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Zeiss vs Other lenses
  
 
RyanGphoto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


So maybe this has been said and talked about before, but. I keep hearing about the amazing corner sharpness and the Zeiss "LOOK".

I can't see it. Honestly.

I don't print MUCH at all. So I guess what I am asking is Will I really see the difference if I am not printing things and only really showing my work online (90%) of the time.

I am shooting with a 1Dx and the 5D3. Would I really only see the difference with a Higher MP camera like a D810 or Hasselblad?

On DXO Mark I saw that the Zeiss Otus 55 1.4 is a 35 and the Sigma 50 Art 1.4 was a 33 on the 5D3. Is THAT what gives it the Look the 3 dimensionality?

Thanks for any and all comments.

Ryan G



Jul 29, 2014 at 04:00 AM
mogud
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


Take a look at the Alt Lens forum here on FM and view the postings on the Zeiss threads. I see a difference in microcontrast and in sharpness. However, you have to decide for yourself.



Edited on Jul 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM · View previous versions



Jul 29, 2014 at 04:11 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


I'd suggest renting. I think it's personal.


Jul 29, 2014 at 04:13 AM
surf monkey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


Not even those that claim they can see the Zeiss rendering will say that it has anything to do with resolution. Most talked about subjects are 3Dness, bokeh, micro-contrast. Some have claimed that they can even tell the difference looking at thumbnails in Lightroom.
As John stated, it's a very personal thing.

Edited on Jul 29, 2014 at 01:00 PM · View previous versions



Jul 29, 2014 at 04:29 AM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


It's 'magic ' helps justify lens choice.


Jul 29, 2014 at 04:40 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


It depends on the lens. I didn't see any difference at all between a Zeiss Contax 50mm 1.4 mounted onto Canon and a Canon 50mm 1.4 mounted on Canon. I have seen enough samples (including direct comparisons with the 21mm compared directly to Canon 24mm 1.4 II) to think the zeiss Otus and 21mm Distagon are likely a different story though, it seems like have some crazy contrast and bite, for sure the 21mm Distagon, although it is always a bit dangerous to say not having owned either.


Jul 29, 2014 at 04:55 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


If you believe that you will see the difference, you will see the difference. ;-)

RyanGphoto wrote:
So maybe this has been said and talked about before, but. I keep hearing about the amazing corner sharpness and the Zeiss "LOOK".

I can't see it. Honestly.

I don't print MUCH at all. So I guess what I am asking is Will I really see the difference if I am not printing things and only really showing my work online (90%) of the time.

I am shooting with a 1Dx and the 5D3. Would I really only see the difference with a Higher MP camera like a D810 or Hasselblad?

On DXO Mark I saw that the Zeiss Otus 55 1.4
...Show more




Jul 29, 2014 at 05:40 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


Aside from the issue of the claimed 3D rendering which is a purely subjective thing, they are build much better than other manufacturers and manual focus is smoother and usually more precise. Their rendering is typically warmer and more contrasty and resolution is very high.

My favorite are the 21 2.8, 35 f/2 and the 100 f/2 Makro. As mogud mentioned, have a look at the alt Zeiss thread, I am sure you'll enjoy it anyway



Jul 29, 2014 at 06:19 AM
ZoneV
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


I know this feeling not understanding what others are talking about :-/
For the Zeiss 3D look it long thought it is another such thing - until I got my first 3D look images.





But I do not have comparison images. At the moment I am even not able to predict during photographing which images likely have the look or not.



Jul 29, 2014 at 09:16 AM
Papathanassiou
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


What don't speak don't lie. Take a raw shot with pretty well any Zeiss lens, open up in Photoshop and go to the sharpness section, it has a default setting of 25 hold the ALT key down and drag the threshold slider to the right, all that stays white is sharp. The raw files I find are also larger when took with a Zeiss lens.


