Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

Started Apr 8, 2007 | Discussions
Kaj E Veteran Member • Posts: 9,388
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

amarkin wrote:

Carl Zeiss fixed focal length lenses have been reviewed by
Photozone. All 3 of them. And all have received average and below
averages reviews. What's more is that these lenses are MF and cost
twice as much as everything else in that range.

CA on 50mm f/1.4 suprised me. Of all companies, one would think
Carl Zeiss could have produced a better 50mm lens.

What do you make of these reviews?

http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/zeiss_zf_25_28/index.htm
http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/zeiss_zf_35_2/index.htm
http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/zeiss_zf_50_14/index.htm
http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/zeiss_zf_85_14/index.htm

What comparable lenses do you think are better?
--
Kind regards
Kaj
http://www.pbase.com/kaj_e
WSSA member

Kent J
Kent J Senior Member • Posts: 2,378
Re: not everything

Xiaomage wrote:

Not everything needs to be about sales. Yes they're nice to have
when playing the justification game, but I don't think Zeiss is
banking much on the ZF line (if you want Zeiss AF, Sony's got 'em).
Nikon has offered lots of oddball products and limited releases
with high price tags in the past (rangefinders anyone? UV Nikkors?
FM3a and 45p? tip of the iceberg...), so these days when Nikon is
whoring itself out more to the consumer market, it's nice to see a
company offer something that stands out as not being clearly
intended for the masses.
--

Agreed. Cosina/Zeiss/Voigtlander do not seem to have any problem making a limited run of a high quality product, then shutting it down to make something else. Take the Voigtlander SC lenses for Nikon and Contax rangefinders and SL lenses for Nikon and Pentax SLRs (I have a new 2/40mm SL Ultron - nice little lens). The current ZF line seems to be higher profile than these earlier offerings, but if they weren't in production six years from now, I wouldn't be surprised. This may simply be the niche marketing strategy.
--
-Kent

Life is too short for slow glass.
http://www.pbase.com/kjoosten

 Kent J's gear list:Kent J's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 +15 more
fpessolano
fpessolano Veteran Member • Posts: 3,127
Re: Thanks

I really like the coldness and almost SF high-res look of the samples I have seen from all ZF lenses and for my way of shooting that would imply either a 50 macro or a a 25.
I know I can use CS or warming filter, but than it would be a different look.

I have to say lowfreq shots are impressive in general as they are in line with my feeling of ZF coldness and SciFi. Again, it is personal taste as well as personal way of shooting.

Anyway, I am going to ask locally if it is possible to give the 25 a try and see how it feels.
Pity it is not in the renting list ...

Francesco

****************
webpage: http://www.thefoodtraveller.com

 fpessolano's gear list:fpessolano's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Nikon Z7 Nikon 1 V1 +1 more
rander3127 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,628
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

amarkin wrote:

Carl Zeiss fixed focal length lenses have been reviewed by
Photozone. All 3 of them. And all have received average and below
averages reviews. What's more is that these lenses are MF and cost
twice as much as everything else in that range.

CA on 50mm f/1.4 suprised me. Of all companies, one would think
Carl Zeiss could have produced a better 50mm lens.

They've always been the poor man's Leicas. But, they are relatively cheap for German glass anyway.
-Rich
Olympus E-1 and lots of lenses
CANADIANS using UPS: Beware hidden brokerage charges!

http://www.pbase.com/andersonrm/

OP amarkin Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

For 28mm

If you look at the "price", lens vignetting, CA, colour rendition and MTF. All around, Nikkors 28mm f/2.8 AIS and 28mm f/2.0 AIS are better imho. That's from reading various reviews, comments and looking at the images captured on the lens.

Photodo.com and Bjorn Rorslett rate these lenses very highly. Both are extremely sharp and excellent performers. In fact, Bjorn Rorslett rates the 28 f/2.8 which is also faster than Zeiss' counter piece as one of the best lenses of all times.

35mm

Nikkor 35mm F/1.4 AIS. It is faster than that of Zeiss' 35mm, probably, not as sharp at some stops but at least it does not suffer from CA, has excellent colour rendition, moderate price tag.

