Wide FX lenses and Ziess

Started Dec 4, 2011 | Discussions
exifnotfound
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Wide FX lenses and Ziess
Dec 4, 2011

At the moment I only have a 50 1.8G. I really love this lens, it's just that I'm often wanting to go wider.

So I'm wanting to buy a wide lens mainly for cityscapes and architectural shots, I've considered the Nikon zooms 16-35, 17-35 & 14-24. Also their 35 and 24 1.4G primes.

Since reading about the net on these lenses I've come across a few Zeiss samples and have been really impressed with the sharpness and contrast. Because of this, I'm now also considering the Zeiss 35 f2.

It seems to get a pretty big thumbs up on this forum but I'd still like to know how much of a pain is manual focus and I'm also thinking to myself if the 35 will be wide enough... & would it be a mistake to buy another prime and go with out the convenience of a zoom.

Thanks for any advice on this.

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spacepolice
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

If you're shooting DX, you could save yourself a lot of money over the Zeiss with the 35mm f1.8G and still retain AF. I have no personal experience with this lens, as I shoot FX on my main camera. I do have a 35mm f2 AF-D + D200 combo at work, but it is only used indoors, always flash, always at f8.

If you're shooting FX, one of the best regarded AIS lenses out there is the 28mm f2.8 AIS. It is also relatively inexpensive, and optically fabulous. It would address your concern of 35mm not being wide enough, and give you the chance to play with MF without much financial risk (should be easy to resell). I have one and I love it.

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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to spacepolice, Dec 4, 2011

Sorry, I should have mentioned, I use a D700.

Didn't consider that lens, it's so rare that I see it listed on a shop's website other than B&H.

I had a go at manually focusing with my 50mm this arvo, it was fine for pretty much everything that didn't move, although the lock indicator circle in the viewfinder is very touchy, I had to keep dead still for the arrows not to flicker right or left.

Trying to focus on my cat walking around was not successful at all really, I couldn't get an in focus shot until he sat still for a bit.

That said, I don't really plan on using this lens on moving subjects, just scapes, buildings & city scenes etc...
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Cenk
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

Buy a 14-24...

exifnotfound wrote:

At the moment I only have a 50 1.8G. I really love this lens, it's just that I'm often wanting to go wider.

So I'm wanting to buy a wide lens mainly for cityscapes and architectural shots, I've considered the Nikon zooms 16-35, 17-35 & 14-24. Also their 35 and 24 1.4G primes.

Since reading about the net on these lenses I've come across a few Zeiss samples and have been really impressed with the sharpness and contrast. Because of this, I'm now also considering the Zeiss 35 f2.

It seems to get a pretty big thumbs up on this forum but I'd still like to know how much of a pain is manual focus and I'm also thinking to myself if the 35 will be wide enough... & would it be a mistake to buy another prime and go with out the convenience of a zoom.

Thanks for any advice on this.

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Ilkka Nissilä
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

Of the Zeiss wide angle lenses, 35/2 and 28/2 are excellent, 25/2.8 requires stopping down quite a bit for optimal results, 18/3.5 also requires stopping down and has color short and vignetting towards the corners. Haven't used 25/2, 35/1.4, or 21/2.8.

I would recommend the 14-24/2.8 for the ultra wide as it produces more uniform results across the image (no color shift and only slight vignetting) than the Zeiss ultrawide angle lenses and is very sharp. For 24mm, I think the 24 PC-E is indispensable. 35mm, either 35/1.4 AF-S Nikkor or 35/2 ZF are excellent; the preferred choice depends on what kind of style you want and if you have other applications.

Zeiss lenses tend to have high detail contrast compared to Nikkors, which can be a good thing for landscape photography and architecture, but not so good for people photography IMO. On the other hand the latest Nikon wide angles have been developed for optimal fit with their FX sensors and it shows in the performance.

If you want detailed comparisons between the Zeiss lenses and Nikkors on D3X, you can purchase the ZF review subscription of http://www.diglloyd.com . The reviews are very useful in deciding and easily worth the price.

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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to Cenk, Dec 4, 2011

I've definitely considered it!

That and the 16-35 which I see you yourself use, would you prefer a 14-24 instead?
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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to Ilkka Nissilä, Dec 4, 2011

Thanks for the info, I read the mini review and I've already seen his YouTube video on the 35 f2 and f1.4.

It seems that I'd be exchanging convenience of zoom for really nice contrasty scapes...

