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Contax N Image Thread
  
 
Lotusm50
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Contax N Image Thread


Lotusm50 wrote:
Yes, a ZE 50/1.4, N 50/1.4 and c/y 50/1.4 comparison would be interesting. I suspect that you really won't find much difference.



OK. I've done a quick comparison between the Zeiss c/y 50, the N 50 and the ZF 50. Nothing special, not even fancy studio set-up. Just a few camera set up on a printer lit with a Lowell Tota light and bounce card for a little fill. All the were shot at the same exposure 1/40 sec at f4. Camera, on tripod, was not moved during lens changes (even still there are slight registration differences). All were focused on the same point (white lettering on the middle camera shutter). All were converted in DPP, with tungsten white balance and "neutral" picture style in Adobe RGB color space. Slight apparent exposure differences between them were equalized in DPP and are not significant. In PS CS4 they were just converted to sRGB, and reduced in 1000 pixel width and saved as jpeg. That's it. No sharpening no further adjustment. But the histograms are remarkable consistent. Can you tell them apart? Does one have more "pop" than the other? I don't think so. What do you think?



















Dec 31, 2009 at 01:22 PM
you2
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Contax N Image Thread


The second and third have more pop than the first (higher contrast) and I think the third has both higher contrast and resolution than the second but they are pretty close. The first is just a bit flat.


Dec 31, 2009 at 01:39 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Contax N Image Thread


Curious ... how do the 100% crops compare of the either the middle camera or the right camera (with reflections)?


Dec 31, 2009 at 03:23 PM
Lotusm50
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Contax N Image Thread


RustyBug wrote:
Curious ... how do the 100% crops compare of the either the middle camera or the right camera (with reflections)?



100% crop show that I hit the desired focus point with only the third sample. Not sure if that biases the results, so I'm going to do another comparison. I'm not sure it has any effect on the issue at hand, however.




Dec 31, 2009 at 03:37 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Contax N Image Thread


Not so much concerned about hyper-critical focus point. The objects have sufficient dimensionality that the 3D should reveal itself anyway. What I've noticed in some of my shots is that when I've shot something I expected to produce 3D and it came up short from my expectations ... when I cropped, it revealed greater detail / changed viewing perspective / or something ?? and the 3D seemed to come out more so than the original image.

I'm guessing this might have something to do with the relationship between FL, shooting distance & viewing distance ... ??



Dec 31, 2009 at 03:50 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Contax N Image Thread


Alright everyone, that's quite enough.

You've talked me into Oly, Zeiss, Nikon & Mamiya ... got me thinking about Voigts & Leica, while dreaming about APO's ... now I'm drooling (again) over N's.

Nice stuff everyone. It's such a sweet torture.

Edited on Dec 31, 2009 at 04:07 PM · View previous versions



Dec 31, 2009 at 04:06 PM
Lotusm50
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Contax N Image Thread


Here are some new samples. With focus closer to infinity, these are closer to optimum for these lenses. Got the focus right on all three of these (all three manually focused). It's on the stupid added facial features on the tree near the center. Again, as before, not added processing, only the minimum necessary to get them to jepgs for the web (I hardly ever use "Neutral" in DPP normally). Sorry for the drab image. It's cold and raining here. Does one of these have more "pop" than the other? I don't think so. I notice one difference, and it is consistent between the 2 groups of samples. Again these are Zeiss c/y 50, the N 50 and the ZF 50 (not necessarily in that order):

















Dec 31, 2009 at 04:06 PM
DocsPics
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Contax N Image Thread


N Wins! (just my worthless opinion)


Dec 31, 2009 at 04:11 PM
you2
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Contax N Image Thread


I think the third one is a little richer than the first two; but it also looks a little darker. btw what was the order of the lenses in the first test ? Also i think it is important to compare but near and far focus since these lenses don't preform uniformly for both near and far focus.


Dec 31, 2009 at 05:14 PM
AhamB
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Contax N Image Thread


DocsPics wrote:
N Wins! (just my worthless opinion)


If you're talking about the last comparison, which one is that according to you? Lotusm50 said the lenses are not necessarily in the order that he mentioned them.

