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Archive 2013 · leica vs zeiss
  
 
Makten
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p.7 #1 · p.7 #1 · leica vs zeiss


Having owned numerous Zeiss lenses and really (mostly) liking the performance, I must say that the two modern Leica Lenses I also owned were a tad "better". The Summicron-M 28/2 and Summarit-M 35/2.5 gives about the same local contrast as the Zeisses, but the colors are something out of this world.


Apr 26, 2013 at 07:34 PM
philip_pj
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p.7 #2 · p.7 #2 · leica vs zeiss


That waterside tree scene kind of flatters the E55, I think, because (i) so much of the image is off the focal plane, (ii) the E55 has very nice bokeh, and (iii) the E55 is actually well-behaved at f2, with nice flat curves, albeit at low levels. It has overall the nicer image to me.

The focal plane performance is much weaker than the MP as one would expect, seen best in the tree detail and foreground grass detail, none of which appears quite sharp.

Nor should it, the 40lpmm curve is at less than 50%, the MP manages 60%, which is kind of a threshold value, I believe. That is in the centre...by 15mm IH, you only have 20% to play with, the MP gives 40% - much of the image content is in shadow but if you check out the ground near the edges you will see what I mean. That sensor takes no prisoners!

The thick branch in the top right of the crop is quite purple in the E55 shot. Shimmery bokeh there too, not so good a look.

Actually f5.6 would have been very interesting here, the E55 is fabulous in the middle 6-7mm then it all goes very pear-shaped very fast, by around the short edge it delivers only half the performance. The MP is just as good in the centre and stays within a few percent, keeps pumping right out towards the wide edges then dies off into the very corners. The E55 looks more Zeiss like at f8, at the cost of that highlight brilliance a little, signs of early onset of diffraction.

I have the E55, love it's handling but it's a portrait/street/bokeh lens for me. On occasions it is still on when a open country photo op presents itself, and it does creditably - if you don't look too closely off centre. My 35-70 VS works much better than the E55 for this kind of work, and gets within 5% of the MP for most of the frame at 50mm (where it is best), and has (much) better corners at its best aperture, not even close actually.

I am figuring to leave the Leica at home since I have my hands on the amazing RX1, with ample cropability due to astronomical MTF cross frame, and even better bokeh, hard decision even though, that Leica signature is very addictive. I am getting like the MFT guys, don't want to carry too much, haha.

JaKo, you are doing us a real favour here, sincere thanks.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:11 AM
redisburning
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p.7 #3 · p.7 #3 · leica vs zeiss


one should be careful with MTF graphs and trying to make claims about sharpness. I understand that they are very useful when read correctly, but a few things bother me about Zeiss and Leica MTFs in terms of how they line up with reality.

a good example is the v4/5 Summicron M compared to the 50MP. the MP, by the graphs, should be a lot better in a resolution test. and yet, look at the lens rental 50mm shootout where the 50 Summicron handily beat the MP at MTF50. this also bears out in what I've personally seen; at f2 the summicron on the M9 decimated a 50MP on a D3X and this was a resolution chart at not so great distance.

furthermore, the Summicron M makes the ZM50 planar look like a piece of garbage in Roger's test but I haven't heard anyone make "real life" claims to that effect. in fact most people say the planar and the summicron are essentially equal in testing.

in fact, the last person I talked to about the ZM50P and the 50MP said that he could not detect a difference. When I asked Zeiss if I would gain anything on microfilm by switching to the MP they told me to buy the new 55/1.4 distagon if I wanted to see a real difference.

one of the most troubling things to me is seeing how high a lens like the Canon 50/1.4 scores in an MTF50 race, despite every picture Ive ever seen taken with one looking like complete ass.

I sometimes wonder to myself about a potential edge effect with digital, where contrast levels at the spatial resolution of the sensor itself might become a critical issue, which as as density gets very high certain compromises will begin to shine, e.g. the 50/1.4 vs the 50/2.0. of course these measurements are not readily available so it's just conjecture for me, who is no expert.

I would be willing to accept that I've missed something here. Actually that would make my life a bit simpler; but in truth I've kind of decided myself that the data Leica and Zeiss provides is too limited and I would really prefer to see a more complete set of graphs like Schneider provides covering all of the apertures at different distances.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Almass
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p.7 #4 · p.7 #4 · leica vs zeiss


JaKo wrote:
Here is a set taken few minutes apart. Lenses profiles in ARC were disabled and PP for both images was identical.

http://www.kozera.ca/photos/images/_D8E1002_640.jpg
http://www.kozera.ca/photos/images/_D8E0999_640.jpg

100% crops: Leica then Zeiss
http://www.kozera.ca/photos/images/_D8E1002Crop.jpg
http://www.kozera.ca/photos/images/_D8E0999Crop.jpg


Thank you for the set.