50mm

For 50mm. There's a large number of these you could either choose f/1.4 AFD or f/1.4 AIS both are as sharp as that Ziess minus strong CA and high price tag.

85mm

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AIS is winner for me again.

References;

http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
http://www.photodo.com/
http://photozone.de/

I am not rubbishing Carl Zeiss. It’s good that they have released. Their lenses are sharp. I just can see the reason manufacturing these in 21st century and put high price tag on them. When you have equivalent alternatives which in some cases are better optically and price wise.

-- hide signature --

Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD

MBR Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

amarkin wrote:

For 28mm

If you look at the "price", lens vignetting, CA, colour rendition
and MTF. All around, Nikkors 28mm f/2.8 AIS and 28mm f/2.0 AIS are
better imho. That's from reading various reviews, comments and
looking at the images captured on the lens.

As far as I know, there are currently no ZF offerings at the 28mm focal length. I agree that those are nice Nikkors. That said, I don't think any reviewers have particularly knocked the lens vignetting, CA or colour rendition on ZFs. Vignetting and CA may exist to a modest degree. I have n't seen anything in real world use that indicate that they are problems.

In this case, I don't see why anyone would need to justify the price of the ZF lenses in their focal length categories. They are well-built, sharp and their colour renditions are generally first rate. If you don't like the look that the ZFs produce or can't see any difference, the choice for you is pretty clear.

Photodo.com and Bjorn Rorslett rate these lenses very highly. Both
are extremely sharp and excellent performers. In fact, Bjorn
Rorslett rates the 28 f/2.8 which is also faster than Zeiss'
counter piece as one of the best lenses of all times.

Non-sequitur here? How is the Nikkor 28 f/2.8 faster? Again, why are you comparing the 28mm Nikkors to ZFs of different focal lengths? I don't think any ZF users are saying that the 28mm Nikkors are inferior or bad lenses. ZF users simply like the look they get from the ZFs at their focal lengths.

35mm

Nikkor 35mm F/1.4 AIS. It is faster than that of Zeiss' 35mm,
probably, not as sharp at some stops but at least it does not
suffer from CA, has excellent colour rendition, moderate price tag.

50mm

For 50mm. There's a large number of these you could either choose
f/1.4 AFD or f/1.4 AIS both are as sharp as that Ziess minus strong
CA and high price tag.

You seem to be reading reviews and then making up whatever conclusions you want, regardless of the content of the reviews you have read. How exactly did you reach the conclusion that the other f/1.4s are "as sharp" and are "minust strong CA"? Where did you even get the notion that the ZF suffers from "strong CA"? Are you just making these things up as you go? LOL.

85mm

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AIS is winner for me again.

References;

http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
http://www.photodo.com/
http://photozone.de/

I am not rubbishing Carl Zeiss. It’s good that they have released.
Their lenses are sharp. I just can see the reason manufacturing
these in 21st century and put high price tag on them. When you have
equivalent alternatives which in some cases are better optically
and price wise.

Believe me. This is not a problem that you need to be losing sleep over. The ZFs have different coatings and some optical differences from their counterparts from other manufacturers. Their combinations of strengths and weaknesses are somewhat different. The differences may appeal to some who are willing to pay the price for them. Having the choice is a good thing. I hope they will be successful and continue to refine and develop the ZF line.

Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm
f/1.8 AFD

OP amarkin Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

MBR wrote:

As far as I know, there are currently no ZF offerings at the 28mm
focal length. I agree that those are nice Nikkors. That said, I
don't think any reviewers have particularly knocked the lens
vignetting, CA or colour rendition on ZFs. Vignetting and CA may
exist to a modest degree. I have n't seen anything in real world
use that indicate that they are problems.

I did not mention ZF is offering 28mm. However, it does offer a fixed focal length lens of 25mm. It makes sense to compare it to a 28mm AIS or to a 24mm AIS. Or does it? It does not for obviously, as you are trying to make something of it.