I don't see a significant difference in these last 3 shots (except the 3rd one being a bit darker). It's really splitting hairs...



Dec 31, 2009 at 05:19 PM
 

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wayne seltzer
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Contax N Image Thread


In the first series I am guessing last one is ZF and the first two are C/Y and N.
In the 2nd series I am guessing the first one is ZF and the 2nd two are C/Y and N.

Anyway, thanks for dong this comparison as it confirms what I thought that they are all very close with the Z* winning by a very slight amount.



Dec 31, 2009 at 06:03 PM
philber
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Contax N Image Thread


Lotus, in both cases, I have a clear preference for N2. In the fist set, I find N3 almost as good as 2 and much better than 1. In the second set, I find the differences slighter, and 3 and 1 are comparable, with 2 slightly ahead.
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do these. It is much appreciated!



Dec 31, 2009 at 06:41 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Contax N Image Thread


Any feedback, guys?


Jan 02, 2010 at 09:19 AM
philber
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Contax N Image Thread


My definition of "pop", for what it is worth, is when the main subject is clearly separated from the background and has lifelike "presence". This is the opposite of the Leica drawing style, exquisite though it is, which looks like a painting.
I am not saying that this is universally better, only that I like it, and turn to Zeiss lenses for this reason. Incidentally, I have reviewed my pics, and now think that my Zeiss ZE 50 delivers less "pop" than other ZE lenses I own, such as the 35.
Your last shot has pop IMHO. Not as much as some others, but still very nice. The ones that really did not offer what I thought might have been possible are, for example, your Ducati shots. Again IMHO these might have been spectacular, with a great subject, good light, colours... and yet to my eye they are very nice, but don't really quite "pop".
Hope this helps. [dons full flame-and bullet-protection gear and tries to run despite a beer gut and 50lbs of said protective gear]



Jan 02, 2010 at 09:35 AM
wayne seltzer
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Contax N Image Thread


Thanks for your feedback and definition of pop which sounds to me just like the defintion of 3d, of having "the main subject is clearly separated from the background" which I can understand. I agree with you that some lenses give this look more than other zeiss lenses and you need to have the right combinations of distance to subject,distance to background, aperture, and lighting etc. I tend to shoot more to the wide open side for shots of people and like the shots of the Ducati as I am trying to eliminate the background as much as possible. Ever since the 3-d threads were posted I have been more aware of looking at the edges of the subject and seeing whether there is enough DOF to make the subject pop.I think my last shot here of the buddha at f8 has more than enough DOF to clearly define the buddha but does not have as much pop as if I used a larger aperture to blur the background temple some.
BTW, it definitely helps and I welcome all feedback as I wanted to know if it was more a post-processing issue or a lens/DOF/3-d issue. Thanks!



Jan 02, 2010 at 10:30 AM
DocsPics
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Contax N Image Thread


I was assuming middle pic being the N. In any case, the middle picture to me has the best contrast and sharpness (looking at the diagonal section of the bark of the big tree in center). Just my eyes, looking at my screen.

(The fact that a chunk of my retirement money lies in the eight converted Ns I own could not have possibly prejudiced my opinion).



AhamB wrote:
If you're talking about the last comparison, which one is that according to you? Lotusm50 said the lenses are not necessarily in the order that he mentioned them.

I don't see a significant difference in these last 3 shots (except the 3rd one being a bit darker). It's really splitting hairs...




Jan 02, 2010 at 10:48 AM
DocsPics
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Contax N Image Thread


Wayne,

The image lacks the 3D look or pop for me mostly because it looks just a tad soft. Don't know if you added any sharpening, but that my help. There certainly is enough tonal range in the picture to do the trick.



Jan 02, 2010 at 10:55 AM
Lotusm50
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Contax N Image Thread


wayne seltzer wrote:
In the first series I am guessing last one is ZF and the first two are C/Y and N.
In the 2nd series I am guessing the first one is ZF and the 2nd two are C/Y and N.

Anyway, thanks for dong this comparison as it confirms what I thought that they are all very close with the Z* winning by a very slight amount.


and

AhamB wrote:
If you're talking about the last comparison, which one is that according to you? Lotusm50 said the lenses are not necessarily in the order that he mentioned them.

