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Author Topic: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?  (Read 4475 times)

Scott

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Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« on: March 19, 2012, 09:23:23 PM »
Hi all,

So i'm very close to pulling the trigger and buying the 35mm f2 ZE the only thing i'm slightly hesitant about is the manual focus. I've been practising manually focusing with my 50mm 1.4 and i seem to have some successful shots and others that are totally unusable.
In your experience is it easier to focus the Zeiss due to its smooth focus ring or do you some times wish you bought the auto focus equivalent?.. for me that's the Canon 35mm 1.4L...

p.s I'm using a 5dmkii with precision focus screen.

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Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« on: March 19, 2012, 09:23:23 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 10:57:03 PM »
I don't have zeiss in ZE mount, but I've got a few in P6-mount, and my Takumar 50/1.4 and FL 55/1.2 are both very nearly zeiss-built, silky smooth focus rings and metal barrels.

I'm perfectly happy using them all on Manual Focus, most of the time I trust my own eyes more than I do AF. I've only got the stock 7D-screen, but the Katz-eye split-prism is on its way. For what I use it for, most static and slow-moving subjects, live-view on 5x is accurate enough, even at 55mm f/1.2.
I've also got the EF 85/1.8 and EF 100/2.0, in low light gigs, shots from across the room, the AF sometimes shuffles back and forth (maybe up to 20cm in real life), wide-open that means the shot is just wasted. So if i'm shooting a performer at a fixed distance, most of the time i stick it to mf anyway.

If the prices were the same, I'd take IQ > AF any day (under 200mm at least).
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myocyte

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 11:13:05 PM »
I am a huge fan of Zeiss IQ, but there are times when I purchased the Canon for AF. I had a Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 and I still have the Zeiss 50 mm f/2.0 MP. It really depends on what you are taking pictures of. I was okay with the manual focus on the wide angle because I was taking pictures of landscapes and it allowed me time to really think my composition as I was shooting (I only sold the lens because I wanted some zoom functionality for my versatility with a 16-35). With my 50 mm, I really love the IQ but when I'm taking pictures of people or events, it can be a bit slow to MF and I miss the moment. But hands down, the IQ of Zeiss glass is amazing. so, I'd say that it really depends on what you're taking pictures of.
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Scott

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2012, 11:47:17 PM »
thanks for your replies. I'm not a professional photographer rather an enthusiast who likes to take photos of many different subjects (street/ social being favourites).
I respect the Zeiss IQ and love the way it renders an image but i worry about user error for not being able to capture the moment. One of the factors in my decision between Zeiss and Canon is that the 35L carry's a 600AUD premium over the Distagon... but we are talking about one of Canon's most loved lenses.
I guess the longer i procrastinate the more money i save...

pwp

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2012, 12:08:10 AM »
The Zeiss 70-200 for EF mount just announced would HAVE to have AF to have any impact on the non-cine Canon market, by far the greater proportion. It would also have to be an absolutely spectacular piece of glass when the main competition is the stellar Canon 70-200 f/2.8isII. Looking forward to more detail on the Zeiss zoom.

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 07:23:42 AM »
Scott, what camera are you going to use your 35 CZ on? Are you happy with its AF? Are you happy with the IQ from a Canon 35 prime? If both answer yes - why are you looking for CZ? There must be smth else beyond MF... No one buys a Zeiss just for the MF (except for video).
I sold all my Canon lenses for CZ and have four and counting. MF is a matter of training your brain & fingers. A year from starting or even less you may be as good as a 5D2 AF on a 100/2 MP...
One advice: get the CZ 35 f1.4 instead the f2 ! No regrets, never, for life!
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scottsdaleriots

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 07:28:43 AM »
TBH zeiss not having AF deters me from not buying their lenses. I mean for portraits/weddings and landscapes where you're using a tripod, etc it's fine for that. But I would use it for moving subjects such as concert photography. I'm not too confident with using MF, which is why almost all the time I use AF.

