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Archive 2013 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L
  
 
David Baldwin
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Seems to me that the Zeiss is for photographers who don't actually HAVE to get the shot, and for whom absolute quality is the only consideration.

Fair enough, but the 135L still offers wonderful large prints at f2, is affordable, and doesn't need live view or a tripod to guarantee focus. With its super fast AF the L will get many many shots the Zeiss never can.

With its superb build, incredible optics, but manual focus and large price tag the Zeiss is like a top of the range Maserati, a curiosity and something for extreme enthusiasts to drool over, but not alot of use for going to the supermarket or picking the kids up from school every day, the Zeiss weakness is the MF. Good luck to Zeiss whose manual Hasselblad lenses I have experience with, but the Canon is a practical and still very high quality lens. I have no doubt it will still be a bread and butter L lens in the era of 5o mpx DSLRS.

What I am basically saying is the the L is an affordable and rounded lens design, the Zeiss is a niche and specialist lens for the very few. If you are on of the few, you will love your new Zeiss, certainly as a tripod mounted landscape lens it should be untouchable. Nice to know there are companies out there only interested in producing the very best.



Apr 27, 2013 at 07:54 AM
Sven Jeppesen
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


David Baldwin wrote:
Seems to me that the Zeiss is for photographers who don't actually HAVE to get the shot, and for whom absolute quality is the only consideration.

Fair enough, but the 135L still offers wonderful large prints at f2, is affordable, and doesn't need live view or a tripod to guarantee focus. With its super fast AF the L will get many many shots the Zeiss never can.

With its superb build, incredible optics, but manual focus and large price tag the Zeiss is like a top of the range Maserati, a curiosity and something for extreme enthusiasts to drool over, but
...Show more

I suppose you also belive the photographer's that are using Canon MF lenses don't have to get the shot either. Like all the T&S or macro lenses with MF.
Most landscape or still subject shooter's will prefer IQ over fast AF



Apr 27, 2013 at 08:03 AM
David Baldwin
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


"I suppose you also belive the photographer's that are using Canon MF lenses don't have to get the shot either. Like all the T&S or macro lenses with MF. Most landscape or still subject shooter's will prefer IQ over fast AF"

No, to cover your point I did say "If you are on of the few, you will love your new Zeiss, certainly as a tripod mounted landscape lens it should be untouchable."

What I meant was if you are shooting people or sport with a 135 you are more likely to want the Canon that the Zeiss because the former has proven fast AF, and great IQ as well.



Apr 27, 2013 at 10:54 AM
R3medy
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


David Baldwin: You are wrong, this lens is for people who did not forget or learned properly how to photograph. I am simply devastated by how lazy (?), unskilled and hasty people became. Same story goes with so called "photoreporters". For me most of them are just mindless zombies with machine guns. A monkey could do their job because all you need is one finger to keep pressing shutter release button. Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's photographers made great shots with manual lenses (even with manual focus zoom lenses!!!) and what's more important they did not need 500FPS.

Rant aside, I can easily I repeat EASILY obtain accurate focus manually on my D90 using 50mm f/1.4 AF-S wide open 9 out of 10 times, trust me that's more than it would hit using AF. And 50mm AF-S is not what You would call a perfect lens for manual focusing. Just imagine how easy it would be to focus a proper manual lens (like this Zeiss) on an FF body with larger viewfinder and dedicated focusing screen.
People just got lazy and on top of that tend to shoot hundreds of pointless photos just because "all you need to do is point and shoot". Just my personal opinion.

Also, Canon is not the only camera maker in the world so there are millions of people (potential clients) who couldn't care less whether it's useful for Canon shooters or not.
Just take a look how greatly other Ziess lenses sell, sometimes You have to wait few weeks after You place Your order.



Apr 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Gunzorro
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


I don't know about the idea that photographers are lazier these days with digital and AF. Certainly shooting pictures is less expensive per shot and that might lead to more exposures.

