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lithos wrote: ...many lenses, especially the older ones, show less resolving power of sensors on a large megapixel camera. So the terrible question is: does it makes more sense to invest in modern zeiss optics than older leica lenses on large megapixel sensors?
For starters, I would check this thread started by Sebboh where he and many knowledgeable users share their opinions on a topic of Leica vs. Zeiss look:
Carstenw’s concise description sums up rendering differences between Leica and Zeiss lenses here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1190503/0#11353429 and he adds more detailed summary here: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1190503/1#11355190
Check Ron’s interesting input at the bottom of his post: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1190503/0#11353588 and many other comments.
Now, back to your ‘terrible question’; it depends. It depends which Zeiss or Leica lens you’re after. Not all Zeiss lenses are sharper than Leica’s equivalent and vice versa. See Worldinlens’ new R180mm toy that has no current Zeiss equivalent; choice is easy. Elmarit-R 60, if you plan to use it strictly for macro work and don’t care about rendering style, may have a stiff competition from many current production Canon/Nikon equivalents.
However, I can only comment on Summicron-R 35 and 50 vs. Zeiss Distagon 2/35 and MP 50. I find Summicron-R 35 to be sharper in the center than Zeiss. Cron’s out of center performance is another issue, especially wide open, but I wouldn’t use it for any architectural or landscaping shots wide open and expect sharp edges and uniform performance. Zeiss Distagon 2/35 or 1.4/35 would be better choices.
Summicron-R 50 appears very sharp stopped down, especially at mid to infinity distance. It clearly outresolves MP50. At shorter distance MP50 really shines as it should being a macro lens.
I have never compared Elmarit-R 28 E55 to any of the two current Zeiss 28mm lenses. My decision to purchase it was based on reviews and samples. Said that, I feel this is a lens that really shows its outstanding capabilities on higher MP cameras.
As you see individual lenses from both companies have their strong and weak sides. For me lenses’ sharpness/resolution on high MP camera was not a decisive criterion, though important one, but only if a lens was purchased for landscaping work. One may have to end up with multiple copies of identical focal length lenses to have a cake and eat it
Zeiss 2/35 vs. Summicron-R 35 E55
Summicron-R 50 E55
Zeiss MP 50