In this case, I don't see why anyone would need to justify the
price of the ZF lenses in their focal length categories. They are
well-built, sharp and their colour renditions are generally first
rate. If you don't like the look that the ZFs produce or can't see
any difference, the choice for you is pretty clear.

Who said anything about my preferences of what ZF is producing. I am trying to be as objective as possible.

Non-sequitur here? How is the Nikkor 28 f/2.8 faster? Again, why
are you comparing the 28mm Nikkors to ZFs of different focal
lengths? I don't think any ZF users are saying that the 28mm
Nikkors are inferior or bad lenses. ZF users simply like the look
they get from the ZFs at their focal lengths.

Once again. You are probably aware that 28mm f/2.8 in my previous post was a typo. I mentioned two lenses: 28mm f/2.0 and 28mm f/2.8 AIS. Having this information and seeing it in what context this information has been used it's obvious I meant the 28mm f/2.0 AIS which is faster than ZT 25mm MF f/2.8. Yet, you have tried to pick up on this to put forward an argument.

You seem to be reading reviews and then making up whatever
conclusions you want, regardless of the content of the reviews you
have read. How exactly did you reach the conclusion that the other
f/1.4s are "as sharp" and are "minust strong CA"? Where did you
even get the notion that the ZF suffers from "strong CA"? Are you
just making these things up as you go? LOL.

I have provided the references. Make a good use of those references. photodo.com provides MTF data for most lenses.

"Minus CA"? Have you read the data on CA photozone.de published on ZT lenses? The CA is very high for fixed focal length lenses. Even for professional zoom lenses it's quite high by today's standards. So, as you can see I am not making my own conclusions. I am reading the data then I compare and analyze with the data provided for other lenses. I have also explicitly stated that ZT lenses are very sharp at several f stops. If that data provided by those sources do not make any sense to you - I can't help you here.

So, considering all pro & cons, yes, Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AIS is a better choice than ZT 35mm. In my opinion.

Believe me. This is not a problem that you need to be losing
sleep over. The ZFs have different coatings and some optical
differences from their counterparts from other manufacturers.
Their combinations of strengths and weaknesses are somewhat
different. The differences may appeal to some who are willing to
pay the price for them. Having the choice is a good thing. I hope
they will be successful and continue to refine and develop the ZF
line.

I would have believed you had you put a couple of arguments together above. But no, I don't think what Carl Zeiss offers is better than those legendary lenses from Nikon. Remember, people are buying photography equipment because of the label and because of the price. The higher the better. Not always the higher price indicates the better quality. It may be a niche products, it's different from everything else and available in small quantities but it is not better.

I think Nikkors: 85mm f/1.4 AIS, 28mm F/2 AIS (if compared to ZT 25mm f/2.8) and 35mm f/1.4 AIS are clear winners

-- hide signature --

Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD

OP amarkin Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

Now people are arguing that those legendary lenses from Nikon:

28mm F/2 AIS, 35mm F/1.4 AIS, 50mm F/1.4 AIS, 85mm f/1.4 AIS which are very highly rated by every known reputable source, and which have been used for many years and have been proven to be excellent lenses, are no better than ZT MF
released recently.

That's interesting. Did I mention some people will pay anything for the label?

-- hide signature --

Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD

ddk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,661
amarkin you sound like a Nikon Supremacist...

amarkin wrote:

Once again. You are probably aware that 28mm f/2.8 in my previous
post was a typo. I mentioned two lenses: 28mm f/2.0 and 28mm f/2.8
AIS. Having this information and seeing it in what context this
information has been used it's obvious I meant the 28mm f/2.0 AIS
which is faster than ZT 25mm MF f/2.8. Yet, you have tried to pick
up on this to put forward an argument.

25mm isn't the same as 28mm, he's right.

You seem to be reading reviews and then making up whatever
conclusions you want, regardless of the content of the reviews you
have read. How exactly did you reach the conclusion that the other
f/1.4s are "as sharp" and are "minust strong CA"? Where did you
even get the notion that the ZF suffers from "strong CA"? Are you
just making these things up as you go? LOL.

