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Archive 2012 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?
  
 
zhangyue
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p.6 #1 · p.6 #1 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


wfrank wrote:
I dont agree that this lens "is bad" close:ish and one must not shoot close or anything. The BW portrait F/1.4 I posted on page 2 in this thread is close for all I care and useful for any portrait purposes I know of.

Pixelpeeping is too often mixed up with imagery. Any 1.4 lens produce some kind of haze wide-open, 1.2-lenses more so. This lens is not a bad example and judged comparing to a F/2 lens it will inevitably look worse. But again: not bad.


Wilhelm, Judge from your sample, I feel your contax is slightly sharper than ZF/ZE version at 1.4.

As for other 1.4 Lens, at 12M D700, I feel D351.4 P851.4 perform OK not much Haze I can tell. And my recently acquired Leica 50lux R a 1970ish version might be the best. No haze at all. I will post some samples later on Leica thread.

At 18M, I feel both Zeiss sonnar and 50lux ASPH has no haze, at least not below my standard, which is not the case with my ZF P50.

I did some infinity test with it, it definitely perform better than close range WO (relatively to others), but again not great compare to Soonar and 50lux M.






Nov 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Makten
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p.6 #2 · p.6 #2 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


alundeb wrote:
I don't understand how the Zeiss 50 mm f/1.4 Planar ZE / ZF.2 can be said to be "tack sharp" and without veiling haze at infinity, wide open.


Who said that? I think your examples look precisely like what I'd expect from this lens at that high pixel density. It can give a very pleasing look albeit with a certain "glow" wide open, but still giving nice colors that I haven't seen from other equal lenses (non-aspherical and/or classic designs).

I think most of the criticism comes from people wanting "perfect" lenses. But there are no perfect lenses. While for example the Sigma 50/1.4 is "much better" (sharper) at f/1.4, it lacks many of the nice unmeasurable qualities of the Planar; both wide open and stopped down.

You have to understand that this is a double nature lens. It is soft wide open, but I and many others like that look. It's also very, very sharp and detailed stopped down, with a color accuracy and "3D" look second to none.









Nov 12, 2012 at 09:46 PM
wfrank
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p.6 #3 · p.6 #3 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


zhangyue wrote:
Wilhelm, Judge from your sample, I feel your contax is slightly sharper than ZF/ZE version at 1.4.


Could be so Michael (that the CY is a tad sharper).

But honestly I think most of the talk about 50/1.4 being not good close by comes from Zeiss wording in their efforts to justify both ZE/ZF 50 lenses available today - to make somepeople buy both. The makroplanar 50/2 (with makro) vs the 50/1.4 w/o makro. As a Zeiss marketing officionardo I would write something like "best from mid- to long distances" for the non-makro one. For sure. And that's exactly what they do.

This link (/review) shows the performance of the 50/1.4 stopped down. And the first paragraph shows what Zeiss write themselves. The guy got less skill in web-downsizing than most image posters here in the alt-forum, but the crops show the potential of the images.

http://www.kettik.com/gear/photography/lens/65/reviews/22



Nov 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
wfrank
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p.6 #4 · p.6 #4 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


Makten wrote:
... It is soft wide open, but I and many others like that look.


I agree to all you said but not that . It is soft wideopen viewed in 100% crop with 21 or 36 MP FF for sure. So is all 1.4 lenses I have used, including the ones mentioned by Helimat. Oddly (for some), among 50/1.4 lenses I have used the yelled-at Canon EF 50/1.4 has been one of the sharpest (center image) viewed in 100% crop @21MP. For other focales Samyang has a star in their 35/1.4 but it is still soft viewed in 21MP 100% crop, despite being sharper MTF-wise than both the Canon 35/1.4L and Zeiss 35/1.4.

But it does not mean the image is soft. It is not.

In 100% crop, this image has the typical glow (and possibly more of it than some other 50/1.4 lenses), but it is not soft. It's not the type of image I would print, but the portrait on page two I would. Usable for any size. It is also F/1.4.


IMG_8636 1280 by Wilhelm Frank - Stockholm, on Flickr

I think we all judge 3D differently. Here's car shot at F/2.8 (probably) that I think fall into the 3D category, but so does the bike above in my book.


