October 31, 2014, 07:54:57 PM

Author Topic: Sony Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens, very Close to Otus 55mm per DXO  (Read 2686 times)

drjlo

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Anybody using the Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm lens yet? 

DXO testing shows results very close to the Otus 55 mm, in fact second best for any lens behind Otus and the best audiofocus lens DXO has every tested.  I should receive one soon along with A7R; I just hope all the ergonomic issues, Sony-specific software/hardware issues don't make me regret buying that combo to use alongside my 5D III.

http://petapixel.com/2014/01/30/dxomark-rates-zeiss-55mm-fe-sony-a7a7r-best-autofocus-lens-ever/

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Ellen Schmidtee

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DXO testing shows results very close to the Otus 55 mm, in fact second best for any lens behind Otus and the best audiofocus lens DXO has every tested.

Huh?

Ruined

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It is an admirable lens in terms of sharpness, but it seems quite expensive to me for an f/1.8 50mm.  For other major brands you can get f/1.4 for a lot cheaper than this lens, and f/1.2 for not too much more.

But, if sharpness is your only concern, this is a good lens.

Radiating

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It is an admirable lens in terms of sharpness, but it seems quite expensive to me for an f/1.8 50mm.  For other major brands you can get f/1.4 for a lot cheaper than this lens, and f/1.2 for not too much more.

But, if sharpness is your only concern, this is a good lens.

That's like saying "The lunar rover seems quite expensive, for a vehicle without leather, you can get cars that are much better equipped for a lot cheaper, and cars that are gold plated for not much more, but if driving on the moon is your only concern the lunar rover is a good vehicle".

Anyways I wouldn't read into DXO's sharpness figures too much, they are meaningless junk that take the sharpest possible point on the lens and use that as the benchmark. Their rankings would be wildly different if they measured sharpness as an average.

This lens is a marketing gimmick though. It has nothing to do with the Zeiss Otus and the technology it uses. The standard focal length prime (i.e. 50mm prime) has been an extremely difficult problem to crack for single reflex mirror cameras, at this range with the standard back focus distance you experience extreme optical aberrations that reduce resolution by 2-4 fold and add tons of hazing chromatic aberration and purple fringing to images with standard optical designs. In fact if you compare the 30 most popular 50mm lenses, the Zeiss Otus achieved performance that was at a minimum 2 times better in every meaningful dimension, in many cases it was 5 times better. It used a revolutionary new incredibly complex optical design. That's why the Otus is special, it's like sending someone to walk the moon. It's special because it's a 50mm lens that's sharp with a normal back focus distance. A lens like that doesn't exist outside the Otus (although Sigma is releasing a lens with a similar optical design, the 50mm f/1.4 ART, which is also revolutionary).

The 55mm f/1.8 ZA is not revolutionary. It's about as impressive as sending someone to walk on the sidewalk. There is no complex technical problem with making a sharp 55mm lens with a short back focus distance. The lens has only 7 simple elements. It's child's play. Optical design becomes equally simple at 85mm for a long back focus distance, so basically 55mm on mirrorless has the same challenges as 85mm for mirrored, which is to say there are none, it's a given. The 55mm f/1.8 ZA is boring design that shows no skill or technical mastery.


As far as being the second sharpest lens DXO has ever tested, that's nonsense. If you look at DXO's sharpness figures and drill down to the raw data the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G obliterates the 55mm f/1.8 ZA over 98% of the frame at all apertures, yet the 55mm f/1.8G ZA has a much higher DXO score just because it posts a higher figure at a single data point. That's not to say that it's not a sharp lens, but it's not special in any dimension.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 04:21:14 PM by Radiating »

sdsr

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Anybody using the Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm lens yet? 

DXO testing shows results very close to the Otus 55 mm, in fact second best for any lens behind Otus and the best audiofocus lens DXO has every tested.  I should receive one soon along with A7R; I just hope all the ergonomic issues, Sony-specific software/hardware issues don't make me regret buying that combo to use alongside my 5D III.

http://petapixel.com/2014/01/30/dxomark-rates-zeiss-55mm-fe-sony-a7a7r-best-autofocus-lens-ever/

I have no idea how it compares to an Otus in real life and probably never will (unless I rent one for kicks), I've not owned mine for very long, and so far I've only used it hand-held, but I'm finding the sharpness, clarity, contrast, colors etc. on my A7r to be quite remarkable, even on fairly distant subjects, whether in bright sun or at night, and at all the apertures I've used so far (it's impressive at 1.8 but does improve a bit with stopping down).  Excellent bokeh too.  I can't agree with those reviewers who have said they don't ever see any chromatic aberrations - while its performance may well be better than that of most fast lenses, I certainly see it in the usual worst-case high-contrast scenarios, but it's easy enough to fix in, say, LR; and while the files respond very nicely to tweaking, the RAW files look pretty damn good viewed 1:1 in LR with no more than its default import settings.  (I've also seen a bit of shutter shock on a couple of photos where I wasn't paying attention and the camera selected the shutter speeds where that happens (1/100-1/125 or so).)  It perhaps goes without saying that it's considerably better than the 28-70mm kit zoom.

I suppose it would be nice if it had IS (or OS or whatever Sony calls it), though I've not had a problem resulting from its absence so far (and it wouldn't help the shutter shock anyway, would it?), but given how well it does I'm disinclined to think it's overpriced for what it is.  (Then again, I was able to take advantage of the current promotion and bought it with the camera for $200 off....)

