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Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?

  
 
gear-nut
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Buckeye2604 wrote:
In the end i want a magical rendering and not extra skin pores i have to retouch.


Black net filter, 1/8 or 1/4 on top of any of the "too sharp" fast primes would handle that

The basic reality is that ALL of the Z-S lenses are pretty exceptional compared to their older F counterparts, especially wide open. In fact, most of the non-S Z lenses are pretty impressive for their optical rendering. So "clinical" or "clean" or "sharp" or "contrasty" are probably all qualities that are here to stay with Z glass. Add in pretty exceptional quality bokeh to the fastest Z glass, and end of day it's going to be hard for me not to "comply" and move over 100% to Z




Dec 18, 2023 at 01:15 PM
Aurora_lights
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


gear-nut wrote:
Black net filter, 1/8 or 1/4 on top of any of the "too sharp" fast primes would handle that

The basic reality is that ALL of the Z-S lenses are pretty exceptional compared to their older F counterparts, especially wide open. In fact, most of the non-S Z lenses are pretty impressive for their optical rendering. So "clinical" or "clean" or "sharp" or "contrasty" are probably all qualities that are here to stay with Z glass. Add in pretty exceptional quality bokeh to the fastest Z glass, and end of day it's going to be hard for me not
...Show more

Good points and i can also recommend that.
I'm using Black Mist Filters on all my lenses usually. Except for when the sun is flaring too much.
Makes for nice Light blooming and can give amore coherent feel.

I still feel that the bokeh renders differently and gives more of a dreamy depth than the in my taste harder bokeh of the S lenses.
I just like the background more in the 105 shots than in the 85.

I'd much prefer the look and handling of the 1.2S lenses but bc of this i won't get one right now also i don't have the money xD /sad



Dec 19, 2023 at 06:09 AM
dalegaspi
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Aurora_lights wrote:
The 85 background and spatial rendering doesn't do it for me. I find the bokeh to harsh and edgy.


I know we're just discussing lens preferences and i'm not here to convince anyone otherwise, but if you're going to express negative bias, it should be at least grounded on _some_ facts.

"harsh/edgy" it's not an adjective i would use to describe the 85/1.2's bokeh. i've used it long enough to make that conclusion based on what i actually see and not what i feel.





want to see harsh bokeh? The Otus 85 bokeh is what I would describe as harsh. It's not a knock on the Zeiss because it has merits in its own right, but this isn't one of its strengths and even reviews point out that same observation.







Dec 19, 2023 at 11:08 AM
suteetat
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


I ran out to a park behind my apartment and took some quick test shots of the 3 lenses. Sorry I did not have any better subject that I can switches all 3 lenses easily at the moment. All shot wide opened and I tried to keep subject size roughly the same size so I moved between each lens and tried to match subject size through viewfinder with previous shots, some not so successfully. Also angle between camera and subject does change as I moved in and out and that's unavoidable unfortunately.

All shot wide opened. All shot were out of camera jpg imported into PS just for resizing. 85, 105 then 135.

The first 3 shots, 85 was the last shot I took and the cloud got in front of the sun a bit so the color difference was also
partly 2nd to available light at that moment.




















the second series, sorry I backed up until my back was against a tree with 135mm, oh well.



















The last 2 were 105 and 135. I accidentally deleted 85mm shots and I was trying to reshoot and matched the size and angle better and deleted some initial pictures.

















Dec 21, 2023 at 05:52 AM
gear-nut
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


@suteetat , thank you for these! It does show the 105 is no slouch against the newest. It also shows how similar they are. Your context with being limited by a tree in the bench shot is also telling about the plena. End of day, I can see where if one could only afford 1 of these and/or is on a budget, the 105 is a great option. If I get critical, the bokeh of the poles in the bench shots, I would rank 135 best, 85 next and 105 last, but all remain very, very good. It is in the last pair where the painterly quality of the plena really does come through.

I now heap some blame on you ( ). Because of your images in the plena thread, I have succumbed to it ó with luck it will arrive before Christmas. I have sold my 105 to help fund the plena as I donít need both. I am holding off on the 85/1.2 until I can do some real world use comparisons between my 85/1.8 and Plena. I know I would very rarely ever carry both the plena and 85/1.2, but could regularly carry the 85/1.8 and plena. We will see.

Thank you to everyone who has added to this thread, itís been very informative for me.