It will help if you can clarify the foll:

1- Can you please advise whether the shots were on a locked tripod as the framing seems to be different?

2- Can you advise whether the focusing was in LV or optical?

3- Can you advise where was you point of focus?

4- Why did you dial a +0.67 EV?

5- Was there any wind movement as the twigs and branches do not match?

Than you



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:58 AM
JaKo
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p.7 #5 · p.7 #5 · leica vs zeiss


Almass wrote:
It will help if you can clarify the foll:



1- Can you please advise whether the shots were on a locked tripod as the framing seems to be different? <-- it seems that both lenses are not exactly 50mm; Zeiss appears a bit wider, hence the framing difference. The camera was mounted on Kirk bracket+ Arca-Swiss Z1 ballhead + Gitzo GT3531S SER.3 Systematic 3-Section tripod spiked to the ground

2- Can you advise whether the focusing was in LV or optical? <-- LV + remote releaase

3- Can you advise where was you point of focus? <-- kink part of the tree trunk

4- Why did you dial a +0.67 EV? <-- with D800 I use ETTR of +0.67 and have ARC RAW defaulted to -0.67 EV during import/processing

5- Was there any wind movement as the twigs and branches do not match? <-- yes, I recall it was a bit windy

The 100% crops were included to illustrate green/magenta fringe.



Apr 27, 2013 at 04:41 PM
JaKo
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p.7 #6 · p.7 #6 · leica vs zeiss


philip_pj & redisburning: thank you for adding your technical notes to this comparison.
From my perspective, both lenses are unique and worth owning and it would be a hard decision for me to let either one go.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Makten
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p.7 #7 · p.7 #7 · leica vs zeiss


In my opinion the Zeiss version is more pleasing in the above example. Higher local contrast (more "3D"), softer bokeh in the middle and lesser curvature of field. But I like the cooler color palette of the Leica better, and the absence of LCA in the reed is very nice.


Apr 27, 2013 at 07:32 PM
JaKo
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p.7 #8 · p.7 #8 · leica vs zeiss


Makten wrote: In my opinion the Zeiss version is more pleasing in the above example. Higher local contrast (more "3D"), softer bokeh in the middle and lesser curvature of field. But I like the cooler color palette of the Leica better, and the absence of LCA in the reed is very nice.


Makten, regarding Leica's colour palette, indeed it looks more appealing in most situations. I find it especially pleasant when water and foliage are included in a frame. Specifically, I feel that Leica's cooler/bluish tendencies (at least exhibited in all 3 Leica-R lenses I own) boost blue/green and make warmer looking Zeiss less appealing in described situations. However, it's mostly when comparing shots with Leica and Zeiss lenses side-by-side.
Said that, I start discovering that out of 4 Zeiss lenses I use they fall into two colour-camps; Planars being more colour accurate and Distagons slightly shifted towards warmer/’orangy’ side. Perhaps owners of more extended Zeiss lenses collection can chime in here.

Here are visual examples.
Leica colours vs. Zeiss (Distagon) colours (all PP was same, used ARC lenses profiles, but disabled lens vignetting. Tripod/ MUP, remote trigger, LV, etc.)











Actually, recently Distagon 2/35 got me more curious and mostly due to its colour balance. I find its colour to be shifted towards warmer side more than other lenses I use. I do realize that no two lenses are the same colour wise, but check test below using grey scale (in mid-1990s I used to professionally calibrate high end displays so I am sensitive to gray scale colour temperature/balance shifts. See gradients in ICF card!)

Note; please use colour space aware browser for ProPhotoRGB examples below


















Apr 28, 2013 at 12:53 AM
JaKo
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p.7 #9 · p.7 #9 · leica vs zeiss


Here you have it; 'Red-Hot, Blue and (none) Righteous'














Apr 28, 2013 at 01:31 AM
philip_pj
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p.7 #10 · p.7 #10 · leica vs zeiss


Thanks for all this, I'll take a closer look later, JaKo, but I wanted to post some more on the subject from Erwin Puts that readers may enjoy:

"We can define the quality of images over two dimensions, the spatial and tonal resolution. Leica is evidently the champion of the spatial resolution and the elimination of aberrations at all cost, with a very accurate definition and very crisp drawing that extends to the limit of the modern emulsion technology (or capture technology to include the sensors of digital cameras).

Zeiss favours a type of tonal resolution that brings rich colours and a smooth gradation over the whole image, not only from corner to corner, but also into the image from foreground to background.

