October 23, 2014, 07:22:13 AM

Author Topic: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??  (Read 4748 times)

FlowerPhotog

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« on: April 23, 2012, 09:58:57 PM »
I am trying to decide on a 50 mm prime to go with my new 5D Mk III.  I do a lot of fairly closeup photography (flowers mostly) and landscapes, so wanted a lens good at both, ie close focus capability, and very sharp across the entire frame.  I've been doing a lot of reading about the image quality of the Zeiss 50 2.0 macro and it sounds great.  My only hesitation is the lack of autofocus.   I don't intend to use the lens for fast action - usually I will have time to properly compose the shots.   With the Mark III not having replaceable focus screens, I'm wondering if anyone out there has tried using it with a Zeiss (or other manual lens) and how good the viewfinder image is for manually focusing?   I know I could also use Live View for manual focusing, but sometimes that is just a bit awkward depending on the shot. 

I am also considering the Canon 50 1.4,  even though it has it's issues, it does have very good IQ when stopped down, which is what I often need to do to get better DOF for some types of flowers.  A concern about the Canon 50 1.4 is the minimum focus distance on it (18") is about twice the Zeiss  (9").  I'm not considering the Canon 50 1.2L, as it appears to have slightly poorer IQ when stopped down than the 1.4 does, and if I'm going into that price range the overall IQ of the Zeiss sounds more like what I'm looking for.      I've also considered the Canon 50 2.5 macro, the Sigma 50 1.4 and the Sigma 50 2.8 macro, but can't get too excited about any of those lenses after reading the various reviews.  There is just something about the reported mythical image quality of the Zeiss lenses that has me intrigued, not just the sharpness, but also the bokeh appears to be superior to the Canon, and often for flowers I do attempt to get a nice blurred background.   

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

canon rumors FORUM

50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« on: April 23, 2012, 09:58:57 PM »

msdarkroom

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 10:54:36 PM »
This post is right up my alley!
I'm using a 5dm3 and within the past two weeks...

I sold this: http://amzn.to/I6Gcpg
And bought this: http://amzn.to/JvlU7I


I love the Zeiss 50 MP.

If you aren't doing fast action photography, don't think twice about not having AF. I had the same concern before buying and I can honestly say that I am actually glad that I have a lens without AF. That may seem like an odd statement, but having no AF slows things down and forces you to think about what you are doing. It makes you a better photographer.
You still get focus confirmation, so you don't have to guess or anything like that. Having a real distance scale is awesome as well. For example, f8 gives you focus from 5 meters to infinity. You don't need to look at anything, just set it and leave it.
Image quality is awesome. Build is awesome. When you open the box there is even a quality control slip that is signed.
Anyway, I highly recommend the Zeiss 50 2.0.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be glad to help.

-MS


PS - I didn't not care for the 50 1.4. It was fine on a cropped sensor, but once I got it on a full frame I started to hate it.
Focus was not consistent - even on a tripod. Bad chromatic issues wide open. The usual complaints.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 10:57:25 PM by msdarkroom »

msdarkroom

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 11:10:03 PM »
Here is an example of the bokeh for you. Right out of camera, no processing. It was windy and this is handheld. Obviously f2.0 is too shallow to be doing a flower shot like this - I was checking what kind of backgrounds I would get with this lens.
5dm3, Zeiss 50 2.0 MP, shot at f/2.0.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 11:15:33 PM by msdarkroom »

msdarkroom

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 11:14:02 PM »
Same settings as above, but this one is processed.
5dm3, Zeiss 50 2.0, f2.0.


FlowerPhotog

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 11:23:25 PM »
Thanks for the quick feedback.  It sounds like your totally sold on the Zeiss, glad to hear you don't have issues with focusing.    One more question -  I usually use Aperture Priority - is there anything else different you need to do for proper exposure vs a Canon EF lens?  I have some old Minolta manual lenses I used on my t2i with an adapter (only worked for close focused subjects), and those were both manual focus and manual exposure. I usually ended up taking several shots to get the right exposure.  I  think the ZE versions of the Zeiss lens have their apertures linked electronically into the metering system, so assume that won't be an issue, but just wanted to check with someone whose actually using the lens.

