ZE vs. CY 21mm
/forum/topic/1003599/0

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JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1790
Country: United States

Is there a significant image quality difference between a ZE vs. CY version of the lens. I understand the ZE has auto aperture and CY doesn't. Is there much to be gained to upgrade from CY to ZE?



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33649
Country: Thailand

The rest of the electronics will also work (not only auto aperture) and you get the real exif data saying what Zeiss lens you used and everything else in the exif. How much do you belive you have to pay for the upgrade?



JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1790
Country: United States

Not sure about the financial part - haven't researched. Don't know what a mint copy of CY goes for these days. I was just looking into how compelling an upgrade it is.



jcolwell
Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 20616
Country: Canada

JameelH wrote:
...Don't know what a mint copy of CY goes for these days.


About $1650, although the two most recent auction sales I've seen on eBay were at about $1800, see Lens$db: http://tinyurl.com/jcolwell-lensdb.



philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

no (my shortest FM post ever).



philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

If you look at the MTF charts, the newie is better (by 3/5s of bugger all) wide open for that great 21mm bokeh (joke on my part), and about the same or a little less good at best shooting apertures. Distortion very similar. CZ have changed the links to MTFs, I now get them at zeissimages: http://www.zeissimages.com/mtf.php



mMontag
Registered: Dec 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2075
Country: United States

The E-bay BIN sellers have been holding the C/Y21's between $1850-2000 usd for quite some time - KEH has been raising the Contax prices over the last month for everything but the 21 - they have one now for $1479 usd - two years+ ago they were closer to $2895 - there is a ZE on B&S that someone here should grab if looking for one.




Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33649
Country: Thailand

If you can get the same price for your CY lens, like the prices they write here. Then I think there is a lot gained by upgrading



AhamB
Registered: Jul 11, 2008
Total Posts: 4962
Country: Germany

philip_pj wrote:
that great 21mm bokeh (joke on my part)


Maybe you haven't paid close attention to the Z* thread, but a number of nice close-ups have been posted in which the 21 shows excellent bokeh, IMO.



trusty
Registered: Jul 27, 2010
Total Posts: 75
Country: France

http://www.slrlensreview.com/web/carl-zeiss-slr-lenses-51/wide-angle-slr-lenses-93/691-carl-zeiss-distagon-t-21mm-f28-zf.html



JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1790
Country: United States

I got the ZE in the mail today. Did a quick test on a 5D Mark II. Tripod, mlu, live view focus at f5.6 indoor. The CY appears a tad sharper than the ZE to my eyes. Not an exhaustive test - I'll do more of that tomorrow am.



philip_pj
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 3103
Country: Australia

Interesting, JameelH. You can see that f5.6 is the strong suit of the older lens, and one can expect f8 to be similar.
[They are both here: http://www.zeissimages.com/mtf.php]

The CY records stellar (higher) 40 lpmm performance from image centre out to the short edges (12mm image height) at f5.6, thence the two lenses show different character, the CY keeps its tan/sag close together while declining steadily - the ZE/F lines separate, but stay higher. Well, one of them anyway.

Which is why I say its pretty much the same, unless your subject matter needs strong central performance - and I am prepared to say most images do, to put some perspective on the over-emphasis on corners lens enthusiasts fall victim to. So we see lens makers not particularly caring about minimising vignetting, despite the photozone site casting nasty looks at them.

Note also the lower MTF 40 lpmm the ZE shows at the image centre at f5.6 compared with its f2.8 effort, this is IMO the most striking doifference in these two lenses. The CY lens, by contrast (as it were), looks like a different lens at f5.6 compared with its f2.8 chart - *much better*. This looks like a design intent to me in the ZE, maybe Zeiss are channelling the bokeh fans on the ZE thread AhamB alludes to above!

I'd be interested to hear if you see CA or other odd behaviour in the ZE in the corners (15-20mm IH) on high contrast edges - the 40 lpmm lines are quite a distance apart out there at both reported apertures, whereas the CY has them almost as overlays at 20-21mm image height at f5.6, and does this very well for fine detail even wide open from 15-21mm - that is some achievement of course, in such a wide angle optic.