I don't see a significant difference in these last 3 shots (except the 3rd one being a bit darker). It's really splitting hairs...


and

philber wrote:
Lotus, in both cases, I have a clear preference for N2. In the fist set, I find N3 almost as good as 2 and much better than 1. In the second set, I find the differences slighter, and 3 and 1 are comparable, with 2 slightly ahead.
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do these. It is much appreciated!



What strikes me about the responses here is that we don't get a reason for a preference, if one is expressed. Wayne and Aham both indicated that they are all very close. I could not agree more. Outside of perhaps a slight exposure difference ("a bit darker"), they are virtually identical. I think anyone would be hard pressed to give a defensible reason for preferring one over the other - not in terms of sharpness, contrast, rendering, or "pop" (the claimed difference in "pop" being the reason for the comparison) that could possibly be perceived in these samples. Philber, kindred spirit that you are, I just don't understand how you could "clearly" prefer one of these samples over the others.

I am referring here mostly to the second set of the images. The slightly different focus point in the first set makes a difference in how the images appear. Even though the focus distance in them is off my a few millimeters, and then stopped down 3 stops, the differences in focus is apparent (even in the reduced jpg) and now covered by DOF. It makes them look different for reasons unrelated to lens performance. So, we have disregarded them for this comparison. Knowing how difficult it is to manually focus even bright f1.4 lenses with a AF-oriented DSLR (even with the EE-s screen), so many of the comparisons we see (unless done with live-view to confirm focus and the accurate focus achieved is demonstrated in the comparison) most of the home-brew tests trumpeted here and elsewhere are just unreliable and untrustworthy.

There is one clear difference between the 3 images and I am surprised no one mentioned it. It's apparent in both sets of images. The first image in each set is noticeably warmer in tone than the other 2. I think this small difference can be compensated for in post processing. Thinking out loud, I am wondering if this makes a difference in the perception of contrast and sharpness between the samples. Colder colors are often perceived as crisper, which could lead to a judgment about contrast/sharpness.

If I get time and a dose of motivation, I'll re-do a closer focus sample set -- this time ensuring I get the same focus point on each, and perhaps adding some color objects. We'll see.




Jan 02, 2010 at 12:14 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Contax N Image Thread


Which lens is used in the first shot and is warmer?


Jan 02, 2010 at 12:23 PM
StevenPA
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Contax N Image Thread


Lotus, thanks for taking the time to put together some samples, especially the ones outdoors! It's nice to come back from New Years to see a nice comparison put together like this.

It's not too surprising that a bunch of Zeiss 50mm lenses look pretty near identical. We're really splitting hairs choosing between them, and I can't say which pic is which lens or even which one I prefer. Plus, the scene doesn't really lend itself to punchy images in the first place. It's overcast with almost perfectly diffused lighting. Zeiss can't do all the work. The photographer has to put put her or himself into the right situation, and the light has to be right. (None the less, the sample images do add to my understanding, so thanks!)

My comments about images from N lenses not having as much punch as their C/Y counterparts are based on my lengthy experience with the 24-85 and 35-70, as well as not having seen any images from the N100 that truly jump out at me, not like I've seen from the C/Y 100/2.8. Look at the lens designs for the 100mm lenses: totally different. One is a sonnar, the other a planar. Maybe that has something to do with it. The 24-85 versus 35-70 might also be an unfair comparison because they are so different in so many ways, but I'm just comparing focal lengths, and I really did want the 24-85 to replace the 35-70, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it.

I don't have the N50, but it looks like a darn fine lens and identical (for all intents and purposes) to the C/Y version in the pics that Lotus has shown. I do have the C/Y 50/1.4, and stopped down, the pictures have a clarity and presence that I really like. The colours are extremely vivid, and the pinpoint detail (colour differences between adjacent pixels, micro-contrast) is very "present" (presence), and and balances nicely with the macro-contrast of the lens.

Keep the N50 pics coming! I would love my initial reaction to the "lack of N pop" to be proven wrong.



Jan 03, 2010 at 02:53 AM
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