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Author Topic: Zeiss 21mm ZE f2.8  (Read 10168 times)
DaveCurtis
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« on: November 15, 2009, 07:41:29 PM »
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I thought i would share my initial thoughts on the Zeiss 21mm ZE that I purchased several days ago.

Yesterday, I performed  a 1/2 day comparison with my 16-35mm f2.8 II on the 1DSmrk3.

I must say the Zeiss is consistently sharper all over and really impresses at f2.8. I can shoot wide open with no hesitation. The Zeiss has less CA than the Canon but vignettes more @f2.8

It has higher micro contrast and really show off small details. It's almost like I have wound up the clarity control in Lightroom when looking at the image.

Well, it's my first Zeiss lens and I think I've been bitten by the Zeiss bug.

I did notice that the left of the image was softer than the right when I focused in the centre which was rather annoying.



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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 02:40:06 AM »
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Quote from: DaveDn
I did notice that the left of the image was softer than the right when I focused in the centre which was rather annoying.
Isn't that evidence that either your camera's sensor is misaligned relative to the lens mount, or the lens has some slightly misaligned optics? You might want to look into that.

After reading several rave reviews I bought a Nikon 14-24 F2.8 to use on my 5D Mark II with an adaptor. It took ages for the adaptor to arrive, and when I finally took some test shots the results were mediocre - OK in the centre, but noticably blurred at the edges. I sent the 14-24 back to Nikon for servicing. The good news is that they agreed that there's a problem with the lens. The bad news is that the necessary part is out of stock, so there will be a delay in getting it fixed. I look forward to seeing how much improvement the repair makes.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 03:25:00 AM »
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[quote name='Chris Pollock' date='Nov 16 2009, 09:40 PM' post='325161']
Isn't that evidence that either your camera's sensor is misaligned relative to the lens mount, or the lens has some slightly misaligned optics? You might want to look into that.


Yes, that's exactly what I'm thinking  

I'll do some tests with some other lenses on my body and perhaps test the 21mm on another 1DSmrk3 to try to determine if is the lens or the camera.
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 03:51:58 AM »
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This depends on what you were using as a target with which to test the lens's performance.

If you focussed, centrally, on a flat subject - say a flat board or wall with scribbles or something sharp like that on it, unless you could guarantee your camera was perfectly square to the target - easier thought than achieved in reality - your edges would go softer than the central area you focused on. And that could affect one side more than the other since depth of field doesn't work equally on both sides of the focussed distance. So, if your camera is slightly off the parallel with the target, one side will inevitable show more or less softness even though both extreme sides will be the same real distance in front of and behind the focus point, but the fact that depth of field isn't equal will make one look worse than the other.

Remember, too, that the wider the lens, the more that the sharp plane of focus resembles the form of a shell, and not a flat plane.

As for the Nikkor that was sent back - I can only repeat my own short-lived misadventure with the 24-70mm. And also repeat that I think it scandalous that such expensive stuff can be delivered without thorough, individual checking. There are no excuses that wash.

Rob C
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 03:52:32 AM by Rob C » Logged

Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2009, 07:36:25 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
As for the Nikkor that was sent back - I can only repeat my own short-lived misadventure with the 24-70mm. And also repeat that I think it scandalous that such expensive stuff can be delivered without thorough, individual checking. There are no excuses that wash.

Rob C
Your single sample experience is hardly definitive.  You are the only person I have ever heard complain about that lens ...

Every other person I've ever spoken to about it raves about the quality of the lens from 28-70 and thinks it is 'ok' at 24.  You're the only one to think they got a 'bad copy'.

I'm not saying you didn't, but your extrapolation/repetition of that single event is a bit over-the-top.
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Chris Pollock
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 01:49:20 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Every other person I've ever spoken to about it raves about the quality of the lens from 28-70 and thinks it is 'ok' at 24.  You're the only one to think they got a 'bad copy'.

I'm not saying you didn't, but your extrapolation/repetition of that single event is a bit over-the-top.
Actually I've seen people complaining about alleged sample variation with the 24-70, at least some of whom seem to be experts. As far as I know my copy is OK, but not having a second sample to compare it to I can't be sure that it's not below average.

I really think lens manufacturers ought to implement a fully automated testing system and use it on every lens before they ship it. I imagine it would be relatively easy to design a rig that would automatically take a series of photos of a test chart at various apertures and focal lengths. The photos could then be examined by software that would measure the contrast, chromatic aberration, etc. across the frame, and reject the lens if it didn't meet the specifications.
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caribsurf
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 01:26:35 PM »
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"I thought i would share my initial thoughts on the Zeiss 21mm ZE that I purchased several days ago."

I purchased this lens about three weeks ago and I am using it on a Canon EOS 5D Mk.1. I am really pleased with it, tack sharp with next to zero CA between f/2.8 and f/8. Nice and contrasty with great colour reproduction. I think that it is an ideal Focal Length for my landscape needs. I also own a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens and I still use that at 17mm for more extreme captures where I like the geometric distortions introduced at that focal length. Anyone interested in a quality wideangle prime lens should look closely at the Zeiss. It is also beautifully built (but heavy). Stephen
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2009, 01:56:22 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Your single sample experience is hardly definitive.  You are the only person I have ever heard complain about that lens ...

Every other person I've ever spoken to about it raves about the quality of the lens from 28-70 and thinks it is 'ok' at 24.  You're the only one to think they got a 'bad copy'.

I'm not saying you didn't, but your extrapolation/repetition of that single event is a bit over-the-top.