The A900 can now easily use the ZF version (Leitax) - but I won't be 'side-grading', for the above-stated reasons, plus the extra 100 grams of weight won't help. That's progress for you, though. But you do of course get a warranty, and a good chance of a good sample with a new lens. cheers, philip.



Sven Jeppesen
Registered: May 03, 2008
Total Posts: 2298
Country: Denmark

mMontag wrote:
The E-bay BIN sellers have been holding the C/Y21's between $1850-2000 usd for quite some time - KEH has been raising the Contax prices over the last month for everything but the 21 - they have one now for $1479 usd - two years+ ago they were closer to $2895 - there is a ZE on B&S that someone here should grab if looking for one.




Why do people pay more for the old used C/Y lens? if they like to use it on Canon/Nikon



denoir
Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Total Posts: 4209
Country: Sweden

The CY & ZE are surprisingly different at least at f/2.8 where the ZE shows much better performance. The f/2.8 -> f/5.6 improvement is much more dramatic with the CY. At f/5.6 the center performance of the CY is slightly better while the ZE produces better resolution as you go towards the edges.

black = ZE
blue = C/Y








Anyway, I'd upgrade to a ZE in a heartbeat if I had the C/Y. The difference in f/2.8 performance is really big - especially when it comes to the fine detail (i.e 40 lp/mm).


j.liam
Registered: Dec 13, 2009
Total Posts: 2286
Country: United States

Sven Jeppesen wrote:
Why do people pay more for the old used C/Y lens? if they like to use it on Canon/Nikon


I was wondering the very same thing....

I would have imagined that it would sell at a 15-20% discount below the ZE/ZF to account for the electronics and optics upgrade. The newer lens, aside from the better performance wide-open is also better corrected with an additional element, as I recall (though far from flawless but then nothing is). It would be interesting if in its second round of lenses which began with the 1,4/35 and the announced 2/25, Zeiss creates the equivalent of the ZM 4,5/21. A highly corrected, more compact alternative to the classic.



Specularist
Registered: Jul 12, 2009
Total Posts: 437
Country: France

I wish someone would compare these lenses properly. From studying the MTF charts and looking at photos, I have a feeling the older lens has slightly less lateral chromatic aberration. Obviously both lenses are very good in this regard.



JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1790
Country: United States

I'll be doing some testing today. I don't plan to do a very exhaustive comparison though - mostly the way I plan to use it i.e. landscape and some interior. As part of this I'll look at CA as well. Stay tuned.



JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1790
Country: United States

I did a bunch of more controlled comparisons with the two. Here are my conclusions.

a. The CY version is slightly wider than the ZE.
b. The ZE is slightly sharper than the CY at f2.8. CY slightly sharper than the ZE at f5.6. Beyond that they are equal.
c. The CY meters about 1/3 stop brighter at every aperture. The ZE appears more accurate.
d. CY is also warmer by about 300K (Camera on AWB).
e. CA is about the same on both across the apertures. If I split hairs, I would give the nod to ZE esp. wide open.
f. Weight. The ZE is so much heavier than the CY. Whats with that?

I like the other intangibles i.e. auto aperture, EXIF etc. for the ZE.





AhamB
Registered: Jul 11, 2008
Total Posts: 4962
Country: Germany

JameelH wrote:
f. Weight. The ZE is so much heavier than the CY. Whats with that?


The electronic aperture control contributes to that. I believe all the ZE's are heavier than the ZF/ZS/ZK versions because of this.
Perhaps the Cosina built lenses also have a bit more metal to them than the Contax equivalent (no rubber focus and aperture ring grips but metal instead).



j.liam
Registered: Dec 13, 2009
Total Posts: 2286
Country: United States

Z* 21 weight

C/Y: 530 gms
ZF/ZF.2: 600-620 gms
ZE: 720 gms



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