Leica 28 v ZF25 ?
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johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

While my Leica Elmarit-r 28mm (e55/v2) was away for CLA i aquired a Zeiss ZF 25mm/2.8.

The Leica is famous for being 'probably the best 28mm slr lens ever', the ZF25 is maybe more under-stated.

So when the Leica returned after it's pampering at Leica Solms, I tested both side to side (they are close-ish in focal length terms).

The Leica was tested on Novoflex and Leitax adapters, the ZF25 tested on a Rayqual adapter.

Camera was 5d2 focus by liveview at 10X mag, remote cable and mirror lock.
These are all at f2.8

Firstly the complete images in order Leica/Leitax, Leica/Novoflex then ZF25/rayqual.

I must add that the Leica/Novoflex shots were performed on a different day than the other 2, so the framing a light are a little off.



johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

Needless to say that both lenses are stunning in all areas at f5.6 and above, but given the Leica 28's reputation for awesome performance at f2.8 I was surprised to see the ZF25 keep up in terms of edge performance.

The Leica seems to be rendering more information in the brickwork in the centre crop.

Both seems to have some vignetting and a touch of distortion.

In terms of my line-up I think the ZF25 fits in nicely with my ZE21, ZE35 and ZE50 lenses and the extreme close focus can be interesting.

I think the Leica can be limted by adapters and it's been mentioned here before that the R28 V2 needs some fastidious adapter tuning to get the best performance.



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 9302
Country: Thailand

There must be something wrong with your ZF 25. Where are the blurry borders and corners? Your lens must be defective

Thanks for the comparison. Very interesting!



martyn.
Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Total Posts: 324
Country: United Kingdom

Thanks John, I am looking to add a wider ZF.2 to my bag, and have been doing extensive research into the qualities of the 25 / 2.8.

Your results tie in with what I have been finding when looking at full size images taken using the lens, I had struggled to find images that replicated the faults that I kept reading about on various 'testing' sites.



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

edwardkaraa wrote:
There must be something wrong with your ZF 25. Where are the blurry borders and corners? Your lens must be defective

Thanks for the comparison. Very interesting!


Indeed, it looks very good. I would be curious to see these areas at 100% crops. Things might look a bit more blurry.



johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

Tariq Gibran wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
There must be something wrong with your ZF 25. Where are the blurry borders and corners? Your lens must be defective

Thanks for the comparison. Very interesting!


Indeed, it looks very good. I would be curious to see these areas at 100% crops. Things might look a bit more blurry.


I used to look at 100% crops on my 5D but with the 5D2 100% seems too much, maybe thats just my view though.

I can post some 100% or maybe 75% crops if you want to see them.



AhamB
Registered: Jul 11, 2008
Total Posts: 5253
Country: United States

I like how the Leica shots look cleaner because the lateral CA is better controlled in them. In my short experience with the ZF25 I noticed too that there is some LaCA.

Have you compared them at shorter focus distances too? The Zeiss will start to show its huge field curvature there.



johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

I've not tested the close-range abilities head to head.
In my quest for a 28mm-ish lens i've managed to aquire a Nikon 28mm f2.8 ais, which i love the performance of in terms of close-up shots.

My 28ish collection has been growing and will soon be culled to clear some space.
I have:

Oly 28/2.0 - lots of marks on the front element. Very fun to use close-up and wide open.

Oly 28/2.8 - My first Oly 28 bought at a camera fair for about 30quid. Pretty good stopped down to around f11.

Oly 28/3.5 - Bought after reading that the 3.5 is supposed to be better than the 2.8, another bargain buy from Ebay this time. Again good closed down

Leica Elmarit-R 28/2.8 e55 - Bought to try and find the ultimate 28mm lens, nice rendering, good contrast and lovely colours. Has been a real trial to get the best performance from it. I've tried Leitax with various shims, Novoflex and ended up sending it to Leica Solms for CLA where they fixed the focus guide.

Nikon 28/2.8 Ais - Bought on ebay at a bargain price to mess around with the close-focus. Very nice lens, great to use close-up with surprisingly nice bokeh for a wide. Decent performance closed down too.

Zeiss ZF 25/2.8 - Since getting the ZE21, ZE35 and ZE50 I was curious about the ZF25 performance. Various folks here have very good things to say about it. As i'm using it on an adapter, the premium for ZF.2 does not really make much sense and as such I went for a moderately priced ZF version. Not had it long enough to get a really good opinion on it, but so far I like the slightly wider view, great contrast and colour and very fun to use at the really close focus distance.

In the past I also had the C/Y 28/2.8 AE but when I went digital and got a 5D it would not clear the mirror so I sold it. I would consider getting one again because stopped down it's stellar.



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

johnahill wrote:
Tariq Gibran wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
There must be something wrong with your ZF 25. Where are the blurry borders and corners? Your lens must be defective

Thanks for the comparison. Very interesting!


Indeed, it looks very good. I would be curious to see these areas at 100% crops. Things might look a bit more blurry.