I have provided the references. Make a good use of those
references. photodo.com provides MTF data for most lenses.
"Minus CA"? Have you read the data on CA photozone.de published on
ZT lenses? The CA is very high for fixed focal length lenses. Even
for professional zoom lenses it's quite high by today's standards.
So, as you can see I am not making my own conclusions. I am reading
the data then I compare and analyze with the data provided for
other lenses. I have also explicitly stated that ZT lenses are very
sharp at several f stops. If that data provided by those sources do
not make any sense to you - I can't help you here.

You seem to have a blind dislike for Zeiss and making up your own conclusions and trying to force it down our throats. I have hundreds of shots with these lenses and no trace of CA in any of them. I recommend that you try something out for yourself before becoming an authority on it!

So, considering all pro & cons, yes, Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AIS is a
better choice than ZT 35mm. In my opinion.

Considering which pros & cons? What is your opinion based on, certainly not experience, ignorance?

Believe me. This is not a problem that you need to be losing
sleep over. The ZFs have different coatings and some optical
differences from their counterparts from other manufacturers.
Their combinations of strengths and weaknesses are somewhat
different. The differences may appeal to some who are willing to
pay the price for them. Having the choice is a good thing. I hope
they will be successful and continue to refine and develop the ZF
line.

I would have believed you had you put a couple of arguments
together above. But no, I don't think what Carl Zeiss offers is
better than those legendary lenses from Nikon. Remember, people are
buying photography equipment because of the label and because of
the price. The higher the better.

Another informed opinion? Or you read this somewhere too?

Not always the higher price
indicates the better quality. It may be a niche products, it's
different from everything else and available in small quantities
but it is not better.

I think Nikkors: 85mm f/1.4 AIS, 28mm F/2 AIS (if compared to ZT
25mm f/2.8) and 35mm f/1.4 AIS are clear winners

Interesting finishing argument 85, 35 & 28mm are better than a 25mm lens. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the Nikkors but what is the relevance? Or are you just a Nikon Supremacist!

david

-- hide signature --

Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm
f/1.8 AFD

ddk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,661
Re: Thanks

Hi Francesco,

fpessolano wrote:

I really like the coldness and almost SF high-res look of the
samples I have seen from all ZF lenses and for my way of shooting
that would imply either a 50 macro or a a 25.

Interesting, because I see the Zeiss lenses as warm. The colors and the strong character remind me of the Noct which is one of my all time favorite lenses.

I know I can use CS or warming filter, but than it would be a
different look.

I have to say lowfreq shots are impressive in general as they are
in line with my feeling of ZF coldness and SciFi. Again, it is
personal taste as well as personal way of shooting.

I like them very much too and he does have an interesting SciFi look in his finished product, but that's more lowfreq's art than the lens.

Anyway, I am going to ask locally if it is possible to give the 25
a try and see how it feels.
Pity it is not in the renting list ...

Have fun!

david

Francesco

****************
webpage: http://www.thefoodtraveller.com

fpessolano
fpessolano Veteran Member • Posts: 3,127
I will try it for sure.

I guess the best is to try and see the look instead of trying to understand from other people style. They seem excellent lenses. Only a pity for the absent metering (I do not mind lack of AF on a 25).

Francesco

****************
webpage: http://www.thefoodtraveller.com

 fpessolano's gear list:fpessolano's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Nikon Z7 Nikon 1 V1 +1 more
OP amarkin Regular Member • Posts: 372
I rest my case ...[nt]

...
--
Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD

ddk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,661
You have metering

fpessolano wrote:

I guess the best is to try and see the look instead of trying to
understand from other people style. They seem excellent lenses.
Only a pity for the absent metering

You have metering in both aperture priority and manual modes with your D200!

david

(I do not mind lack of AF on a
25).

Francesco

****************
webpage: http://www.thefoodtraveller.com

ddk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,661
Good idea! ...[nt]

amarkin wrote:

...
--
Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm
f/1.8 AFD

fpessolano
fpessolano Veteran Member • Posts: 3,127
I meant the 3D one

I assume that the ZF have the same limitations as my AIS since there is no chip in them.
Of I got the 3D metering wrong ....

