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Author Topic: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation  (Read 2303 times)

angox

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Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:04:32 PM »
Hi all, I'm in a hunt for a wide angle prime. I've had 17-40mm for a while, but have never been satisfied. So I have been considering 3 primes at the end: Canon 24mm f/1.4 ii L, Zeiss 21 distagon f/2.8 and Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II.

My main uses:
- Environmental portrait
- Landscape/travel

Critical factors:
- Sharpness across frame
- Low distortion

I don't mind with manual focus, and most of my uses will have considerable DOF. Nonetheless, I have been struggling to decide, and am unable to rent since I am traveling extensively for business (at least until the time I will buy one of these lenses in Singapore). Therefore I'm hoping to get your input/experiences here to help me decide:

1) Which do you recommend for my use? (note: I've never used TS lens before, but definitely am interested to learn)
2) About manual focus, the AF confirmation in 5dmk3 for Zeiss or TS-E lenses; how accurate is it? Say, if I play with 1m DOF?
3) Would also be great if you can direct me to some samples of portraiture uses for Zeiss 21mm and TS-E 24mm.

Thanks a lot all. Really appreciate it.

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Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:04:32 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 06:12:51 PM »
I've never found the AF confirmation light to be accurate enough to suit me for manual focus.  Most autofocus lenses are designed for fast autofocus and have a very short amount of rotation.  This makes it very difficult to achieve optimum focus.  I've also tried split prisms and had the same poor results.
Lenses designed for manual focus usually have a much better mechanism and are easier to use, but you need better than average vision.
Focus peaking as found in Magic Lantern might work best, but I haven't tried it.
 

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 06:48:05 PM »
The TS-E 24 II is an awesome lens. Simply amazing.

I use it exclusively on a tripod, and, therefore, I use live view 10x for focussing (or tethered and 2x live view). Works great, especially since you can quickly and easily check focus across the entire frame. That's especially helpful if you're tilting for focus...which, frankly, isn't something I wind up doing all that much.

The 24 isn't the first lens I'd grab for portraiture, though, at least not traditional types of portraiture. It's awfully wide for that sort of thing. I have, however, used it for at least one portrait...see attached.

Cheers,

b&

user222

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 08:15:59 PM »
That is a tough choice. I have all 3 and they are exceptional lenses. I've thought long and hard about selling one, but can't seem to do it, as they all have their own niche.

The 24 1.4 II gives you AF, a fast aperture, in a relatively compact lens, and it's weather sealed.

The TS-E has next to no distortion, minimal CA, and the awesome tilt & shift movements.

The Zeiss gives you the widest FOV, with knock out contrast, color and detail.

The IQ from all 3 is outstanding. For travel, the Zeiss is the lightest, with the 24 1.4, being just a tad heavier, and the TS-E the biggest. The Zeiss and TS-E take 82mm filters, usually more expensive than the 77mm on the 24 1.4. (if you want to make the decision harder, throw in the Zeiss 25/2, another amazing lens! :))

Here's one from all 3:

TS-E 24 II (w/shift, two shots handheld)


Zeiss 21mm ZE


24 1.4 II (@ f/1.4)

angox

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 03:58:33 AM »
I've never found the AF confirmation light to be accurate enough to suit me for manual focus.  Most autofocus lenses are designed for fast autofocus and have a very short amount of rotation.  This makes it very difficult to achieve optimum focus.  I've also tried split prisms and had the same poor results.
Lenses designed for manual focus usually have a much better mechanism and are easier to use, but you need better than average vision.
Focus peaking as found in Magic Lantern might work best, but I haven't tried it.

Thanks for the info! I've had decent experience using AF lenses in MF mode. But I've never tried specifically MF lens, so I indeed was kind of hoping it would be more accurate with its long throw.

angox

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 04:00:24 AM »
The TS-E 24 II is an awesome lens. Simply amazing.

I use it exclusively on a tripod, and, therefore, I use live view 10x for focussing (or tethered and 2x live view). Works great, especially since you can quickly and easily check focus across the entire frame. That's especially helpful if you're tilting for focus...which, frankly, isn't something I wind up doing all that much.

The 24 isn't the first lens I'd grab for portraiture, though, at least not traditional types of portraiture. It's awfully wide for that sort of thing. I have, however, used it for at least one portrait...see attached.

Cheers,

b&

Thanks for the photo! It is really hard to find portraiture samples using these lenses.. Indeed I will use it for environmental portraiture work.. :)

angox

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 04:07:46 AM »
That is a tough choice. I have all 3 and they are exceptional lenses. I've thought long and hard about selling one, but can't seem to do it, as they all have their own niche.

