Zeiss Primes?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by flosseR, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    Jan 1, 2009
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    the cold dark north
    #1
    Ok, I am a big fan of primes. As a matter of fact I only have one zoom so far.
    Now, my father used to use Zeiss glass in his days and I have a guy who is selling his Zeiss Sonnar etc. glass for a fairly decent price with proper EOS adapters (AF etc.).
    Is Zeiss still worth it? All the primes are f2.8 which is nice :) I also have read only good things about the bokeh that Zeiss lenses produce and the image quality they bring.
    Does anyone still use these old lenses? Besides teh silent motors etc. are there reasons NOT to get them?

    //F
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    The original Zeiss glass is very good- and some of it is still stellar, but modern optical coatings and formulas also have many advantages- so really only you can decide if you like the results from a particular lens. Sonnars beat Tessars hands down, and tend to flare less than the Planars.

    They still hold their values fairly well, so your risk is quite low in being able to turn them around if you decide you don't like the results.
     
  3. finnschi macrumors 6502

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    Dec 30, 2008
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    Hamburg, Germany
    #3
    If you can get a good price... no there is no Point of not getting one, I have 85mm a 50mm and a 24mm Zeiss lenses for my old Canon... FD mount :eek:

    those things are AWESOME although mine all have f/1.8 I think....

    and yes the bokeh is ... awesome...
     
  4. finnschi macrumors 6502

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  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #5
    Which particular Zeiss lenses are you looking at?

    Zeiss does make nice lenses - but so does Canon!

    What camera do you have? Unless you have the ability to swap out your focussing screen for a decent split prism or something like that, you may find your real-world sharpness limited by focussing issues, if you compare the manual Zeiss to the autofocus Canon.

    I know it's not strictly relevant to your question, but I recently bought a Nikon D300 and one of the new Zeiss 25mm lenses to use with it. I sold the Zeiss pretty quickly though - as it just wasn't a great experience manually focussing on that camera. I'm no stranger to manual focussing either - I spent years using a Hasselblad with a selection of lenses.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #6
    I always thought putting the single-dot MF indicator on the prosumer D200 and D300 bodies was a mistake. If you like MF, and are invested in Nikon glass you may want to try out a D700 which unlike it's other X000 brethren seems to have accidenatly ended up with the dot and arrows MF indicator, which is _significantly_ easier to use. I'd probably seriously consider a good D2xs over the D300 because I shoot in MF mode fairly often, even though the high-ISO sensor in the D300 is a stop or two better.
     
  7. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

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    Dec 6, 2009
    #7
    I use the Zeiss ZF 35/2, 50/2 and 85/1.4 on my FM3A, F100 and D700 with a Katzeye split screen on the latter, they are killer. The color saturation and tonal rendering of these lenses really sing and I love the manual focus feel / build.

    Since many of these DSLR cameras are going to full motion use now ( my future with digital as I will be strictly film for stills ) these are a perfect match with Zeiss primes since the pull is really nice and it is easy to tape them off for focus marks like you would a cine lens.

    The 85 is a tad soft wide open compared to say, the Canon 85L, but the out of focus rendering is stellar and smooth. The other two, the 35 and the 50 pretty much beat the pants off of anything in the Nikon line in terms equivalent focal lengths, especially wide open.
     
  8. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #8
    It's not so much MF that I like, rather I like good wide angle primes. I also had Nikon's 20mm AF-D which wasn't too great - and the reviews I'd read of the 24 weren't much better.

    I have a Canon 5DII now. Problem solved.
     
  9. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #9
    With the D700's bright viewfinder I can usually focus "by eye" and, when I look down, I've hit the dot. But sometimes my eyes have their "old man" days, and then the arrows and dot are indeed very handy. :D
     
  10. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2008
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    Alaska
    #10
    Some Canon photographers also use Zeiz lenses, specially now that Zeis lenses are being produced with canon mounts. However, focusing is done manually. Also, you can use Nikon, Vivitar, Pentax, Zeis, and other manual lenses with Canon EOS mounts sold in the US. I have a couple of manual Nikon and Vivitar lenses that I plan to use on Canon EOS. One of these is a Nikkor 55mm f/1.4 lens that should be around 30 years old, but is quite clear and sharp.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #11
    When I was on Nikonians, the Nikkor 85mm actually beat out the Zeiss in their tests both for sharpness and bokeh. The 35mm looks really nice though.

    I'd love to see a serious shoot-out between the 50's including the newer Nikkor, this site looks interesting, but it's difficult to judge the bokeh without the full-sized images:

    http://www.fotoactualidad.com/2009/05/nikon-50mm-f14g-vs-sigma-50mm-f14-hsm.html - it seems to me that the Zeiss may have a little too much contrast at f/1.4 though. Do you have any good comparison sites?
     
  12. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #12
    I wouldn't waste my time with the Zeiss 50/1.4. Instead, I'd use the 50/2, which according to Photozone is dazzlingly sharp. It shows in the cost difference, as the 50/2 goes for twice as much.
     
  13. Macshroomer macrumors 65816

    Macshroomer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #13
    No, I use the 50/2, I just shoot the things and don't really compare. For some of my ad work, I like what I call "Mojo" lenses like the Zeiss 85 and the Nikon 50 1.2 AIS.

    Peace-out, busy day tomorrow with a TV interview and then a shoot in Grand Central Station, then home..
     

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