IMG_8692 1280 by Wilhelm Frank - Stockholm, on Flickr



Nov 12, 2012 at 10:39 PM
mortyb
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p.6 #5 · p.6 #5 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


Some serious 3D in the car shot.


Nov 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
carstenw
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p.6 #6 · p.6 #6 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


The Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-R manages to be quite sharp wide open in the centre.


Nov 12, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Johnny B Goode
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p.6 #7 · p.6 #7 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


50 1.4 wide open. It's not a great photo but it's not the lens's fault- looks sharp enough to me. 50% unsharpen mask to export for the web.


IMG_6858 by Pete the Irish Guy, on Flickr


IMG_6867 by Pete the Irish Guy, on Flickr

There are shots I've taken wide open that make me feel this lens is soft, but when I get the focus right I'm forced to bite my tongue. I'm not sure it's the right lens for me but it's definitely not a bad lens.



Nov 13, 2012 at 02:40 AM
helimat
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p.6 #8 · p.6 #8 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


wfrank wrote:
...It is soft wideopen viewed in 100% crop with 21 or 36 MP FF for sure. So is all 1.4 lenses I have used, including the ones mentioned by Helimat.


You must have some bad luck or something.

mortyb wrote:
Some serious 3D in the car shot.


+1... Wowsers.



Nov 13, 2012 at 02:53 AM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.6 #9 · p.6 #9 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


love the b&w portrait jbgoode


Nov 13, 2012 at 02:55 AM
sebboh
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p.6 #10 · p.6 #10 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


helimat wrote:
You must have some bad luck or something.


different people and different cameras have different thresholds for seeing veiling softness. also there are quite a few lenses that will only show the softness in harsh light or at certain focus distances.



Nov 13, 2012 at 03:58 AM
 

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helimat
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p.6 #11 · p.6 #11 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


sebboh wrote:
different people and different cameras have different thresholds for seeing veiling softness. also there are quite a few lenses that will only show the softness in harsh light or at certain focus distances.


Do you agree with him that every 1.2 or 1.4 max aperture lenses in the history of mankind has haze wide open? Please.



Nov 13, 2012 at 04:08 AM
sebboh
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p.6 #12 · p.6 #12 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


helimat wrote:
Do you agree with him that every 1.2 or 1.4 max aperture lenses in the history of mankind has haze wide open? Please.


certainly all the ones mentioned, and definitely every f/1.2 lens ever made for 35mm film. i've not seen any evidence of it in the 50 lux asph crops i've seen, but i've never had the pleasure of playing with myself so i won't say every f/1.4 lens in the history of mankind. i'm sure the designers of all those lenses would agree as well. spherical aberration is just one those things you have to deal with with super fast lenses. it can be minimized, but that is typically cost prohibitive. obviously some are worse than others though.



Nov 13, 2012 at 04:39 AM
helimat
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p.6 #13 · p.6 #13 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


sebboh wrote:
certainly all the ones mentioned, and definitely every f/1.2 lens ever made for 35mm film. i've not seen any evidence of it in the 50 lux asph crops i've seen, but i've never had the pleasure of playing with myself so i won't say every f/1.4 lens in the history of mankind. i'm sure the designers of all those lenses would agree as well. spherical aberration is just one those things you have to deal with with super fast lenses. it can be minimized, but that is typically cost prohibitive. obviously some are worse than others though.


Spherical aberration, in most cases I would agree. Haze or softness on every fast lens wide open ever? Maybe it's just me but I would never make such an audacious claim.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the Zeiss 50/1.4, nor am I trying to sell anyone on another lens. It's just that these extremely bold statements that cannot really be substantiated get under my skin for some reason. I'll try to work on it.



Nov 13, 2012 at 05:19 AM
sebboh
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p.6 #14 · p.6 #14 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


helimat wrote:
Spherical aberration, in most cases I would agree. Haze or softness on every fast lens wide open ever? Maybe it's just me but I would never make such an audacious claim.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the Zeiss 50/1.4, nor am I trying to sell anyone on another lens. It's just that these extremely bold statements that cannot really be substantiated get under my skin for some reason. I'll try to work on it.


maybe softness isn't really the right way to describe it as they can still be very high resolution, but SA gives a "glow" or haze (you can only call it a glow if it's a leica ) that is noticeable.

for example, my c/y 35/1.4 is very sharp wide open, but you can still see a glow/haze around bright areas of the image wide open. here is an unsharpened 100% crop at f/1.4 on the NEX-7 (which corresponds to the pixel density of a 54mp FF camera):





i'm very happy with the resolution i see at the focus point (center of the lower right doodad), but i still see haze (also lots of loCA, but that is another story).