Jul 29, 2014 at 09:27 AM
 

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Dpedraza
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


It's the microcontrast of the zeiss lenses that give that pop people are referring to. In all honesty I think it might be scene specific or post processing specific because sometimes you get it sometimes you don't. Ronny olsen( I think that's his name) some photos of his dog have a bit of the 3d rendering. Zeiss lenses seem to have a different rendering at least to me which I love. I even like the 50 planar which gets no love. But like I said it's the microcontrast of the lenses which most lenses dont have a lot of that sets the rendering apart


Jul 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM
chez
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


gdanmitchell wrote:
If you believe that you will see the difference, you will see the difference. ;-)



And if you are closed minded you never will.



Jul 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM
dhphoto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


"3D images" again?

I have owned some fantastic lenses in my time - Schneider, Zeiss, Hasselblad, Mamiya 67 (yes Mamiya) but only a few of them were *really* special.

There is something about the contrast that just looks different, I expect some of the Zeiss lenses mentioned have this.

But with the RAW post processing abilities avaibale these days I think the differences are more marginal.



Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM
panos.v
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


It is not about sharpness. It is a look and "character". Some people see it, some people don't. Some of the Zeiss lenses have it, some don't. But ultimately it depends a lot on the scene, the subject, the light, the background, the distances involved between foreground and background. A brick wall or a test chart will look just as bland as with any other lens. Rent it and see if you like it.

Also, there is Zeiss glass for digital cameras, there is Zeiss glass for Hasselblads and other medium format cameras (eg Contax). You cannot compare the two, the larger format and different sensor/film scan will account for a lot of the differences.

By the way, I've owned the 35/2 and 50/1.4. The 35/2 was amazing. The 50/1.4 was special and has produces some of favourite shots of all. Looking to buy it again, or maybe I'll get the 85/1.4 this time...



Jul 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM
SKumar25
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


For a picture to have a 3-D feel, often there are many factors external to the lens also contributing to the look. This aside, certain lens design factors can help in enhancing the look, or making it more prevalent. One such factor is microcontrast, which is the ability of a lens to record finer and finer differences in tonal changes.

To illustrate (Sorry, not a very good example), a lens with very poor microcontrast may render a round ball like this:






And a lens with better microcontrast may render it like this:






So a lens with better microcontrast can produce a more 3-D like look.

Micrcontrast can be measured, it is not something people imagine.

So, Zeiss lenses do have great microcontrast, some of the best examples I've seen. Added to that is great clarity and presence.

We are generalising though, as there are many Zeiss lenses, and each has a different character. Additionally, there can be a tradeoff, the more clinical technically better lenses are not necessarily as renowned as the ones with more character (which are not as technically perfect) in producing the 3-D look!

Whilst Zeiss lenses are renowned for the 3-D look, I feel the newer batch of Canon lenses also have good microcontrast, clarity and presence. Back in the day, a Canon file looked like one was looking at an image through dirty glass, and required a lot of PP. The new mark II super teles, and the 24-70 L II for example have much better IQ in this regard than their predecessors, IMO.

One thing I noticed is not everyone sees the look, and different people see it to differing degrees. It is one of the most controversial and misunderstood subjects here. I would check out samples, and maybe hire a couple of lenses. If you don't see or appreciate the look, then it's not a big deal.

Cheers.


Edited on Jul 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM · View previous versions



Jul 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Dpedraza
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


SKumar25 wrote:
For a picture to have a 3-D feel, often there are many factors external to the lens also contributing to the look. This aside, certain lens design factors can help in enhancing the look, or making it more prevalent. One such factor is microcontrast, which is the ability of a lens to record finer and finer differences in tonal changes.

To illustrate (Sorry, not a very good example), a lens with very poor microcontrast may render a round ball like this:
http://www.webdesign.org/img_articles/18227/step_1.jpg

And a lens with better microcontrast may render it like this:
http://www.webdesign.org/img_articles/18227/3d_circle_1.jpg

So a lens with better microcontrast can produce a more 3-D
...Show more
Yeah I've seen some of the larger teles that have that 3d pop. Also the 70-200mm II



Jul 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM
molson
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


A surprising number of photographers can't even tell if an image is in focus or not without relying on their camera to tell them, so something this subtle would surely escape them.


Jul 29, 2014 at 12:36 PM
dbehrens
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


It depends on what you are comparing it to but the difference I see in general is micro-contrast as well as warmer/richer colors. The 3-D look seems to be more shots wide open focused on foreground subjects that allow focus separation between foreground and background.
Dave



Jul 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


My impression of Zeiss lenses is that they are very good, but not better than Canon. Canon's offer a lot more options such as AF and IS, plus the wonderful TSE lenses that Zeiss doesn't offer.

My experience was with ZE 50/1.4 (negative experience), ZE 21/2.8, ZE 35/2, Contax (CY) 50/1.4 (outstanding), 80-200/4, 135/2.8, Contax N 24-85 and 70-200 (on Contax N1 film camera). Certainly not the full range, but representative of the qualities heralded by Zeiss devotees. I found the wide angle lenses to suffer from severe light fall-off (particularly the 21/2.8) resulting in over-exposed centers, or very dim sides. Also, these lenses were not sharp edge-to-edge, as is often claimed, until smaller aperture over ride the curvature of field and vignetting. They are generally well made, but excessively heavy, especially the 21/2.8 and 35/2, when compared to the 24 TSE II (similar weight and bulk, but far more flexible) and the 35/2 IS (smaller, lighter and far more features).

I was also disappointed when the Zeiss magic I saw on images in the Alt forum Zeiss thread failed to materialize for me, until I found out the images were almost all (relatively) highly modified in post-processing. Once I applied similar techniques, my Zeiss images looked "better", meaning more dramatic and sharp with tools in LR. Incidentally, so did my Canon images! I found I could get similar or better images (to my liking) with the Canon lenses. So the Zeiss became an unneeded luxury, tying up photo funds I could spend on other items. I sold all my Zeiss lenses, except for the Contax 50/1.4 and don't miss them.

If I were buying a Nikon D810, I'd seriously consider repurchasing the 21/2.8 and 35/2 in the ZF.2 mount, I feel the lenses would be of more value than similar Nikon offerings. (But as I've said many times, if Canon lenses could be mounted on Nikon with full compatibility, then, no, I wouldn't bother with the Zeiss lenses again.)

I can't say don't buy the Zeiss lenses -- I did! If you are curious and have a bunch of cash on hand, go ahead and enjoy. They are certainly high quality lenses, no question about that!

Good luck on your Zeiss exploration!



Jul 29, 2014 at 05:03 PM
chas1113
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Zeiss vs Other lenses


Yeah, it's been mentioned a few times....

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/829238/0?keyword=3d#7701654

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/530337/0

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/991641/1

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/983034/0

There are so many variables that contribute to the "Zeiss 3D look" that you can't just pop a lens on your camera and just "get it." One of the things that I have found to be most important is subject side lighting plus overall ambient lighting — the interplay of the two. Distance to subject, subject to background distance, camera to background distance, subject matter, lens length to subject distance, microcontrast, focus falloff, plasticity, how you hold your mouth while pressing the shutter. In other words, you generally can't just consciously make it happen. But when it does, WOW.

One thing I do know is it happens with more frequency when I have Zeiss lenses (or in my case C/Y Contax lenses) mounted. I read through a gazillion different threads in the Alt forum before laying down cold hard cash for my three lenses (28mm 2.8 Distagon, 35-70mm 3.4 Vario-Sonnar, and 85mm 1.4 Planar).

Mark me as a believer. I've made it happen with my Contax lenses. Not often and usually not intentionally, but IMHO it actually exists.

—chas



Jul 29, 2014 at 05:55 PM
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