Another classic: pre-AI 135 f/2
/forum/topic/925349/1

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jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 6227
Country: United States

Todd - what body and aperture did you capture that image with?

My current "cream machines" are:
28/2 AI
50/1.2 AIS
105/2.5 AIS
135/2 AIS
200/4 AIS

I like the bokeh from these better than any of my current AFS zooms.

- John



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

Thanks, John. That's from the D3, at f/2. I have not shot a single image with the 135 at anything smaller than 2.0, except by accident. I'm thinking of super-glueing down that aperture ring.



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

I guess I am becoming an evangelist for this piece of glass.

http://fredmiranda.adamsonstudios.com.s3.amazonaws.com/135f2/_D3A9953.jpg



CGrindahl
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 13613
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
I guess I am becoming an evangelist for this piece of glass.

http://fredmiranda.adamsonstudios.com.s3.amazonaws.com/135f2/_D3A9953.jpg


With photos like this you'll be very successful as an evangelist. Gorgeous color, buttery bokeh. Who could ask for more?

I imagine that as you consider a replacement for the 85 f/1.4, especially after the experience you've been having with this fine old manual focus lens, that you'll be looking at the 105 f/2.5 AI-s being featured at the moment on another thread. That is a gorgeous piece of glass. I'm also toying with idea of picking up the 85 f/2 AI-s. I'm coming to love the 85 f/1.4 but the experience of shooting manual focus is very satisfying. Of course, this might be the focal length that has you opening your wallet for a Zeiss lens...



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

CGrindahl wrote:
Of course, this might be the focal length that has you opening your wallet for a Zeiss lens...


Heh.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/928218



CGrindahl
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 13613
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
CGrindahl wrote:
Of course, this might be the focal length that has you opening your wallet for a Zeiss lens...


Heh.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/928218



Faith and begorrah... Business in Iowa City is better than I thought!

I'll be very curious to hear your experience with that beautiful lens. I expect you will share photos as you've done with the 135. Congratulations!



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

CGrindahl wrote:
Faith and begorrah... Business in Iowa City is better than I thought!



Business isn't bad, but I certainly can't afford to just drop $$ for a lens like this.

Step #1: convince myself that 85mm is too short for me now, so I could sell my f/1.4

Step #2: dig up a few other things I don't use much, and sell those

Step #3: skip a few sushi lunches that I shouldn't be having anyway.

Problem solved.

I just have to see what all of the Zeiss fuss is about.



CGrindahl
Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Total Posts: 13613
Country: United States

That you can find sushi i Iowa City is in itself a statement... of course, then I remind myself it is a university town and anything is possible... I'm delighted for you Todd.

By the way, I'm originally from Minnesota, so I have roots in the region. I visited family in Minneapolis in July, as a matter of fact. But California has been home for more years than I can count, something for which I'm most grateful. That said, I appreciate values of the midwest. It is a wonderful place to raise a family. That sushi can be found makes it even better...



spentomuch
Registered: Oct 04, 2007
Total Posts: 525
Country: United States

Congratulations on the Zeiss Todd, I'm sure you can give it a good ride.
If the Zeiss turns out to be the cats meow, and I hope it is, then maybe that old ais will be needing a new home, and just so happens I have a spot on my shelf.



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

spentomuch wrote:
Congratulations on the Zeiss Todd, I'm sure you can give it a good ride.
If the Zeiss turns out to be the cats meow, and I hope it is, then maybe that old ais will be needing a new home, and just so happens I have a spot on my shelf.


Ha! I honestly feel glad That my 70-200 was on my D3 when I dropped it today. Had it been the 135, I'd really be crying.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 6227
Country: United States

In an effort to further understand this lens (135/2 AIS) I took a few moments out of my crazy day and shot a series of test images from my 135/2 AIS, 80-200AFS, and 70-300AFS VR (all at 135mm of course).

Later on some time I'll compare these guys at f/2.8 and f/5.6, but for now I wanted to see how good the f/2 image could be from the 135/2 AIS.

My favorite (i.e., most convenient) test target is the view from my front steps of the utility pole in the alley way of the next block over (those who know me form dpreview or photo.net already know this subject well). It was a bright and contrasty sunny late afternoon which provided for some harsh lighting.

Here's the scene:
http://www.seanet.com/~hinkey/135mm_f2p0/DSC_6898_small.jpg
For some reason my D300 over-exposes this lens when wide open by about 1/3 of a stop.

Here's a 100% crop from RAW in NX2 with no corrections at all:
http://www.seanet.com/~hinkey/135mm_f2p0/DSC_6898_CC_NoAdjust.jpg
The contrast is a bit low due to the flare and oh that purple fringing!

Doing some work in NX2 via Axial CA Control, -0.3EV exp. comp., some curves adjustment, and 40,4,4, USM (normally I use 20,4,4 for a "sharp" image from RAW) gives me this:
http://www.seanet.com/~hinkey/135mm_f2p0/DSC_6898_CC_AxialCA_EC_Curves_USM.jpg

I think it cleans up pretty well - especially when you get rid of the PF.

So, as some of you may already know, this lens wide open has some issues with high contrast scenes, but the detail is still there if you clean up the Axial CA and perhaps adjust the contrast and/or curves a bit. Really, f/2 is for low contrast people shots, which is what I bought it for, but it can clean up really well for high contrast stuff.