I used to look at 100% crops on my 5D but with the 5D2 100% seems too much, maybe thats just my view though.

I can post some 100% or maybe 75% crops if you want to see them.



The 100% crops interest me because they show what to expect at very large enlargements. Thanks for posting them.



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

johnahill wrote:

Zeiss ZF 25/2.8 - Since getting the ZE21, ZE35 and ZE50 I was curious about the ZF25 performance. Various folks here have very good things to say about it. As i'm using it on an adapter, the premium for ZF.2 does not really make much sense and as such I went for a moderately priced ZF version. Not had it long enough to get a really good opinion on it, but so far I like the slightly wider view, great contrast and colour and very fun to use at the really close focus distance.

In the past I also had the C/Y 28/2.8 AE but when I went digital and got a 5D it would not clear the mirror so I sold it. I would consider getting one again because stopped down it's stellar.


I'm impressed by the wide open performance of your ZF 25.

Just anecdotal, but I have owned two copies of the C/Y 28 2.8 MM. The first one was amazingly sharp wide open in the center but the corners really never sharpened up critically. It also suffered pretty bad CA in tricky lighting. My current version sharpens up nicely in the corners between 5.6 - 8 and does not quite suffer CA near the degree of the first version. I really think it's somewhat luck of the draw with many lenses - even Zeiss and Leica - when going for that nth degree of performance.



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 9302
Country: Thailand

AhamB wrote:
I like how the Leica shots look cleaner because the lateral CA is better controlled in them. In my short experience with the ZF25 I noticed too that there is some LaCA.

Have you compared them at shorter focus distances too? The Zeiss will start to show its huge field curvature there.


I prefer the Leica shots too, they look a bit more lively, but they do show more CA than the Zeiss in some areas. Performance of both is excellent though.



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

edwardkaraa wrote:
AhamB wrote:
I like how the Leica shots look cleaner because the lateral CA is better controlled in them. In my short experience with the ZF25 I noticed too that there is some LaCA.

Have you compared them at shorter focus distances too? The Zeiss will start to show its huge field curvature there.


I prefer the Leica shots too, they look a bit more lively, but they do show more CA than the Zeiss in some areas. Performance of both is excellent though.


I briefly owned the Leica 28 2.8 v2 and was surprised to see it exhibit CA when I tested it at 2.8 and 4 off axis. Contrast and color was amazing but I expected the lens would have been better corrected for CA.



AhamB
Registered: Jul 11, 2008
Total Posts: 5253
Country: United States

edwardkaraa wrote:
I prefer the Leica shots too, they look a bit more lively, but they do show more CA than the Zeiss in some areas.


Can you give an example where you see that? When I compare the crops I see more CA in each of the Zeiss shots, anywhere I look. I can't really find any CA in the Leica crops except the 100% ones.



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 9302
Country: Thailand

AhamB wrote:
edwardkaraa wrote:
I prefer the Leica shots too, they look a bit more lively, but they do show more CA than the Zeiss in some areas.


Can you give an example where you see that? When I compare the crops I see more CA in each of the Zeiss shots, anywhere I look. I can't really find any CA in the Leica crops except the 100% ones.


I might have been wrong on this. The only place I can see is the white door frame in the first shot, but it is not in the Zeiss shot. :~



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

Just to clarify, the CA I noticed in my test shots were off-axis at closer distances so it's probably better described as LoCA or Bokeh CA.



johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

The R28 seems to perform better on the edges here than it did on the flat shot, but the ZF seems pretty good right out to the very edge.

Again both lenses are stunning a couple of stops down.

I'm just trying to rationalise this and figure out if it's worth having the money invested in the R28 over the ZF considering it's about twice the cost.



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

The Leica looks better to me - sharper, better contrast, slightly better color.



johnahill
Registered: Jan 08, 2006
Total Posts: 3389
Country: United Kingdom

yeah, wide open the Leica seems to have a more contrast and certainly renders more fine detail.

The ZF seems to have even sharpness right to the edges whereas the Leica seems to be super sharp but looses some of it's zing into the edges and corners.

At real-world shooting from f5.6 onwards there's not a lot to complain about with either.

Both would be suitable for most wide shooting at closed down apertures, but after jumping through many hoops with the R28 it'd feel weird selling it.

Having said that, the sale of the R28 would go someway to pay for the much needed overhall on my classic car thats been languishing in the garage too long



Tariq Gibran
Registered: Oct 01, 2006
Total Posts: 12901
Country: United States

At the prices they are going for now, I can't afford to keep a Leica R 28 around myself when I'm pretty happy with the CY 28 2.8. The Leica is a LOT more money for a tiny bit of performance gain but I think that's always the case when your dealing with stuff at the high end.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

I think these last sets show how strong the Leica is, and start to show the weaknesses of the Zeiss. The purple fringing is much stronger in the Zeiss shots, and the Leica shots give a better impression of sharpness. I am not sure that you are going to see night and day differences, but clearly more money give better performance in this case.

Before deciding, you should also go out and shoot what you normally shoot, and make sure that you like the look of the lens you keep.



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