SHG/HG VS Zeiss ?

Started Mar 8, 2013 | Questions thread
Chris Mak Senior Member • Posts: 2,006
Re: SHG/HG VS Zeiss ?

philosomatographer wrote:

Hi Chris,

You misunderstand me - I was addressing one or two very specific concerns, not the Zeiss lens line in general - which certainly have some very superb designs.

Well, you wére addressing the Zeiss lenses made by Cosina in general, and that's not realistic, both 50/2 macro and 100/2 macro are Zeiss designed, but made by Cosina. I also have the 35/2 distagon and 28/2 distagon, and build is to last a lifetime, all metal and glass.

Just to clarify:

Chris Mak wrote:

I have the Zeiss 85/1.4 and could not possibly deduct from that lenses' outstanding build quality and superb manual focus ring, how it should qualify as "dismal". Sure, its AF is rather none existent and it is not weather sealed, but I assume you weren't expecting that.

Oh, I was referring specifically to the autofocus on the Zeiss for SOny 85 1.4, which is dysmal by any measurement The optical qualities are superb, and the rendering is beautiful - the Sony 85/1.4 is a better optical design for technical image quality than the Nikon/Canon-mount, manual-focus 85/1.4, which is a more purposefully "soft" portrait lens. So - I am not talking the lens down in general, just the AF abilities of the Sony-mount one, in the context of the OP's comparison of Sony Zeiss AF lenses compared to SHG.

Goodness, B-grade, nothing special optically... Have you tried the Zeiss 50/2 makro planar, or the Zeiss 100/2 makro planar?

​I have, yes! Both are good, but not the best available. The Olympus OM lenses in these focal lenghts (50/2.0 Macro, 90/2.0 Macro - both of which I have a lot of experience with) are better to my tastes - but such things matter little when you're dealing with some of the best lenses ever.

That is actually interesting! You may know that I hold the SHG zuikos in (very) high regard, and these OM lenses are similarly uncompromising, simply made to offer the very best IQ without trying to go small and light. These lenses represent the Olympus I went for, even though I never had them myself. If Olympus had continued on that road (and they wére actually planning to release a digital 100mm macro!!) I would have never switched! The OM lenses had 35mm film to get the best out of them, and I just never saw that kind of quality in the images of the SHG lenses on the E3/E5, although many will disagree on that, and they have every right to. Myself, I believe the camera to get the best out of the SHG lenses has not been released yet, and I jumped ship like so many, because Olympus was creating a sense that they were not going to release that body my SHG lenses were waiting for.

I know a bit about these high quality OM lenses, but still I prefer the Zeiss color rendition myself, vibrant and lively.

However, I was here specifically referring to the Distagon 35mm f/1.4, which is very disappointing considering the enormous size and cost. Both "cheap brand" Sigma and Samyang 35mm f/1.4 lenses are demonstrably superior in almost every optical parameter. One would have expected the Zeiss to be a world-beater, but it's only "OK".

I don't know the Zeiss 35/1.4, it isn't made in Pentax mount, so I cannot comment on it, but even if it was available in ZK mount, I would never buy a lens like that, the 35/2 distagon is more than enough for me at that focal length, and the only prime lens that I would spend 2000,- on (and I díd) is the zuiko 150/2. (of course not counting my 500mm prime)

Those who purchased on, though, will feel compelled to defend it as the best 35mm f/1.4 ever, but it's simply not true. I used this lens as an example that one should not attach too much virtue to the brand of a lens - even Zeiss makes average lenses now and then.

What is different, is that Zeiss has some average lenses in the "premium" or "professional" line - something which Olympus does not have at all. All of Olympus' professional lenses are spectacular beyond reproach.

Unfortunately... Olympus has a very average sensor in the professional camera, as if to make up for it...

Let's hope that Olympus realizes what they have made with the SHG lenses, even if it is only for the few that are still interested in uncompromising image quality, in a time where we are literally washed away by digital images day in and day out. In that sense I really feel that it was much more exiting to use these really high quality lenses in the film photography era. Most don't even see the qualities of these lenses anymore in a time of downsized and overly post-processed images that come by at such a pace that you wonder how you have to educate your eyes at all.

I would still love to see Olympus come out with a 14-bit high DR 16mp DSLR, with a base iso of 100 at most....

 Chris Mak's gear list:Chris Mak's gear list
Sony Alpha a7R II Pentax KP Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 Pentax HD DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW Rear Converter +1 more
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