Zeiss ZE/ZF.2 35mm f/1.4 (according to Roger Cicala/lens rentals.com)
/forum/topic/987333/1

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jffielde
Registered: Apr 19, 2010
Total Posts: 217
Country: United States

Wow, I've been holding off on buying the Zeiss 35mm f/2 until this new lens comes out. Given the price, I had almost assumed I would "upgrade" to the 1.4. It's priced like the other two superstar Zeiss lenses (21 and 100), but the performance doesn't seem to match them so far.

Hummmm. The IQ of the tiny 50mm 1.4 with the size of the Canon 24-70 isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Preliminarily not very tempting, but we'll see...

The image characteristics of the initial photos were lovely.



denoir
Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Total Posts: 4214
Country: Sweden

The review is very promising IMO. There seems to be a chance that they've kept the character of the legendary Contax/Rollei Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon. There's a reason 30+ year old copies of the old design sell for more than than new ZE/ZF lenses.

There was a lot of disappointment with the new lens initially that they had not kept the same design as the old one. It seems however that they may have done a good job on the new one.

It's not a lens you buy for raw optical performance, but for its rendering. The thing people were worried about was that Zeiss would go for a modern high performance design and forget about the lens character. Given the size of the lens and its price, and lack of raw performance I think we can count on the drawing style being something special.



magiclight
Registered: Oct 14, 2009
Total Posts: 323
Country: New Zealand

Yes, I think you are correct denoir. The best is yet to come .... drawing style.



jffielde
Registered: Apr 19, 2010
Total Posts: 217
Country: United States

denoir wrote:
Given the size of the lens and its price, and lack of raw performance I think we can count on the drawing style being something special.


magiclight wrote:
The best is yet to come....


Well, now those sentiments almost have to be true if they're going to sell them...



trdonja
Registered: Mar 18, 2010
Total Posts: 92
Country: Slovenia

I have to admit I find it slightly unethical to have one of the first production lenses in the world sent for testing purposes and not share it with everyone. I am not sure what Zeiss has been thinking. I am sure that everyone who is subscriber there disagrees, but as I said, given the circumstances I believe it is a bad decision and not ethical.

I wouldn't see any problem if they sent him a review sample in May, after tests would have been done by other well known and respected photographers - who don't charge for the published articles. After this "exclusivity" period runs out I don't see any problem at all for anyone to charge anything. But that is just my point of view.



sebboh
Registered: Nov 02, 2009
Total Posts: 10712
Country: United States

trdonja wrote:
I have to admit I find it slightly unethical to have one of the first production lenses in the world sent for testing purposes and not share it with everyone. I am not sure what Zeiss has been thinking. I am sure that everyone who is subscriber there disagrees, but as I said, given the circumstances I believe it is a bad decision and not ethical.

I wouldn't see any problem if they sent him a review sample in May, after tests would have been done by other well known and respected photographers - who don't charge for the published articles. After this "exclusivity" period runs out I don't see any problem at all for anyone to charge anything. But that is just my point of view.


i know where your coming from and i'm certainly not going to subscribe in order to see his early review. however, back in ye olden days of print everybody had to pay if they wanted to read a review - you had to buy the magazine. he's just trying to keep that tradition alive.



denoir
Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Total Posts: 4214
Country: Sweden

trdonja wrote:
I have to admit I find it slightly unethical to have one of the first production lenses in the world sent for testing purposes and not share it with everyone. I am not sure what Zeiss has been thinking. I am sure that everyone who is subscriber there disagrees, but as I said, given the circumstances I believe it is a bad decision and not ethical..


How do you figure that? Zeiss is a company, and Lloyd Chambers runs a business. It's a regular commercial agreement for both part. It's Zeiss' property and fully their right to decide who should get test copies. We're talking about a privately owned company, not some government organization funded by tax payers' money.

You could possibly argue that it's unethical of Lloyd to receive special favors from Zeiss as it would affect his objectivity. However, saying no to test the lens early would have been far worse in practice for the reputation/reliability of his service.

Finally, it's not true. This is what he posted a few days ago on his blog:

"Zeiss USA finally received press samples yesterday of the new 35mm f/1.4 Distagon. For various reasons, it will take Zeiss a few days to ship one to me, so I expect to have it next week for testing, the ZE version for Canon EOS (EOS mount seems to have priority now, due to the large numbers of lenses being sold for video work with the Canon 5D Mark II)."

So he is definitely not the only one who's got one. It's just that he is faster at testing and reporting than more mainstream magazines.



imranaz
Registered: Jul 09, 2005
Total Posts: 55
Country: United States

I find Lloyd Chambers reviews to be informative, although heavy on technical jargon. For example, he'll shoot a building at infinity to compare sharpness between the various 35mm lenses. The reason IMO to buy the Zeiss lenses is not absolute sharpness at infinity and MTF curves, but rather the color, bokeh and personality of subjects it renders at close to mid frame distances.

Looking fwd to seeing this lens in the hands of capable photographers and seeing some portrait & street shots in particular.

Imran - http://imransblog.com



philber
Registered: May 21, 2008
Total Posts: 7576
Country: France

denoir wrote:
The review is very promising IMO. There seems to be a chance that they've kept the character of the legendary Contax/Rollei Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon. There's a reason 30+ year old copies of the old design sell for more than than new ZE/ZF lenses.