Now if I could just focus this lens more accurately on my D300 I'd be all set!

John




jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 6227
Country: United States

Oh yes, here's the same scene at f/2.8, with only some light Axial CA control and 20,4,4 USM in NX2.
http://www.seanet.com/~hinkey/135mm_f2p0/DSC_6899_CC_AxialCA_USM.jpg

The very fixed up f/2 image is not that far off from the lightly tweaked f/2.8!

- John



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

Thanks for posting those, John. It's always good to know what a lens is capable of at a more technical level. But you're right, this lens shines for portraits, where we usually try hard to control the contrast in the scene, so get out and shoot some people!!

I think if I blew my headshots up to 100% and found some CA, etc., it wouldn't bother me one bit at this point.



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7020
Country: Canada

Wow congrats on the Zeiss 100 Todd... had the pleasure of test driving it yesterday for about an hour. Really nice color rendition and seemingly smooth operation that made AF very manageable. Built well, all metal. I don't know that for undisputed fact the IQ is necessarily better than the 105/f2.5 AI-s, but it is a real pleasure to use so that might be the biggest thing. I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't been scouring the buy and sell forums looking at prices for the very same lens. Enjoy!!

Post up some pics once you get some seat time with it.

I mainly took candid portraits while I had it, and unfortunately I don't want to post shots of the subjects without their expressed ok, so all I really got to show here is a few buildings and signs, but you get a feel for the color rendition anyway...

http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m70/dj_dunzie/NikonCafe%20in%20Toronto/U_D7C_9159.jpg
http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m70/dj_dunzie/NikonCafe%20in%20Toronto/U_D7C_9171.jpg

... I'm sure you'll love it.



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

I'm drooling already. Waiting to hear from my insurance company tomorrow, but I am expecting they will want me to ship the D3 to Nikon for evaluation, so I may be doing the first shots with the Zeiss on a cropper.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 6227
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
Thanks for posting those, John. It's always good to know what a lens is capable of at a more technical level. But you're right, this lens shines for portraits, where we usually try hard to control the contrast in the scene, so get out and shoot some people!!

I think if I blew my headshots up to 100% and found some CA, etc., it wouldn't bother me one bit at this point.

Todd -

I have very limited time for photography, but my favorite people to shoot are my twin girls (now 7), but I need practice shooting them since they are rarely still for any appreciable time.
I'm getting better at MF'ing MF lenses, but my D300 is really tough to use with really fast lenses.

Thanks -

John



JR Magat
Registered: May 18, 2010
Total Posts: 2330
Country: United States

Todd Adamson wrote:
I'm drooling already. Waiting to hear from my insurance company tomorrow, but I am expecting they will want me to ship the D3 to Nikon for evaluation, so I may be doing the first shots with the Zeiss on a cropper.


i'm curious how you'd compare the Zeiss to your 135 f/2... if you get even better results with the Zeiss, then that'd be very impressive!

i'm also curious what you think of MF on the crop body versus your D3



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

JR Magat wrote:
i'm curious how you'd compare the Zeiss to your 135 f/2... if you get even better results with the Zeiss, then that'd be very impressive!

i'm also curious what you think of MF on the crop body versus your D3


I'm sure I will have some experience soon. I'm not really expecting the Zeiss to have the same neutral creaminess to the bokeh, and I won't be at all surprised if I still use the 135 more for portraits. But I am expecting razor sharpness, great pop, beautiful colors and better microcontrast. I plan on using it for the occasional street photography, fine art and macro stuff. But keep quiet about that: I told my wife I HAD to have it for portraiture.



Todd Adamson
Registered: Mar 03, 2005
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

CGrindahl wrote:
That you can find sushi i Iowa City is in itself a statement... of course, then I remind myself it is a university town and anything is possible... I'm delighted for you Todd.

By the way, I'm originally from Minnesota, so I have roots in the region. I visited family in Minneapolis in July, as a matter of fact. But California has been home for more years than I can count, something for which I'm most grateful. That said, I appreciate values of the midwest. It is a wonderful place to raise a family. That sushi can be found makes it even better...


I missed this post before somehow. I've definitely had better sushi in Beverly Hills. And Alaska, and Florida. But there are definitely some worthwhile places in the Iowa City area.



jhinkey
Registered: Jan 08, 2010
Total Posts: 6227
Country: United States

I gave the 135/2 AIS another go this evening with my D300 shooting my girls at the playground in the late evening. F/2 or f/2.8 sure comes in handy and the weight of the 135/2 surely helps to keep things steady for lower shutter speeds.

Anyway, my manual focus hit rate:
@f/4.0: 80%-100%
@f/2.8 50%-75%
@f/2.0 <25% (or even 10%).

Like with my other MF Nikkors I've been experimenting with the KatzEye and the focus indicator - my fast shorter focal length lenses I've gotten pretty good at, but I'm having troubles with the 135/2 trying to get decent focus using the split screen, microprisms, and/or the AF indicator dot.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to get a better chance at using f/2 or f/2.8 with this lens and a D300+Katzeye screen? Has anyone had to get their AF system and/or focus screen calibrated to be able to reliably focus this lens at f/2?

Thanks -

John

BTW when I do nail the focus at f/2.8 or f/2 the results can be quite impressive!



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