Carl Zeiss lenses: Reviews by Photozone
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 ....
Yep, Color Matrix, but not 3D Color Matrix.
Life is too short for slow glass.
I am guessing you are not the sharpest tool in the shed. Your comments on CA prove that. Of the nikon lenses ( 28mm F/2 AIS, 35mm F/1.4 AIS, 50mm F/1.4 AIS, 85mm f/1.4 AIS) you mention only 50mm F1.4 has less CA than its zeiss counterparts. The 35mm F1.4 nikkor I owned in my film days had so much CA I thought I was shooting rainbows. 28mm F/2 AIS, 35mm F/1.4 AIS, 50mm F/1.4 AIS, 85mm f/1.4 AIS ALL nikon, canon and zeiss lenses have some degree of CA. The difference between nikon and canon and zeiss is that the CA in zeiss lenses tends to be well controlled and evenly distributed across the frame when compared to their nikon and canon counterparts. Making software correction of CA quite easy. But with nikon and canon you often have CA impacting edges or corners much more than other areas of the frame. Meaning instead of a minor, global CA tweak in camera raw for a zeiss lens you have to go through all sorts of photoshop contortions because the CA is uneven and when you correct for the CA on the edges you muck up the middle. Vignetting is a whole nother story. You need to really study and learn about aspects of image quality before you make blanket statements on the photozone tests. And it is all RELATIVE. ALL lenses have vignetting. ALL lenses have CA. ALL lenses have distortion. The trick is understanding how and when this impacts image quality.
These are not German glass are they? Aren't they made in Asia by a
third party? Cosina or something?
Zeiss is german and there products are still considered german by design and quality, offshore manufacturing is common place these days. Nikkors are made in china and thailand today, do you consider nikon thai or chinese?
Once you make a lens autofocus, it doesn't feel like a manual focus. There goes the target market.
Besides, it's a little more complex than you imply.
Optically superior or not, I'll never understand why they couldn't
just include the simple screw driver AF mecanism...
no offense, and perhaps you meant them that way, but I can't sem to find a single thing in focus on either of them?
These are not German glass are they? Aren't they made in Asia by a
third party? Cosina or something?
Yes, they are not German glass. They are made by Cosina, but designed by Zeiss.
A Nikon design , made in a Nikon factory, is a Nikon lens. There may be differences in the capabilities of one Nikon factor vs. another, but they are all under Nikon's control. Some folks are picky about Nikon lenses made in Japan vs. China.
Is a Zeiss design, made in a Cosina factory a "real" Zeiss lens? Perhaps. But is certainly not a "German" Zeiss. That may or may not be of any importance.
No matter what, it is clear that the Zeiss lens are quite good. I'll consider one.
Equipment in profile.
To be honest, I'm just surprised about your interpretation of thosese tests, that clearly indicate that the Zeiss-lenses outperform the Nikons in nearly every point.
If you prefer MF to AF is a matter of taste, not a quality criteria for a lens.
I own the 25 mm and the 35 mm and they are just outstanding at every aperture and especially at low light. Especially the 35 is crisp sharp even at 2.0. CAs are there, of course, but can be neglegted compared to Nikon 50 1.4 and Sigma 30 1.4 at the same aperture.
There is only one lens I cannot recommend and that I returned to Zeiss, it is the 85 1.4. This was not related to the quality of the lens, even if it is a bit less sharp than the Nikkor 85 1.4 at 1.4 and 2.0, but to the fact that I was not able to focus well with this lens, even with Katzeye. IMHO the AF is really needed for this lens, even if I agree that even with Nikkor + AF it is sometimes difficult to focus well.
There is another thing to say about built-quality of the lens. Of course, it is a matter of taste also, as the look and feel adds nothing to the final pictures, except, maybe, some pleasure while working with it. The built quality is just FAR better than any Nikon I every had, at least the look and feel. For example, compared to the Nikkor 85 1.4, which is one of the best Nikkors I ever had (made in Japan also), the Zeiss is just outstanding and focussing smooth. And I will not talk about the other AF-Nikkors that look like plastic toys against the Zeiss.
What I regret is that with the very good 17-55 2.8 Nikkor, the Zeiss-Lenses are a kind of technical overkill, at least for DX-Sensors and therefore are just a bit to expensive if you don't have a real need for them.
But I wouldn't miss them. It's just an incredible pleasure to work with those lenses, and especially the D200 supports MF-Lenses very well.
Actually, I just ordered for the 50 2.0 as replacement for my Nikkor 50 1.4 and 60 2.8.