There was a lot of disappointment with the new lens initially that they had not kept the same design as the old one. It seems however that they may have done a good job on the new one.

It's not a lens you buy for raw optical performance, but for its rendering. The thing people were worried about was that Zeiss would go for a modern high performance design and forget about the lens character. Given the size of the lens and its price, and lack of raw performance I think we can count on the drawing style being something special.



Don't bet on it, Luka. The one I tried for just a few minutes in a very uncontrolled set of conditions displayed a rendering very, very much like the 35 f:2.0 except wider than f:2.8.



denoir
Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Total Posts: 4214
Country: Sweden

Well, apart from a shift in color temperature (the old 35/1.4 is warmer) and the resolution at the edges, there is little difference between the old 35/1.4 and the 35/2 ZE is really small as well at f/2.8 and beyond. The big question is how the new one renders at f/1.4.



philber
Registered: May 21, 2008
Total Posts: 7576
Country: France

Relooking at my pictures, there is no doubt that the f:1.4 is superior to the f:2.0 when shooting close to or wide open. If this is the look you are lusting for, then this lens will delight you. And yes, the bokeh is wonderful, to my taste at least (and I not a bokeh fiend). I am, however, not so moved by what the lens does stopped down below f:2.8, where any difference with the f:2.0 is hard to see. I had expected more in this respect from Zeiss for a new design of such weight and cost.



photomadnz
Registered: Jun 03, 2005
Total Posts: 191
Country: New Zealand

Very disappointed with what I have read so far on digilloyd... Hurry up Canon with your version. If its like the 24mm T/S II Im in!



edwardkaraa
Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Total Posts: 7671
Country: Thailand

The 35/2 is an excellent lens without any doubt. If the 35/1.4 can give similar results from 2.8 upwards, that by itself is an incredible feat for an 1.4 lens. If on the top of that, it can give esthetically pleasing results at 1.4 and 2 the lens would be worth every penny and gram IMHO ...



OneAnt
Registered: Aug 21, 2009
Total Posts: 675
Country: Australia

edwardkaraa wrote:
The 35/2 is an excellent lens without any doubt. If the 35/1.4 can give similar results from 2.8 upwards, that by itself is an incredible feat for an 1.4 lens. If on the top of that, it can give esthetically pleasing results at 1.4 and 2 the lens would be worth every penny and gram IMHO ...


Oh Amen to that Edward ...
I don't have any mediocre expectations and the /2 means that it only has to be as good.
This lens is the bomb for me ...the 100 and 21 are likely to get a bit of a rest in the bag.

Lloyd has nothing to offer me in this test, I'll see it myself when the pics start to roll in.

...will it be worth the dollars. Well that will be up to the owners, wont it.



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

Maybe the Samyang will be the final winner ...
Its lead disability : its price : too cheap !
Everybody now is especially lookinfg for the 3D match.



denoir
Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Total Posts: 4214
Country: Sweden

OneAnt wrote:
Lloyd has nothing to offer me in this test, I'll see it myself when the pics start to roll in.


Lloyd has not completed the test. As he points out himself - you should wait for the rest of the review, particularly for the real world images.

Technical performance data is interesting and relevant but ultimately the drawing style of the lens is the most interesting factor and that you can only really determine from seeing a heap of sample pictures and hope some of them will match the type of use for which you would use the lens.



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

The problem is now everybody will have greater expectations for real images !
What a suspense.



wiseguy010
Registered: Mar 08, 2009
Total Posts: 751
Country: Netherlands

edwardkaraa wrote:
The 35/2 is an excellent lens without any doubt. If the 35/1.4 can give similar results from 2.8 upwards, that by itself is an incredible feat for an 1.4 lens. If on the top of that, it can give esthetically pleasing results at 1.4 and 2 the lens would be worth every penny and gram IMHO ...


Very true. Don't forget that the current 35/2 is already a fantastic lens and very hard to beat.

Perhaps expectations are a little bit too high (unrealistic) for the 35/1.4.



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

By the way I've warned LC about his statement in his article. The ZE 35/1.4 has one ASPH element as the Canon or the Samyang. It's so ASPH corrected and not a pure SPH lens. Could it be the first Zeiss "bad sample" received by LC ?

Expectations are great for the 35mm grail.
Expensive, big, heavy, no AF and the newcomer from ZEISS, a good "former" ZE f/2, a non bad 35L. It going to be hard.

Denoir. I'm waiting for your ZE f/1.4 comparison ! With all your current arsenal, it's going to be very easy to judge.



ulrikft2
Registered: Oct 21, 2009
Total Posts: 2104
Country: Norway

"Overall contrast is outstanding, but wide-open micro contrast is less good than with modern designs like the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G, because the Zeiss 35/1.4 does not correct spherical aberration, leading to a lower contrast “haze” from smeared focus (though the sharpness is very high across the frame). See the discussion on the MTF page."


I thought that lack of haze was one of the selling points of the zeiss-look WO? Or am I mistaken here?

Edit:

I'm looking forward to the ZF 35 1.4 Distagon vs. Nikkor 35 1.4 comparison, with the samples that are avilable right now (at diglloyds), the nikkor seems to have more "clarity" and "pop" wide open than the Zeiss, which is interesting.



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