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Archive 2017 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

  
 
chiron
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


ecarlino wrote:
if your goal is to get the "3rd person on the side SHARP" then why would you be shooting at f/1.4 ?
this lens has been out long enough that it's characteristics are well known.
the fact that people are still discussing/comparing it's sharpness in the corners wide open makes less than zero sense.
that is NOT what this lens is designed for.
if you want sharp with this lens and want everything sharp into the corners, at f/5.6 this lens will do exactly that.
otherwise, pick a different lens.
if someone sets a goal and knocks it out of the park (as they did with
...Show more

You've missed the point; actually, you've missed both of them. It is the decentering issue that creates the problem with this lens--it doesn't sharpen up when you close down. And the main point was about the pressure of being a pro.



Sep 16, 2017 at 09:18 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


chiron wrote:
You've missed the point; actually, you've missed both of them. It is the decentering issue that creates the problem with this lens--it doesn't sharpen up when you close down. And the main point was about the pressure of being a pro. Read before you hector.


@chiron,
I believe @ecarlino was referring to @Jonathan Brady's post regarding the Canon presumably being sharper than the Zeiss ZA. I never tested the Canon version but can't say it's entirely true based on only "one" copy tested by DXOmark. There are definitely variance issues with the 35/1.4 ZA and it's possible that DXO's copy wasn't optimum. If the copy was slightly decentered, it would definitely skew their results even in the center.

Responding to @DavidBM's comment on "slight more CA" when compared to the Canon. In my view, owning this lens for a while is that CA is its main issue along with very visible onion rings on bokeh balls. It shows 'strong' axial CA from f/1.4 all the way to f/2. Lateral CA is also bothersome showing up on the corners of my images at all apertures. So, I believe, this was a optical design compromise: less correction for CA in exchange for better bokeh rendering.

I for one have a centered copy and it's sharp to the corners even at f/1.4. At f/1.4 I can see SA and therefore resolution and contrast are not optimum. Starting at f/2, the lens transforms and it's sharp from center to corners, however, with a noticeable mid-zone dip. This trend continues when stopping the lens down.



Sep 16, 2017 at 10:56 AM
chiron
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
@chiron@,
I believe @ecarlino@ was referring to @Jonathan Brady@'s post regarding the Canon presumably being sharper than the Zeiss ZA.


I think you may be wrong on this point--I believe he actually quoted me. But if it were an accident that he quoted me instead of Jonathan, that would be nice. In any case, it is no great matter.



Sep 16, 2017 at 11:26 AM
ecarlino
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


chiron wrote:
You've missed the point; actually, you've missed both of them. It is the decentering issue that creates the problem with this lens--it doesn't sharpen up when you close down. And the main point was about the pressure of being a pro.


i just went back to the previous page and didn't see anything about decentering, sorry if i missed that (twice now) -
i was commenting on the dxo graphs and your comment about edge of frame sharpness - both of which have been common 'observations' (if not complaints) with this lens - and misses the point of this lens. it is not designed to be sharp to the edges wide open, but a good copy does sharpen up nicely stopped down (i've owned 3 good/great copies).

it's funny to me that 2 of my 3 favorite lenses (the batis 135 and zony 35) both seem to be 2 of the most misunderstood lenses and have always been compared to things they were never intended to be compared with (and in both cases sigma lenses!) if you want a sharp from wide-open 35, get the sigma, if you want a fast 135, get the sigma.

pro or not, these are all just tools, figure out how they're meant to be used and enjoy them for what they are.



Sep 16, 2017 at 11:51 AM
chiron
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


ecarlino wrote:
i just went back to the previous page and didn't see anything about decentering, sorry if i missed that (twice now) -
i was commenting on the dxo graphs and your comment about edge of frame sharpness - both of which have been common 'observations' (if not complaints) with this lens - and misses the point of this lens. it is not designed to be sharp to the edges wide open, but a good copy does sharpen up nicely stopped down (i've owned 3 good/great copies).

it's funny to me that 2 of my 3 favorite lenses (the batis 135 and
...Show more

GMphotography, the person to whom my original post was directed, has often commented on the decentering problems with this lens and how it affects his ability to use it to get small group shots (the person on the right being soft on many copies) and why he tried five copies before he got one he could use. It may be that you don't know what you misunderstood here, but tone is always important.



Sep 16, 2017 at 12:01 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


I think it's important to get a centered copy but regarding sharpness, I believe this discussion and graphs are 'much ado about nothing'...

Here is a f/1.4 sample focused at mid-zone. (which is weaker than center) -- only axial CA was corrected using a custom preset for this lens.
IMO, it's pretty sharp even wide open. (EFCS was set to "on"...I forgot to turn it off)









1:1 crop showing EyeAF focused area




Sep 16, 2017 at 12:10 PM
GMPhotography
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Agree first you must get a centered copy that's the number 1 goal. I'm on 5 here. Lol

But you do have to watch that mid zone on let's say more than one person. But this thing stopped down to F4 you can shoot landscapes even it cleans up fast. Great lens but onion rings and some CA are the negatives.



