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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:20 pm 
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Ok, enough of the ambiguous comments in the "what have you bought" thread. My most expensive purchase price lens has now arrived. This was on my "want" list for a while, but the price vs performance wasn't enough to convince me until recently when I came into a little cash and I thought I'd treat myself.

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Ok, no special shots yet, just random snaps from around the house.

Lens feels solid as would be expected from the all metal build. The focus ring is on the heavily damped side for my tastes, but I assume it'll wear in to something more comfortable in due course. End to end turn of the focus ring is about equivalent to 10 hours of a clock face. I'm happier than I expected with my manual focus hit rate, although the usual dilemma of unintentional forward/backward motion at macro-like distances still give scope for the off shot.

Similar to some other macro lenses, the front optical element is quite recessed so providing its own natural hood at the cost of some working distance. A short metal hood is also provided.

I'm waiting for a headache to die down a bit before I'll take this out to the local park for some more serious shots.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Congratulations popo, that's a serious piece of glass. Couldn't help chuckling to myself when you wrote "I came into a little cash". Looks like you'll have the opportunity to add the second Zeiss lens to our Lens Gallery when you've had a bit more time to explore its full potential. 8)

Bob.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:26 pm 
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I've just taken it for a quick walk in the park while there's some light, so expect samples later if they don't totally suck on the big screen. Got some other stuff I need to do today first...

Obviously focus accuracy, or lack thereof, is the biggest change I'll have to get used to with this lens. I think I was doing better by eye than using the AF assist indicators, and even dipped into zoomed live view on occasion. So I wonder if the "AF" accuracy of this lens is off. I'll have to check that later and see if the AF micro adjust helps. Yes, I know it's a manual lens!!! I hesitate to use multiple exclamation marks, but I think talking about AF adjustment on a manual focus lens is worth it.

For the "little" cash, technically I haven't received it yet but it should be winging its way over to me. Shockingly the share price where I work isn't rock bottom and it was actually worth selling some options. Snag is of course everyone else in the company had the same idea so the price is going one direction at the moment. I only sold enough for this lens and will see if the price picks up later on before dealing the rest.

Oh, there's one bad thing about this lens... it's making me think of 5D2 again. Bigger viewfinder + S-type focus screen would be very helpful I think, and I wouldn't go for a mk1 again.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:13 pm 
Nice acquisition Popo, you can never have enough 50's :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:05 pm 
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This will only be my 4th 50 ever (Sony f/1.4, Canon EF 1.8, FD 1.2).

I'm slowly going through the test shots now. As suspected, the manual focus accuracy using the focus assist points are often way off particularly for distant focus (more than 1 or 2m away). Strangely close focus seems ok. In part this might be due to the focus ring, which is very generous when close, but we're only talking mm of movement between 5m to infinity and beyond. It would be nice to have more precision there. Doesn't impact if you use smaller apertures, but wide open it is quite a bit off.

Some other observations:
* it isn't clear of longitudinal CA, but it isn't too severe even wide open. It can purple fringe on very bright highlights, but not as bad as the Canon 85mm f/1.8 does.
* it seems susceptible to veiling glare, with contrast reduction if the sun gets near in shot. Flare isn't great or bad. You can provoke it along with the glare. Note this is with the hood in place, but the sun might be in shot for full frame which I don't see on crop.
* I never believed it before, but the colours do feel different. I couldn't put my finger on it, but later I'll do a side by side with a Canon to check it out in more detail.
* The distant bokeh is pretty near technically perfect to me. In most cases, point sources produce a flat and even disk. For bright point sources, there may be a hint of onioning and/or outlining. This isn't artistically perfect by any means, where the Sony STF would be better. Near bokeh is still good but less than perfect with the longitudinal CA coming into the picture.
* If you get the focus right on, it seems quite sharp even wide open and really sharp closed down up to the diffraction zone.

Samples will follow later.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Image
f/2.8 - The sun to top right induced glare which was corrected in post.

Image
f/5.6 - Shooting into the sun gave glare here too, which again was processed out. Tiny splodge of flare on bottom middle.

Image
f/2.8 - With the sun behind me there is no flare issue any more.

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f/2.8 - sun top right again inducing flare lower left. The focus was off on this one anyway...

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f/4 - sun from behind

Image
f/2 - here's one case I had to use live view to get the focus spot on. With the focus assist, the actual plane of focus was in the middle of the foreground. Due to the large size of the sundial and consequently the distance needed, the background blurring is significantly diminished.

Image
f/2.8 - this time they were in the shade.

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f/5.6 - another flare example, sun top middle. Glare adjusted out.

Image
f/16 - handheld macro. Set lens to MFD and held leaf in front of sun with my other hand. The leaf isn't flat leading to some DoF issues.

Image
f/4 - slight hint of polygon shape bokeh here.

All above samples have not been cropped, but may have had levels/contrast/brightness adjust.