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 07:28:43 AM »

Scott

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 11:38:18 PM »
After going back and forth between the Canon and Zeiss i ended up getting a second hand copy of the Canon 35L. I loved the IQ and build of the Zeiss but i'm just not ready to get rid of auto focus.
No regrets with the 35L!  :)

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 11:48:49 PM »
using a tripod for a wedding? you are joking arent you?
maybe for a couple fo set shots max but 99.8% of the shooting is run and gun
hardly time to change lenses let alone setting up a tripod unless its planned wel in advance and co-ordinated as part of the rehearsal.
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dr croubie

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 11:53:46 PM »
I've been to weddings where they had proper set-up shots, like family members all crowded around the couple in front of the doors of the church or something, then swap over for various options like bride side only, groom side only, just parents, all extended family etc.
It's been a while though (like I know the wedding was shot on film), so I can't remember if he had a tripod or if he just crouched.
but that's probably the best example of a tripod at weddings. (or the only example I can think of, besides filming from up the back)
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gene_can_sing

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2012, 12:32:16 AM »
I have the Zeiss ZF 50mm and 85mm both f1.4

I mostly shoot video, so the focus pull is really smooth, and I like the Zeiss color rendition. It's very interesting and unique looking.

BUT, the thing I dislike about the Zeiss lenses are the chromatic aberrations are pretty bad when shot wide open. This is a known issue with pretty much all the Zeiss lenses, except the most recent models where Zeiss publicly stated that they tried really hard to address this issue.

I had the Canon 50mm f1.4, and it was much better when shot wide open. Less haze and less purple fringing.

The 85mm also has very noticeable purple fringing when shot wide open. Not sure how the Canon 85mm f1.2 is in that regard, but overall, just because of the fairly sever chromatic aberrations, I prefer the Canons.

dickgrafixstop

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2012, 04:03:10 PM »
depends - when the shoot style is deliberate (landscapes, travel, posed portraits) the answer is no.  When the
target is fluid (street, sports or other grab shots) the autofocus is a tremendous aid.  I'm not sure for all the talk
about the Zeiss "look" that there's really that much difference for the average shooter.  I like the 85 f1.4 but the
Canon 85 f1.2 is a sharper more responsive lens to me - with much nicer (to my taste) bokeh.   

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2012, 04:54:10 PM »
I had a Hasselblad with a selection of Zeiss lenses.  They were pretty sharp, and being medium format, the edges and corners were good as well.  However. I could not manually focus using the viewfinder at all.  I could using liveview, but had to put a cloth over my head to be able to see the rear lcd in bright light.
 
In my studio where I had it tethered to a 24 inch monitor and could view it at 5X, it did a great job for products.  The manual focus was smooth and precise.
 
Unfortuately, for me, it was impractical.  A really wide lens might be ok just using a hyperfocal setting, but not in the 50-60mm range.  AF is far more accurate for me than my manual focusing.

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2012, 04:54:10 PM »

Arkarch

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 05:25:57 PM »
Got a Zeiss 21mm and I do not miss the AF at all.

Keep in mind though that this is wide and mostly used for landscapes and other events where I have a second or two to focus in.  The Canon Focus-Assist gives you an Auto-Focus confirmation - the only thing different is that you are the "motor".   I can see it being an issue on longer lenses or action/sports shot. 

For the wide, the edge-to-edge sharpness, microcontrast, and color rendition easily out-performs the Canons.  For me, its even worth being a prime instead of a zoom for the quality shots I get.

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 05:37:34 PM »
After going back and forth between the Canon and Zeiss i ended up getting a second hand copy of the Canon 35L. I loved the IQ and build of the Zeiss but i'm just not ready to get rid of auto focus.
No regrets with the 35L!  :)

You made the right choice.  I had the Canon 35L, Canon 35 f/2, and Zeiss ZE 35 f/2, and I just don't see what all the Zeiss fuss is about.  Yes, it produces a different, warmer color than Canon, but to my eyes the Canon reflected truer colors to what my eyes see, and MF is fine for static subjects that are patiently waiting for you, but precious moments WILL be lost if people/children/bride, etc are moving in hectic environment. 

Another great thing about sticking to Canon lenses is Canon DPP's Digital Lens Optimizer, which works much better than just CA correction software for sharpness and CA correction.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 08:02:56 PM by drjlo »

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Re: Zeiss users: Do you ever wish for auto focus?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 05:37:34 PM »