I also suspect that, as a practical matter, it's easy to exaggerate how good this lens is.  Yes, this lens/body combination captures remarkable detail etc., remarkably well - but I've also obtained excellent results from several of the Canon lenses I've tried on the camera too, including such bargains as the 40mm pancake and 85mm 1.8 (though this isn't as good at 1.8 as the new Sony is).  In many situations, especially if you're not viewing the images 1:1 or making huge prints, there may not be much of a difference in image quality (though of course you'll get much faster focusing from the Sony lens). 

Anyway, there seems a pretty good chance you'll be pleased with it - I hope so!

sdsr

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[....] This lens is a marketing gimmick though. It has nothing to do with the Zeiss Otus and the technology it uses. [....] The 55mm f/1.8 ZA is not revolutionary. It's about as impressive as sending someone to walk on the sidewalk. The 55mm f/1.8 ZA is boring design that shows no skill or technical mastery. [....]  If you look at DXO's sharpness figures and drill down to the raw data the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G obliterates the 55mm f/1.8 ZA over 98% of the frame at all apertures....


I've not read any of the marketing bumph - do Sony claim it is related to the Otus or that it's "revolutionary"?  Have you used a Sony 55 1.8 side-by-side with said Nikon lens and witnessed said obliteration yourself?

Dylan777

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Anybody using the Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm lens yet? 

DXO testing shows results very close to the Otus 55 mm, in fact second best for any lens behind Otus and the best audiofocus lens DXO has every tested.  I should receive one soon along with A7R; I just hope all the ergonomic issues, Sony-specific software/hardware issues don't make me regret buying that combo to use alongside my 5D III.

http://petapixel.com/2014/01/30/dxomark-rates-zeiss-55mm-fe-sony-a7a7r-best-autofocus-lens-ever/

yes..it's that good

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=19484.0

« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 07:29:50 PM by Dylan777 »
Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 16-35L f4 IS -- 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 85L II -- 135L -- 200L f2 IS -- 400L f2.8 IS II

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Ruined

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It is an admirable lens in terms of sharpness, but it seems quite expensive to me for an f/1.8 50mm.  For other major brands you can get f/1.4 for a lot cheaper than this lens, and f/1.2 for not too much more.

But, if sharpness is your only concern, this is a good lens.

That's like saying "The lunar rover seems quite expensive, for a vehicle without leather, you can get cars that are much better equipped for a lot cheaper, and cars that are gold plated for not much more, but if driving on the moon is your only concern the lunar rover is a good vehicle".

I get the joke, but sharpness is hardly the only important thing in lenses.  If it were, the $99 Canon f/1.8 50mm would be king of lenses!

Again, for an f/1.8 aperture prime, the Sony FE 55mm seems very expensive for what it is.  I believe the main reason it is so expensive is because it has a captive market with no other native prime at that focal length available.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 05:28:51 PM by Ruined »

drjlo

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Again, for an f/1.8 aperture prime, the Sony FE 55mm seems very expensive for what it is.  I believe the main reason it is so expensive is because it has a captive market with no other native prime at that focal length available. (

I agree Sony pricing is wacky, e.g. behold the RX1R and accessory pricing.  I probably would not have bought the FE 55 mm, or the A7R, if it werent' for the great deal at Focus Camera.  I have owned Canon 50 f/1.8II, Canon 50 f/1.4, Canon FL 55 mm f/1.2 (converted to EOS), Canon 50L, and I have used the Sigma 50 f/1.4 (non-ART).  I have sold them off one by one and am left with only the 50L, which I would have sold except it works great with 5D III AF system despite its issues.  Heck, the 50 mm range of my Canon 24-70 II probably is the sharpest of all of them.

Unlike many who find the 50 mm range boring, I love that focal length, and I blame Canon for not coming up with a truly great fast 50 mm for so long, too busy putting IS on their wide angles  :'(  The FL 55mm f/1.2 was fun, but manual focusing at wide apertures just took too long to be useful in real life for events, people, kids, etc.

The FE55 mm should hopefully fill my 50 mm void until Canon puts out a worthy one, a simple 50 mm f1.8 or f1.4 with good sharpness wide open and rounded blades/better bokeh would be sufficient.  I fear Canon will price it $8-900 even for non-L, if it ever comes out, though.  Just hope it will not be a 50 f/2.0 IS for $1000  >:(




sdsr

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I agree Sony pricing is wacky, e.g. behold the RX1R and accessory pricing.  I probably would not have bought the FE 55 mm, or the A7R, if it werent' for the great deal at Focus Camera.  I have owned Canon 50 f/1.8II, Canon 50 f/1.4, Canon FL 55 mm f/1.2 (converted to EOS), Canon 50L, and I have used the Sigma 50 f/1.4 (non-ART).  I have sold them off one by one and am left with only the 50L, which I would have sold except it works great with 5D III AF system despite its issues.  Heck, the 50 mm range of my Canon 24-70 II probably is the sharpest of all of them.

Unlike many who find the 50 mm range boring, I love that focal length, and I blame Canon for not coming up with a truly great fast 50 mm for so long, too busy putting IS on their wide angles  :'(  The FL 55mm f/1.2 was fun, but manual focusing at wide apertures just took too long to be useful in real life for events, people, kids, etc.


Too bad you didn't keep your 55 1.2 - manual focusing on a mirrorless body is so much easier than on a dslr.  But at least you'll be able to compare your 50mm L if so inclined (the metabones EF-Sony E adapter works very well) to your new Sony 55mm (or to any other brand of 50mm lens; and when you do you may perhaps decide it's not overpriced after all.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Sony Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens, very Close to Otus 55mm per DXO
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 10:03:37 PM »
One of the BASIC issues of lens testing is that results are valid only for the camera model that they are tested on.  Comparing across brands is sure to bring dumb comments.

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Re: Sony Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens, very Close to Otus 55mm per DXO
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 10:03:37 PM »