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  Reviews by: kzaret  

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Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon T*

Review Date: Feb 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Remarkable sharpness and presence to the image, corner to corner. Light weight, small profile, very high quality construction.

Having truly enjoyed this lens, I agree with some of the comments below that the summary rating needs to be rebalanced to the positive. The images with this lens simply have a presence and contrast that is not often seen with other brands. The focal length requires careful attention to composition; it's not a lens to shoot casually with. On the other hand, the light weight and small profile make it easy to carry around. Here are shots with the lens:

Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*

Review Date: Oct 12, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Colors, bokeh, sharpness, low light photography; a precision product that is a pleasure to use.
Makes you wish more lenses were like this, or that you could afford more of them.

I bought the Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm f/2 for my Canon 5DmkII about 6 weeks ago and have enjoyed it immensely. I fretted a long time beforehand about whether to go with a Canon 50mm product or the Zeiss f/1.4, but the former did not get good reviews and the latter, while cheaper than the Zeiss f/2, was not rated well wide open. I finally decided to go all the way for the Makro-Planar and very glad I did. All the positives agree with those stated by other reviews here. Shoot wide open or just down to 2.8 or so, and the images look great. Where I may contribute is in addressing some of the concerns. First, potential difficulty focusing manually near infinity. I solved that by getting the Eg-S Super Precision Matte Screen. While it was a bit nerve-wracking to install, when done I realized it was no big deal, and had found several web sites on line (just google) with lots of pictures to help me through. The better screen helps a lot with manual focus. Though the view is darker with your f/4 lenses, you get used to it quick. Another potential concern is owning a lens with a macro design, but you are doing general photography. I have come to appreciate that being able to do macro anytime you are doing other work is not a bad thing. Also, the macro perspective at 50 mm is very different from that what you get with the typical 100mm macro. The ability to shoot wide open and at fairly high ISO on the 5DmkII greatly expands the hours of the day where you can do photography without a tripod. If you travel a lot and can't haul the metal or carbon fiber, this lens opens up the world.

Many of these were taken with the Makro-Planar f/2, my first big outing with the lens (please leave comments if inclined):

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 20, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: IS, range, and finally... sharpness

As you can see from my post a few weeks ago, I bought this lens and felt that the sharpness wasn't close to what it should be, especially after doing careful comparisons against a 24-85 mm EF-S lens (at one-third the price). I finally returned the lens to B&H photo (who were very accomodating) and they sent me a new one. I tested the replacement lens against the same 24-85 mm EF-S lens, as seen here:

Verdict: the replacement 24-105/L lens is nice and sharp, and at various settings is sharper than the 24-85 lens (as I would hope). I know from using the original 24-105/L that the IS, color, and brightness are great.

Moral: test your lenses and Canon: improve your Q/C!

I am now happy with this lens.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,059.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Image stabilization, bright, colorful images, not too heavy.
Soft images

I bought this lens 2 weeks ago with excitement and trepidation. Excitement because it was exactly what I was looking for and it would be my first L lens. Trepidation because of the reviews about the versions that were not sharp straight from the factory. After a week of shooting I enjoyed the color and IS, on my Canon 30D:

but I felt that I had to use more unsharp mask than I have ever done to get a very sharp image. Finally bit the bullet and did my first side-by-side comparison with the previous lens I was using in this range, the 24-85mm EF-S USM, at one-third the price:

My verdict is that the new 24-105/L that I have is simply not calibrated properly. I called B&H today, where I purchased it, and they were very good about me exchanging the lens. I haven't yet done that because I wanted to get feedback from others on my analysis. Any comments you care to make on my site would be helpful. My main query is whether it is better to exchange the lens or send this one to Canon for calibration. Again, the focal length and IS are sweet spots for me, and would like to make this work. Thanks.