Sep 16, 2017 at 12:24 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Here are lensrentals MTF graphs for the lenses being discussed. IMO, these tests are more reliable than DXOs for mainly three reasons. Number of copies being tested (lenses being rotated when tested), lenses being tested on optical bench instead of camera (less variables) and infinity distance.

When analyzing them, itís clear that the Canon Ďandí Sigma have higher resolution and contrast compared to the 35/1.4 ZA wide open. Thatís throughout the image field btw.
Canon and Sigma are very similar. (Although we know the Canon is better color corrected)

The FE 35/1.4 ZA however, seems to perform similarly to the Classic Zeiss 35/1.4 in terms of resolution and contrast. The ZE shows more astigmatism and the Sony ZA worse mid-zone.

*On my own tests, I see the mid-field dip and the lack of astigmatism for the 35/1.4 ZA.







Sep 16, 2017 at 01:09 PM
ecarlino
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
I think it's important to get a centered copy but regarding sharpness, I believe this discussion and graphs are 'much ado about nothing'...

GMPhotography wrote:
But this thing stopped down to F4 you can shoot landscapes even it cleans up fast


that's all i was trying to say amici (thanks for 'translating') - this is actually 2 lenses in 1: gorgeous rendering wide-open (centrally sharp, softer towards the edges, a-OK) - stopped down, it's a great city/land-scape lens. Half of my shots with it are @ 1/.4 or 1.7 and half are at 4 or 5.6.

being critical of the sharpness levels of this lens wide open is missing the point of the lens



Sep 16, 2017 at 03:54 PM
DavidBM
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
Responding to @DavidBM@'s comment on "slight more CA" when compared to the Canon. In my view, owning this lens for a while is that CA is its main issue along with very visible onion rings on bokeh balls. It shows 'strong' axial CA from f/1.4 all the way to f/2. Lateral CA is also bothersome showing up on the corners of my images at all apertures. So, I believe, this was a optical design compromise: less correction for CA in exchange for better bokeh rendering.

.


Looking at some samples of he Canon I should have said "considerably more CA" than the Canon. In the limited exposure I've had to the Canon II I hadn't realized just how impressive the CA correction is on the LII. It Did however reaffirm my preference for the Zony bokeh.

When you say you think it was a compromise, do you mean a financial one ( at this price point we can do CA correction or good bokeh but not both) or do you think there's something about CA correction at this FL which, other things being equal, harms bokeh? I have no clue, but if I had to guess I'd say merely financial






Sep 16, 2017 at 04:29 PM
DavidBM
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
Here are lensrentals MTF graphs for the lenses being discussed. IMO, these tests are more reliable than DXOs for mainly three reasons. Number of copies being tested (lenses being rotated when tested), lenses being tested on optical bench instead of camera (less variables) and infinity distance.

When analyzing them, itís clear that the Canon Ďandí Sigma have higher resolution and contrast compared to the 35/1.4 ZA wide open. Thatís throughout the image field btw.
Canon and Sigma are very similar. (Although we know the Canon is better color corrected)

The FE 35/1.4 ZA however, seems to perform similarly to the Classic Zeiss
...Show more

Those charts are the average of ten, right?
So in fact - for a very variable lens like the Zony - a good copy might be expected to do a lot better than average. And others worse,

We can probably get a sense by looking at the variability chart Roger did, and comparing the top of the Zony range with the top of the range of the other lenses...



Sep 16, 2017 at 04:35 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


DavidBM wrote:
Those charts are the average of ten, right?
So in fact - for a very variable lens like the Zony - a good copy might be expected to do a lot better than average. And others worse,

We can probably get a sense by looking at the variability chart Roger did, and comparing the top of the Zony range with the top of the range of the other lenses...


Good point David. These charts give a disadvantage to the Zony since it's the lens with more variability...which means, if you get a good copy, you will most likely do much better than its average MTF shows!

Here is another sample at f/1.4...I just took 15 minutes ago.
My son wanted my older daughter to be "Luigi". She did it despite being a pre-teen and all.









1:1 crop showing EyeAF focused area




Sep 16, 2017 at 04:44 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


DavidBM wrote:
Looking at some samples of he Canon I should have said "considerably more CA" than the Canon. In the limited exposure I've had to the Canon II I hadn't realized just how impressive the CA correction is on the LII. It Did however reaffirm my preference for the Zony bokeh.

When you say you think it was a compromise, do you mean a financial one ( at this price point we can do CA correction or good bokeh but not both) or do you think there's something about CA correction at this FL which, other things being equal, harms bokeh? I
...Show more

I think the compromise was size, weight as well as price. Take the Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 as an example. The Classic version was much lighter and smaller the new Milvus.
The Milvus optical design is near APO while still providing similar smooth bokeh...But look at the size and weight increase!

Sony shooters are already complaining about the 35/1.4 ZA's size, height and price...So in my view, Sony could not push this limit further...They see the aberrations...but at the end, they must compromise their optical design to achieve their goals.

I'm happy carrying a native 600g 35/1.4 distagon so can't complain too much about color correction...



