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Archive 2013 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L
  
 
gdanmitchell
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Sven Jeppesen wrote:
No way you can correct distortion, vignetting and severe CA in PS or LR with no degradation of IQ.
And in a large print it will not look the same as a lens that is perfect from the start.


Do you state this based on your personal experience producing a lot of very large prints, or is this speculation?

I regularly make large prints myself on an in-house Epson 7900. My experience with producing such prints from photographs made with several full-frame and a few cropped-sensor cameras and wide range of lenses including the Canon 135mm f/2 L does not correspond to your claims at all.

Besides which, there is no "severe CA" from the 135mm f/2 lens and distortion and vignetting are extremely low with this lens.

R3medy wrote:
This Zeiss clearly destroys Canon wide open.


"... clearly destroys..." - Hyperbole alert! ;-)

Moving on...

On a separate issue that seemed to become a concern for some, I probably do something like 80%-90% of my work from the tripod and using MF in live view. I'm very critical about image quality and I don't tend to "spray and pray" - with some exceptions when shooting certain types of wildlife and some sports.

Dan


Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 05:37 PM · View previous versions



Apr 28, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Sven Jeppesen
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


gdanmitchell wrote:
Do you state this based on your personal experience producing a lot of very large prints, or is this speculation?

I regularly make large prints myself on an in-house Epson 7900. My experience with producing such prints from photographs made with several full-frame and a few cropped-sensor cameras and wide range of lenses including the Canon 135mm f/2 L does not correspond to your claims at all.

Besides which, there is no "severe CA" from the 135mm f/2 lens and distortion and vignetting are extremely low with this lens.

I based it from Printing with my Epson 3800. And sometimes larger but then
...Show more



Apr 28, 2013 at 05:25 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Sven Jeppesen wrote:
Do you base all your comments about the new Zeiss lens from personal experience with this lens. I guess you have been shooting a lot with it


I think that you'll note, if you read my posts here, that I have said nothing to criticize the capabilities of the Zeiss lens in the least, partially because I - like every other person offering an opinion in this thread - have not used it but also because a) I accept that it is no doubt an excellent optical performer and b) that was not my point.

My point was that the existing Canon alternative is also an exceptional performer and that whatever increment by which we might theorize that the Zeiss "improves" upon it will not result in photographic prints that are any better. Frankly, the Canon 135mm f/2 is one of the best performing lenses in terms of resolution, various sorts of distortion, etc. that is made for DSLR cameras. So, even though the Zeiss specs may be slightly better, and as satisfying as it may be to some to own a lens that is embossed with the word "Zeiss," this new and no-doubt-excellent Zeiss 135mm prime is not going to produce a better 30" x 40" print than the no-doubt-excellent 135mm Canon prime.

Does that make sense to you now?

Dan

(Note added later, in reference to the quoted text I replied to: I have used the Canon 135mm f/2 L quite a bit, for work ranging from tripod-based landscape style shooting to low light handheld environmental portraiture and similar.)


Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 08:15 PM · View previous versions



Apr 28, 2013 at 05:32 PM
mitesh
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Seems like this same debate rages each time a new lens is announced. There are those who claim that it will set new standards of excellence, and there are those who question if it will make a visual difference in their output. In reading various posts, I find merit in both arguments. This new Zeiss lens tests very well in the lab and should be an excellent performer in the field. To many photographers, however, the difference between the 135ZE and 135L will be negligible because, as Dan states, even at large print sizes, minute differences between the images made by the two are probably imperceptible. Notwithstanding that, there are some photographers who don't make prints, but prefer to view their work at critical resolution on high-quality digital displays. In that case, the difference may very well be perceptible. In either case, we're talking about comparing two very high-quality optics, not a disposable polaroid and a Canon 1DX. So, it probably wouldn't be reasonable to think that the Zeiss (or any comparable lens in the 135mm range) could best the Canon by a huge margin in every facet of lens performance.