Dec 21, 2023 at 11:07 AM
suteetat
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


gear-nut wrote:
@suteetat@ , thank you for these! It does show the 105 is no slouch against the newest. It also shows how similar they are. Your context with being limited by a tree in the bench shot is also telling about the plena. End of day, I can see where if one could only afford 1 of these and/or is on a budget, the 105 is a great option. If I get critical, the bokeh of the poles in the bench shots, I would rank 135 best, 85 next and 105 last, but all remain very, very good. It is in
...Show more

Always glad to help someone getting nice Christmas present

One significant difference between 85/1.2S or 135/1.8S and 104/1.4E is focus speed. Both Z mount lenses will focus
and track much better than 105/1.4E, good enough for sport and action. I even managed bif shots with both lenses and
there are images of bif using either lenses in their respective image thread. Not something that 105/1.4E can do easily.
But certainly for portrait work 105/1.4E remains a very good option and probably is still the best value at the moment.
I was using 85/1.2S a lot but since Plena came out, I find combination of 50/1.2S and 135/1.8S on 2 bodies work really well
for me for a lot of things that I shoot. Sometimes it is really hard to decide which lens I should take.




Dec 21, 2023 at 06:27 PM
Ai_Print
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


I have had the 135 1.8 for about three weeks now, have used it on several jobs and have some thoughts about it.

The AF is fast and much quieter than the 105 1.4. I remember using the 105 in some situations in which the room was quiet, the subject moving a bit to where the AF would almost "chatter" for lack of a better term and it was certainly distracting to me. The 135 is pretty much dead silent in this regard. I feel like the 135 balances better on the camera than the adapted 105 did. Optically the 135 is a good bit sharper wide open and without the CA the 105 had in some situations.

But.....there is something missing with the 135. I definitely notice the difference between 1.4 and 1.8 in low light, sure, the AF sticks as good or better than the 105 but it is falling a bit short in pulling in the nuance of light at ISO 6400, wide open and 1/60th, genuinely low light for example.

But the thing that is really missing seems to be how the 105 rolls of off in-focus to out of focus in the zones nearest to in focus. I have just not shot with it enough to really put a finger on it, but that lack of buttery roll-off is really speaking to me. And I feel the gains in wide open sharpness of the 135 are not making up for the more charismatic roll-off of the 105, despite the 105 not being quite as sharp. You would think the increased sharpness of the 135 would make that transition more sensible, but for some reason, it is not?

In the most practical sense, the 135 is going to be spectacular in several key areas for me. But I may end up getting another 105 for other uses because as much as I wanted the 135 to replace the 105, for now it seems it does not. Maybe with more use I will bond with the 135 in a way that makes it more useful to me, but at the moment it is feeling a bit utilitarian rather than the totally fluid and do-all feel I experienced in using the 105 from day one.



Jan 05, 2024 at 02:55 PM
gear-nut
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Well it's a new year, and a new dawn for me... I feel the need to post this update since I started the thread. I am as my name here indicates, a 100% gear nut. I will buy, try and either keep or sell as it suits or doesn't. In this case I bought back the Z 50/1.8S and 85/1.8S, added the Z 105 MC and Plena. All used right from this site (thank you everyone) and all in about the same week. I then set to compare directly for myself against the 58/1.4, and 105/1.4 that I had. My conclusion is still being determined, but here is a nutshell summary:

If I could only have 1, the 105/1.4 is probably the most versatile single look lens to own -- that advice was given earlier in this thread and the poster is correct. But after directly comparing to other options, it isn't necessarily the best. In my case, when I compared it to the 105MC I was stunned on two points -- first, the bokeh of the macro at f2.8 was impressively good. The background bubbles aren't as large as the 105/1.4's, but they are smooth and rounder, less spherical aberration out toward the edges, so as such don't render the swirl/circular effect the 105/1.4 does, but in some ways more pleasant because of less of that. The second stunner was how much sharper at the focus plane the 105MC is -- it is an entire order of magnitude sharper. Not that the 1.4 isn't sharp enough, but the MC is in a different league sharper. Hence, I kept the MC and have sold the 1.4. BUT, while not as big/heavy as the 105/1.4-FTZ, the 105 MC is still somewhat large-ish, and enough so it requires some forethought to make it inside the regular go bag.

The 58. The bigger nit here was focus lock in dim light. Where the 50/1.8 had no issues, the 58 hunted, and annoyingly so at times. Then comparing similar sets of images, again the resolution at the focus plane of the 1.8 basically jumps off the screen compared to the 58. So while the 58 is glorious in the way it renders, like the 105/1.4 it's aged design shows, especially at 100% pixel view. (The S lenses are so good, I suspect they WILL hold up to future 100 or even 140MP sensors.) Factor in the FTZ requirement and the 58 was sold as well.

