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Carl Zeiss 24-85 vs. the rest of the world

G

Guest

Hi all,

I'm planning to go Contax N with the 24-85 on top of my existing Canon EOS gear in order to get the "best" out of the two worlds with the Canon stuff covering the tele section.

However, lately I've received a couple of rather sceptical comments regarding the N system in general. I actually don't care about shortcomings of the AF system and the rather limited lens line-up but I do care about lens quality which is the reason why I sniffed around the N system in the first place.

So how good is the 24-85 ? Is it comparable to the PROFESSIONAL grade std. zooms like the Nikkor 28-70/2.8ED or the Canon 28-70/2.8L (24-70/2.8L) or is it actually nothing really special.

Thx

Klaus
 
G

Guest

Klaus,

you can find already apretty good overview in the other N-lenses thread about the capabilities of this N24-85.

I never used the other zooms you mentioned, but I assume they are not better then Leica or Contax (FFL or zooms for manual focus).

Maybe someone else can give you more details on his Nikon/Canon experiences.

As said in an earlier thread to you, try to come to FFM next weekend and test all the lenses by shooting pictures on the fair. Or go to a Contax dealer in your area, which I can recommend you via private e-mail only.

Dirk
 
G

Guest

Klaus:

I would love to see a 24-85 shoot-out because my philosophy - lens quality over AF speed or lens line up - is the same as yours. I would go out on a limb and predict, based on historical data, that the Canon 24-70 will be quite soft wide open, the sharpest of the lot when stopped down but with heavy distortions at the wide end. Nikon does not really compare I think starting at 28 mm, but it is probably less sharp than Canon's but with less distortion. Finally, I predict that Contax will have the best compromise between sharpness, contrast and distortion of all of them....I am looking forward to your test!
 
G

Guest

Well, the Canon 24-70/2.8L has little distortions at 24mm (at least based on what I've seen through the viewfinder) and according to the Canon MTFs the softness is gone now (relative to the 28-70L). Anyway, MTF Tests (performed with a single set of paramters at various focal lengths) are often quite meaningless when it comes to actual field performance. And I like the little extra range of the CZ at the long end.

The itchy/worrysome thing for me are some comments here at contaxinfo stating that the CZ 28-80/3.5-5.6 (or so) is better - usually just by referring to the Zeiss MTFs though.

Maybe I should ask more abstract - does the 24-85 deliver professional grade results (by high standards) or not ? What are the primary weaknesses ? I don't require the final extra bite a fix-focal gives you but it should come close.

To Dirk - s&le shots at a fair/dealer is an option but it can't really replace long term experience. That's why I'm asking other users here (unfortunately I don't have time this weekend to go to FFM).

PS: I've already eBayed the lens but I'm sure that I could sell it again with zero loss.

Klaus
 
G

Guest

Klaus:

the viewfinder is a very bad method of assessing distortion, as I know first hand from using Nikon lenses, e.g., the 24-85 Nikon (old model) and 24-50 looked great through the finder but they have horrible distortion characteristics.

Softness may be less in the new 24-70L, but again based on their earlier top-of-the-line lenses (28-70, 17-35, 16-35) I would be surprised if they had actually solved that issue. Same goes for Nikon.

I didn't see anywhere that the 28-80 is "better", but it may well be on par optically regarding MTF'<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">• much easier to design from 28 than from 24mm. All I know is that it misses manual focusing overrride (I think) and 24-28 mm range (very important for me), I believe it has more distortion, and I don't know anything about its performance wide open, vignetting and flare control but those are other points the 24-85 shines at. If you look at the photozone web site, you'll see the Zeiss 24-85 is still tops according to different magazines, not just biased brand-huggers.

I have now made several travels with my 24-85 and 70-200 (that is one GREAT lens, and quite possibly better than the 24-85!) and I dare to say that my slides look professional-grade quality. If there is a primary weakness, it would be that it is HUGE (although for a reason), and that you can't focus very close to allow for semi-macro. But, on the other hand, it is still lighter and cheaper (especially grey market) than Canon 24-70 with more range to boot.
 
G

Guest

Just to add my 2 cents, I've been using the 24-85 for more than a year. It has gone through very tough environment such as 36 degree C and 6 hours of rain "totally wet" but still it keeps on delivering the first class image quality that I'd expect from Zeiss. I also use Canon L lenses and am fully aware of their performance. When down to image quality, I like Canon but, I love Carl Zeiss.
 
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