Sep 16, 2017 at 04:57 PM
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Also, we have to always remember to turn "OFF" EFCS (Electronic first curtain shutter) when shooting with this lens wide open at shutter speeds shorter than 1/1000s. It will affect the smoothness of the rendering big time.

Alternatively we could set the shutter to "Silent mode" which disables the mechanical shutter.

Here are some thumbs showing the OOF rendering difference with EFCS "ON" and then "OFF" with the Sony 35/1.4 ZA

Shutter speed: 1/5000s, aperture f/1.4





Top: EFCS "On" | Bottom "Off"







Top: EFCS "On" | Bottom "Off"




Sep 16, 2017 at 06:05 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Here is a 1:1 crop comparison (EFCS 'on' and 'off) from one of the scenes above.







Sep 16, 2017 at 06:10 PM
philip_pj
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


[I'd never have thought that of the EFCS, thanks for that Fred.]

'But look at the size and weight increase!'

Zeiss must rise to the challenge due (i) to the market surge of the Sony cameras, which they admit is 'the future format', and (ii) to stave off the coming competition from CV and Sigma, etc. They have done it recently with the Batis 135/2.8 and the Loxia 85/2.4. These are important milestone lenses because they trade off a stop of lens speed for half the complexity (Loxia), weight and bulk (both) of the two DSLR Milvus lenses they were intended to 'match'. They also establish ~600 grams as the sweet spot for heavier lenses for FE.

When you think about it, the huge size and weight increases of the Milvus lenses over their ZE/ZF and CY counterparts are as great a point of differentiation from the other end as are the light, small Batis/Loxia lenses. It's Zeiss's way of telegraphing what users should be doing:

Use the right lens on the right platform.
To them, the platform is sacrosanct, each lens is tailor-made for its body series. True also of the small ZM lenses, they would most definitely not be favor of 'FE fixes' like front filters, Kolari, etc. That is why they added dinky stuff like the DoF display and the auto-on magnification, to reinforce that these are FE mount lenses with 'special' features, even if almost no one uses them.



Sep 16, 2017 at 07:28 PM
bjornthun
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


philip_pj wrote:
[I'd never have thought that of the EFCS, thanks for that Fred.]

'But look at the size and weight increase!'

Zeiss must rise to the challenge due (i) to the market surge of the Sony cameras, which they admit is 'the future format', and (ii) to stave off the coming competition from CV and Sigma, etc. They have done it recently with the Batis 135/2.8 and the Loxia 85/2.4. These are important milestone lenses because they trade off a stop of lens speed for half the complexity (Loxia), weight and bulk (both) of the two DSLR Milvus lenses they were intended to
...Show more

I agree with you on most of what you're saying, but DoF display and auto-magnification isn't "dinky stuff". The DoF display on the Batis lenses is much more readable than an analogue scale, so much more usable. Auto magnification or at least activating manually makes focusing much easier than on any DSLR. I'll agree though that this stuff is new and we may not be as accustomed to it yet as we were to the old ways of doing things. I do prefer the Sony electronic way, and I happily learn it and adapt to it, as it brings me results I could never have from a DSLR.



Sep 16, 2017 at 08:19 PM
bjornthun
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
Here is a 1:1 crop comparison (EFCS 'on' and 'off) from one of the scenes above.


These are the best examples I've seen illustrating the EFCS at fast shutter speed issue. I wish the camera could switch automatically from EFCS at slow shutter speeds to fully mechanical at fast shutter speeds, like the Olympus OM-D cameras do. They switch at 1/320 s shutter speed.



Sep 16, 2017 at 08:26 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


bjornthun wrote:
These are the best examples I've seen illustrating the EFCS at fast shutter speed issue. I wish the camera could switch automatically from EFCS at slow shutter speeds to fully mechanical at fast shutter speeds, like the Olympus OM-D cameras do. They switch at 1/320 s shutter speed.


It really affect rendering with all my f/1.4 lenses when shooting wide open. Starts to become visible when SS is shorter than 1/1000s on full frame.
The solution is to use 'silent shutter' in bright light wide open. (or if shooting moving subjects go through the menu and turn EFCS 'off' which is a big hassle)

It's still visible with f/1.8 and f/2 lenses. (55/1.8 ZA, Batis 85/1.8, etc..)



Sep 16, 2017 at 08:38 PM
DavidBM
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · Your experience with the FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA


Fred Miranda wrote:
It really affect rendering with all my f/1.4 lenses when shooting wide open. Starts to become visible when SS is shorter than 1/1000s on full frame.
The solution is to use 'silent shutter' in bright light wide open. (or if shooting moving subjects go through the menu and turn EFCS 'off' which is a big hassle)

It's still visible with f/1.8 and f/2 lenses. (55/1.8 ZA, Batis 85/1.8, etc..)


I didn't know silent shutter fixed the problem (I guess I thought it would be as bad since both shutter curtains are electronic).

Thanks Fred! That's much less hassle than turning EFCS on and off! (lets hope they give more options over EFCS control in the next body...)




Sep 16, 2017 at 10:02 PM
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