The Plena. It's a remarkable lens, period. It renders like no other, except perhaps the 50 or 85/1.2's which I don't own. It's also biggish, but admittedly handles and balances easily, seamlessly on the Z9. It's incredibly sharp and due to some weird optical design trickery, shows almost no sharpness or *exposure* fall-off from center to corner(!) So much so on exposure falloff, it generates a unique look in itself -- I have to add back like 1.5 stops of vignette to render a more classic looking wide open, shallow DoF shot. In this, it's not only unique but of course adds some creative versatility. I am still learning it, I am gaining on enjoying the focal itself, but it absolutely requires some dedication to learn it. I suspect I have a ways to go before mastering it. The verdict is still out as to whether or not I'll keep it. It is large, so needs commitment to be carrying, but for now it's just plain fun to play with, and that's 90% of the reason I photograph now anyway. But it is meant to be used wide open. Not much reason to stop it down regularly, and if you plan to I feel the 70-200 is probably a better option for *most* shooters; similar cost, only slightly larger size and of course zoom versatility and it accepts the 1.4x TC with virtually no performance loss. (Here I am talking myself out of it )

The 50 and 85 1.8 S's. Nothing I can say that hasn't already been said about these two. They are sharp wide open, fill a useful range and have decent if somewhat unremarkable bokeh traits, and are small enough they're always in the bag -- not something I could say about the 105/1.4, 50 or 85 1.2's if I owned them; and even the 58 with the FTZ was frequently left behind due to it's size.

Final note on lens size speaking for myself only: A lens I always have with me is a big consideration for me. It's why I resist the fast Z 50 and 85 -- I've owned them in the past in Canon EF f1.2's, and I know from experience they rarely were in my daily bag. So much so, I concurrently owned the 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 simply because they would be in the bag. Due to size and weight I had to know I wanted them with me before carrying them, and as such were often not with me when I could have used them anyway. That's me and I respect YMMV...



Jan 06, 2024 at 12:02 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Thank you @gear-nut for your thoughts on the various lenses.

We have a new granddaughter and will be traveling to California in March to meet her. We live in Australia. I am not a portrait photographer, but I have been impressed with many of the images taken with the 135mm Plena. My concern with the 135mm is the focal length, which has been discussed by others in this thread also. I do own the 105MC, and after reading your thoughts I think I will take that with me for photos of our granddaughter.

One other observation of mine is the lack of images taken with the 135mm Plena after the ownerís initial posting of images when getting this lens. Maybe the lens is used for professional photography more than a walk around lens like many other primes are used for.



Jan 06, 2024 at 04:03 PM
gear-nut
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Richard_M wrote:
Thank you @gear-nut@ for your thoughts on the various lenses.

We have a new granddaughter and will be traveling to California in March to meet her. We live in Australia. I am not a portrait photographer, but I have been impressed with many of the images taken with the 135mm Plena. My concern with the 135mm is the focal length, which has been discussed by others in this thread also. I do own the 105MC, and after reading your thoughts I think I will take that with me for photos of our granddaughter.

One other observation of mine is the lack of
...Show more

In my case, I havenít owned the Plena long enough to have used it much and why I havenít posted much yet. I am one who initially questioned the focal as well, and my personal verdict isnít out on that yet either. I have a trip coming up end of the month where I plan to take the 20, 50 and Plena, mostly to run it through its paces, so stay tuned. I would add that for children that are mobile, like toddlers, itís really hard to beat a zoom since they can be busy and difficult to keep up with! I honestly think the 70-200 or even the Tammy 35-150 are overall better suited to children than the Plena. However the 105 mc will serve you wonderfully as a portrait 105 regardless 👍



Jan 06, 2024 at 04:17 PM
 


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lukemeup
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Richard_M wrote:
One other observation of mine is the lack of images taken with the 135mm Plena after the ownerís initial posting of images when getting this lens. Maybe the lens is used for professional photography more than a walk around lens like many other primes are used for.


In my case - I used it a lot in the last couple weeks to photograph my toddler outdoors. I'm really happy with the results but I'm not posting those publicly.




Jan 06, 2024 at 05:23 PM
suteetat
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Richard_M wrote:
Thank you @gear-nut@ for your thoughts on the various lenses.

We have a new granddaughter and will be traveling to California in March to meet her. We live in Australia. I am not a portrait photographer, but I have been impressed with many of the images taken with the 135mm Plena. My concern with the 135mm is the focal length, which has been discussed by others in this thread also. I do own the 105MC, and after reading your thoughts I think I will take that with me for photos of our granddaughter.

