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Archive 2011 · Help me choose my next Zeiss
  
 
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


I'm considering the Zeiss ZA 135mm F1.8 lens, Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro, and the Zeiss ZF 50mm Makro with Leitax adapter for my next lens on my FF alpha system.

Kind of a wide field there of very dissimilar lenses. My needs are that I definitely need a macro for product like shots but also want additional utility for a general purpose lens. I currently use a Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG EX Macro but I found it never really wow'd me from any of the pictures I would get out of it. Sure, it's a sharp lens with a great reputation but I've never been 100% happy with its rendering or colors.

I've read a lot of great things about the color and rendering style of the Minolta/Sony 100mm so I'm considering that, plus it offers AF and 1:1 magnification. It would also cost about half the latter two. My only concern is that I would be disappointed in the rendering style of this lens like I was of the Sigma.

The 50mm Zeiss Makro has a wonderful reputation as well for being a nearly faultless lens and one which lacks the CA bokeh of the 100mm F2. Since it's 1:2, I would have to use extension tubes or a Marumi Achromat 2 element diopter to achieve 1:1.

The ZA 135mm I'm considering because it's legendary in the Alpha world and it has a surprisingly high mag of .25x, add a +5 and I actually have a pretty decent magnification ratio. It also addresses my other need for a fast telephoto lens. However, I do prefer the 85mm FL generally and I already have the ZA 85mm 1.4.


Thoughts?

Currently, I'm leaning towards the Zeiss 135mm or the Zeiss 50mm Makro. I currently own a few adapted manual focus Zeiss lenses so I'm not worried about MF.



Dec 10, 2011 at 01:48 PM
AhamB
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


I'd go for the Zeiss MP50/2. Should be good for product shots and it's great for landscapes too. Of course there is some difference in how macro shots are going to look, because the perspective compression is less than a 100 or 135mm lens. More of the OOF background will be included (and will be rendered smaller).


Dec 10, 2011 at 02:34 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


The Sony 100/2.8 is certainly very good, but not stellar. It draws in a very different way than Zeiss glass. It is diffraction prone as well, things start to get soft just past f/8. If you can put up with the size and weight, I would receommend the ZA 135. With its 1:4 magnification ratio, it is almost a macro lens, and close enough for most subjects. Most importantly, it performs as good at infinity as it does at MFD. I have no experience with makro-planars but if I go this way, I would rather get the 100.


Dec 10, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Sami Ruusunen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


For product shoots I recommend the Voigtlander 90/3.5 SLII (or SL I) apo lanthar, it's better corrected than the 100 MP and gives nice 1:1.8 with included close up lens. With extenders it also gives bit better magnification than the zeisses. If you absolutely must have 'zeiss' I would probably go for the 50MP. If you need longer fast macro lens I would not ignore the "cheapo" brands which have superb macros like Tamron 90/2.8 and Tokina 100/2.8.


Dec 10, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


I agree with Sami -- the Tokina macro gets very good marks for an inexpensive independent brand. KR has a very good review -- I almost bought one. Tamron is good too. And the Voightlander is another getting terrific reviews.

You need a longer lens to reduce persepctive distortion, so the 50 is out, except as a general close-up lens. Sigma 150 gets amazing reviews, and will give you the needed distance for small to medium products/subjects.

Personally, I gravitate toward Canon gear, so I find you are trying to do the job normally split between two fine lenses: 100L IS and 90 TS-E. The 100 for macro and the 90 for products, with the 100 being the most versatile. I say its worth picking up a used 5D and that lens if you want seriously good photos at a reasonable price.

If you must have Zeiss, then the ZF 100/2 MP and adapter, but only 1:2 macro.

Good luck in your quest!



Dec 10, 2011 at 03:39 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


Here are my concerns with non zeiss, ive used the canon 100 macro, nikon 60 afs micro, nikon 105 vr micro, sigma dg ex 105 macro and they have all dissapointed me in out of camera contrast, ca performance, and color (the nikon 105 was actually great with color).

This is why i was leaning towards a zeiss.



Dec 10, 2011 at 04:10 PM
AhamB
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


Leitaxed Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit 100/2.8? Even better color than the Zeiss MP100/2.


Dec 10, 2011 at 05:06 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


How about leica APO 100/2.8 with elpro to get 1:1?
Zeiss 50 MP is a great lens for macro just depends what focal length you prefer for macro.
The ZA 135/1.8 is an amazing lens too but I like it more for portraits.
The MFD of the 135 is not short enough without a tube for hi magnification macro.