Back in the film days of PJ, the mantra was "f/8 and be there" -- pre-focus and hyper-focal distance. That is effective, efficient, and if you want . . . lazy shooting in the pre-AF era.

I'm glad to be away from MF, except for certain technical needs, but they are few. I'd use AF on TS-E lenses (with LV and MF override) if it were physically possible. If the AF is accurate, why not use it?



Apr 27, 2013 at 02:34 PM
RobertLynn
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


My 135 has been on the chopping block for awhile. Once I get the gumption to take pictures of it and send it down wind, it's gone.

It's a fantastic lens, but dammit, I just don't use it for my work.



Apr 27, 2013 at 02:36 PM
David Baldwin
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Look at my profile. I am very familiar with manual focus glass from Schneider (on 6x7 and 5x4) and Zeiss (on 6x6). I only went over to Canon AF around 2006 having been welded to 3 Nikon FM2's for the previous sixteen years. I just have no doubts at all that if you have two photographers with equivalent skills photographing fast action in low light the one using the Canon L will wipe the floor with the other using the manual focus Zeiss.

Yes, I am sure in the past photographers got great images with manual focus lenses, but there again I don't remember seeing quite so many top notch action photos that are relatively routine with today's AF kit.

I don' think you will find many mindless zombies with machine guns here on FM. Many have links to their websites where you can judge for yourself if they know what they are talking about.



Apr 27, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


The Canon 135L is a magnificent lens for portraits, candids, discreet street work and so on. But I wasn't satisfied with its performance for landscapes, especially at infinity focus. So when I got the Zeiss ZE 100 MP, it was a revelation, experiencing firsthand its superior performance in almost every setting. As a consequence, I sold the 135L. Like everything else in life, it was a trade-off. I gave up AF and a little bit of reach (mitigated by the exceptional 70-200L f/2.8 II).

The new Zeiss 135 sounds like a corker of a lens by all accounts.




Apr 27, 2013 at 03:47 PM
R3medy
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Oh guys don't get me wrong, having AF is always a plus and nice addition there is no denying. But it kind of makes me sick listening all the time about the lack of AF. It is a manual lens IT"S MEANT THIS WAY.

And David, who would take a manual Zeiss for action shooting? Also 135L is not meant for action, I mean yes You can do it but it's reach is rather pathetic AF although quite fast it's lagging behind 70-200L and I don't think f2 vs f2.8 is something I would trade the reach for.

This is pretty much portrait lens same as 135L and in that application I don't see much of an advantage in AF.



Apr 27, 2013 at 04:37 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


R3medy wrote:
David Baldwin: You are wrong, this lens is for people who did not forget or learned properly how to photograph. I am simply devastated by how lazy (?), unskilled and hasty people became. Same story goes with so called "photoreporters". For me most of them are just mindless zombies with machine guns. A monkey could do their job because all you need is one finger to keep pressing shutter release button. Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's photographers made great shots with manual lenses (even with manual focus zoom lenses!!!) and what's more important they did not need 500FPS.


And before that they shot TLR cameras. And before that folding sheet film cameras. And before that... carted portable wet process darkrooms around in horse-drawn carts.

Do much bird photography? Street photography? Sports photography? Or, for that matter, landscape photography? Portraits?

This "real photographer" business quite often, ironically, ignores how "real photographers" actually work today. Most use precisely the sort of gear that you bash, not because they are lazy or because they aren't "real photographers" or don't know better... but because it works better and more effectively allows them to produce their photographs.

I'm one of those folks who started back in the days of roll film cameras, pre-SLR, and who learned to shoot and process and print that way. And there is no way in the world I'm remotely interested in going back to such a thing. Friends and acquaintances of mine are perhaps among some of the very folks you might be thinking of from the 70s and 80s - sorry, don't personally know any who were doing great work in the 60s at this point - and every one of them (with, sort of, one partial exception) has moved forward to using gear more like that whose use you ascribe to "zombies" and "monkeys." Funny.