Tonight I think I'll do some controlled tests... later :P

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:56 pm 
the bokeh looks very nice! & it looks sharp too. congrats on your aquisition!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:15 pm 
The bokeh does indeed look impressive


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:40 pm 
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I just did a colour test, by creating a scene of various well know food products and taking the shot with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and the Zeiss. Manual focused on the same area. Lens set to f/5.6 which should maximise scene sharpness while giving some DoF.

I can't see any difference in colour rendition. Maybe it's the light source, maybe it's the subjects, but I'm not seeing a difference in colour. There is a difference in contrast and sharpness though. The cheap Canon f/1.8 II is better in both! Side by side, the Canon is sharper both in centre and border regions, and has slightly higher apparent contrast. The histogram for the Canon confirms this. Picking a white area of a box, the RGB values are over 10 points higher on the Canon than Zeiss at the same exposure setting. In case the camera was doing corrections to the jpeg, I checked the raw via ACR and saw the same. Two shots each to help rule out any shot to shot variations.

Just to check my sanity, I looked at the Photozone results again, which do show the Canon doing marginally better at f/5.6 than the Zeiss, which only does better once you open to f/2.8 and wider. But at f/5.6 it is very marginal, to the extent I'd question if I should even be able to notice the difference. Then again, their side-by-side test was on the low density 5D2, so the 450D I was using to test it had higher density which may have contributed to showing a bigger difference than their scores suggest.

So if sharpness is your only consideration, the Canon's value would "win" there. As it's getting late now I'll try more controlled bokeh tests tomorrow, which was the main reason I bought the lens in the first place.

Forgot to add, I pointed the lens at the sky between the clouds to see what it does with stars. Wide open, the Zeiss is easily better than the Canon for what I think is coma or whatever the correct aberration is called as you go towards the corners where point sources start smearing out.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:18 am 
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About manual focus.
Have you considered a third party focusing screen that has a micro prism?
I’ve used that kind of focusing solution in the pre AF age and it worked quite well.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:05 am 
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I have thought about a different focusing screen, which means I'll need a new camera :P The 7D isn't practically changeable. The 450D I wouldn't want to use with it normally. Forget the 1D. A 5D2 would go really nice with it, but that's another wedge of cash I don't have right now, but I say there's a 50% chance I might push for one this year depending on the direction of the general stock markets. Originally I was planning to hold out longer for the 5D3...

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:35 am 
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Popo

Congratulations on the purchase! I'd second the after market focus screen, if it were possible to swapout on the 7D, but it doesn't sound as if you can. You'll get used to it with practise, and when shooting at ranges above 5-7m at F8 you'll have a bitingly sharp point and shoot in effect.

You may find that there is no set point on the focus ring where the viewfinder shows you have focus via the focus confirm dot (or whatever it is you have on Canons). Rather, there may be a range with a slight movement of the focus ring that still shows as in focus with the confirmation, but it's slightly out. It might be worth practicing with a tripod to see where in this range the focus is dead on, and then practising moving into focus from near focus so it becomes second nature to find the right point. I tend to short focus and then zero in to just after the focus confirm light has come on, which usually nails it with my camera body. With the 2/35 shorter focal length and slightly deeper DoF it's less of an issue.

The other option is to focus bracket from near to far, and then pixel peeping afterwards to see where its sharpest.

You'll get used the the focus ring - it won't loosen too much with age, but it's just so much more precise. That's part of what you're paying for - the tank like build quality - it's lens porn! Trying to manually focus with an autofocus Nikkor after having my 2/35 on the camera for a while feels very sloppy.

Watch out, it's an addiction! The 2/100 is on my wish list, along with the 2,8/21

You've just reminded me to add a few photos to the 2/35 thread.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:21 am 
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At further subject distances, if I focus where the assist tells me to, the true focal point is often much closer than it should be. Sometimes it is so bad I can see in the viewfinder the focus is wrong! Certainly I intend to do more controlled tests on that to understand its behaviour. Note this is only really a problem wide open, as at f/8 I found I can use the DoF markings to set hyperfocal adequately. And I have live view to really nail it if needed, which I did use on occasion. The minor gripe I have is they don't give you much adjustment closer to the infinity end of the scale, where 4mm of rotation goes between the middle of the indicated 5m and infinity marks. The great DoF at f/8 is fine there, but if I should need to use it wide open, that is less great.

Then again, that isn't the main reason I bought it, which is for closer focus distances.

On the addiction... well, there's a slight taste of that coming in already. I'm wondering how much fun the 2/100 might be as a more serious macro lens, but that's nowhere near on the radar yet!

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:51 am 
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How are you finding the 2/50 rendering of textures? I'm finding that the 2/35 really brings out the microcontrast far more than anything else I've tried. You can pixel peep and compare graphs to your heart's content, but you can see the subtle differences in the way the lens captures a scene - it's intangible but it's there.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:08 am 
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While I'm happy with the absolute output, I'm actually more interested in the OOF regions, where initial testing shows it does have a certain quality to it that attracted me in the first place. I couldn't say the micro-contrast was special at the moment, but it is very early days as I haven't focused on my intended uses yet. Guess what my plans are today? :D

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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