Upload & Sell: On
I had a loaner Zeiss ZE Distagon T* 2,8/15 on loan for a few days, but unfortunately I've had very little time to use it because of work and family. I did however visit a 'summer' cabin this weekend with a few photographers (for beef and beer, not photography) and got the chance to pin it against the bargain beauty, the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 in Canon mount. The testing wasn't very scientific, just decided to do a quick one because the two lenses were in the same room and there probably wouldn't be more chances in the near future. So I used a Gitzo 2531LVL tripod, a 5D III, 2sec timer and the best focusing I was able to do with 10x Live View. I didn't account for focus shift and I probably could have found a better subject to test on, as this is rather dull in colours and at short distance, so keep that in mind. Please don't consider this as an all-round comparison with definitive results. And of course there's much more to images than sharpness :-) But in general these two lenses seem very similiar to me.
Please forgive me for not preparing 100% crops for you to see, as I believe the sample files should be viewed in their entirety to make any sort of conclusion. So here are the RAW files (I hope my Dropbox storage won't be too slow!):
First demos at f/2.8. I focused to the best of my ability to the map in the center of the frame, but the lenses seem to have very different focusing fields, as their sharpness/focus differs incredibly between zones.
f/8 demos provide a little easier comparison, I didn't to other apertures unfortunately.
I'm a huge Zeiss fan, in fact, I'm probably the biggest Zeiss fan(atic) in Iceland. The Zeiss 15/2.8 sure is beautiful. I think if Batman was a photographer, this would be his lens. It's just that cool. But is the $2550 price difference between Zeiss 15 and Samyang 14 justifiable? Yes the distortion is horrible in the Samyang but it's correctable for the most part. At least I see very little difference between the two after the Samyang has been corrected to justify this extreme price of the Zeiss 15. I did another test at work last thursday against the Canon TS-E 17mm and noticed another, very interesting thing. The Canon TS-E 17 and ZE 15 were equals in sharpness for the most part, but to my eyes, the ZE15 seemed very diffraction limited - it became incredibly soft at f/16, much more so than the 17 TS-E. (I'm not so keen on showing those cluttered office images publicly though, PM me if interested ;-)
I hope I won't offend anyone with this post, and I may very well be wrong in my methods or conclusion. But this is what I saw and I wanted to share it, as I've been drooling over that ZE15 since it's introduction.