Francesco

****************
webpage: http://www.thefoodtraveller.com

 fpessolano's gear list:fpessolano's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Nikon Z7 Nikon 1 V1 +1 more
avidday Senior Member • Posts: 2,082
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

rander3127 wrote:

They've always been the poor man's Leicas. But, they are
relatively cheap for German glass anyway.
-Rich

Except, of course, that these Zeiss ZF lenses are not "German glass" at all, they are made in Japan by Cosina.

Kaj E Veteran Member • Posts: 9,388
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

amarkin wrote:

Now people are arguing that those legendary lenses from Nikon:
28mm F/2 AIS, 35mm F/1.4 AIS, 50mm F/1.4 AIS, 85mm f/1.4 AIS which
are very highly rated by every known reputable source, and which
have been used for many years and have been proven to be excellent
lenses, are no better than ZT MF
released recently.

First as has been said before it is not fair to compare a 25 mm lens to a one at 28 mm. A 28 mm is a less demanding design. It is better from a practical point of view to compare a 25mm lens to 24 mm.

If you compare the current Zeiss lenses to the the current Nikon lenses by the tests at PhotoZone (the source you use to bash the Zeiss lenses) you may note the following:

Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D vs. Zeiss ZF T 25mm f/2.8: ZF wins in resolution and CA at smaller apertures. Everything else practically equal.

http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_24_28/index.htm

Nikkor 35mm f/2.0D vs. Zeiss ZF T 35mm f/2.8: The ZF wins in resolution and CA at smaller apertures. Everything else practically equal.

http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_35_2/index.htm

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D vs. Zeiss ZF T 50mm f/1.4: The Zeiss wins in resolution and distortion. The Nikon wins in CA. Everything else practically equal.

http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_50_14/index.htm

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D vs. Zeiss ZF T 85mm f/1.4: The ZF wins in resolution and distortion. Everything else practically equal.

http://photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/nikkor_85_14/index.htm

Also when comparing to subjective reviews of older lenses one has to keep in mind that lens technology has caused lens optical quality to significantly improve during the last years. The optical performance of the old "legends" may not anymore be that stellar compared to the newer top lenses.

I would not switch to a manual focus lens anymore with the convenience, speed and accuracy of the best auto focus lenses. Also the "word on the streets" used to be that the resolution of the Zeiss lenses came at the expense of bokeh. I have not seen any direct comparison to prove this point so it may just be an urban legend.

In my opinion both the Zeiss and Nikkor lenses above are optically good lenses and perfectly good for any use they are intended for. The skills of the photographer is much more important for the result than the minor optical differences measured in the tests.

-- hide signature --

Kind regards
Kaj
http://www.pbase.com/kaj_e
WSSA member

tdkd13 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,410
Re: What are you reading?

As soon as you put an AF mechanism in a lens, you can expect half the people that rate products around here to complain about front focus and back focus. Leave the AF out and thers a lot less to whine about.
Ted

MarcV wrote:

Optically superior or not, I'll never understand why they couldn't
just include the simple screw driver AF mecanism...

kox Regular Member • Posts: 101
Re: Licensing

This I don't quite understand. What about Tokina, Tomron, Sigma, etc. - did THEY get a license from Nikon, and Zeiss not?

kox

OP amarkin Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone

Kaj, few people decided I am bashing ZT lenses and the whole thread became about me bashing the ZT lenses. I am not bashing these lenses. I am going to borrow the lenses tomorrow and take some pictures. I may not even be correct with my opinion. But that does not mean I am bashing ZT lenses.

As for comparing AF Nikkors to ZT lenses. Well, AF & MF over MF by ZT is already plus for me. AF 24mm f/2.8 is not a great ZT 25mm will outperform here.

Also, D50, d70(s) and D80 will not meter with ZT lenses mounted. For optical comparisons of Nikkors AFD with those of ZT I am going to discuss it here. Since anything I type it is portrayed as me bashing Zeiss' lenses.

It'd be very difficult to find lenses which are optically better than Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AFD and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AFD. If overall (the keyword) performance of ZT lenses are better than these two well, we have the gems produced by Cosina which have not been marketed well
--
Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD

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