One other observation of mine is the lack of
...Show more

135mm is not exactly an easy focal length that you can use on a daily basis and requires some deliberations about where you are going to be and what you are going to shoot. It is a fantastic focal length for portrait in the right setting and I use it quite a bit there. However, I tend not to post pictures of friends and family on public forum much. Certainly 50 or even 85mm are going to be more flexible as walk around lens but at the rigth place, 135 is fun as well. Since I came back from my trip to Taiwan (which I posted some pictures), I have been swamped by work through the new year so nothing much to post lately.
Next 2 trips, due to weight limitation and what I plan to shoot, 135 will sadly have to stay at home



Jan 06, 2024 at 06:51 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


gear-nut wrote:
In my case, I havenít owned the Plena long enough to have used it much and why I havenít posted much yet. I am one who initially questioned the focal as well, and my personal verdict isnít out on that yet either. I have a trip coming up end of the month where I plan to take the 20, 50 and Plena, mostly to run it through its paces, so stay tuned. I would add that for children that are mobile, like toddlers, itís really hard to beat a zoom since they can be busy and difficult to keep up
...Show more

I agree with you regarding toddlers. Our granddaughter will only be a tad over 4 months when we first meet her. We will be catching up with her again a little later in the year in New Zealand, and then again in Australia. I feel for this year a prime should be okay, and I do have zooms available when they are in Australia if needed.



Jan 06, 2024 at 08:01 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


lukemeup wrote:
In my case - I used it a lot in the last couple weeks to photograph my toddler outdoors. I'm really happy with the results but I'm not posting those publicly.



I have no intention of posting any images of my family either. I was making the observation based on this and other forums plus a few social media sites I visit.



Jan 06, 2024 at 08:04 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


suteetat wrote:
135mm is not exactly an easy focal length that you can use on a daily basis and requires some deliberations about where you are going to be and what you are going to shoot. It is a fantastic focal length for portrait in the right setting and I use it quite a bit there. However, I tend not to post pictures of friends and family on public forum much. Certainly 50 or even 85mm are going to be more flexible as walk around lens but at the rigth place, 135 is fun as well. Since I came back from my
...Show more

My comment regarding the use of this lens as a walk around lens was based on a couple of video reviews where it was indicated it would be good for street photography. I personally prefer a wider lens for street photography.

I like to collect macro lenses, at one stage I had way too many. I'm now down to 5, but only use 2 on a regular basis. If I do purchase the Plena my long term plan was to use it for closeup photography in the field. I would use it with a Z 8 for photos of our granddaughter, and then couple it with a Z fc for closeup photography when back home.

Its not a cheap lens, and while it is currently discounted in Australia, I'm still weighing up if to purchase it prior to heading overseas in March or purchase it in the US and have it delivered to our daughters home.



Jan 06, 2024 at 08:18 PM
lukemeup
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


Richard_M wrote:
I would use it with a Z 8 for photos of our granddaughter.


I'm not sure if 135mm would be super useful for photographing a 4 month old baby who can't really move/sit/stand on their own. I'd probably pack something like a 50mm for that (especially when travelling to another continent).




Jan 06, 2024 at 08:28 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


lukemeup wrote:
I'm not sure if 135mm would be super useful for photographing a 4 month old baby who can't really move/sit/stand on their own. I'd probably pack something like a 50mm for that (especially when travelling to another continent).



I agree. It was more for photos of her with her mother and my wife etc.

Iíll have a play with the 105MC and then decide if to get the Plena.



Jan 06, 2024 at 10:44 PM
Richard_M
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


The price of the 135mm Plena has dropped again in Australia so I have ordered one 🙂


Jan 10, 2024 at 06:26 PM
Dashome
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


gear-nut wrote:
In my case, I havenít owned the Plena long enough to have used it much and why I havenít posted much yet. I am one who initially questioned the focal as well, and my personal verdict isnít out on that yet either. I have a trip coming up end of the month where I plan to take the 20, 50 and Plena, mostly to run it through its paces, so stay tuned. I would add that for children that are mobile, like toddlers, itís really hard to beat a zoom since they can be busy and difficult to keep up
...Show more

Any updates post-trip? I value your perspective. I've been on the fence regarding the Plena. I would be using it for shallow DOF portraits and indoor sports. Curious to hear how you used it beyond these cases too.

If it's not for you, I would likely be interested if you plan to list it.



Feb 20, 2024 at 02:30 PM
gear-nut
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · Plena vs 105/1.4 vs Z85/1.2S anybody?


The trip got canceled. So I did take the plena, 105 macro and my 85/1.8 out and spent several hours with them. End of day, the lowly 85 won the day for me. I had a hot local buyer so I took advantage and sold both the plena and macro. However, that is not a statement on ttheir quality or usefulness for others! They were both among the best chunks of optics I have ever used.


Feb 20, 2024 at 05:56 PM
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