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Is it me or do none of the pictures so far (including mine) have the 3D pop, micro-contrast, whatever you want to call it that numerous C/Y lenses are known for? This is one thing that slightly disappointed me about the 24-85. I was expecting it to replace my C/Y 35-70, and it hasn't. Images from the 35-70 often wow me right out of the camera, the 24-85 less so. Images from the 100 macro: C/Y looks better than N. Images from 21/2.8 look better than N17-35. This is my general impression from viewing the many excellent pics scattered around...Show more →
I would have to disagree with most of this. I think the images from both the c/y and N lens look great, but would give the edge to the N lenses overall. Clearly this is subjective, and I think if there were a blind comparison on the same subject, the differences perceived would be insignificant.
Specifically, however, I have both the N 24-35 and the c/y 35-75. Quite simply the 35-70 does not get used. It really provides nothing that the 24-85 can not provide and the N 24-85 gives you so much more. The c/y 35-70 is also significantly inferior to my primes in its focal lengths. The c/y 35-70 has been relegated to taking up space in a cabinet with absolutely no remorse.
I have also had both the c/y 100 MP sand the N 100 MS. While the c/y 100 MP was one of my long-time favorites, the N 100 MS is clearly to me, easily it's equal. The c/y does not "look better" to me. No doubt in my mind. Images from the N 100 MS are stunning with wonderful color, contrast, bokeh and pop -- and in a few of these areas will exceed what the c/y 100 can provide. The N 100 certainly continues the Zeiss Makro lens tradition but adds AF and on Canon, AE. If you want a Zeiss Makro for your Canon, the only reason to buy the older c/y lens is lower cost, and if you just can't find the newer N 100.
I do tend to agree, that for the most part, the c/y 21mm will be better than the N 17-35 zoom. This is, however, a typical prime vs. zoom issues. I expect the 21mm prime to be better than the zoom. And it is, mostly in corner performance at larger apertures. The c/y 21mm is an exceptional lens. However, if you compare the N 17-35 to the c/y 18mm, another lens that I have owned, I would unequivocally say that the N 17-35 is better. I think the N 17-35 images have wonderful color, pop and vibrancy to them that other zooms in this range just can't match. Just look at some of the images Andrew has posted over the last year with this lens. They jump from the screen, truly great stuff.
I would also, without hesitation or doubt, take the N 85/1.4 over the c/y 85/1.4, and the N 50/1.4 over the c/y 50/1.4.