Is Zeiss better than Canon L?

Started Sep 15, 2008 | Discussions
JackM
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,826Gear list
Like?
Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
Sep 15, 2008

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book, but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something otherwise they would not jump in this market.

 JackM's gear list:JackM's gear list
Sigma DP2 Merrill Fujifilm X100S Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +6 more
George Kalemanis
Forum MemberPosts: 91Gear list
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

JackM wrote:

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their
association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book,
but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something
otherwise they would not jump in this market.

I've used Zeiss for MF gear and played with Sony's 135/1.8, and 'L' lenses don't compare. Zeiss is sharp edge to edge, colors are bold yet neutral, and contrast is outstanding. I'm actually not all that impressed with Canon's 'L' quality, maybe it's because I'm used to using Zeiss.

 George Kalemanis's gear list:George Kalemanis's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hunk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,214Gear list
Like?
There is no such thing as L-quality
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

Although they are branded, priced and colored simular there is no way you can compare a 85L with a 16-35L...

Maybe lenses like the 85L should be renamed 85XL

JackM wrote:

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their
association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book,
but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something
otherwise they would not jump in this market.

-- hide signature --

wild images and such at my website
http://www.x32.nl

 hunk's gear list:hunk's gear list
Leica M9 Canon Extender EF 2x II Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
JackM
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,826Gear list
Like?
Re: There is no such thing as L-quality
In reply to hunk, Sep 15, 2008

hunk wrote:

Although they are branded, priced and colored simular there is no way
you can compare a 85L with a 16-35L...

Maybe lenses like the 85L should be renamed 85XL

Can you clarify this? Are you saying the 85L is so much better than the 16-35L that they should be classified differently?

And what does this have to do with Zeiss?

 JackM's gear list:JackM's gear list
Sigma DP2 Merrill Fujifilm X100S Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Lundy
Contributing MemberPosts: 795
Like?
Zeiss has been around for a long time
In reply to George Kalemanis, Sep 15, 2008

For those folks that are new to photography and never shot film. Do some zeiss research.

Here is a start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Zeiss_AG

Carl Zeiss is one of the oldest existing optics manufacturers in the world.

The ZM line from Zeiss was on the Leica M series when some of the worlds most famous images were taken.
--
Lundy

'Sometimes the best part of wanting something is not having it.' ME 1994

http://www.pbase.com/lundy

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Garrett Lucas
Contributing MemberPosts: 515
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

I've got several L lenses that I'm extremely satisfied with including the 200mm F2.8, the 135mm F2, and the 300mm F4. In fact, my next purchase will be the 500mm F4. Couple that with the 15MP 1.6x crop 50D, and I think you'll have a fantastic wildlife package with an effective 800F4 and plenty of room to crop.

But! What Zeiss brings to the picture that Canon has had problem with (for years and plenty enough time to correct I might add) is fantastic quality in the Wide Angle area. I've used Zeiss lenses on both a Hasselblad and a Contax RX and G2, and their wide angle lenses are superb. If the 5D MKII can produce images similar to the current 50D examples but with more MP's, then I think you would have a terrific landscape combo if you used the 5D MKII with a 21mm Zeiss lens. I'm just drooling at the thought!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Edward Karaa
Senior MemberPosts: 1,272Gear list
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

Some are much better than their L equivalents, some are quite equal or slightly inferior. That is in terms of sharpness only.

Zeiss lenses give you the very distinctive Zeiss look, something that L lenses will never give you, even when they are sharper.

High micro-contrast, amazing bokeh, saturated neutral colors, and of course that intangible 3D effect.

Once you use Zeiss, there is no way back.

JackM wrote:

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their
association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book,
but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something
otherwise they would not jump in this market.

 Edward Karaa's gear list:Edward Karaa's gear list
Leica M9 Leica M Typ 240 Sony Alpha 7 Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/25 ZM Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2/35 ZM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Anastigmat
Forum ProPosts: 12,630
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

JackM wrote:

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their
association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book,
but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something
otherwise they would not jump in this market.

Carl Zeiss brings the famous T* lens coating, one of the best in the world. BTW, what does Canon call its lens coating?

Carl Zeiss of course also brings a lot of expertise and experience in lens designs. Carl Zeiss also brings with it Schott AG glass, a world renowned and highly respected maker of lens elements. Carl Zeiss has an extensive lineup of fast and wide prime lenses.

