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Author Topic: Canon or Zeiss lenses?  (Read 17174 times)

Davephoto

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Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« on: September 01, 2012, 09:53:02 AM »
Hi all,

Need some help choosing the right camera lenses for my 5D mark III.

I want to shoot stills and video. Stills: mainly portraits and street photography. Video: music videos.
I like to shoot with prime lenses: a 50mm and wide angle 35 or 28, preferably 1.2 / 1.4. Like the Canon 50mm L 1.2 or the Zeiss 50mm 1.4.

What would be the best choice for me? Canon or Zeiss lenses? Zeiss is only MF, good for video, but good for stills too?

Thank you for your time and reply.

Best, Dave

JasonATL

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 01:56:20 PM »
Edit: I had replied on the previous thread and hadn't noticed that you had posted both threads. So, some of this is rehash of what I said on that thread.

I'm a fan of Zeiss for video for both the look you get and the mechanical operation of the lens.

Having the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4, you really don't want to shoot these wide open if you have a high contrast setting. If you do, you'll get quite a bit of purple fringing where dark objects are against bright objects (see sample video below). This is a fairly well known characteristic of these lenses (i.e., I've read others' comments along these lines). You can get rid of it in photos and less easily in video. In my experience, the fringing is gone near f2.0. Something to consider, however is that the depth of field is so shallow on the 5D3 at f1.4 that you are likely to lose focus on your subject in video anyway (I'm assuming that, since it is video, your subject is moving). Of course, this applies equally to the Canon and Zeiss. Still, I admit that 1.4 or 1.2 is nice to have. Finally, the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 is not as sharp at 1.4 as at 2.0. I can't say about the Canon 1.2L, as I haven't used that one, but usually...

I also have the Canon 24mm 1.4L II and I personally don't care for it for video. The objective part of that statement is the mechanical operation of the lens, with my primary complaint being the focus throw and lack of hard focus stops. Zeiss lenses are generally better in both regards. Subjectively, I simply feel the look of the 24mm 1.4 is not as compelling as what I get with either Zeiss lens. This could be a focal length issue, but I'll be selling my 24mm 1.4L soon to get a Zeiss 25mm or 28mm.

I shoot mainly video. My wife shoots photos. She finds the manual focus of the Zeiss to be fine, given the focus confirmation that you get (she shoots a 5D3). But, she doesn't shoot fast-moving subjects. She also really likes the weight of the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 and feels that it balances well with the 5D3.

If you can't live without autofocus for stills, you might consider the Canon 50mm 1.4. We also have that and it is a very nice lens and, in my opinion, simply a great bargain. Regarding manual focus for video, it has a long focus throw, but still doesn't have the hard focus stops. I would actually rate it as sharper at f1.4 than the Zeiss, but not necessarily so at f2.0.

Here's an example of the purple (and sometimes pink) fringing that I've experienced with my Zeiss lenses (in this case, the 85mm 1.4). See examples 0:58 (purple) and 2:04 (pinkish). As you can see, you can address this in color grading, but... https://vimeo.com/40356472
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 02:00:55 PM by JasonATL »

Davephoto

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 07:32:23 AM »
Thank you very much, Jason. Your reply is very helpful.

I also like the character of Zeiss lenses. At the art school I used a Hasselblad camera, with Zeiss lenses and MF.

Shooting video with the Zeiss lenses on 2.0 is a good choice for two reasons, I understand: the purple finging and losing focus when shooting at 1.4.

How bad is the fringing at 1.4 with stills? Do you know if the wide angle Zeiss lenses like the 28mm have the same problem?

Thanks again

Michael_pfh

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 08:41:42 AM »
I can highly recommend the Zeiss 50mm F2.0 Makro Planar for stills. Even wide open there will not be much distortion, only very minor CA. The level of contrast it delivers is very good.

You may want to read its review on Fred Miranda' site, a lot of owners went through various Canon and Sigma 50's before and claim that the Zeiss beats them all in terms of IQ.
1DX | 14 2.8L II | 16-35 2.8L II | 24 1.4L II | 24-70 2.8L II | ZE 35 2.0 | ZE 50 2.0 | 85 1.2L II | 100 2.8L IS | 135 2.0L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 200 F2.0L IS | 300 2.8L IS II | 400 2.8L IS II | 500 4.0L IS

JasonATL

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 08:49:22 AM »
I don't think that I have enough experience with the lenses with stills to give you an very informed answer about the CA or fringing on stills. However, I don't think that it is a video-only characteristics of the lens. I have not used any Zeiss under 50mm, but I hope to soon!  ;)

bigmag13

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 10:39:51 AM »
I do not shoot video, but in my research and testing of my 2/50 Zeiss Makro against the canon 50 1.2L and the zeiss 50 1.4, the Makro ROCKED THEM!!!!!