I may have to get both!
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chooflaki
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

I love the Nikkor 28mm 2.8 Ais. Got one recently for around $250 used. Razor sharp, no distortion, small, light and dead easy to focus down to about 6-7 inches. Don't know much about the Zeiss wide primes but they seem poor value for money against this Nikon beauty just on cost alone.

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flbrit
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Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

Try this link from Nikon

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/simulator/

Although not 100% accurate, its gives a good idea of what to expect.

Now with regard to your situation, If you want a good zoom, then the 17-35 f2'8 is very good, the 14-24 even better but for me has size issues and the need to buy another additional lee filter kit.

You need to plan your purchases carefully. IMHO, buying a 35 mm prime next would be a mistake because the angle of view is too close to the 50. Buying a 17-35 would be ok, again just my 2#.

You may be better of with N24 1.4/Z25 or Z21 if getting a prime. Do not get too hung up on the specs, all are good but vary in different ways. Concentrate on the angle of view you want and select the next focal length for that.

I have the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and the Zeiss Distagon 18mm f3.5. I really really wanted the Zeiss Distagon 21.. f2.8 but in my view the 21 was too near the 24 end of the 24-70. Right now I cannot afford a Zeiss lens in every focal length. One day though I will get the 21!

With the bright FX view finders, manual focus, especially at the wide end is not a problem.

Brian

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oneANT
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

You do a bit of tripod and cityscape work so I'm not sure how manual focus is going to be a pain. Further you like the twilight and long exposures so again I think you might have your teeth in backwards. I only use manual focus and have very few misses and many less than if I was using AF.

Would you consider a Katzeye?

Am typing as I read your blog.

Geez the way you shoot you'd love either of the zeiss 50's, the 1.4 or the f2makro. I had your 50G but it always felt like I had the contrast slider turned up in pp (thats compared to the zeiss).

The zf35f2 is where most zeiss users begin and most get hooked from there. The zf28 is a lower contrast lens then the 35 so the 35 is an easy choice between the two for your use. I can see in your subjects and processing why you'd look at the zeiss. I could readily see you using the zf21 as well. Did you think about renting a zeiss to try. I think you have a couple of places in Sydney and not a waste of money if you get a pic from it.

Ive got the zeiss 100 50makro 35/2 and 21 and some pics ...

Ant.
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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to flbrit, Dec 4, 2011

Hi Brian & thanks for that, the view angle was at the back of my mind, I just got carried away with the idea that I could buy this lens tonight if I wanted to.

The 50 and 35 are fairly close I agree.

From the Nikon lens simulator, it does seem that the 17-35 and 24-70 would be the most useful lenses.

I kind of moved on to primes this evening because I got sick of weighing up the pros and cons of the three main Nikkor wide zooms. As you already the mentioned with the 14-24, there's the weight, size, front element/filter & range. there's other pros and cons with the 16-35 and 17-35 as well.

The thing with the Zeiss is that I really like the IQ, going from the samples I've seen I mean. It, at least appears, to have a very nice quality to it.

Cheers
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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to oneANT, Dec 4, 2011

Yeah, you're right, the contrast and depth of the samples I've seen have really got me interested in the Zeiss. Excellent shots btw, I was looking at your site earlier when reading another thread where you were discussing Zeiss. Excellent site too.

Yeah for all the tripod work I wasn't that worried, it's just that I like to do low light/night, hand held stuff after I've packed up the tripod and start heading home. That said, it's all non moving subject matter, city scenes etc.

Btw, how did you manage to MF that first B&W shot? Was it a pose or a candid? Awesome stuff if the latter!

Considering the relatively good price of the 35/f2, I could easily get something in addition to it later if I found I need something wider still. The 21mm is quite a bit more, so I'd have to think on that one longer...

Thanks very much for the reply, it helps coming someone well versed with the lens in question and has also used my current 50G.

Cheers

EDIT: No qualms with using a focus screen but I thought that the Zeiss maybe the better way to go since they have their own lenses in mind..?

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Cenk
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

16-35 is a very practical, fine & extremely sharp lens... But 14-24 " better" suits your specific needs according to me... 16-35 has simply too distortion for architectural works...

exifnotfound wrote:

I've definitely considered it!

That and the 16-35 which I see you yourself use, would you prefer a 14-24 instead?
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larrywilson
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

I have four Zeiss lens and have used them on a d700 and d3s. My last two were purchased within the last year and are the 28mm and 21mm lens. Both len's are wonderful with the color output and sharpness required for my landscape work. If you are taking images of flat charts both len's may not look as good on a resolution test as some other len's in the far corners, but in the real world of three dimensional scenes, you can't beat them. These len's are built to last a lifetime, beautiful smooth focusing ring and aperture depth of field marks engraved on the len's. They are a working photographers lens that perform better than me ha ha!!