Of course the differences are not a simple or clear-cut as described here. Spatial and tonal resolution are two sides of the same coin and can not be separated as two competing dimensions. If you have good spatial resolution, then tonal resolution is good too. But you can shift the balance and the relative weighting of the two. We are discussing lens lines that are quite capable of excellent imagery, but with a different design approach, that does become visible in practical photography." (Erwin Puts website, from The New Zeiss ZM Lenses, Part 3, September 4th 2005)



Apr 30, 2013 at 01:37 AM
 

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sebboh
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p.7 #11 · p.7 #11 · leica vs zeiss


i recently did an informal comparison with a few of my lenses, that kind of fits with this thread except that are no zeiss lenses include. there is a jupiter-3 though which is just an old zeiss sonnar in a crappier body with crappier coatings, so kinda representative. the rokkor 58/1.2 is also thrown in as baseline for comparison. this is just cycling through the apertures with all the lenses on the same scene at infinity. everything is handheld and of course the light changed a bit from shot to shot so take this with a grain of salt, but i think gross performance differences can be seen. i refocused at each aperture till f/5.6 after which i didn't bother. lenses are from left to right leica m c-summicron 40mm f/2, jupiter-3, leica m summilux pre-asph 50mm f/1.4, and rokkor 58mm f/1.2. each row down is one stop down (except the top one which goes from f/1.2 to f/1.4). i think a portrait distance comparison of these lenses will be much more interesting, but harder to perform, so sometime later.

here is the scene:





center(ish) crops:





right edge of frame crops:





bottom right corner crops:







Jun 04, 2013 at 06:21 PM
zhangyue
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p.7 #12 · p.7 #12 · leica vs zeiss


How much you want for that Rokkor?


Jun 04, 2013 at 08:05 PM
wfrank
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p.7 #13 · p.7 #13 · leica vs zeiss


Rokk'n'roll.




Jun 04, 2013 at 08:17 PM
shervin2
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p.7 #14 · p.7 #14 · leica vs zeiss


That test just Rokk'd my world. Very nice!


Jun 04, 2013 at 08:32 PM
sebboh
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p.7 #15 · p.7 #15 · leica vs zeiss


zhangyue wrote:
How much you want for that Rokkor?


the other copies i've used were pretty much the same plus or minus some yellowing.

btw, i forgot to add that processing was just lr4 defaults which does 25 sharpening i believe.



Jun 04, 2013 at 08:32 PM
wfrank
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p.7 #16 · p.7 #16 · leica vs zeiss


Impressive in many ways, not the least because it's the high pixlified NEX 7. I wonder how the Contax G 45/2 would do in that comparison. It ought to do quite well, right?.

Seb, have you tried de-yellowing the Rokk with sunlight or similar?




Jun 04, 2013 at 08:37 PM
sebboh
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p.7 #17 · p.7 #17 · leica vs zeiss


wfrank wrote:
Impressive in many ways, not the least because it's the high pixlified NEX 7. I wonder how the Contax G 45/2 would do in that comparison. It ought to do quite well, right?.

Seb, have you tried de-yellowing the Rokk with sunlight or similar?



actually I should have said just plus some yellowing in the last post. this copy of the rokkor still has the metal focus ring but was made after they stopped using thoriated glass.

the g45 would perform better everywhere (more contrast with equal or better resolution), with the possible exception of the 40 cron being sharper in the center at mid apertures.

I should also point out the rokkor is sharpest at infinity while the other lenses are sharpest at mid distance.



Jun 04, 2013 at 09:57 PM
sculptormic
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p.7 #18 · p.7 #18 · leica vs zeiss


Quiet surprising! I should use the Rokkor more for infinity shots. Unbelievable how sharp it is!

BTW Nice view on San Francisco.



Jun 04, 2013 at 10:23 PM
sebboh
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p.7 #19 · p.7 #19 · leica vs zeiss


sculptormic wrote:
Quiet surprising! I should use the Rokkor more for infinity shots. Unbelievable how sharp it is!

BTW Nice view on San Francisco.


the rokkor is the best all round lens i have, but i have many sharper lenses. the canon FL 55/1.2, rokkor MC PG 50/1.4 and contax g 45/2 are sharper at all distances and all parts of the frame. numerous other lenses are sharper in certain areas at certain distances.

and yes, nice views of SF in any direction are only a 10 min walk from my apartment.



Jun 05, 2013 at 03:39 AM
lovinglife
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p.7 #20 · p.7 #20 · leica vs zeiss


Based on this thread, I have come to the consensus that all these lenses are great but i need a new pair of eyes


Jun 05, 2013 at 03:44 AM
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