Dec 10, 2011 at 05:16 PM
 

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JimUe
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


i have both the minolta 50 and zeiss 50mp and have used the minolta 100 and zeiss 135 on my a900.

here's an example of the different perspectives of 50 & 100


the minolta 100 is an outstanding lens from a resolution and contrast perspective with absolutely beautiful colour consistent with minolta's G lens line. much better than the minolta 50. I don't know what the sigma is like, but I would be interested in seeing a a comparison.

the zeiss 135 is in a league of itself, it doesn't do macro and extension tubes are a giant hassle, but i was amazed at what I perceived as clarity from my shots with it. it was like watching HDTV for the first time. the colour is beautiful as well, but quite different than minolta colours.


my 50mp is everything that you'd expect, but I can't seem to get over it's odd (to me) colour cast. coming from Minolta lenses, I've had to dial down contrast in post with the zeisses (50mp and 135za).

if you're looking for a general purpose lens, than maybe the 50mp or leica 60 macro. 135mm is not general purpose.



Dec 10, 2011 at 07:57 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


Maybe its because of the extra DoF Jim but the 50 shot looks better to me than the 100 shot.


Dec 10, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


Just a data point, but I have also been going through this process of finding a Macro for my a900. First I bought the Sigma 70 Macro but, like your Sigma experience, there was just something missing. Technically, there was nothing to complain about but it just did not wow me so I ended up returning it.

Next up, I decided to give the Minolta 100 Macro another try. A few years back, I picked up the original first AF Minolta version and ended up not so happy with it. It would hunt and hunt for focus really bad. Overall, I found it not as good as the Minolta 100 F2 AF I owned at the time for everything where the distances overlapped. It was great thought for really Macro stuff but not so much for anything else due to the focus hunting issue. Anyway, this time around, I picked up the last Konica Minolta D version of the Macro 100. This one may be identical to the current Sony version though it is curious that the the Sony version does not mention anomalous dispersion glass whereas the Konica Minolta version did. Anyway, right away I noticed a huge improvement with regard to the focus hunting issue the earlier one displayed. Much, much improved to the point the lens is useable for anything, particularly with the limit switch engaged. Bokeh is very nice as well - much better than the Sigma 70 above at normal portrait distances for instance. The lens is sharp from wide open but my feeling is it's not quite as sharp as a few other lenses I have used, notably the Minolta 50 Macro and the Minolta 100 F2 AF. There is CA and some fringing wide open, noticeable in torture type lighting situations. Color and contrast is neutral whereas the other two Minoltas just mentioned tend to have much greater contrast. So, overall, it's a fine lens but it still might leave one wishing for more. Unfortunately, that something "more" is likely going to run two to three times the price and likely lack AF. If your flexible money wise, I would probably suggest the Leica 100 APO Macro R as well.



Dec 10, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


I sure like my Minolta 50 Macro AF. 1:1, the epitome of Minolta Color reproduction, very sharp, and nice fast usable AF - if you like AF. Every lens has it's limits but I haven't seen it show CA of any kind yet. I guess it's pretty inexpensive too! About the only thing I can fault it with is the lack of working distance from about 1:2 to 1:1.

But why are we talking about Minoltas when the thread is specifically requesting a Zeiss?




Dec 10, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


Bifurcator wrote:
I sure like my Minolta 50 Macro AF. 1:1, the epitome of Minolta Color reproduction, very sharp, and nice fast usable AF - if you like AF. Every lens has it's limits but I haven't seen it show CA of any kind yet. I guess it's pretty inexpensive too! About the only thing I can fault it with is the lack of working distance from about 1:2 to 1:1.

But why are we talking about Minoltas when the thread is specifically requesting a Zeiss?



Per your last question, his first sentence mentions he is considering the Sony 100 Macro, a re-badged Minolta.

The only major fault I found with the Minolta 50 Macro AF was that in certain situations, you can get a sensor reflection issue with the a900 (and I would guess the a850 as well). I do a lot of copy/ reproduction work and have actually found this to be an issue with a number of lenses (50 1.7 Minolta, SMC Pentax 50 1.4 and even the newer Sony 85 2.8).



Dec 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


That's interesting. I wonder if the Sony version is better than the D Minolta?


Dec 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Tariq Gibran
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Help me choose my next Zeiss


FlyPenFly wrote:
That's interesting. I wonder if the Sony version is better than the D Minolta?


It is most likely exactly the same as the Minolta D version which came out in 2000 with the wide focusing ring, same as Sony has. The optics design has been the same since first introduced by Minolta in 1986. Lens coatings were probably improved in later versions, certainly by 2000. The only real question is if the Sony is still using anomalous dispersion glass like the earlier versions since Sony does not list it - probably so.



Dec 11, 2011 at 01:22 AM





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