Upload & Sell: Off
| p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Brief report on some Zeiss testing - looked at 4 - bought 1. |
I went to a local camera shop and tested a number of lenses in focal lengths important to me.
While I've been a fan of Zeiss color, consistency, bokeh and high resolution, I've come to realize that some of the newer designs and processes were creating what possibly might be 'better' lenses.
My method for the test wasn't the best as I didn't choose one plane that would cover the range of the various lenses I wanted to test. I was more concerned with not disturbing the store ops too much.
With an opening in the space between 85mm and 180mm, I decide to first look at the 100 Makro and the 135 APO and compare them to the 85mm 1.2.
I've been trying to buy one of these lenses in the $900-1200 range but the sellers have been awfully stingy. Knowing I might eventually migrate to Nikon there's no harm in looking at ZF2 glass as it will work on my NEX and a future Nikon if Sony continues to drag their feet.
In general, they all performed well (testing f2, 2,8, 4,0 and 5,6) Diffraction clearly attacks my NEX after 5.6 so I rarely bother with going further.
However, the new designs appear to exceed in a noticeable degree with regards to control of ACA and the APO was EXTRAORDINARY. There was a slight hint at 2.0 and zero at 2.8. The fringing was easily managed at 2.0 with only 1-2 on the LR4 slider (defringe at 30/70 (all) for purple hue) needed to eliminate it completely. I couldn't tell for sure but 1 appeared to and 2 guaranteed it. Additionally there were no artifacts or visible impacts to those areas once defringed.
The 85 1.2 needed about 4-5 to clean at 2.0, 2-3 to clean at 2.8, and by 4.0 it was happy with the defringe sliders have zero effect.
The 100 wasn't so kind - at 2.0 it needed 10 to be clean, 6-7 at 2.8, 3-4 at 4.0 and maybe 1 or 2 at 5.6 to be completely happy.
I did a little post clean up at 300% on one area of the shot and then applied it across the board to all of the photos. They all looked about as good as each other until I scanned around and found that a cloth binding on a book was amazingly clear with the APO. Of course there was a 'reach out advantage' so I moved closer to see if I could see the same with the 85 and 100 as I got closer - unscientific I know but again - I couldn't reshoot the whole set. It's not my shop.
Then I moved on to the 21mm comparing my 21mm to the new model as well as the 25mm f2 (the almost APO) to my 28mm Hollywood in Imatest. The advantage in the new lenses (and I was only looking at centers) was to the new models but by 4.0 everything was equal or + or - withing the error of my poorly run and hastily set up testing.
I've done enough of these (1000s) to know to throw out the misfocused shot. I can even predict to some degree how high an ROI might score when I go to select it.
I also used each lens to shoot some interior security bars against a very bright background for the lens of interest.
The APO sailed through this, the 25mm f2 also was stellar but then again so was my old Hollywood.
Lastly I used a single bright LED to test sagittal coma flare which the Hollywood has an abundance of. Once the lens goes off axis but is still directly gathering bright light the lens comes alive with coma (Satan's Rainbows).
The 28mm failed as always, while the new 25 2.0 would produce a single larger and more diffused whiter coma. I'm not sure how this would clean up in post - it could be easier - could be worse.
So with my case of old Zeiss glass and itchy money in my pocket, I decided there was only really one lens I needed to have today. The 135mm APO.
It is incredible and it is the best lens in my arsenal now. And I'm not just saying that because it's new. It's just really really good.
The rest of them won't cause me to lose sleep. For the way I shoot and the things I do, the old c/y glass is still working great for me.