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Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

35mm
Review Date: Apr 27, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image Quality, sharpness, colors, contrast, Zeiss look, smooth manual focus.
Cons:
Vignetting, distortion

I bought this lens in addition to my Zeiss 50/2 ZE and Zeiss 100/2 ZE. This lens is in the same league and produces very comparable images, as far as the image quality and Zeiss look goes. I have ultimately sold the lens as 35mm was an awkward focal length for me. If 35mm lens is what you need, you should give this lens a serious try. The only negatives I noticed were vignetting between f/2-2.8 and geometrical distortions. The distortions are probably normal considering it's a slightly wide angle lens, but it may be noticeable. Adobe Ligthroom does a great job to automatically correct for the vignetting and distortions. The price of the lens is appropriate and reasonable.

 
Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

100mm
Review Date: Apr 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Pleasure to use, build, sharpness, color, contrast
Cons:
CA, price, lack of weather sealing

I sold Canon 100/2.8 Macro L IS lens to purchase this Zeiss. The Canon is an excellent lens, but it's image rendering while of high IQ, was somewhat boring/clinical. The Zeiss on the other hand gives that unique Zeiss rendering and is pure joy to operate with its all metal build and smooth manual focus. I find manual focusing with this lens relatively easy as the the small DOF at 100mm and F/2 is easily seen in a 5D viewfinder with high-precision screen.

The lens is very sharp already at f/2, but the DOF at F/2 is very small especially at close distances. IQ starts dropping at f/16-f/22, which is normal with every lens.

Colors and contrast are unique Zeiss and with a little bit of curve/contrast adjustment in post processing you can achieve some amazing looks with image that pops out.

The lens vignettes significantly below f/2.8. I actually prefer it as it gives the image a depth. For macro purposes I use f/4 and higher where this is not an issue.

The lens has significant CA under f/4 in contrasty scenes.

Overall I'm very satisfied with this lens. It's basically a longer version of Zeiss 50/2 which I also have.

The price is twice as much as the Canon 100L. Only you can decide if it's worth it. The lens does not produce 2x better IQ compared to the Canon. It's simply different, has some extra IQ and is pure joy to use. I can see using this lens for the rest of my life.


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

ef10028lmisu_586x225
Review Date: Apr 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS, weather sealing, light weight, quick AF, beautiful colors and sharpness
Cons:
Lens hood is rather long

This is an excellent macro lens especially for its IS feature. I just took the lens to a botanical garden, took few hundred shots and not one had any motion blur. I'm able to take shots all the way down to 1/8sec - simply amazing as with macro at close distance things can get shaky very quickly. The focus ring throw is relatively short, but manual focus works very well. The colors and sharpness are excellent. Overall this is a very very good lens that is very easy to work with and get great results. I would not hesitate to recommend it to new buyers. I have experience with 60mm EF-S macro and the non-IS 100mm EF macro, and while they are optically great as well, the IS feature alone makes the 100L well worth the extra money.

Here is a recent post of mine with sample shots from Atlanta Botanical Garden:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/885412


 
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

EF24_14LII
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp wide open, great contrast and colors, fast AF, weather sealed. Very unique combination of wide angle and f/1.4.
Cons:
Price

This is certainly a wow lens for me. 24mm of my 5D provides a nice wide angle perspective and the f/1.4 aperture gives it additional unique look. The lens is super sharp at f/1.4 and at 24mm provides more DOF than lets say 50/1.4 or 85/1.4 lens.

The lens vignettes significantly up to f/2.8. It can be a positive as it adds sense of depth.

The lens is fairly large and heavy, but still within reason to be carried around the neck all day. The zoom ring is as good as it gets on L lenses. It's not as smooth and assuring as MF Zeiss lenses, but it's very good for AF lens.

I would imagine that this lens may be an overkill for landscapes as it does not need such a large aperture. For strictly landscapes I would probably opt for Zeiss 21mm instead. If you however also shoot people indoors, this lens really shines as it gives the ability to capture unique f/1.4 wide angle shots, especially at low light.


 
Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

50macro
Review Date: Apr 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp wide open, nice Zeiss colors and rendering, mechanically well built, convenient 1:2 magnification. Great multi-purpose lens.
Cons:
No weather sealing.

I've had this lens for about 2 months now on my 5D and it is my most used lens for the moment. It is a very convenient lens to have due to its 50mm focal length, great IQ wide open at f/2 and its close focusing capability. It produces beautiful close up portraits or the occasional macro.

The colors and contrast are typical Zeiss. It's very unique and provides a nice variation to the usual Canon rendering. The lens has significant vignetting below f/2.8, but it actually adds a nice mood to the photos, e.g. portraits.

When used indoors, the lens produces great clarity and neutral colors. Outdoors, especially on sunny days, the lens produces typical contrasty Zeiss colors that look as if polarizer was used.

The handling is very good. The lens is neither small nor large and balances well on the camera. The focus ring is smooth and precise. The lens correctly communicates with camera to report aperture and focus confirmation. The front lens element is really small and recessed way back in the barrel, thus eliminating the need for protective filters. The inside of the lens barrel is not smooth and therefore catches any dust on its way to the front lens element - very smart.

There are only two negatives I can think of. 1. The lens is not weather sealed. 2. Sometimes I have to re-press the shutter button to trigger the AF confirmation light/beep.

I would highly recommend this lens to anyone looking for a versatile 50mm lens with one of the best IQ and who is willing to manual focus.