They reverse engineer it AKA hack it. That is why sigma have so much compatibility issues.
Sigma has a company policy of not licensing roms even if they manufacture will license it to them.
I can also confirm what the previous poster said, I talked with Zeiss, and they told me the same, no rom License, thus no rom.
When I first read about the ZF series I wasn't interested at all.
Then my brother got a 2.8/25mm and after trying it I immediately ordered one as well. This lens is just fantastic: nothing beats a MF lens for MF photography. The close focusing ability is really nice too. Resolution, bokeh, contrast and colors are top notch. The 'CA-problem' only exists on the Internet, not in real life. I recently got a 2/35 and it is at least as good as the 25mm. Next on my list is the 1.4/50.
I don't have 25mm or 35mm Nikkor primes so I can't compare. The ZF's are better than my 17-35 2.8 zoom, although that is no fair comparison.
The Zeiss lenses are a pleasure to work with. They remind me of times when passionate engineers designed quality products without making compromises, when accountants played a unimportant role in the company, marketing still had to be invented and share-holders had no influence on the product line. This may sound exagerated, but it is the feeling I get when handling one of these ZF's. They are a joy to use and the image quality is as good as you can get.
"They are a joy to use and the image quality is as good as you can get".
There is nothing more to say here....I agree. Btw I know someone who is selling a 50 1.4 in Germany, so if you are interested, please contact me, i can make a contact.
Greetings from Switzerland
no offense, and perhaps you meant them that way, but I can't sem to
find a single thing in focus on either of them?
None taken. That's how I shot them, I was trying to show the OP how different a mood the lens has to some of what posted before.
Is a Zeiss design, made in a Cosina factory a "real" Zeiss lens?
Perhaps. But is certainly not a "German" Zeiss. That may or may
not be of any importance.
The lens is made in Japan as printed on the packages and engraved into the lenses. You get an individual Test Certificate with each lens which is signed by someone from Zeiss/Germany. I have a 75 mm from Voigtländer/Cosina which is a very good lens in its own. The Zeiss ZFs I have are even much better. As a German I don't think one minute about having something from Zeiss made in Japan and not in Germany. Zeiss has such a great reputation they wouldn't ruin that with cheap manufacturing and bad QC. It's a German design, made in Japan and with QC in Germany - what is so problematic about that for some folks is beyond me.
why can't we have not text in out NT messages?
Nirto Karsten Fischer wrote:
Zeiss has such a great reputation they wouldn't ruin
that with cheap manufacturing and bad QC. It's a German design,
made in Japan and with QC in Germany - what is so problematic about
that for some folks is beyond me.
Nothing at all, in fact it probably is the best possible combination. Its just a sad way for some people to attack something they know nothing about. What's funny is that many of the same people accept Nikon products made in Thailand without any problems.
Attack?...these are the facts...They are designed by Zeiss and made by Cosina in Japan. I would guess it would only matter to collectors...certainly not a attack though. Enjoy your Zeiss.
Hi! Thanks for the input...I had no idea that Zeiss ZF where that good...next buy will be the 85 mm ZF... probably the best lens in its class today...at least looking at the tests wich are -btw- very, very, - unusually - honest... of course before I buy I will try... as for our different way of reading things I am sorry that we leave so far away in the space-time continuum - am in Guatemala -... I would love to spend a quiet sunday afternoon in front of a cappuccino comparing numbers with you... I am a test cruncher and really enjoy commentaries by other test crunchers... even if I disagree... saw your site, like very much the envelope.
Anything you write other than praising ZT lenses will be considered as an attack.
Comparing Nikons manufactured in Thailand or Nikkors in China, is different when comparing ZT lenses manufactured by Cosina. Cosina is totally a different company which uses Zeiss Technology.
Cosina has bought the trademark name Voigtlander and it has been selling some optics on the market rightfully naming them Voigtlander. Voigtlander, the german company ceased to exist a long time ago, as I understand.
Anyway, Nikkors, however, are not manufactured by other companies such as Sigma and then being sold as Nikkors.
Nikons: D50, N80. Nikkors: 20-35 f/2.8 AFD, 50mm f/1.4 AFD, 85mm f/1.8 AFD
CA on 50mm f/1.4 surprised me.
Why - no medium to good lens has it.
Digital sensors have their limitations and with some subjects can induce CA that does not happen with film.
If you do not want CA with some lenses some of the time go back to film.
If your web site does not know the difference between (common) sensor induced CA and (extremely rare) lens CA it is reviewing under false pretenses.
Good photography has more to do with the pictures you take than the equipment you own.
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