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Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar T*

50mm
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good optical quality, good build quality. Typical Zeiss colour and contrast.
Cons:
Terrible focus shift.

I had a love hate relationship with this lens. I had the ZE version on a Canon 5Dmk2. When used carefully it gave the same outstanding optical quality, colour and contrast we all have come to expect with Zeiss. However, I found focus shift to be a major hindrance to working with the lens. In fact the first time I used it (fortunately just a test series of shots) I got a lot of pictures with far distance out of focus. I learnied to live with this by using the manual stop down button on the Canon and then focusing. The quality of the lens is up with the best Zeiss lenses, but be aware of the focus shift issue. I have bought the 50mm Makro planar to replace it.

 
Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon T*

18mm
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Build quality
Cons:
Poor optical quality at edges of frame and at most apertures.

Think of any company that produces a range of superlative products eg Lexus. Now think of one outstanding product after another and then they produce a clonker. This is what Zeiss have done. This is in my view a real contradiction, because most anyone you speak to who produces quality will avoid marketing something or working to a standard that is well below their usual, and believe me this is. I found I could just about get an acceptable picture if I shot at f8 and then cropped to the equivalent of a 20mm lens coverage, and since I have the 21mm distagon....

 
Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

25mm
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical quality, small size, typical Zeiss colour and contrast.
Cons:
Not available in Canon mount

It seems a shame that the average score this lens has so far is 9.0, which makes it look like a bit of a dud in the Zeiss lineup (apart from the 18mm, which is a dud!). This was the firt Zeiss lens I bought and I have used it on a Canon 5D and now 5D mk2 in a Canon mount with a Rayqual adapter. The results are typical Zeiss, fantastic colour and contrast with great build quality. I believe its real score should be 9.5 plus, and as such I would not hesitate to recommend it.

 
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

16-35II
Review Date: Apr 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Prime lens resolution (see negative though). Lovely colour rendition
Cons:
Performance wide open is average

I approached this lens purchase with some trepidation. I had a 17-40 and was disappointed. I use the lens on a 1Ds mkII. I do a lot of wide angle work and I have a Zuiko 21mm f2 (superb performance into the edges, but very bad CA) and a Zeiss 25mm with canon adapter (superb lens). I wanted a very wide lens (18mm), but could not find anything with the performance and that did not require major surgery to allow its use on the Canon. I read of the new Nikon 14-24, and considered buying it and an adapter (see 16-9.net). However there is no obvious way to fit filters and flare is a problem. On the basis of the reviews on this site I bought the lens. I have not regretted it. It is better than the Zuiko and the equal of the Zeiss, though there is some distortion in the very corners at f11, but not an unacceptable amount. I never thought I would stop using my Zeiss, however that is exactly what I am doing. Performance is excellent at 16, 18, 21 and 24mm. There is one caviat however. If you want to shoot at f2.8 or f4, particularly at the very wide end, then corner distortion is a problem. If as I do you use a tripod and f11 (this is the best aperture at all focal lengths) and you want to carry less glass as I did, then this might very well be the lens for you. Colour rendition is excellent, very like the Zeiss with a cooler rendition and skies that actually look softly polarised.

 
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L

ts243_1_
Review Date: Feb 7, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Good build quality
Cons:
As a standard lens quality no better than my 17-40 zoom. When shifted the image quality is poor. You cannot see the effect of tilt in the viewfinder.

I bought this lens primarily for stitched panoramas and architectural work. When I first trialled it I found that shifted, most of the outer edge of the image was fuzzy, even stopped down. This meant that most of the extra image created by shifting was unusable. I sent it back to Canon, who said that the lens was within their specifications. Tilt is difficult to use with this lens as it is difficult to see the effect in the viewfinder of my 1DsII. I have the 45TSE and 90TSE. They are both terrific lenses. AAt extreme shift, only the upper corners of the 45 are fuzzy. In addition the tilt effect is clearly visible. I bought the Schneider 28mm PC lens with a canon adapter. It does not have tilt, but the images are very sharp right to the edge when shifted. The result is stitched pans equivalent to approx 18mm lens and 30 megapixels.