Some photographers may find value in a 135ZE because for them, part of the joy of photography lies in the equipment being used to make the images. Yes, in the end, all cameras and lenses are tools, but we all have different reasons for our photography. Some of us don't care what we use to make the final image, and some of us do. Along that same line of thinking, some photographers prefer to use lenses and cameras that minimize work required in post, while others have no problem with making digital adjustments for things like CA, distortion, etc.

I can agree with either side of the argument depending on the end user and what his reasons for photography are and how he intends to view his photographs.


Edited on Apr 28, 2013 at 07:09 PM · View previous versions



Apr 28, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


gdanmitchell wrote:
I think that you'll note, if you read my posts here, that I have said nothing to criticize the capabilities of the Zeiss lens in the least, partially because I - like every other person offering an opinion in this thread - have not used it but also because a) I accept that it is no doubt an excellent optical performer and b) that was not my point.

My point was that the existing Canon alternative is also an exceptional performer and that whatever increment by which we might theorize that the Zeiss "improves" upon it will not result in photographic. Frankly, the Canon 135mm f/2 is one of the best performing lenses in terms of resolution, various sorts of distortion, etc. that is made for DSLR cameras. So, even though the Zeiss specs may be slightly better, and as satisfying as it may be to some to own a lens that is embossed with the word "Zeiss," this new and no-doubt-excellent Zeiss 135mm prime is not going to produce a better 30" x 40" print than the no-doubt-excellent 135mm Canon prime.

Does that make sense to you now?

Dan
...Show more


It doesn't make sense to me. The Zeiss lens has a couple of theoretical advantages that could well show up in even relatively small (i.e., 11 X 14) prints. First, Zeiss has labelled it as an APO lens and this might well mean that it has no colour fringing even in the bokeh even at wide apertures. The Canon 135L has colour fringing in the bokeh (i.e., green tinging in the foreground and magenta tinging in the background) that is noticeable even at relatively small print sizes. It also is not corrected by software automatically in post (such corrections only work in the in focus areas and not in the bokeh). It is a major pain to correct in post and my personal taste is that I don't like it. The Zeiss lens might have none of it. Early tests seems to suggest that is a real possibility. Second, the Zeiss lens has both a shorter minimum focus distance (MFD) and a floating element that could well produce very different prints close-up. The shorter MFD simply produces images that aren't capable with the longer MFD so this difference will show up with prints of any size. The floating element also suggest that the performance close up won't suffer much if at all compared to longer focal distances. Lenses regularly aren't as good close up as at longer distances. The Zeiss may be excellent close up as well as at longer distances. Note I am not saying that the higher resolution of the Zeiss will make a lot of difference (although contrast and colour might, we will have to see), but I think it is at least possible that for some applications (i.e., close up photography and shooting wide open where one cares about colour fringing) the Zeiss will be significantly better than the 135L. We won't know of course until people start actually comparing the lenses.



Apr 28, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Light_pilgrim
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Telephoto....no AF....so....


Apr 28, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Light_pilgrim
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


135 f/2 became one of the best social/people lenses. The easy of use, the fact that you always get eyes in focus...is far more important than the resolution. AF is a must for a lens like this.
Cannot imagine people seriously do portraits without AF today and with the LV.



Apr 28, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1194057/1

Look at the comparison shot here from the alt forum



Apr 28, 2013 at 08:44 PM
SKumar25
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Light_pilgrim wrote:
135 f/2 became one of the best social/people lenses. The easy of use, the fact that you always get eyes in focus...is far more important than the resolution. AF is a must for a lens like this.
Cannot imagine people seriously do portraits without AF today and with the LV.


I think judging from your post and some others in this thread, that there is a fair amount of misinformation relating to these lenses.

Apart from LV, Zeiss ZE lenses can be focused using a precision focusing screen (Canon or aftermarket), or using the focus confirm of the camera (the lenses have the focus confirm chip).

I shot the 100 f/2 macro planar with very good accuracy using these techniques. I did a lot of portrait photography with that particular lens.

