenses, which are small AF lenses for a Contax rangefinder-like compact film camera, I believe, although you definitely want to check a better source for that. These are currently only interesting for Contax G or NEX, m4/3, etc. users, and are problematic to adapt, although very good.

    There are also some Zeiss large format lenses. I know little about them, but they are apparently well regarded in the rendering department, but have very small image circles compared to Schneider or Rodenstock lenses, and are somewhat rare.

    I think I covered everything, which probably means I didn't. Oh, Nokia has a high-end range of cellphones with Zeiss lenses
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    ZM lenses are Leica M mount, and are completely different designs, generally not as good as the SLR lenses, with possibly 2 exceptions: 18mm f/4 and 25mm f/2.8. The 85mm f/2 might also be very good, but it is so big and expensive that everyone just buys a Leica instead
    Not sure what you base this on. From my experience the ZM Biogon 21/2.8, 21/4.5, 25/2,8 and 35/2.8 are superb lenses. So are the two ZM 50s where the C Sonnar has a unique character and some focus shift to contend with. And the ZM Biogon 35/2 is no slouch either. So that leaves the ZM 28/2.8 which is not bad at all, very sharp in the center and a little less so at the edges.

    Maybe this impression is based on them usually being compared to Leica glass while the SLR lenses mostly would be compared with Nikon and Canon lenses.

    There is also a ZK series for Pentax K mount.

    -Thomas

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Thanks Carsten! Glad I asked, because I had a number of misconceptions.

    Since I posted my question, I did a little further research on the Zeiss lenses for Hasselblad V-series cameras. The most recent Zeiss "Classic" lenses (now apparently discontinued, but originally available in the 50, 120 Makro and 180 series) had a designation of "ZV" on the lens (as well as the CFE Hasselblad coding).

    So....in general, I think I will use the shorthand "ZV" here when referring to my Hasselblad Zeiss lenses (all CF, CFi or CFE versions)....as in the ZV 40mm CFE IF lens, which was actually the lens I used for the "Nodwell" shot above, taken with my CFV-16 back (not the 50mm CFE FLE lens, as I had noted in the original post).

    Gary

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by trisberg View Post
    Not sure what you base this on. From my experience the ZM Biogon 21/2.8, 21/4.5, 25/2,8 and 35/2.8 are superb lenses. So are the two ZM 50s where the C Sonnar has a unique character and some focus shift to contend with. And the ZM Biogon 35/2 is no slouch either. So that leaves the ZM 28/2.8 which is not bad at all, very sharp in the center and a little less so at the edges.

    Maybe this impression is based on them usually being compared to Leica glass while the SLR lenses mostly would be compared with Nikon and Canon lenses.
    This vague conclusion was based on a number of people over on FM who owned both ZM and ZE lenses, and had done some comparisons. Corner problems, harsh boke, CA and a less beautiful look were some of the problems which surprised the ZM owners who were used to ZE lenses. The 35/2 was one of the worst culprits in the looks department. Some of the problems were also more specific to the lacking Leica M9 profile for the lenses. I believe that the 21/4.5 was one of these.

    This is not to say that they are bad lenses, not at all! Most are very good. It is just that if you move from SLR with loved ZE/ZF lenses to Leica M, you might be in for a disappointment. The 25/2.8 was specifically an exception. Most of these are also much better on the M8.

    Since I am writing this, I need to say that this is not my personal experience. I own only Leica lenses for the M system. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with two people who can provide comparison samples.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Carsten,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Yes, I know that the 21/4.5 has some issues on the M9, but that is mostly the M9s fault and not a problem with the lens itself. Coding seems to be necessary for any wide angles on the M9 as well and again this is more of an M9 problem.

    The 25/2.8 is a great performer and I would say that the 35/2.8 is on the same level.

    I would agree that the 35/2 has some interesting issues wide open but in general I find it performs well stopped down a bit. I haven't compared any of these with the SLR lenses but I find the ZM lenses perform well enough for my needs at a much lower cost compared to the Leica equivalents.

    -Thomas

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by trisberg View Post
    Carsten,

    The 25/2.8 is a great performer and I would say that the 35/2.8 is on the same level.

    -Thomas
    Second that. The ZM 25 I tried was clearly in the same class as ZE glass, and among the better ones AFAIAC. The same applies to the ZM 50 f:2.0 which I own. Very good glass indeed, with this planar rendering that I am fond of. The 35 f:2.8 is also very good, though maybe a shade less so, but still withint reach of, say, the ZE 28 f:2.0. Except when it comes to close focusing, of course. And the best Zeiss glass ever to pass through my hands is also a rangefinder, it is the Contax 21mm G.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Yes, they are definitely very good lenses. The main problem is the comparison with the ZF/ZE lenses, which are overall a tick better. It is not surprising really. Zeiss has a long history of SLR lenses, and some real pearls. The ZM lenses are very good, but not legendarily good.
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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    A shot from the rhododendron explosion this past weekend. Gave the ferns some attention too. ZF21.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Here is an HDR shot, two captures for shadow and highlight detail. I am still not good at tone mapping in Photoshop, but I am learning. ZF21.

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Here is another shot from Tiergarten, last weekend. ZF21:

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Carsten, nice shots with the ZF21. Really like how it renders the vegetation.

    Here is one from the New Hampshire Seacost last week. This is with the ZM 28mm.



    -Thomas

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by trisberg View Post
    Carsten, nice shots with the ZF21. Really like how it renders the vegetation.

    Here is one from the New Hampshire Seacost last week. This is with the ZM 28mm.
    Captures the feeling of the weather really well. It looks very chilly.

    The ZF21 shots I have just worked on are interesting, in that the 100% sharpness is not that great (and I need to figure out what I did wrong), but as soon as you downres (and it would probably be the same for printing), it has an amazing "look of sharpness". Close up it looks more like watercolour, which I have seen in other shots before with various lenses, especially with the Kodak SRL/n.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Here is one more with the ZF21:

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    ZF21 on a Fuji S5Pro at the local botanical gardens:







    Last edited by CVickery; 24th May 2011 at 08:02. Reason: Edit: Pics updated...I couldn't figure out why the posted shots lost resolution until I realized that Pbase reduced the size

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    An on-my-way-to-work shot. At the moment I often get out of the S-Bahn one stop early and walk the short stretch through Tiergarten to Bahnhof Zoo to get a couple of shots in Contax 80-200/4.

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    80/2 Planar, 645


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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Robert, that is excellent -- Classic Planar/Xenar design Bokeh, got to love it!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    First post here.

    Carsten - great shots with various lenses. 80-200 looks very impressive

    monza - Lovely transition from focus to out of focus.

    Nex 5 + ZF.2 35

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Very strong image, Luka! Welcome here!
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Very strong image, Luka! Welcome here!
    +1

    Welcome Luka!
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Here is a 50P (Planar) image from this morning. I am having trouble coping with the very high contrast at the moment, and could really use a D3x The heavy processing has taken its toll on sharpness, unfortunately.

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Another one before bed, Contax 80-200/4:

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Here is a two-shot stitch from a couple of weeks back, when I got caught in the rain. This was the view from under my shelter-tree In a 100% crop, you can see how much it is raining but in the full shot, this is barely visible. ZF.2 50P:

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Zeiss Lens Photos and Discussion

    Another rain shot, 50P. I do love the special look you get in the rain. Has anyone had a Zeiss lens go bad in the rain?

    Carsten - Website

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