Indeed, is that so? Well I can tell you that mine was pretty lousy at the wide end and that's the only reason it had to go, other than the nagging, additional-but-not-terminal distaste created by the fact that Nikon had put my F3 out to pasture as far as that lens was concerned. In fact, that was the second time Nikon had effed me with its tricks: they did it years before with the FM2 which I had bought to replace the FM which was only in the bag because it had a higher synch than the F and F2 that lived therein. The FM2 would not accept my older Nikkors because they had silently messed with the little lug on the mounting flange that could be moved aside to allow the old lenses to fit. And as far as 'that single event' goes, to me it represents a chunk of pension money I don't cherish wasting. Your funds obviously differ greatly from mine.

"Every other person I've ever spoken to about it raves about the quality of the lens from 28-70 and thinks it is 'ok' at 24.  You're the only one to think they got a 'bad copy'. "

I see, so it's okay to claim 24 to 70 when what you really are selling is 28 to 70; I like that; do you work for Nikon? Joke. Pity that unilateral gets a bad press; maybe it is better to stay silent and join in with the rest of the nodding heads, with the rest of the raised hands at the shopfloor meeting.

I reserve the right to complain about something when I feel it is warranted, even if it offends you; unless, of course, there is a house rule to prevent me.

Rob C
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J-KNIGHT
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2009, 02:04:38 PM »
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Quote from: DaveDn
I thought i would share my initial thoughts on the Zeiss 21mm ZE that I purchased several days ago.

Yesterday, I performed  a 1/2 day comparison with my 16-35mm f2.8 II on the 1DSmrk3.

I must say the Zeiss is consistently sharper all over and really impresses at f2.8. I can shoot wide open with no hesitation. The Zeiss has less CA than the Canon but vignettes more @f2.8

It has higher micro contrast and really show off small details. It's almost like I have wound up the clarity control in Lightroom when looking at the image.

Well, it's my first Zeiss lens and I think I've been bitten by the Zeiss bug.

I did notice that the left of the image was softer than the right when I focused in the centre which was rather annoying.
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J-KNIGHT
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2009, 02:23:53 PM »
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The uneven sharpness is probably due to the position of the sensor in your camera.  I experienced the same problem with my Nikon D3x.  Nikon serviced my D3x and the problem was solved.  Try the lens on a different body and you will probably see a different result.  The sharper the lens is in the corners the more you will notice the uneven effect.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 04:23:32 PM »
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Quote from: J-KNIGHT
The uneven sharpness is probably due to the position of the sensor in your camera.  I experienced the same problem with my Nikon D3x.  Nikon serviced my D3x and the problem was solved.  Try the lens on a different body and you will probably see a different result.  The sharper the lens is in the corners the more you will notice the uneven effect.


Yes, these were also my initial thoughts. However I tested my 16-35mm @21mm and this lens didn't show the same left hand blur. Therefore Im assuming it's the lens. I will soon find out as my replacement 21mm is on it's way.

The Quality Issues from these high res lenses and Cameras (lens mounts and sensor tilt) appears to be coming a real problem. They will surely need to improve especially as DSLRs are looking to move towards 30 - 35MP next year.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 12:57:57 AM »
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Talking of lenses that have had optical problems, I have just read Lloyd Chambers latest blog and 30% of the Canon and Nikon lenses that he has tested have had optical problems.

In my opinion this is just not good enough!
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mtomalty
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 05:29:18 PM »
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Quote from: DaveDn
Talking of lenses that have had optical problems, I have just read Lloyd Chambers latest blog and 30% of the Canon and Nikon lenses that he has tested have had optical problems.
In my opinion this is just not good enough!

Agreed.  They should strive for 100%   :>))


Mark
www.marktomalty.com
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Brent McCombs
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 11:00:24 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Your single sample experience is hardly definitive.  You are the only person I have ever heard complain about that lens ...

Every other person I've ever spoken to about it raves about the quality of the lens from 28-70 and thinks it is 'ok' at 24.  You're the only one to think they got a 'bad copy'.

I'm not saying you didn't, but your extrapolation/repetition of that single event is a bit over-the-top.


If we're talking the Canon 24-70, the lens is, well if not poor, then astoundingly mediocre, even on the best copies, at least imo. It's the weakest of the main glass in my Canon kit, and very obviously inferior to Nikon's (admittedly newer) 24-70.  The only time it shines is in comparison to kit lenses and older/cheaper glass. Anything remotely comparible by price or supposed status (of 'L' glass) beat the pants of it. (You hear that, Lens Coat guys - there's a new market for you to explore - lens pants).

B
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2010, 01:54:31 AM »
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Received my replacement Zeiss 21mm ZE from B&H yesterday.

No problems with this copy. The lens is amazing!
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philber
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2010, 04:18:34 PM »
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The Zeiss Distagon ZE 21 is the latest iteration of a legend. Every time I look at shots that this lens gives me, I know it to be justified.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2010, 10:56:17 PM »
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Quote from: philber
The Zeiss Distagon ZE 21 is the latest iteration of a legend. Every time I look at shots that this lens gives me, I know it to be justified.


Yes, I agree. Ive been waiting for years for this lens to come out in a Canon mount.

My 16-35mm II which isn't a bad lens, seems to be gathering dust lately.



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JeffKohn
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2010, 11:25:01 AM »
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So are none of you guys bothered by the color shift towards the edge of the frame? From what I saw in Lloyd Chambers' review this would definitely be a concern for me.
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philber
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2010, 01:51:01 PM »
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I have around a thousand shots under my belt with this lens, and I haven't noticed it. I have been in contact with other owners, and not one time did this subject come up. Please tell me what I am supposed to look for, and I will review my shots to try to find it.
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2010, 04:16:04 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
So are none of you guys bothered by the color shift towards the edge of the frame? From what I saw in Lloyd Chambers' review this would definitely be a concern for me.


I have read the review too.

However I must say that I havn't notice the colour shift in the 200 or so real world images taken so far.

Im sure the shift would be there if you imaged a white sheet of A4 or something similar.
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