With focus confirm, the better the AF of the camera, the better the focussing accuracy of the ZE lenses. The 5DIII is a game changer for these lenses, as it is with AF lenses. The technique involves using the viewfinder to focusing quickly on the target, then fine tuning the focus till the selected focus confirm is lit. Sounds tricky, but with practice it is quick and easy with the well damped long throw focus ring.

So in short, it is possible to do portraits with this lens.

Some examples here:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1208230



Apr 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM
PetKal
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


These abstract debates tend to go for many pages, huh ?

The way I read that Korean report, the Zeiss lens is optically better by a fair bit.
I would also venture a guess that such superiority should be visible to as well as valued by most knowledgeable users.

I also do not need anyone's report to know that the Zeiss lens is built significantly better than 135L.

Now, 135L happens to be one of the most AF-responsive lenses Canon makes. If and when that is important, then obviously any MF lenses are not even in the game. However, whenever MF is feasible without ill-effects on focus accuracy/keepers, then Zeis 135 f/2 seems to be a better photography instrument.

Is 135L good enough for many people ? Of course it is. That is a banal kinda argument. For some people even a pinhole camera is good enough sometime.
Furthermore, there are those that are either unable or unwilling to use an MF lens. In such cases, Zeiss 135 f/2 wouldn't make a rational acquisition for them, that's all there is to it.



Apr 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM
 

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jeremy_clay
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


In the end, does it matter if your lense was the $1k or $2k one? As long as the photo of your cat @ 5000% magnification makes you happy, so be it.


Apr 29, 2013 at 04:55 PM
kezeka
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


jeremy_clay wrote:
In the end, does it matter if your lense was the $1k or $2k one? As long as the photo of your cat @ 5000% magnification makes you happy, so be it.


+1 for this sarcastic but well pointed comment.



Apr 29, 2013 at 07:11 PM
alexdi
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


SKumar25 wrote:
Sounds tricky, but with practice it is quick and easy with the well damped long throw focus ring.

It would be interesting to test this process. If the focus point is already selected and on contrast, the 135/2 takes 2/3 of a second to run through the entire distance scale. More often, it'll be ready to fire in less than half a second. Lenstip measured 97% accuracy in the studio; field shooting is probably closer to 85% with the rest near-misses. How long does it take you to shoot manually without a custom screen and what percentage of your shots are in-focus?



Apr 29, 2013 at 08:38 PM
joeisayo
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


I would buy the slightly inferior (optically) 135L for the AF or the slightly inferior (optically) ZE 100 F/2 for the more useful focal lenght and macro capabilities.
I predict 75% of the people who buy the new ZE 135mm will sell it within a year.



Apr 29, 2013 at 08:41 PM
David Baldwin
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Apropos nothing, reading this thread makes me wish I had kept my old Hasselblad Sonnar 180mm C lens for use on my Canon with adaptor.

Aaaah, hindsight, the exact science. Zeiss teles are certainly impressive, mind you in practice I always think that my Canon 135L f2 is one of the most amazing lenses I've ever used. In practice.



Apr 29, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Light_pilgrim
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Interesting....:-) I have 5D MKIII....and do not share the same opinion. It was easier to do MF with mKII and EG-s screen.

SKumar25 wrote:
I think judging from your post and some others in this thread, that there is a fair amount of misinformation relating to these lenses.

Apart from LV, Zeiss ZE lenses can be focused using a precision focusing screen (Canon or aftermarket), or using the focus confirm of the camera (the lenses have the focus confirm chip).

I shot the 100 f/2 macro planar with very good accuracy using these techniques. I did a lot of portrait photography with that particular lens.

With focus confirm, the better the AF of the camera, the better the focussing accuracy of the ZE lenses. The 5DIII is
...Show more



Apr 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


joeisayo wrote:
I would buy the slightly inferior (optically) 135L for the AF or the slightly inferior (optically) ZE 100 F/2 for the more useful focal lenght and macro capabilities.
I predict 75% of the people who buy the new ZE 135mm will sell it within a year.