I bought the 2/50 Makro for personal enjoyment but it comes on every job now.

to me the Zeiss 1.4 was the worse ( not close to the sharpness of the other two and it fringed in the OOF areas too much for my tastes).

the depth on the makro is VERY shallow my friend, and @ 2 it is plenty wide. even on a cloudy day I can get the OE warning in the viewfinder, so light getting thru is no problem. And it's sharp throughout ( be careful not to severe your hands when stopped down!)

test them both in the store to see what fits best. for me the Zeiss color and contrast plus the sharp focus and seemingly 1/8 of an inch type of DOF @F2 from a foot away was the deal maker, besides saving a few hundred.

BTW the focus confirmation and the long throw of the focus ring gave me NO problems catching shots, EVEN doing weddings and street.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 10:50:09 AM by bigmag13 »
5D3,5D2,6D,70-200 2.8Lii, 135L, 24-70Lii, Sigma 15 fisheye, Sigma 35 1.4(A), Zeiss 2/50, 600rt x3 and a st-e3 RT

M.ST

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 12:31:25 PM »
I can also recommend the Zeiss 50 mm f/2.0 Makro Planar for stills.

Only little distortion and very less CA´s.

Axilrod

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 01:59:21 PM »
I'd compare the 50mm f/1.4 with the 50L, but the 50 f/2 Makro is definitely sharper.  I only recommend Zeiss if you're shooting mainly video though, AF can be pretty priceless for stills.  However I will say that the focus confirmation on Zeiss lenses works very well and is pretty dead on accurate.  So if you can live with manual focus, go for it, they have a very unique look.

I've used every ZE lens (except the 15mm) and pretty much every Canon prime under 200mm, I still prefer the Canon glass for stills. 
5DIII/5DII/Bunch of L's and ZE's, currently rearranging.

Axilrod

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 02:01:57 PM »
Thank you very much, Jason. Your reply is very helpful.

I also like the character of Zeiss lenses. At the art school I used a Hasselblad camera, with Zeiss lenses and MF.

Shooting video with the Zeiss lenses on 2.0 is a good choice for two reasons, I understand: the purple finging and losing focus when shooting at 1.4.

How bad is the fringing at 1.4 with stills? Do you know if the wide angle Zeiss lenses like the 28mm have the same problem?

Thanks again

The 50mm f/2 Makro does very well even wide open at f/2, the 50mm f/1.4 does very well at f/2 but I try to avoid shooting below f/2.
5DIII/5DII/Bunch of L's and ZE's, currently rearranging.

Davephoto

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 06:08:28 PM »
Thanks!
I think I'm going for the Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro. Will test one in a store and see how it feels.

RLPhoto

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 02:03:22 PM »
Zeiss > Canon Anyday.  8)

drjlo

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2012, 06:19:33 PM »
I'd compare the 50mm f/1.4 with the 50L, but the 50 f/2 Makro is definitely sharper. 

It's possible that the Zeiss 50 f/2 Makro Reputation for sharpness may be influencing our subjective impressions.  It's also true that some people compare Zeiss 50 f/2 photos at f/2 to Canon 50 f/1.2 photos at f/1.2, not apples to apples.
According to the Lensrental "GREAT 50mm shootout," Canon 50L, and Canon 50 f/1.4, both measure sharper than Zeiss 50 f/2 below f/4..
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/01/the-great-50mm-shootout

CarlosM

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 06:27:10 PM »
First post here but I shoot professionally.


Honestly I love using Zeiss Primes over anything Canon any day for 2 reasons.

1. The ability to hit focus marks over and over and over, since the focus ring does have an actual stop.

2. This is a personal one but just overal color reproduction. I have found Canons colors to be inconsistent and when shooting 2 camera interviews its nice to just footage that looks virtually identical from Cam A to Cam B

oh and build quality, I whole heartedly feel I could bludgeon an attacker to the floor and have it work like a charm.

Current line up

35 f/2- 50 f/1.4 - 85 f/1.4

looking into getting the 21 or 135 (when its released).


ishdakuteb

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Re: Canon or Zeiss lenses?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 08:25:13 PM »
i do love canon lens, but when talking about zeiss lens... there is no where near from image quality to build quality comparing to zeiss.  i do not have one, but my friend has one 21mm f/2.8.  he let me use that one for a while and i love it.  i can tell how solid it is at first time twisting the focus ring... but i cannot buy more stuff since i already spent too much money on gears within last few months.