Help with Zeiss 24mm!

Started Feb 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: Help with Zeiss 24mm!

In looking at the photos you posted of your typical images, it strikes me that none really challenge the low-light/action advantages of the $1100 Zeiss. I don't own the Zeiss, but since I acquired my NEX-6 to utilize my wall full of lenses acquired over 40 years of photography, I have some views and opinions - because I lack for no choice of focal lengths or lens speeds.

I also do a lot of travel type photography like you do these days, since my kids are now grown and out of high school and college sports and theatre, which shaped my photography for more than a decade.

I own a Canon FD 24mm f2 lens, and a Canon FD 85mm f1.2L, among many. I also own an 11-16mm f2.8 Nikon-mount Tokina, and 3 Leica M mount lenses: A 35mm f1.4 Summilux, a 50mm f2 Summicron, and a 90mm f2.8 Tele-Elmarit.

The 24mm Canon quickly became my favorite for the Sony NEX-6. It's a GREAT focal length.

When you aren't doing indoor sports or other action shots, the f1.4 speed of the Zeiss will be wasted. At the shooting distances of your displayed images, so will the autofocusing.  For your largely static scenics, you could shoot ISO 100-200 at roughly f5.6-8, the optical sweet spot of virtually all lenses made for SLRs and rangefinders for the past 30 years. Look at almost any lens test of any credible manufacturer from that period, and you will find resolution differences so small as to be equal on all but the test bench. Due to the crop factor of an APS-C sensor, we use just the sweetest section of those older lenses in the NEX-6.

The benefit of the faster (f1.4-2.8) lenses largely accrues from their ability to let you shoot ISO 100 at handheld speeds (camera shake, by the way, is more a cause of image degradation than lens resolution).

The question for you is, given the facts I've just cited, what price do you want to pay to get the 24mm focal length in a small package? Is the loss of 4-6 ounces of weight and AF worth paying an extra $500-700 for the Zeiss? If so, great - buy it. I own Zeiss glass from my late father's Hasselblads, and its exceptional.

Otherwise, I'd suggest you do some careful shopping on eBay and Craig's List. Chances are, you will find a Canon FD (orphaned by the switch to EOS) or a Konica or other adaptable mount lens for between $50 and $200 that will deliver better performance than your current zooms. You can buy a 50mm f1.8 Canon FD lens for around $20-25, and an adapter for about $20 - and you will have a marvelous indoor portrait lens and a short (75mm equivalent high-speed lens for outdoor shooting likely to outperform any of the compromise-for-pocketability designs sold today.

And if you can tolerate the weight, check out the 11-16mm f2.8 Tokina - it will blow the doors off just about any glass you can mount (with adapter) on your NEX-6. They're available used for about half the Zeiss new -- and will transform your scenic images.

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha 7 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS +12 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow