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Archive 2013 · leica vs zeiss
  
 
Dudewithoutape
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · leica vs zeiss


Mescalamba wrote:
28/2.8 AE and MM are not same, few others too. Tho in case of 35/1.4 I dont know.. Some lens were improved with MM, some not.


Oron on MFLenses forum noted that the 25, 28, and 135 2.8s were updated in the MM format and that was public info from Zeiss. Also, he noted that there should be a difference in coatings between serial numbers; I believe the later serials had a more red reflection and the earlier serials had a blue reflection. Finally, from his own experience of several copies of the 50mm 1.7 throughout the serial range, he noted that his 8 series (first digit in serial) was definitely the sharpest by far.



Feb 20, 2013 at 06:49 PM
sebboh
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · leica vs zeiss


zhangyue wrote:
My real point is hard to generalize overall brand A vs Brand B. Since Leica change a lot from R to M, old M to ASPH M. Zeiss too. For example, I like what I see from 35cron R, but feel Sony RX1 with Zeiss 35mm will give me similar rendering with even more glass performance. Once compare these two, can we say this Leica vs Zeiss?

Comparison has to be and can only be at particular focal length/lens (which Derek and Carsten did) instead of category Leica vs Zeiss. But that is it. Leica Lens A vs Zeiss Lens
...Show more


i mostly agree with your statements here and am excited to see a comparison between those 50s, but i definitely do think that similarities can be seen across the years within leica and certainly within zeiss despite the many advances in lens tech. leica still favors certain tradeoffs over others and zeiss is the same way, they just have more possibilities to deal with the trade offs necessary in lens design. i do think it would be foolish to make broad generalizations across either brand for similarities between lenses designed for different purposes, e.g. i'd not expect see the same sort of tradeoffs designed into a macro lens as a 35/1.4, however i would expect the same sorts of tradeoffs to be carried over to a certain degree between the m lux pre-asph and the m lux asph as well as between the c/y 35/1.4 and the Z* 35/1.4.

here's an example of what i mean illustrated with the help of one of luka's (denoir) previous posts. luka points out that the m lux asph has a dip in the mtf towards the outer third of the frame that is recovered towards the corner. if you look at the full mtf you can see that this dip actually occurs sooner at f/1.4 than at f/5.6 to the point where the recovery in the corner will be visible on aps-c. my tests of the m lux pre-asph showing that it has a similar pattern at f/1.4 indicating that leica has maintained some similarity in design goals over all it iterations of the m lux 35mm.

here is my illustration at f/1.4 (at smaller apertures the dip moves farther off so recovery cannot be seen on aps-c) with comparison to the c/y 35/1.4 which uses a very different design strategy:

the full scene with the lux:


the full scene with the c/y:


and here are 100% crops from the slightly off center focus point, center, near corner, and extreme corner respectively (leica on the left, zeiss on the right):



it also appears that like the asph the pre-asph lux also is slightly sharper off center wide open than in image center. the zeiss has a very different sharpness profile wide open at infinity (that can also be seen in it's mtfs) it is sharpest in the center with a nearly monotonic decline in sharpness towards the edges.



Feb 23, 2013 at 12:27 AM
sebboh
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · leica vs zeiss


Gary Clennan wrote:
Yes, indeed. They both make some incredible glass!


+2

indeed, my VS question was not which is better, but what are the differences. i presently have a few of each and am looking to get more of both.



Feb 23, 2013 at 12:33 AM
philip_pj
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · leica vs zeiss


That is a very tough test for fast 35mm lenses, sebboh, and thanks for the images and analysis. The Leica in asph form, and I know nothing about any differences from this pre-asph but suspect not much, will show in its MTF greater variation in performance (lets call it) at f2.8, where it resembles a roller coaster on acid, before becoming more than acceptable over the frame at f5.6.

The CY is also technically poor wide open (which is apparent here in the crops) and a lesser performer in this sense than the Leica M, but it does something that Zeiss always aim for, so this is a comment on a house characteristic - they always want sagittal and tangential lines close together and as flat as possible over the frame.

They believe and are convincing at explaining it, that such a configuration creates the impression of sharpness by shaping image content consistently from centre towards the edges. Even if the level drops off, as is inevitable the fall is gradual and shaping is relatively unaffected. All this relates to contrast and resolution for non-MTF people.

My word, it is a special lens and stands as an example that the later releases are not necessarily more effective at producing finer imagery. I almost want to buy a Canon to be able to use it.

As evidence I invite viewers to choose which of the Leica River or the Zeiss River shown above they want to jump into to on a hot summer's day...my vote goes with the waterbird - into the beautiful glossy colourful, well-defined water in the Zeiss image, which makes the Leica water body look like a dull and murky toxic pond.

Sorry for any offence caused, it would be unintentional...



Feb 23, 2013 at 04:26 AM
sebboh
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · leica vs zeiss


philip_pj wrote:
That is a very tough test for fast 35mm lenses, sebboh, and thanks for the images and analysis. The Leica in asph form, and I know nothing about any differences from this pre-asph but suspect not much, will show in its MTF greater variation in performance (lets call it) at f2.8, where it resembles a roller coaster on acid, before becoming more than acceptable over the frame at f5.6.


this really is near the worst case scenario for a 35/1.4 Ė near infinity in bright direct sunlight with lots of extreme contrast points. the only thing that could have made it worse would have been including the sun in the frame (spoiler alert: the lux flares a lot more than the zeiss in such situations). the differences between the pre-asph and asph leica are quite large, this rippled mtf design is one of the few similarities really. the pre-asph is a 1960s mandler design. the asph version is much higher in contrast and much better corrected for everything, though like the c/y and Z* it does still have some SA.

philip_pj wrote:
The CY is also technically poor wide open (which is apparent here in the crops) and a lesser performer in this sense than the Leica M, but it does something that Zeiss always aim for, so this is a comment on a house characteristic - they always want sagittal and tangential lines close together and as flat as possible over the frame.

They believe and are convincing at explaining it, that such a configuration creates the impression of sharpness by shaping image content consistently from centre towards the edges. Even if the level drops off, as is inevitable the fall
...Show more

i agree that these images do help show some of the differences in design philosophy between the two lens designers. i'm not sure i agree about preference Ė the zeiss definitely looks better at 1280 pixels on the web with no processing other than adobe defaults and denoir's downsizing algorithm, but i think the leica will print better at 8x10 and larger. i also suspect the leica will look better if i process both of them to the best of my ability (though i haven't tried yet).

i think the leica is a better landscape lens (at least on aps-c) till f/8, at f/11 i think i prefer the zeiss. i don't shoot at f/16. i think the zeiss is the best portrait lens ever, but there are certain times where i'll prefer the look of the lux for portraits.



Feb 23, 2013 at 05:54 AM
zhangyue
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · leica vs zeiss


Derek, thanks for the comparison. Very informative for people consider either lens. And I can general agree with your opinion about lens design philosophy behind/between Leica and Zeiss. At least, they can afford to have their philosophy applied to their lens for premium price charged

I did some test during lunch time for the 50mm lens I mentioned. I will upload them to contribute this thread tomorrow or late if I can't find time. Like I said, it is for fun

As pointed/sensed by other forum members, and can be traced from my posts so far on Leica and Zeiss lens. I feel the more lens I used, the less I feel there is premium about either Leica or Zeiss at optical difference compare to decent canikon brand lens. Difference is subtle and no guarantee better.

But the whole manual process, thinking, framing, focus difference is real to me and hopefully, nobody can denied at least for this small portion of premium price justification. And this is a big part of whole image taking process, at least for me, which worth the premium price other than subtle performance difference if budget permit.

As for performance difference, In age of film, the subtle difference in lens character can be seen, at least I believe so. the brand signature can also easily been traced over the years. Unless we are talking about 21 distagon, 90APO, 21SEM, 50 0.95, 501.4ASPH, MP100, future 55f1.4 for absolutely optic performance. Most Zeiss or Leica lens can be matched by other brand with fractional of price. In digital age, the PP skill and understanding of light, color, WB really dominate the image. Only absolutely sharpness, nobody can argue that some of leica and Zeiss (mentioned above) are just almost flawless, but so do some Canikon lens.

Picture are not represent real world but merely a way to represent photographer's vision, Thus, there is no right or wrong, and even not really better or worse. Just pick whatever suit your need.

I am only present my personal feeling about it. I have no willing to offend any people. Most of this is because of my engineer background, I only believe until I see it or you prove it. We laugh 'L' glass addictive people, should we also think about positions ourselves in Leica and Zeiss German breed? Good stuff always are good stuff, I am a proud Leica/Zeiss owner, but there is no need to say mine is better. IMHO.

Canikon lens range from $100 o $10000, range from low end budget zoom to pro grade lens, in Leica, Zeiss land, there is no low price lens, of course we should expect better overall optical performance cross the brand line. of course, you will expect a lot more design compromise in Canikon line, not to mention Sigma, tamron etc..














Feb 23, 2013 at 09:41 AM
edwardkaraa
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · leica vs zeiss


Great discussion here. Enjoyed reading it.

Just would like to point out that the wide angles for SLR have more design limitations. If you include the Zeiss for M mount lenses, you'll get a completely different picture. Regardless of what the mtf say, in my experience, the ZM 35/2, 25/2.8 and 18/4 that I own and used extensively on film as well as M9, the performance wide open is amazing and you will see no blur whatsoever even in the extreme corners. I believe the ZM are superb performers, better than most Leica equivalent models, except for central high resolving power on high resolution sensors, but the ZM are very consistent across the frame and look sharper than the leica due to this fact as well as the higher micro contrast. But of course fir huge enlargements or 100% comparisons, the advantage of the higher resolving power of the Leica will be visible, even though not uniform across the frame.

Which brings us to the original design philosophy of Zeiss and Leica that has been discussed in the past, and still is valid nowadays, despite the equalizing effect of modern computerized lens design. Leica design philosophy has always been about high resolution and a softer painterly look, while Zeiss philosophy was to create a realistic impression of high sharpness and clarity, even if at high magnifications the resolution is not on par with Leica.



Feb 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM
kosmoskatten
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · leica vs zeiss


Totally agree with Edward: the ZM lenses are in a different league from the SLR lenses and I personally value the consistency across the frame for wide angle lenses over extremely high central sharpness. The ZM's have enough in that aspect, for sure.






Feb 23, 2013 at 11:58 AM
sebboh
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · leica vs zeiss


edwardkaraa wrote:
Great discussion here. Enjoyed reading it.

Just would like to point out that the wide angles for SLR have more design limitations. If you include the Zeiss for M mount lenses, you'll get a completely different picture. Regardless of what the mtf say, in my experience, the ZM 35/2, 25/2.8 and 18/4 that I own and used extensively on film as well as M9, the performance wide open is amazing and you will see no blur whatsoever even in the extreme corners. I believe the ZM are superb performers, better than most Leica equivalent models, except for central high resolving power
...Show more

the zm lenses you mention are definitely different in style from either of the lenses i compare here, you skip over one important thing in talking about them though Ė there aren't any f/1.4 lenses. the only lens faster than the f/2 currently in the zm lineup is actually much more aberration prone than either of these. all the lenses you mention seem designed explicitly for landscape style use and i would generally avoid any of them for portaits particularly the 35/2 (personal preference of course). the zm 35/2 would definitely destroy either of these lenses at infinity though. a comparison between the zm 50/2 and leica 50/2 cron would be very interesting though.



Feb 23, 2013 at 04:33 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · leica vs zeiss


Well, there is a comparison between the ZM planar and the Leica 50 AA and the Zeiss is at least as good and IMO even better.

I also have plenty of shots with the 50/2 and 35/2 showing very nice bokeh. Of course not the kind of bokeh you get from a f/1.4 lens but still very nice.

As for the tested lenses above, the Zeiss is quite famous for its 3D while the Leica is more known for its bokeh. Both don't perform very well at infinity as you pointed out.

Edited on Feb 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM · View previous versions



Feb 23, 2013 at 04:38 PM
 

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zhangyue
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · leica vs zeiss


I agree both of you about ZM lens performance, as I have used 35mm f2 and using 21mm f2.8. I know about sharpness of both and both top performers. So i have no doubt about 25, and 18 as well. minor comments:
from what I see from latest Leica offer, I feel they are about as same as Zeiss regarding contrast, m-contrast and sharpness.

You are absolutely right about WA in M.

There is no ambiguity about 'sharpness.' (as mentioned in my post above) In that regards, I respect both your opinion. and agree that cross Zeiss and leica line, there are no dog, all sharp.

I also agree latest leica offer and Zeiss ZM lens just great in terms of raw performance, but so is latest sigma 19, 35 and DP1/2/3, Olympias 75, as well as Canon 24-70MKII and a lot more.

The things are people tend to extend the 'fact' more to such as color, rendering and analysis them more than fact. In the end draw conclusion based on illusion. Color difference between coating are there. But that doesn't guarantee better, just different. Color fidelity is a totally different thing and very hard to distinguish it during everyday use.

Usually, when people discuss about Zeiss/leica superiority, the kind of discuss remind me of cable performance on Audio. people use 3-6 fts power cord cost more than amplifier itself and claim get more bang for the buck. Mostly opinion but seldom fact.

Even the color profile, raw develop or color filter arrangement between brand sensor difference are a lot more than lens glass element can introduce.

Again, there is no ambiguity about sharpness. In there, everybody can see it.










Feb 23, 2013 at 04:49 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · leica vs zeiss


OH! Sorry I shut this thread down. Enjoy your Leica and Zeiss lens if you can afford them. You will never regret it.

Now here is the compensation.

I took these tests during Lunch break under full sun. So almost all of them over exposure at f1.4. For Leica ASPH, I pull ISO to ISO80. Performance will hurt but resolution should be there. All shots are tripoded with 2s release delay, but no MLU. Focused use LCD zoom 100% at center.(Leica ASPH is based on two test shot, pick a better one so it is not optimized, but just FYI) I didnít tweak WB but exposure as Zeiss Planar always overexposure.

