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| p.1 #20 · Best wide angle lens for 5D MKII Zeiss, Canon, Contax ect.. |
The Zeiss ZE 21/2,8 is the best you can buy with Canon mount. Both the new 17 & 24 TS-E are great lenses if you like to have tilt/shift.
Lloyd Chambers just tested the new Zeiss ZE 25/2 (canon mount) against the Canon 24/1,4 II. It's a test for paying subscribers http://www.diglloyd.com/prem/prot/ZF/publish/25f2Distagon-vs-Canon24f1_4L_II-woods.html
but here is the conclusions from two tests:
Both lenses are excellent, and it’s not so easy to show that one is better than the other here, given the different zone of sharpness for each (field curvature). However, on average, it does seem that the Zeiss 25mm ƒ/2 Distagon is better corrected for color and this lends itself to a more “stable” feel to the image towards the edges and corners.
Consider the results at ƒ/2. Here, both have their merits. I personally find the Zeiss at ƒ/2 as quite attractive in the wonderful combination of its sharpness and contrast and vignetting. The Canon 24/1.4L II eliminates most of its vignetting by ƒ/2, so one would have to add it in artificially, or use ƒ/1.4, which is somewhat lower in contrast. Still, many users disklike vignetting (it makes for easy complaining), and such users will appreciate the more even field illumination of the Canon 24/1.4L II at ƒ/2.
It’s a bit of a risk to claim that one lens is definitively superior here— depending on where one looks, the conclusions can go either way. However, the Zeiss 25/2 Distagon does seem to control chromatic aberrations a little better, and to my eye this produces a bit more solid look than the Canon 24/1.4L II.
A very minor focus error with either lens would obliterate the distinctions, and this is a modern-day fact with high resolution DSLRs: focus errors are usually more important than minor lens differences. See Making Sharp Images.
One more stop of lens speed as well as autofocus are strong points for the Canon 24mm ƒ/1.4L II, as well as its reduced vignetting at ƒ/2 (if that is one’s preference, it is not mine).
The focal length difference is modest, yet I find that in the field a 25mm lens is slightly preferable; for one thing a 25mm gives a bit more differentiation from a 21mm. The Zeiss 25mm ƒ/2 is shown as “25mm” in its data sheet, but it might actually be slightly longer. It’s a minor point, but worth considering when one intends to carry multiple wide angle lenses.
Both lenses are priced similarly (with the Zeiss slightly more costly), so the choice between these two lenses can also be directed in terms of price, and autofocus and the stop-brighter speed of the Canon, which for some users might together be compelling. However, the Canon lens is not in the same league in terms of build quality (plastic vs metal). In short, they both have their place, depending on intended usage.