That said, Canon has the edge over Carl Zeiss in telephoto lenses. Canon is alone in the world in its expertise on manufacturing fluorite elements, which are found in the white L lenses that many pros use. Carl Zeiss, OTOH, use mirror lens designs for its 500 and 1000mm telephotos.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
submagination
Senior MemberPosts: 1,078
Like?
Not if you want to autofocus
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

People put different value on different features - and for some, AF is an important feature.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Anastigmat
Forum ProPosts: 12,630
Like?
Re: There is no such thing as L-quality
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

JackM wrote:

hunk wrote:

Although they are branded, priced and colored simular there is no way
you can compare a 85L with a 16-35L...

Maybe lenses like the 85L should be renamed 85XL

Can you clarify this? Are you saying the 85L is so much better than
the 16-35L that they should be classified differently?

And what does this have to do with Zeiss?

Canon is much better at designing telephotos than wide angles. The telephoto L lenses are unequaled by Nikon or Carl Zeiss or just about anybody else because Canon has mastered the production of fluorite elements. The other camera makers use ED glass instead of fluorite crystal. So, a Carl Zeiss wide angle lens may be better than a wide angle L lens or wide angle L zoom, but Carl Zeiss has nothing to compete with, say, the 500mm L, 600mm L or 800mm L. Carl Zeiss does have some wonderful mirror lenses but they have all the disadvantages of mirror lenses including awful bokeh and lack of autofocus.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
auksnapper
Contributing MemberPosts: 781
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

Zeiss are very good at making w/a lenses which Canon isn't. Perhaps the soon to be announced fast L w/a's will change that but I doubt it.

I have a feeling that the 21mm f2.8 be the top selling ZE when it goes on sale next year

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hunk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,214Gear list
Like?
Re: There is no such thing as L-quality
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

JackM wrote:

hunk wrote:

Although they are branded, priced and colored simular there is no way
you can compare a 85L with a 16-35L...

Maybe lenses like the 85L should be renamed 85XL

Can you clarify this? Are you saying the 85L is so much better than
the 16-35L that they should be classified differently?
And what does this have to do with Zeiss?

yes, exactly... I own the 16-35 mkI and mkII but to be honest I'm a bit dissapointed in them after I worked with offerings from other companies. The 85L is one of Canon's gems.

 hunk's gear list:hunk's gear list
Leica M9 Canon Extender EF 2x II Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
glacierpete
Senior MemberPosts: 1,917
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

There is a lot of information in the Nikon SLR lens talk section about Zeiss ZF lenses for Nikon mount. I assume they will bring out the same lens line for Canon mount over time.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
JackM
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,826Gear list
Like?
Hmm, interesting.
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

Now that I read more, these Zeiss lenses actually fill a couple gaps in the Canon lineup. There is a huge price chasm between the 50/1.4 and the 50/1.2L, likewise between the 85/1.8 and 85/1.2L. The Zeiss lenses will fit nicely in there. I'd like to try one!

Canon 85/1.8: $355, 9 elements
Zeiss 85/1.4: $1170, 6 elements
Canon 85/1.2L: $1870, 8 elements

Canon 50/1.4: $325, 7 elements
Zeiss 50/1.4: $660, 7 elements
Canon 50/1.2L: $1400, 8 elements

 JackM's gear list:JackM's gear list
Sigma DP2 Merrill Fujifilm X100S Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Aurance
Contributing MemberPosts: 848
Like?
Robert White supplies Nikon/Zeiss Combos!
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

Robert White - the Lecia and Zeiss Lens supplier has been selling Nikon DSLRs + Zeiss Lens combos for some time!

Now that Zeiss has announced a 'proper' Canon mount for their lenses (not an adaptor) I suspect Zeiss will increase their business (a shrewd move for Zeiss).

I suspect that when the Canon 5D MKII appears, Robert White will be selling that with Zeiss Lenses as well.

The 'Zeiss 3D Effect' on the image is what prompts the attention to Zeiss but in relation to overall quality it is a 'close run' thing between Canon L Lenses and Zeiss. Certainly Zeiss is a considered choice for 'prime wide angle'.

