April 21, 2014, 08:16:53 AM

Author Topic: 50mm 1.2 / 85mm 1.2 VS Zeiss 50mm1.4 / Zeiss 85mm 1.4? Which should I buy...  (Read 9483 times)

djgunter

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I also plan to upgrade to the 5D Mark3 within a few months, if that makes any difference...

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RMC33

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Thank you for posting those.

I have experience with the 50L but never shot with the 50/1.4. If you have the opportunity to compare them in good light outside, with a colorful subject, both at f/1.4, this would be very useful.

I may be able to today. Someone hit my car in a parking lot yesterday and I have to deal with that. The colors here in Nevada are pretty drab this time of year sadly, but I think I have something in mind.

sdsr

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Hi everyone,

New user here in need of some expert opinions before I spend BIG on primes....

I'm looking to purchase a very wide aperture lens...my current widest lens is the 100mm 2.8 IS L Macro lens.

I want something that will be great for ultimate bokeh and street photography. I had a look at all these lenses today but cant decide which one is best without really getting to use any...I cant rent where I am either.

The Canon 85mm 1.2 is nuts...but the Zeiss lenses, especially the 85mm 1.4 is just beautiful. I have never had a manual only lens so Im worried I wont be happy using it.

Can anyone fill me in? I'm looking for the sharpest lens with the best most bokeh...is there a difference between the 50mm 1.2L and the 85mm 1.2L?

Thanks for your help everyone.

Does the fact that you mention these lenses mean that you've considered and excluded the 135L and Sigma 85 1.4?  If not, I would strongly recommend you consider them, especially since they cost much less than the lenses you've mentioned.  They're both sharp (esp. the 135) wide open, mechanically excellent (the 135L is extremely fast-focusing), and create superb bokeh (the 135 is famous for it).  If you do a suitable internet search you'll find bokeh (and other) comparisons between the 85mm L and the Sigma; the results may surprise you.  (And bear in mind that (1) it's easier to get smoother bokeh with a longer focal length; for one thing, you don't have to get so close to the subject; and (2) as someone else has mentioned, you're not likely to be doing street photography at 1.2, except perhaps in the middle of the night....)

RMC33

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I also plan to upgrade to the 5D Mark3 within a few months, if that makes any difference...

What are you using now?

risc32

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when you say the zeiss is the sharpest wide open do you mean zeiss macro f2 at f2-vs- the L's at f1.2? This reminds me of what Roger at "lensrentals" found during his big 50mm roundup. If you don't care to find that info and read it, i'll give you the short answer. The Zeiss(s) have nothing on the L or the 1.4 or 1.8 for that matter. In fact the Zeiss 1.4 is probably the worst performer i can think of off the top of my head in regards to the commonly tested lens areas. but you don't have to believe me, I've seen it perform poorly at maybe 4-5 of the top lens reviewing sites. search it.
  But if you just want a solidly built MF 50mm lens that you can take pics with, at any price, that's certainly the Zeiss. If you get one that is calibrated properly, unlike the 21mm Brian from "thedigitalpicture" had. I know it's hard to believe, but for that much money, and with no AF complications to deal with, and all those "papers" with people signing off on them, they still get stuff wrong.

  Oh, and the Zeiss 85mm is also a poor performer in the traditional areas of performance. Easily bettered by the canon 85mm 1.8 and sigma, but it's all metal, and you have to MF,  so that's got to be worth something?!

Plamen

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I borrowed the Sigma 85 from a friend - it was OK but the AF was terrible. It needed very different MA values at different FLs. My friend had similar experience on a different body and he returned it.

alipaulphotography

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50mm F/1.2 is a gorgeous lens. I spent 6 weeks in Thailand with just that one lens.











More can be seen here: http://alipaul.com/travel/thailand-two/.

alipaul.com

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RMC33

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50mm F/1.2 is a gorgeous lens. I spent 6 weeks in Thailand with just that one lens.











More can be seen here: http://alipaul.com/travel/thailand-two/.


Great shots!

Axilrod

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The 85L is the bokeh king, but the 50L is great too.  I ditched my 50L (once my favorite lens) for the Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro and have zero regrets.  Then again I shoot video primarily so I have very little need for autofocus.  ZE is worlds sharper though, especially on the edges.  The ZE 50mm f/1.4 is pretty solid too, but not that great below f/2.8.
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Joes Dad

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I have experience with these lenses.  In my view, the Canon 85 f/1.2L is a phenomenal portrait lens - the best for this purpose Canon makes (unless you include the 200 f/2.0 - but that is a different discussion and not suited to street photography as mentioned by the OP).  At night, the 85 f/1.2 AF will hunt, but the lens is worth that frustration.  The 50 f/1.2L is also a very good lens, but in my view I would choose the Zeiss over it for street photography, especially at night when you will want to shoot wide open.  Good luck.  (+1 AliPaul - great shots.)
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500 f/4L | 300 f/2.8L | 200 f/2.0L | 70-200 f/2.8L II | 16-35 f/2.8L II | 24-70 f/2.8L | 24-105 f/4L | 50 f/1.2L | 85 f/1.2L II | 100 f/2.8L M IS | MP-E 65 f/2.8 | TS-E 24 f/3.5L II | 24 f/1.4L | 14 f/2.8L | 40 f/2.8