At this distance, I donít see much focus shift, but I did refocus for all of them at working aperture. except for Leica for obvious time reason.

This is a lot work involve than I thought and kind of boring.(I should not have promised to do this) I personally always trying to avoid do test like this, at least not compare 4 lenses at the same time

Body are Nikon D700, and Leica M9. D700 is not really a good tool for this. but for your entertainment

I did several test on
1. mid-distance resolution and Bokeh,
2. infinity resolution.
3. close range Bokeh. (will post those later.)

The test subject are not very interesting. Again, to prove even Leica or Zeiss can't save a poor photo with boring light and subject.

From top to bottom: 50lux R v1, Nikkor 50mm 1.2 AIS, Zeiss Planar 501.4, Leica ASPH 50mm 1.4.

Lightroom setting are default adobe profile, 25 1 25 0 sharp. (Leica might have some advantage for AA free)


Edited on Feb 26, 2013 at 09:25 PM · View previous versions



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:48 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · leica vs zeiss


Here are mid distance test results. You can judge Bokeh and resolution yourself.
F1.4
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8502849214_691c07f76d_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8501746219_6c6022c68e_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8522/8502853192_196cc697db_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8088/8501752437_5f6c988b86_o.jpg

100%
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8231/8501744363_1a0daf0908_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8378/8501746727_67d74c603a_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8522/8501748327_972ab8d8db_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8368/8502858018_9b30dd11b9_o.jpg



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:48 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · leica vs zeiss


f2
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8380/8501744687_cd1a4c0b57_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8392/8502852190_5c10544a84_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8248/8501748753_e36a2a312c_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8087/8501753303_3ee707866e_o.jpg


100%

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8095/8502850142_eabedf1e1a_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8384/8502848982_3e8309902b_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8507/8501749235_5986cd9f61_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8085/8502857308_541dbdf2ca_o.jpg



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:49 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · leica vs zeiss


f2.8
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8378/8501743561_14cfe87a3b_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8516/8501747299_e10e940130_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8094/8502852896_18eafb9e96_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8391/8502858710_524700bee3_o.jpg
100%
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8369/8502850556_d75da0a71c_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8389/8502852668_61660f127e_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8233/8502854698_53a18a5459_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8232/8501753779_4a9d7694a0_o.jpg



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:50 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · leica vs zeiss


Infinity. Sorry for the crap frame. I didnít even bother to tilt it.
1.4
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8386/8502856024_e5eb1e9813_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8508/8501750387_97025ddefc_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8373/8501749881_32489727da_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8370/8501751981_25b13be748_o.jpg
100%
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8371/8502856410_53308e87c7_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8371/8502855786_c42e4f1ca2_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8107/8501750143_4ff26098ae_o.jpg
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8100/8502856732_58023875a1_o.jpg




Feb 26, 2013 at 07:50 PM
plasticmotif
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · leica vs zeiss


Thanks for those! The Summilux really stands out.

The other images, as usually the case when comparing good lenses, difference's are much more difficult to discern. The ASPH is a great, fantastic lens.

I'm very interested in seeing the close results.



Feb 26, 2013 at 08:33 PM
redisburning
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · leica vs zeiss


man the 50 Lux ASPH is a monster.

I really hope we see that level of performance from all close to normal primes in 5 years. Maybe if there are some advances in machine grounding we can get more full frame lenses of that level.



Feb 26, 2013 at 09:02 PM
zhangyue
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · leica vs zeiss


Yes, 50lux ASPH is great at infinity and slightly longer distance. Though, like I mentioned in my post, without AA filter give it some advantage.

I did some early tests of it/ASPH at infinity, and you will be surprised to see full of moire around 6mm cycle WO.

You also can clear see Zeiss did poorer at even mid distance compare to Nikkor, but at infinity, it fight back. Though to me, I think 50lux R are sharper than both of them at 1.4.

Color wise, Nikkor is coldest, with Leica 50lux R has purple tint, and Zeiss has yellow tint, and ASPH has green tint. (but M9 and D700 has different profile and sensor.)

I did the test from f1.4 to f5.6, bu too much work for me to load all of them here.

As for the short distance test, I will upload later. Though not tripoded, I was runing out of time and it is very difficult to do so with strong wind that day. So, please don't judge sharpness from those shot but Bokeh.



Feb 26, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Kingfishphoto
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · leica vs zeiss


Derek - did you ever restore my old FL F1.2 lens ?
Thanks
Harry Palmer



Feb 26, 2013 at 09:52 PM
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