Useful Links:-

http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/infos/ZeissZFLenses/index.html

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CANONNIKONSONY
Forum MemberPosts: 50
Like?
Re: There is no such thing as L-quality
In reply to hunk, Sep 15, 2008

Nothing touches the 85mm L 1.2 II. I have shot film and digital for years (Nikon, Leica etc). Unless you actually shoot with this lens it is hard to explain. Now Canon L wide angle zooms are not the greatest or the worst.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
michaelbs
Senior MemberPosts: 2,512
Like?
135L on par with 85L II
In reply to hunk, Sep 15, 2008

hunk wrote:

yes, exactly... I own the 16-35 mkI and mkII but to be honest I'm a
bit dissapointed in them after I worked with offerings from other
companies. The 85L is one of Canon's gems.

Why does everybody rave about 85L and no one mentions 135L ?
It's just as good. Sharp wide open and wonderful creamy bokeh. Just like the 85L

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
michaelbs
Senior MemberPosts: 2,512
Like?
Huh? Canon can't do WA? What about 35L??!!
In reply to Anastigmat, Sep 15, 2008

Anastigmat wrote:

JackM wrote:

Canon is much better at designing telephotos than wide angles. The
telephoto L lenses are unequaled by Nikon or Carl Zeiss or just about
anybody else because Canon has mastered the production of fluorite
elements. The other camera makers use ED glass instead of fluorite
crystal. So, a Carl Zeiss wide angle lens may be better than a wide
angle L lens or wide angle L zoom, but Carl Zeiss has nothing to
compete with, say, the 500mm L, 600mm L or 800mm L. Carl Zeiss does
have some wonderful mirror lenses but they have all the disadvantages
of mirror lenses including awful bokeh and lack of autofocus.

To me 35L is a stellar lens. Canon must do something right when they can make a lens like that. Super sharp at f1.4, great bokeh, colour, contrast. I love that lens.
--
best regards
Michael

http://michaelbennati.dk/?Det_Kongelige_Teater:Koret
http://flickr.com/photos/23466858@N02/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CANONNIKONSONY
Forum MemberPosts: 50
Like?
Re: 135L on par with 85L II
In reply to michaelbs, Sep 15, 2008
-- hide signature --

I think the 85L is just a more wanted distance for portrait studio work. 135mm used to be the standard for portrait work. My clients almost always like the look from the 85 over a focal distance of 135mm. Do get me wrong the 135 is great.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
rrcphoto
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,173
Like?
Re: Is Zeiss better than Canon L?
In reply to JackM, Sep 15, 2008

JackM wrote:

Yeah, I have no experience with Zeiss lenses. I have to admit their
association with Sony kind of knocks them down a notch in my book,
but that is purely irrational on my part.

What can Zeiss bring to the table that Canon can't? Surely something
otherwise they would not jump in this market.

depends what you call better - each has their usefullness.

canon L offer (outside of the 85L) extremely fast and accurate AF - that you won't get with Zeiss.

Zeiss lenses of this grade are built really for the manual focus - the damping and finite control you have over the manual focus is well, dreamy .. it's smooth, controlled and "feels" perfect.

optically - at their sweet spot, you will have less QA related issues - simply because their tolerances are higher, the cost is higher for each lens, and they don't pump out as many per year.

coating wise - Zeiss gives a more contrasty look than out of the box L's .. T coatings seem to deliver more "depth" - this style has been debated since the beginning of time it seems against the leica and zeiss folks - leica giving a more natural flavour, and zeiss more punchier.

sharper, etc really depends on the lens - the 21mm is legendary, however, the 50, 85 while excellent - are close to, or equalled by canon counterparts - especially when stopped down at their sweet spot - contrary to popular belief - zeiss lenses don't break the laws of optics and are not sharp all the way through their aperatures - but when stopped down, they are as good as it gets - just as some canon L's are. some of the differences can be because of the coatings mentioned about .. T making the image feel contraster than SSC coatings.

it should also be mentioned that this line is not weathersealed as well - so if that's an issue with you, you're better off sticking with Canon L .. which are for the most part, weathersealed.

outside of macro and landscape I wouldn't really consider using zeiss ZE lenses - but in those two environments, I find the MF necessity of the lenses actually helps me as a photographer to slow down, consider, and compose, versus AF lock and shoot.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads