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Cambo Actus Photographs
  
 
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · Cambo Actus Photographs


genji wrote:
Looks like it might be time to kick those Sigma lenses to the curb...


Possibly, but the situation is actually a bit more complicated than that. The Sigma Art 24mm and 35mm lenses I have been using for the past six months or so have max. apertures of f1.4, whereas these Zeiss lenses have f2 and f2.8 apertures.

Although I photograph with the apertures typically set between f5.6 and f10, I need fast lenses so I can get enough light into the camera so that I can see the scenes well enough to compose and focus a photo. Generally, there's enough light in the downtown Phoenix areas where I photograph that I can work with an f2 or f2.8 aperture, but for other areas where I photograph, such as around my suburban neighborhood, even an f1.4 aperture is sometimes not fast enough.

So, yeah, I could easily replace the Sigmas with these Zeiss lenses and live happily ever after if I only photograph in some, but not all of the areas where I like to photograph. Which is why I initially swapped my Contax N 17-35/f2.8 zoom for Sigma's 24-35/f2 zoom; that the IQ was surprisingly excellent (but also quite a bit different than that of the Contax N lenses) was merely a bonus.

As such, the real test for these lenses will be when I photograph with them around my neighborhood, which I'll probably start doing again next week.

But IQ-wise, Yeah, there's always been something a bit magical about Zeiss lenses for me and these are proving to be no exception to that rule...



Aug 14, 2017 at 03:45 AM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · Cambo Actus Photographs


Although I'm concerned about its slow (f2.8) aperture when it comes to composing photos in some of the less well-lighted places where I photograph, the Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8 absolutely kicks butt for medium-distance subjects such as this one, which I took at 2:46 am this morning:



A7R / Cambo Actus / Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8 and just a smidge of downward tilt along with ~6mm of rear fall



Aug 16, 2017 at 08:51 PM
genji
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · Cambo Actus Photographs


Audii-Dudii wrote:
Although I'm concerned about its slow (f2.8) aperture when it comes to composing photos in some of the less well-lighted places where I photograph, the Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8 absolutely kicks butt for medium-distance subjects such as this one, which I took at 2:46 am this morning:

http://www.canyonero.com/files/1502916394.jpg

A7R / Cambo Actus / Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8 and just a smidge of downward tilt along with ~6mm of rear fall


Sheer magic! No other word for it.



Aug 16, 2017 at 11:15 PM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · Cambo Actus Photographs


Here's another one from the same outing, also taken with the Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8. A little bit less magical, I think, but I still like it.



A7R / Cambo Actus / Zeiss ZK 25/f2.8 with ~.3 degrees of downward tilt and ~7mm of rear fall




Aug 17, 2017 at 09:32 AM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · Cambo Actus Photographs


The Zeiss ZK 35/f2 and 21/f2.8 both work very well on the Actus as well, with at least 8-10 mm of rise / fall / and shift movement available at f8 and infinity.

Here's a photo taken with the 35/f2, plus ~.5 degrees of swing:



And here are two photos taken with the 21/f2.8:








Aug 21, 2017 at 09:29 PM
rdeloe
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · Cambo Actus Photographs


My copy of the Zeiss Distagon 21/2.8 proved to be quite poor as a shift lens because of the weird moustache distortion. I notice a bit of that distortion in the first of the two above photos. You might be bothered by it more if you have a subject that fills the frame (in other words, not lots of empty sky above the subject).

And I have to say that the abandoned white house with the brownish sky and soil is just terrific! Well done.



Aug 21, 2017 at 10:29 PM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · Cambo Actus Photographs


rdeloe wrote:
My copy of the Zeiss Distagon 21/2.8 proved to be quite poor as a shift lens because of the weird moustache distortion. I notice a bit of that distortion in the first of the two above photos. You might be bothered by it more if you have a subject that fills the frame (in other words, not lots of empty sky above the subject).


I didn't mention the distortion, because the reputation of this lens is quite well known and the photos speak for themselves. I was merely commenting on the size of the image circle it projects.

That said, I do agree that its distortion is problematic, at least for this type of photography. Here's an excerpt from an email I sent around to some friends this morning along with some sample photos:

"On the one hand, it captures very sharp, highly resolved files, including even in the corners. And of course, it has the characteristic Zeiss "pop" in spades.

On the other hand, though, it flares both incredibly easily and often, which is quite problematic, because due to its very wide angle of view, it's also very difficult to flag it effectively without the flag itself ending up in the photos.

And it has quite a bit more distortion than I prefer for my architectural-type photography, especially when focused at short-to-medium distances (although this appears to be less of an issue at medium-to-longer focus distances.)

Worse, it's the traditional Zeiss "mustache" distortion, which is difficult to correct using only basic tools (for whatever reason, I don't seem to be able to get the ACR and LR distortion profiles XXXXXXX forwarded to me to work in Raw Therapee, so I am only able to use the very basic and limited distortion correction tools that RT and Photoshop provide.)"

For typical landscape photography, this distortion probably isn't a big issue. And the distortion correction provided by ACR and LR appears to be very effective, so I know it can be successfully addressed during post-processing. But for most types of architectural photography, it will likely prove to be very problematic. As such, I will be exploring other options to address it, including creating my own lens profile, so we shall see...

And I have to say that the abandoned white house with the brownish sky and soil is just terrific! Well done.

Thanks for the kind words! I liked it initially, to be sure, but the more I look at it, the more I am liking it!

I know many reviews of the 25/f2.8 lens one finds on the internet suggest it's merely a ho-hum performer, but I'm finding it to be very much better than that. In fact, I think it's quite a gem!



Aug 21, 2017 at 10:37 PM
 

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Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · Cambo Actus Photographs


I think it's well known that the Zeiss 85/f1.4 projects quite a large image circle (large enough, in fact, that it will cover a Fuji GFX's 44x33 sensor), but for the record, I can confirm that it also works well with the Actus and provides a minimum of 10-12mm of rise / fall / shift movements.

Here are two photos I took with it while walking my dog around the neighborhood late one night last week:





Both photos have ~6-7mm of rear fall applied, plus ~.5 degrees of downward tilt. Due to the limited DoF of this lens, I've found I have to apply tilt or swing (or both!) to almost every photo I take with it.

Note: I am primarily a wide-angle photographer, so working with the 85/f1.4 has proved to be quite a challenge, because I simply am not used to standing on the sidewalk across the street (!) when I'm photographing a house!

For this reason, I haven't yet done much with the Zeiss 135/f2, but I am working my way up to using it -- right now, it still feels a bit like I'm trying to throw a javelin while standing inside a phone booth! -- and I'll be posting photos taken with it soon.



Aug 21, 2017 at 10:59 PM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · Cambo Actus Photographs


A contributor here (who shall remain nameless unless he wishes to identify himself) sent me a classic Contax 35/f2.8 MMJ lens to try on my Actus, because he's interested in purchasing one to use with his A7RII and C/Y lenses, but neither of us was able to find any information about the size of the image circles they project.

Well, in the case of this lens, at least, its image circle allows for approx. 8mm of rear rise / fall movement along the short side, with the aperture at f8 and focused at infinity.

Here's a photo I took with it of my usual test target (i.e., a neighbor's house a few doors down from mine) late this afternoon with ~10mm of rear fall (i.e., at the first detent position) hence the small amount of vignetting in the upper corners, which likely isn't an issue for the type of nighttime photography I typically do:



Not too awful bad, eh? And these lenses apparently can be purchased for relatively modest amounts of money these days, too, which has caused me to raise an eyebrow and start stroking my chin ... lol.

UPDATE: Here's a photo I took tonight of my neighbor's driveway:



It was taken at f8 and I used about 7mm of rear fall and a slight amount of downward tilt. As you can see, the slight bit of vignetting that was evident in the afternoon photo posted above is effectively irrelevant for this nighttime photo.

The resolution of this lens appears to be a bit lower than my Sigma Art 35/f1.4 and the Zeiss ZK 35/f2 I have been using for the past few weeks and it also appears to be slightly lower in contrast, too, but that's generally easy to address during post-processing.

Overall, I'm liking the "look" of this lens, especially given its almost bargain pricing ... such a deal!

And it's so small and light, too:




Aug 29, 2017 at 01:21 AM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · Cambo Actus Photographs


So I've acquired the Contax 35/f2.8 MMJ lens I was testing above, as well a 28/f2.8 MMJ from another source, and have started working with them as part of my regular nighttime photography.

Here are three photos taken with the 35/f2.8 on my last downtown Phoenix outing:







And here are three photos taken around my neighborhood with the 28/f2.8 late last night with a full moon overhead:







The image quality / rendering style is very similar for both lenses and, unfortunately, they both make lousy sunstars due to their six-bladed apertures. (FYI, I used to embrace sunstars with my Sigma Art lenses, but now I'm having to compose my photos to avoid them, which is proving to be mildly annoying.)

Both lenses also flare fairly easily (admittedly, my nighttime photography can be quite a challenge in this respect for many lenses), so it's important to keep all non-image forming light from striking the glass. (I carry around with me a piece of black, foam core board to use as a handheld flag because the OEM lens hoods for both lenses restrict the size of their image circles, which makes them useless to me. I'm trying to figure out some way to mount a proper compendium lens shade on the Actus, but haven't figured out a good solution as yet ... we'll see.)

As noted above, the image circle for the 35/f2.8 is large enough to be adequate for nearly all photos I'll ever take with it. Unfortunately, the 28/f2.8's image circle is noticeably smaller and I'm getting a small amount of vignetting in pretty much every photo I've taken with it so far, even when I have used modest amounts of rear fall.

I haven't yet concluded this is a fatal flaw for my purposes, but it's definitely a major shortcoming and I have some concerns, because I'm only interested in using these lenses if I can use them across the board to achieve a single, consistent "look" to my photos. If I have to mix-and-match them with other brands, then I'll simply sell them and move on...

Next up is a 50/f1.7 MMJ that should arrive later this week and I've started shopping 25/f2.8 lenses in the event this latest lens works out well. <crosses fingers>



Sep 07, 2017 at 05:00 PM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · Cambo Actus Photographs





Sep 07, 2017 at 06:20 PM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · Cambo Actus Photographs


ken.vs.ryu wrote:

http://i.imgur.com/C2G6qTm.jpg


Bah! I don't like Canon lenses, for a start, and (assuming it's real) that adapter offers only front movements, not rear.

Very clever, though.



Sep 07, 2017 at 08:57 PM
Audii-Dudii
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · Cambo Actus Photographs


For the sake of completeness, here are a few photos taken with an A7R / Actus / Contax 50/f1.7 combo:









First off, this lens is sharp, sharp, sharp ... incredibly so, even. Stopped down to f8, it projects an image circle that's larger than the one of the 28/f2.8, but not quite as large as the one of the 35/f2.8, so I expect it will be at least adequate for my purposes (as noted previously, the size of the 28/f2.8's image circle is only marginally adequate.)

That said, there is a bit of softness that creeps in just before the illumination runs out, so for many photos, it may not be possible to use all of the available image circle if corner sharpness is a critical element.

Overall, I'm very much enjoying my time with the Contax trio I've assembled -- 28/f2.8, 35/f2.8, and 50/f1.7 -- for a mere $665 total. I'm still looking to add a 25/f2.8 or possibly an 18/f4, but I'm on a tight budget these days, so it will have to wait until I find a good deal and/or sell some of my surplus gear to fund their purchase.





Sep 14, 2017 at 08:39 PM
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