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OneAnt, Jake, Hogo, brilliant sets all! Inspirational!
Abhijeeth, it is still very early days for me with the 35, so read what I say with a grain of salt.
My take on the 35 is rather different than was published by the learned Lloyd Chambers and confirmed by MTF-master Luka. It is a very easy lens to use, at least with my standards and expectations. It is very easy to focus through the VF, even wide open, and, in any event, easier than both 50 f:1.4 and 35 f:2.0. Actually, I am almost ready to call it the easiest focusing Zeiss ZE lens, and I have had them all except 50MP.
I also find it a universal lens. You can use it very close up as well as at infinity and get great results every time. You can use it wide open (see next post) or stopped down. So, from that perspective, it does not have the weaknesses wide open and close up of the 50 f:1.4, not its focus shift (or, actually, very significantly less, but there could be just a trace of it, but it could also be poor micro-adjust, because wide open, DOF is so thin, it is hard to be definite about this).
In terms of performance, the 35 does not "wow" me with apparent sharpness, the way the 35 f:2.0 did, but that is because it has much more small detail. Its colours are IMHO very neutral, without the slight beautification added by the 21, or the slight romantic warmth of the two other f:1.4s, so the emotional content conveyed by the 35 can be perceived as slightly lower than that of other Zeiss lenses. Whether that is a plus or a minus is a matter of personal choice.
Weaknesses? Yes, there is some field curvature. It can be a bit tricky when I focus and recompose. But overall, I do not consider this is as much of a drawback as those of the two other f:1.4s.
Strengths? As reported by others, bokeh is to die for. 3D-ness is also IMHO even better than the class-leading 35 f:2.0, because it expands to small details in the background, when in focus, and that is pretty impressive.
In summary, I am more than happy with this lens, and delighted that the gremlins denounced by Lloyd Chambers, and which overshadowed his massive endorsement of this lens, are much less severe than I feared. In my opinion, it actually represents a step forward in lens design in terms of neutrality, including spatially. Part of that opinion is based on the shot below.
So I am very happy to own both it and the 50, because they don't compete so much as complement each other IMHO. One is light, and romantic, and selective. The other one is on the massive side , and universal, and neutral.
Edited on May 21, 2011 at 08:39 PM · View previous versions