Nov 13, 2012 at 05:36 AM
helimat
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p.6 #15 · p.6 #15 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


Well now I am confused, what was being discussed earlier was haze or softness wide open at infinity across the frame. Of course most fast lenses are going to have trouble with bright areas, which would induce spherical aberrations... Even then I wouldn't say all but most for sure. However the softness across the frame shown in the examples of the ZE 50/1.4 Planar wide open on the previous page I would not say is indicative of all fast lenses out there.


Nov 13, 2012 at 05:46 AM
sebboh
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p.6 #16 · p.6 #16 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


helimat wrote:
However the softness across the frame shown in the examples of the ZE 50/1.4 Planar wide open on the previous page I would not say is indicative of all fast lenses out there.


oh, certainly not. the Z* 50/1.4 is definitely not the top of the class for 50/1.4 lenses wide open in that situation, as demonstrated by the comparison to the CV 58/1.4 there. from everything i've seen the older c/y 50/1.4 actually handily outperforms the newer zeiss in this respect (at least centrally, not sure you can generalize across the frame).



Nov 13, 2012 at 05:57 AM
helimat
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p.6 #17 · p.6 #17 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


sebboh wrote:
oh, certainly not. the Z* 50/1.4 is definitely not the top of the class for 50/1.4 lenses wide open in that situation, as demonstrated by the comparison to the CV 58/1.4 there. from everything i've seen the older c/y 50/1.4 actually handily outperforms the newer zeiss in this respect (at least centrally, not sure you can generalize across the frame).


Thank you sebboh. That was my point from the beginning, to say that one should expect similar performance to that from any fast lens is ludicrous.



Nov 13, 2012 at 06:04 AM
sebboh
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p.6 #18 · p.6 #18 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


helimat wrote:
Thank you sebboh. That was my point from the beginning, to say that one should expect similar performance to that from any fast lens is ludicrous.


oh sure, there will always be better and worse lenses in different respects. i didn't take wilhelm's statement that way. he also has a different perspective on the zeiss 50/1.4 since his is the c/y version rather than the new version.



Nov 13, 2012 at 06:12 AM
alundeb
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p.6 #19 · p.6 #19 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


alundeb wrote:
I don't understand how the Zeiss 50 mm f/1.4 Planar ZE / ZF.2 can be said to be "tack sharp" and without veiling haze at infinity, wide open.

Makten wrote:
Who said that? I think your examples look precisely like what I'd expect from this lens at that high pixel density. It can give a very pleasing look albeit with a certain "glow" wide open, but still giving nice colors that I haven't seen from other equal lenses (non-aspherical and/or classic designs).

I think most of the criticism comes from people wanting "perfect" lenses. But there are no perfect lenses. While for example the Sigma 50/1.4 is "much better" (sharper) at f/1.4, it lacks many of the nice unmeasurable qualities of the Planar; both wide open and stopped down.

You have to
...Show more

Very convincing color and object definition in that photo, Martin. I like your style.

About "who said that", the "tack sharp" was from the OP on page 5, post 12. I have read numerous times in different threads on this forum that the veiling haze is supposed to be gone at infinity. Thanks for confirming that my copy is as expected.

When you said in your first reply in this thread that the lens is "only soft at short distances, wide open", I may have confused softness with veiling haze.

As for perfomance stopped down at infinity, the CV 58 is sharper than the Planar even at f/4 and with no trace of color aberrations. The most striking difference between those two lenses is the cooler color of the CV. Then there is a lot to like or not to like about the rendering as we move out of the focus plane. I agree than in the right circumstances, the Planar 50 gives a look that few other lenses can.



Nov 13, 2012 at 08:51 AM
carstenw
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p.6 #20 · p.6 #20 · How bad is Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar?


alundeb wrote:
I agree than in the right circumstances, the Planar 50 gives a look that few other lenses can.


And I think this is a great summary of this lens. It has some problem areas, but ultimately, if you are willing to learn how to use it to its maximum, then it has a hell of a lot of potential for delivering great images.



Nov 13, 2012 at 09:40 AM
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