Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Nikon Forum | Join Upload & Sell

  

Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E
  
 
vieri
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


Hello everyone,

Always looking for the best equipment for Landscape & Fine Art photography, in my recent D800E VS SD1 MERRILL PART II: THE WIDE ANGLE BATTLE article I compared the classic, legendary Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S on the Nikon D800E against the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 HSM on the Sigma SD1 Merrill. I come to the conclusion that if you intend to take full advantage of the Nikon D800E's high resolution, then the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S isn't quite up to the task; this camera & lens combination offered results comparable (minus lens speed, of course) with those obtainable with the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 HSM on the SD1 Merrill, a smaller & lighter kit costing far less. Since for my FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY business I have to print very big, while the SD1 Merrill's files are good enough if you prepare them for print carefully, the Nikon D800E's 36 Mp and its file quality are something I am not ready to give up just yet - so I decided to keep looking for that elusive perfect super-wide angle lens that seems so difficult to find: enter the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon T* ZF.2.



You can read the whole story on my blog HERE, but in short my conclusions are that overall, on full-frame cameras I find the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 an impressive lens at what it does best (sharpness, contrast and Zeiss-colours, to mention a few); but one with some serious technical flaws (vignetting and distortion) that might be show stoppers for some. On APS-C cameras, on the other hand, things change: on the smaller sensor you get rid of pretty much all the distortion, of all the un-sharp corners, and of quite a bit of the vignetting as well, and you are left with a 27mm f/3.5 that performs pretty well. Sadly, an expensive one at $1.395 US, and even more so if you consider that for a little less money at $1.256,95 US (both are B&H prices as of December 15, 2013) you can get the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II AF-S.

Full review, with images and comparison with the 14-24mm is on my blog HERE: enjoy!

Best,

Vieri



Dec 19, 2013 at 02:02 PM
Steve Perry
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


Sorry, but that's just crazy. You must have had an amazing copy of the ziess and a bad copy of the 14-24.

I've owned both lenses and while the 18mm was nice, it wasn't up to par with the 14-24 at 18mm.

The 14-24 is sharper across the board, from center to corners. it's also has less vignetting. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for better UWA lenses, but the Zeiss 18 just ain't it. (Although it's a super lens to take just in case you need a UWA)


Photozone's resolution numbers back me up:














Dec 19, 2013 at 02:38 PM
MaxBerlin
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


I like the 14-24 and have almost bought it several times.

The stopper for me is I really like the Zeiss 21mm and it's a better fit for those situations I use it most - capturing travel scenes and compositional efforts.

Even though I shoot these mainly on a tripod and at night 4-5.6 the 3.5 is also an issue.

In one test I did - shooting off axis at the sun - the 14-24 produced 1 strong sagittal coma flare and 9 strong ghosts inline and between the coma and the sun. As well, there were 33+ additional flares scattered around the sun as well as 40 scallops running above and to the left of the sun.

My post talents could never clean that mess up. But the sunstar was spectacular.

The Zeiss 21 shot a few moments later produced 1 flare near the sun and 1 scallop above the sun and an additional one in the bottom left corner.

Could probably be cleaned in a few minutes.

In the field I'd never shoot this way but when you go to do a long exposure on the banks of the Seine and the flood lights are off axis and coming from 25 different directions this may be the difference between a keeper and garbage.

(I know because I trusted an entire night of shooting in Paris to an old Distagon 28 2.0 that is perhaps the worst lens ever for this kind of shooting)

Didn't notice a thing until I got back to the hotel that night. Mainly crap photos.

Resolution is important but I'll give up a little for a lens that covers up for me.










Dec 19, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Keith B.
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


The thing about the Zeiss 18/3.5 is that with all it's flaws, it's currently the very best 18mm 24x36 (D)SLR lens available, new or used. Yeah, the Leica and Zeiss M-mount lenses are technically better, but they're not gonna work on any SLR and probably not very well on a 24x36 mirrorless.
You want an 18mm prime? There's only one ....right now.
Us Nikon users may get something new in the way of an 18mm one of these days...that'd be nice.



Dec 19, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Mikael Risedal
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


Steve Perry wrote:
Sorry, but that's just crazy. You must have had an amazing copy of the ziess and a bad copy of the 14-24.

I've owned both lenses and while the 18mm was nice, it wasn't up to par with the 14-24 at 18mm.

The 14-24 is sharper across the board, from center to corners. it's also has less vignetting. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for better UWA lenses, but the Zeiss 18 just ain't it. (Although it's a super lens to take just in case you need a UWA)

Photozone's resolution numbers back me up:



when I tested 14-24 i found four copies where the lenses had decentered linselements
they where send back to Nikon, a fresh 14-24 is exceptional and the only real negative point is flare against the sun



Dec 19, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Mikael Risedal
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


Steve Perry wrote:
Sorry, but that's just crazy. You must have had an amazing copy of the ziess and a bad copy of the 14-24.

I've owned both lenses and while the 18mm was nice, it wasn't up to par with the 14-24 at 18mm.

The 14-24 is sharper across the board, from center to corners. it's also has less vignetting. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for better UWA lenses, but the Zeiss 18 just ain't it. (Although it's a super lens to take just in case you need a UWA)

Photozone's resolution numbers back me up:



when I tested 14-24 i found four copies where the lenses had decentered linselements
they where send back to Nikon, a fresh 14-24 is exceptional and the only real negative point is flare against the sun

new toys to play with http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52743258



Dec 19, 2013 at 09:05 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



gugs
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


Steve Perry wrote:
Sorry, but that's just crazy. You must have had an amazing copy of the ziess and a bad copy of the 14-24.

I've owned both lenses and while the 18mm was nice, it wasn't up to par with the 14-24 at 18mm.

The 14-24 is sharper across the board, from center to corners. it's also has less vignetting. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for better UWA lenses, but the Zeiss 18 just ain't it. (Although it's a super lens to take just in case you need a UWA)

Photozone's resolution numbers back me up:


+1
I don't own the Zeiss, but I once tested the 18 and the 21 in the shop and I have not been impressed at all. Even the shop owner told me that it didn't make sense to buy a WA Zeiss when you own a 14-24. I went for the 50 and 100mm ZF lenses instead.

Guy



Dec 19, 2013 at 09:13 PM
molson
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


The Zeiss 21mm f2.8 is about as sharp as the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8, but has a bit more distortion; however, it does not suffer from the field curvature and focus shift that can be troublesome with the Nikon.

The Zeiss 15mm f2.8 is noticeably better than the Nikon 14-24, but a lot more expensive and of course is not as flexible as a zoom.

I have not personally used or even tested the Zeiss 18mm f3.5, as the reviews are generally not as favourable; Lloyd Chambers found it was roughly comparable to the Canon 16-35L II, which is a decent lens, and a bit better than the Nikon 16-35 f4 VR.



Dec 19, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Jan Brittenson
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


I have both the ZF.2 18/3.5 and the 14-24. The latter tends to get used more when I shoot within easy walking distance of the car. The Zeiss for travel or to drop in the bag just to have with me. They both have their uses.

The 18 is slightly soft in the very extreme corners and shows some slight loss at the side edges. The rest of the field easily outresolves the D800E from f/4 onwards. The 14-24 at 18 is about the same, or ever so marginally better at the extremes. For practical photography it makes little or no difference. I'm just as happy using either from a performance standpoint and the choice of which to use is entirely practical - size, benefit of precise framing with a zoom, vs small size. Subjectively, I think the color reproduction on the Zeiss is slightly better, but the 14-24 matches all my other Nikon glass better.



Dec 20, 2013 at 04:57 PM
papageno
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


I think the answer here is to throw them all out and start over.

In the interests of a greener world, send them to me and I'll reluctantly recycle them.



Dec 20, 2013 at 09:39 PM
vieri
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Testing the Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 on the D800E


I just added sharpness tests for distortion-corrected images. PS CS6 profile works very well, it seems to me that there isn't any significant loss in sharpness applying the profile Of course, I also updated the zip file containing all the test images for download, which now includes the corrected files as well.


Dec 22, 2013 at 05:17 PM





FM Forums | Nikon Forum | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password