And there is a double-irony in the worship of the "old" or traditional gear. Virtually all of the photographers of those earlier eras who actually used that stuff "back in the day" did so because it was the most modern, advanced, and flexible gear available., not because they were interested in working in some classic, old-school mode.

Zeiss makes excellent gear. There is absolutely no doubt about that. But when it comes to making a photograph that might stand up to printing at the outer limits of what can be done with DSLR photographs, there is going to be no significant difference between the results obtained by using the Zeiss (as mythical and magical as some might hope it will be) and the Canon lens in this case.

Take care,

Dan



Apr 27, 2013 at 04:45 PM
 

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PetKal
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Ironically, it is often the youngsters who bemoan the the passing of the film era......while even their parents were barely old enough to practice photography then.

Also, I see people talk about "film like quality" of digital image files as if (1) they know what is that they are talking about, and (b) as if that is a good thing.

Good riddance to manual cameras, manual focus lenses and film, I say. After many years of association with the FD system (because I had nothing else available to me) and rangefinders, EOS 300D had finally opened a small door to serious photography for me.

Nothing good or exciting came out of manual focus & film technology for me, except a shoebox full of vacation travel and birthday snaps.
Similarly, today some youngsters talk fondly of the 60s, Woodstock etc., as if they (or their parents) were there. It is said that if you remember the 60s and talk about that time, you couldn't have been there.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:18 PM
R3medy
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


You seem to be very confused Dan. First of all I am not dissing any modern gear. Where did You even get that from

If by real photographers You mean sport or photojournalists then yes most of their job could be done by monkeys. Put a 600mm on a tripod, press "fire" and forget it - sports photography done. Put a wide angle on, hold your cam high above your head, get into the crowd or find a politician or a celebrity, press "fire" and forget it. That's exactly how majority of their work/photos look like. And if You shoot 5000 photos of that one event the probability of shooting an accidentally good/great picture is pretty much high. Please don't try to deny it, I'm seeing this every single day. The really great shots are not made by "professionals", they are made by great photographers and they are not necessarily the same people.

Second, nobody here wants to use this Zeiss as a sports lens. Why people keep missing this obvious point

Third, nobody here tells You to ditch modern gear (AF and what not) and move to ancient gear.

Fourth, all I wanted to say was that using MF does not require PHD nor extraordinary mental or physical skills. It is pretty easy and quite fast with right tools. And even if someone is, for some unknown to humanity reason, unable to use MF why would they complain about such lens? Just don't buy it - as simple as that.

And no Dan, You can't simulate everything in Photoshop. This Zeiss clearly destroys Canon wide open. No matter what magic You're gonna pull in Photoshop You ain't gonna compensate the sharpness difference, nor will You entirely eliminate CA or purple fringing in critical cases nor will You get the colors in any reasonable time (unless spending few hours per photo just to match the other lens is Your goal/hobby).

Again, it's not about being old school or super pro, it's just about appreciating a great manual lens. All I say is that this is perfectly awesome lens to shoot on modern DSLR. Cheers guys

EDIT: PetKal (and others), well Nikon had 300mm f/2 manual lens. Guess what, people where shooting sports and other things with it, wide open. Shocked? And if You claim that going digital made Your pictures better then I have no clue what photography is about, because I thought whether it's film or a digital sensor is the least important thing. Guess I was wrong. Also if I were You I wouldn't draw conclusion about someone's age based on nothing because You might be wrong.... very, very wrong.



Apr 27, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Lasse Eriksson
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


gdanmitchell wrote:
Do much bird photography? Street photography? Sports photography?

Dan



You have not understand Zeiss or their lenses if you belive the photographers that are using Zeiss lenses are these people.

And I never see any bird shooters using the Canon 135 lens either.