Larry

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pluton
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

exifnotfound wrote:

Didn't consider that lens, it's so rare that I see it listed on a shop's website other than B&H.

Rare??? It's still for sale new!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/36925-USA/Nikon_1420_Wide_Angle_28mm_f_2_8.html

Seriously, if you've got and use a 50mm, then 28 or 24 is a good first wider angle choice; I have both the ZF 28/2 and the Nikon 28/2.8Ais. I prefer the ZF, but the Nikon is king in the close up range.

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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to larrywilson, Dec 4, 2011

Yeah, I'm pretty impressed with the samples I've seen from Zeiss lenses.
They seem to have a nice rich, contrasty quality.

Just thinking now if I should go for the 21 instead of the 35...
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oneANT
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

exifnotfound wrote:

Yeah, you're right, the contrast and depth of the samples I've seen have really got me interested in the Zeiss.

Its easy to see what you want and how you are making your decision, you are likely looking at the zeiss the same way it came to me ...in a picture.

I did fret about giving up the AF but what was I to do? Took me 2-months before I stopped feeling like I had lost something (was almost funny).

Yeah for all the tripod work I wasn't that worried, it's just that I like to do low light/night, hand held stuff after I've packed up the tripod and start heading home. That said, it's all non moving subject matter, city scenes etc.

For the moving stuff you fall into it naturally, its not unlike the way you have frame lines in your eyeballs for your 50mm. Having the one FL is a lesson some should learn.

Btw, how did you manage to MF that first B&W shot? Was it a pose or a candid? Awesome stuff if the latter!

Picture has caused me more trouble than any other. My pictures are all so serious now, taken a bit of the fun out. He is candid, I've stood up from having my back to him and watched his feet approach. Spotted him a few hundred meters back and raced ahead to the church. Its Swanston Street and I'm always on it going back and forth to my hunting grounds. Biggest lesson I learnt is ...why do photographers wear black shirts? (grin). I was desperate (or determined) to get it right ...amazing what you can do when you grit your teeth.

Considering the relatively good price of the 35/f2, I could easily get something in addition to it later if I found I need something wider still. The 21mm is quite a bit more, so I'd have to think on that one longer...

You like your verticals to be straight and in mine I just hope no one notices. Am hooked on the 21 as you can tell. Its great fun but it might be a specific use lens whereas I have somehow adopted it as general purpose and dont care about the mess. I have to be more serious next year so I'm not sure that I can make a habit of giving everyone a big fat nose ...especially if they are paying.

Thanks very much for the reply, it helps coming someone well versed with the lens in question and has also used my current 50G.

Any lens you buy now wont be the last one and a 35mm in a bag is like having coins in your pocket when you need them.

EDIT: No qualms with using a focus screen but I thought that the Zeiss maybe the better way to go since they have their own lenses in mind..?

Most here don't understand but when a zeiss owner is talking about the zf28, he is comparing it to the zf35 and yet here they are comparing to a Nikkor ...they are not the same lens and the ones that shoot charts know too much and take pictures too little. The whole Zeiss line is a kit and the design decisions are very different and its as much the faults that we like as the perfections and the zf35f2 is one of those that sits more on the perfect side.

I'll tell you a secret. If you want a perfect facsimile of a scene, the colours the light the dof ..then buy a Nikkor. You'll understand when you open the box.

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oneANT
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 4, 2011

exifnotfound wrote:

Just thinking now if I should go for the 21 instead of the 35...

...lol

Can only tell you the box it comes in and your grin will be a bit bigger.

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exifnotfound
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to oneANT, Dec 5, 2011

Just found a solution to the single focal length problem...

Carl Zeiss now sell a bundle of 5 of their most popular primes in a custom Zeiss pelican case. Link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/818446-REG/Zeiss_410951_0000_033_ZF_2_SLR_5_Lens_Bundle.html

Sweeet!

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spacepolice
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Re: Wide FX lenses and Ziess
In reply to exifnotfound, Dec 5, 2011

I also have the Zeiss ZF2 21mm f2.8, in addition to the Nikkor AIS 28mm f2.8. I love them both. The Zeiss is a bit wide for a general use lens, and it's a heck of a lot bigger and more expensive than the Nikkor. For that reason, I don't carry the Zeiss with me everywhere. I tend to leave the Nikkor on the camera, and throw my Voigtlander 40mm f2 into my bag. I take my ZF 85mm f1.4 and ZF.2 21mm f2.8 only when I'm expecting to use them.

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