I can't speak for these lenses, but a friend who is among a group who used to use LF film for their landscape work for a few decades and who are more and more now switching to MF digital or even full-frame DSLRs had believed that manual focusing would be more accurate than AF systems. Another acquaintance with a long history in a major computer company and subsequently as a photographer with a particular expertise in digital printing challenged him and a few others to a little test. My friend and a few other old-school MF shooters would do their best possible job of manually focusing (typically using magnified view screens on MF or possibly on LF) and he would use a MF digital system and simply let it AF, and then they would compare the results.

It turned out, to everyone's surprise except the fellow who proposed the tests, that the AF system was more accurate, not to mention faster.

MFing a SLR/DSLR while looking at the ground glass worked OK back in the day when we had split prisms and other focus aids. It works less well today. Even with those aids it was generally slower than AF systems today. So for most types of DSLR shooting, at least where you must work quickly, a well-used AF system is going to be faster and more accurate.

That said, there are exceptions. For example, one thing you may be able to do more accurately when using MF (preferably in live view mode and with 10x magnification) is carefully select the exact spot that you want in optimum focus no matter where it appears in the frame. In addition, again when working relatively slowly and carefully, you can (again when using live view) more accurately preview the DOF effect of your focusing/aperture decisions in the exposure simulation view and by moving the 10x magnification area around the screen with the DOF preview button pushed in.

And there are some situations in which old-school MF works best. For example, I also shoot a Fujifilm X-E1 for certain subjects including some street photography. When I want to work very quickly in street situations, sometimes the best option is to turn AF off, use my 14mm prime (equivalent to about 23mm on FF), and prefocus to a hyperfocal point and shoot without focusing - but remaining ready to make quick, gross focus changes by way of the distance scale when necessary. (As some of you no doubt know, that's how a lot of old-school rangefinder shooting was done when the photographer needed to work fast.)

Manually focusing a 135mm prime, especially at large apertures, while shooting on the move? I can only ask "why?" Been there. Done that. Not the best option today. ;-)

Oh, and I'm inconsistent with my own observations and knowledge - though see exceptions above. On the rare occasions when I use the 135mm f/2 for landscape/nature work from the tripod, I virtually always do us MF and live view. I have my reasons...

Dan


Edited on Apr 30, 2013 at 02:51 AM · View previous versions



Apr 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM
SKumar25
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


alexdi wrote:
It would be interesting to test this process. If the focus point is already selected and on contrast, the 135/2 takes 2/3 of a second to run through the entire distance scale. More often, it'll be ready to fire in less than half a second. Lenstip measured 97% accuracy in the studio; field shooting is probably closer to 85% with the rest near-misses. How long does it take you to shoot manually without a custom screen and what percentage of your shots are in-focus?


Difficult to quantify this. Obviously the 135 L is blisteringly fast and accurate. With mf you will not be shooting sports or BIF, but I'd say the focusing accuracy would be similar for stationary subjects.

Some old samples of hyperactive kids from 100 f/2 MP W/O:






















All are critically focused.

That said, I concede it may be be harder to focus the 135 APO compared to the 100MP.


Edited on Apr 30, 2013 at 01:41 AM · View previous versions



Apr 30, 2013 at 01:32 AM
SKumar25
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Although the 5DIII does not allow for the screen to be changed, the focus confirm is better in low light, has more points, and is more accurate. There was a good thread by Philber on the merits of this camera with these lenses in the alt forum a while back.

Light_pilgrim wrote:
Interesting....:-) I have 5D MKIII....and do not share the same opinion. It was easier to do MF with mKII and EG-s screen.





Apr 30, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar vs Canon EF 135mm f/2L


Roger Cicala's comparison of the Zeiss and Canon 135s -

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/04/zeiss-ze-135mm-f2-vs-canon-135mm-f2l




Apr 30, 2013 at 06:07 PM
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