Apr 27, 2013 at 06:39 PM
R3medy
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Unless their own parrot in a cage


Apr 27, 2013 at 06:48 PM
chez
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


gdanmitchell wrote:
And before that they shot TLR cameras. And before that folding sheet film cameras. And before that... carted portable wet process darkrooms around in horse-drawn carts.

Do much bird photography? Street photography? Sports photography? Or, for that matter, landscape photography? Portraits?

This "real photographer" business quite often, ironically, ignores how "real photographers" actually work today. Most use precisely the sort of gear that you bash, not because they are lazy or because they aren't "real photographers" or don't know better... but because it works better and more effectively allows them to produce their photographs.

I'm one of those folks who started back
...Show more

Dan, it is OK to admit your eyes cannot see the Zeiss magic...there is nothing to be ashamed with that. If others see this difference in Zeiss glass...what skin is that off of your rear? Why jab at people that can see this difference? There is no debating that Zeiss glass delivers some wonderful images...who cares if that is the result from micro contrast or the magical 3d look.



Apr 27, 2013 at 08:48 PM
alexdi
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


R3medy wrote:
People just got lazy and on top of that tend to shoot hundreds of pointless photos just because "all you need to do is point and shoot". Just my personal opinion.


I do love when technology become a morality play. Do you also walk uphill in the snow both ways?

We're not using film. The lenses are sharper, the cameras have more resolution, and modern viewfinders don't have manual focusing aids. The margin for error is not what it was. Given two seconds on a modern body with that Zeiss to frame and capture a fleeting expression, you'd get a blurry shot. I'll nail it every time the Canon L.

It's striking how defensive we're getting about the L. Does the existence of a slightly sharper lens make this one any less brilliant?



Apr 27, 2013 at 09:33 PM
chez
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


alexdi wrote:
I do love when technology become a morality play. Do you also walk uphill in the snow both ways?

We're not using film. The lenses are sharper, the cameras have more resolution, and modern viewfinders don't have manual focusing aids. The margin for error is not what it was. Given two seconds on a modern body with that Zeiss to frame and capture a fleeting expression, you'd get a blurry shot. I'll nail it every time the Canon L.

It's striking how defensive we're getting about the L. Does the existence of a slightly sharper lens make this one any less
...Show more

Funny thing, my landscapes never seem to run away when I use manual focus glass...which is all the time. The right tool for the job is always sound advice.



Apr 27, 2013 at 09:38 PM
alexdi
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Fair enough, and I use MF glass for video all the time. I think for the typical uses of a portrait lens, though, AF massively outweighs marginal improvements in image quality. Let's also keep in mind that people used to coat filters in vaseline to reduce sharpness; it's not like that last iota flatters your subjects.

On the subject of CA:

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2012/04/new-color-fringe-correction-controls.html

Why do we care about this anymore?



Apr 27, 2013 at 09:42 PM
chez
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


alexdi wrote:
Fair enough, and I use MF glass for video all the time. I think for the typical uses of a portrait lens, though, AF massively outweighs marginal improvements in image quality. Let's also keep in mind that people used to coat filters in vaseline to reduce sharpness; it's not like that last iota flatters your subjects.

On the subject of CA:

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2012/04/new-color-fringe-correction-controls.html

Why do we care about this anymore?


Photoshopping in quality is never as good as an image with quality in it right from the sensor. Sure you can reduce CA, straighten distortion, increase sharpness, even reduce the effects of camera shake, but the manipulated image will never be as good as an image not requiring this manipulation. It might be good enough for sone, but lacking in quality for others...really depends on your view of what is acceptable. Some might have higher standards and take photos with different goals in mind.



Apr 27, 2013 at 10:03 PM
alexdi
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Where do you see degradation in those samples? If it's invisible, then it doesn't matter. We're not photographing test charts. The 'higher standards' bit is a particularly irritating canard. At some point, you're just quibbling for the sake of quibbling.


Apr 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM
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