Thanks again

msdarkroom

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 12:17:03 AM »
I am an Av shooter as well. Both the images above were shot in Av.
The aperture is linked to the metering system. I was doing some nerdy exposure practice with the Z50 when I took those images. I shot several images stopped down as well. I used exposure compensation in matrix and spot metering modes. No issues at all.

te4o

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 287
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 09:58:02 AM »
Go for the 50/2 - I tested it for 7 days now and it is quite easy to MF on the 5D3 - the focus confirmation is great, I set mine to eight point assist and it works better than any EG-S. f2 is easier to MF than f1.4 by 100%. I use Av with my Zeiss all the time too. The 50/2 is a very solid performer but some complain about a too impersonal look... Sterile?
I would not say this, depends on how you shoot.
5D3 (04/12), Carl Zeiss ZE 21, 35/1.4, 50MP, 100MP
Canon 135/2, Sigma 85/1.4
SONY RX100

canon rumors FORUM

Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 09:58:02 AM »

sawsedge

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2012, 10:43:54 AM »
My friend has the ZE50, I have the Canon 50mm f/1.4.  Both are great lenses.  The ZE is better at f/2.0, but I have no complaints either.  I like having AF.  He doesn't seem to have any issues focusing with his 5D (mark I) though. 

Axilrod

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1376
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 11:13:48 AM »
I shot with Zeiss lenses for the first time this past weekend and I am absolutely in love.  Even the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 looked amazing, and the Canon 50L is my favorite lens, so that says a lot.  I don't know that I can recommend them for a photographer (although focus confirmation worked beautifully), but if you are only shooting video I can't recommend them enough.  If you can live without AF, go for it. 
5DIII/5DII/Bunch of L's and ZE's, currently rearranging.

NormanBates

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 489
  • www.similaar.com
    • View Profile
    • www.similaar.com
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2012, 11:30:27 AM »
+1 to msdarkroom's comment on how manual lenses help developing your craft
it forces you to work harder to get your pictures, but rewards you with pictures that look exactly as YOU wanted them to look

and if you're going manual focus, you can save a lot and get amazing IQ by going vintage
my Leitz Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 is an amazing lens, sharp and with exceptional bokeh, and it cost me $600
the Rollei Planar 50mm f/1.8 is the sharpest 50mm I have tested, and bokeh is not bad either - a great little lens that sells for under $100 in ebay

not all vintage lenses are great, though, so you'll have to investigate

these are my sharpness and bokeh tests:
http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/lenstestsa.html
http://www.similaar.com/foto/lenstests/bokehtests.html

in any case, these don't have focus confirmation or anything like that; on the plus side, they're future-proof: lenses for Leica-R mount work on Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony...
http://www.similaar.com/foto/lensmount/lensmount.html

FlowerPhotog

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2012, 07:13:32 PM »
Thanks in part to the advice given earlier in this thread, I went ahead and pulled the trigger and bought the Zeiss 50 2.0 ZE Macro.     UPS showed up yesterday afternoon with it and I had a little while this morning to test it out.  So far I am very impressed with the image quality.  The focus ring is very smooth and has lots of throw which is wonderful for closeup fine-tuning.  I was a little surprised at the infinity end of the focus range, as compared to some of my Canon lenses.   I did a quick set of distant test shots comparing it to my Canon 24-105 set at 50 mm. The Canon, when manually focusing, goes beyond infinity, but the Zeiss hard stops right there.   I had a little trouble being 100% sure what I was focusing on (maybe 50 yards away or so) was right at infinity or just a smidge back from it. Shots came out razor sharp so I guess I got it OK.
On the distant landscape (mountain)  shots the Zeiss is sharp edge to edge from about f/2.8 on, unlike my Canon 24-105, which gets a bit blurry near the margins when pixel peeping at 100%, regardless of the aperture.

 Here's a couple shots I took this morning in the garden.  Same scene, one at f10, showing the entire flower and prickly bud in razor sharp detail, the second is at f 2.0, showing the creamy blurring of the background.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: 50mm Zeiss 2.0 vs Canon 1.4 - manual focusing on 5D Mk III??
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2012, 07:13:32 PM »