The 24 1.4 II gives you AF, a fast aperture, in a relatively compact lens, and it's weather sealed.

The TS-E has next to no distortion, minimal CA, and the awesome tilt & shift movements.

The Zeiss gives you the widest FOV, with knock out contrast, color and detail.

The IQ from all 3 is outstanding. For travel, the Zeiss is the lightest, with the 24 1.4, being just a tad heavier, and the TS-E the biggest. The Zeiss and TS-E take 82mm filters, usually more expensive than the 77mm on the 24 1.4. (if you want to make the decision harder, throw in the Zeiss 25/2, another amazing lens! :))

Here's one from all 3:

TS-E 24 II (w/shift, two shots handheld)


Zeiss 21mm ZE


24 1.4 II (@ f/1.4)



Thanks for the input! In your experience, do you think the mustache distortion in Zeiss to be significant? I saw some samples in the internet, and got mixed feeling about it. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to only keep 1, which would it be? (I know you had some struggles even selling one, but just for discussion sake..  ;D)

I also heard that Zeiss 25mm f/2 isn't as good as the 21mm f/2.8.. what do you think?

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 04:07:46 AM »

Kernuak

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 06:16:53 AM »
Here are some shots with the 24mm f/1.4 MkII, although I don't have any comparisons with the Zeiss or the TS/E. I used manual focus in all of them.


The Chain by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Lucy in a Carriage by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Looking up at Hattie by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Clouds over Wells Cathedral by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Watchet Summer Sunset by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Kilve Pill under a Mackerel Sky by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

Road Aurora by Kernuak (avalonlightphotoart.co.uk), on Flickr

For comparison with the Aurora, Andy Keen uses the Zeiss, although I don't know which ones are definitely with that lens.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/keenonphotography/
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 06:22:45 AM by Kernuak »
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noisejammer

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 09:22:38 AM »
I can't speak to the 24L but I own the 21 and 25mm Zeiss lenses and have used the TS-E 24 quite a bit.

You asked whether the ZE 25/2 is not up to the ZE 21/2.8.

In truth, they are very different lenses however I believe the 25/2 is at least it's optical equal. Bear in mind that the MTF plots show the lenses wide open and then stopped down two clicks. At f/4, the resolution of the 25 is the equal of the 21's resolution at f/5.6. Both lenses exhibit field curvature in the extreme corners and stopping down does not help much. Vignetting is similar - both lenses need to be stopped down to f/5.6 for this to go away.

The TS-E 24 is a very good lens indeed however it is bulky and (IMO) the focus mechanism is not up to the quality of the optics. Gearing on the tilt mechanism could be better too. All this said, it is a versatile lens that can double as a 34mm tilt-shift if you have a 1.4x tc. Note that it is optically slower which makes focusing through the view finder more difficult.

Focusing - With all MF lenses, I find that magnified live view and a Zacuto 3x Z-finder Pro allows me to achieve precise focus every time. The Z-finder can be installed on the camera using a Z-FRM and remain there. It looks odd but it works well for me. I use Magic Lantern albeit not as effectively as I might. The focus peaking does allow rapid checking of focus.

The distortion of the lenses is easily removed in post but be wary that this can cost you resolution. I'm experimenting with doing it as the last step in my processing.

Samples. You can take a look here... http://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=107 . You should find hundreds of images from each lens to look at.

user222

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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 02:58:50 PM »
Thanks for the input! In your experience, do you think the mustache distortion in Zeiss to be significant? I saw some samples in the internet, and got mixed feeling about it. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to only keep 1, which would it be? (I know you had some struggles even selling one, but just for discussion sake..  ;D)

I also heard that Zeiss 25mm f/2 isn't as good as the 21mm f/2.8.. what do you think?

I haven't ran in to the mustache distortion yet. I've read that it is most apparent when the composition contains a horizontal line running across the top of the frame.

If I had to keep only one...oh no...really? :) In that case I think I'd have to go with the Z21. I just love the IQ.

Let me add that if I was trying to make it as an architecture photographer, it would be the TS-E, and if I was a dedicated street shooter, or photojournalist it would be the 24 1.4. I haven't used the Zeiss 25/2. I've seen some very nice photos from that lens though.

You mentioned portraits from the TS-E...it does actually make a pretty darn nice portrait lens. If you search for the TS-E image threads over at fredmiranda.com, Peter Figen has posted a few nice portraits with the TS-E.

Here's a doggy portrait with the TS-E:


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Re: Wide angle lens advice and AF confirmation
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 02:58:50 PM »