RMC33

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I have experience with these lenses.  In my view, the Canon 85 f/1.2L is a phenomenal portrait lens - the best for this purpose Canon makes (unless you include the 200 f/2.0 - but that is a different discussion and not suited to street photography as mentioned by the OP).  At night, the 85 f/1.2 AF will hunt, but the lens is worth that frustration.  The 50 f/1.2L is also a very good lens, but in my view I would choose the Zeiss over it for street photography, especially at night when you will want to shoot wide open.  Good luck.  (+1 AliPaul - great shots.)

I keep seeing people mention this. I should run my 200 f/2 through a few portrait/headshot sessions.....

fegari

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I also plan to upgrade to the 5D Mark3 within a few months, if that makes any difference...


Yes it does make a difference. The 5D3 will greatly improve your chances with fast manuals and also with "super" fast auto such as 1.2's without needing to use LV all the time simply because the viewfinder's green dot focus confirmation is that much reliable in that camera.

I pondered more or less around the same question as you and decided the following for myself:

-50mm: discarded the 50l and Zeiss 1.4 went for the Zeiss Makro Planar F/2 because it is outstanding at any aperture and a joy to hold and use. Top build and frankly a stellar performer wide open at f/2 with macro capability (well, 1:2 but macro anyway). The 50L has only going for it the 1.2 aperture and from what I read it is not very sharp there. Look on the forums for examples of the Zeiss 50MP's bokeh and even at f2 it can compete handsomely with the 50L at 1.2.  And the famous/infameous 3D effect: oh boy does the Zeiss 50MP render in 3D

-85mm: went for the 85L: besides being very very sharp at 1.2,  my experience with the Zeiss 100 (which I also own) is that it is very very difficult to nail focus in manual at those king of apertures with medium teles such as those. The the autofocus becomes a necessity. I still use the 100 MP but for those occasions I KNOW i'll have the time to take n-pictures until hopefully one is critically focused. If you wonder  why did I chose a fast  manual 50mm such as the Zeiss 50MP, I can tell you that manually focusing at f2 at 50mm is much much easier than doing it at 85 (exit the Zeiss 85 1.4 then).

Here some examples of the  "pop" effect, bokeh, shaprness and particular contrasty colors of the Zeiss 50MP (Heck I've even had to desaturate some). You'll finder bigger on the flicker page where I put them.


untitled-3 par Fegarix, sur Flickr


untitled-10 par Fegarix, sur Flickr


untitled-4 par Fegarix, sur Flickr




And a couple of "3d" examples (though need to be appreciatted better in a bigger pic:

untitled-1 par Fegarix, sur Flickr


untitled-6 par Fegarix, sur Flickr


untitled-8 par Fegarix, sur Flickr


jasonsim

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I have and use both.  I would say that the 50mm f/1.2L is going to be your more walk-around everyday prime.  The 85mm f/1.2L is a heavy beast and slower to AF.  The 85mm shines for portraits really.  Here are some samples taken with my 50mm f/1.2L:

@ f/1.2:

 
@ f/1.8:

 
@ f/2.8:
Cams: Canon 1Dx, 6D, EOS M
Zooms: 17-40mm f/4L, 70-200mm f/4L, 24-70mm f/2.8L II, 70-200mm f/2.8L II; Primes: 22mm f/2, 40mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.2L, 100mm f/2.8L, 135mm f/2L, 300mm f/2.8L IS II, 600mm f/4L II
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georgecpappas

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I have both the 50mm 1.2 and the Zeiss 85mm 1.4.  I view them as complimentary rather than substitutes for each other; they excel at different things.

The 50mmL is a great lens - the shallow DOF is a great asset for certain images.  I looked at the Canon 85mmL and thought it was very nice; however, I love the Zeiss 85mm.  Somehow, my favorite images - (portraits, intimate landscapes) always seem to be taken with this lens.  It is small and easy to carry (especially compared to the Canon 85mm).  At 1.4 it exhibits some field curvature - however that is normal for this lens design.  At smaller apertures, it is bitingly sharp with terrific tonality.

I use a 5D3 and have micro-adjusted it.  hand-held, I get great focus accuracy; of course, live-view on the tripod eliminates focusing problems. Highly recommended.

For the OP; it really depends on your objectives and how important AF is to you.


pwp

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Canon lenses take snapshots, Zeiss lenses take photographs.

I know what you're trying to say, but that's a pretty exclusive viewpoint. Few will dispute Ziess glass has extraordinary qualities, but it's time to roll out that old chestnut again...Content is King.

Just to keep things in perspective, the best photograph you see this year may be taken with an iPhone!

-PW

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