CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

What is going on with the ZF lenses

grumpoid

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

We had lots of fanfare before their arrival, a long teaser c&aign, now I hear the 85/1.4 is delayed and production stopped completely..maybe including the 50/1.4, which now seems impossible to get hold of.

What is happening? anyone have firm information? there are even whispers on some web forums that Zeiss are backing out of the ZF line or changing them/ possibly chipping them for wider use with newer Nikon bodies?

Anyone actually have any real info?

Cheers Steve.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
ZF 50/1.4 was available in Hong Kong. A shopkeeeper wished to sell one to me last time but I thought I had ZM 50 2 and I declined his offer.

I don't know what is happening, but I believe it could be related to Sony.

When you look at Sony Alpha lens system, there are few Zeiss lenses available. There are 135 1.8 and a zoom. There was no confirmation if Zeiss is making common lenses such as 50 1.4 or 85 1.4 for Sony. As Nikon is one of Sony's major competitor, It would be embarrassing for Zeiss to make lenses for the Nikon system. Sony could be asking Zeiss," hey, you the big boy, which side you are playing ? "

Zeiss made the decision to make lenses for Nikon only because she had nowhere to go. Now she can join the big giant Sony, I should think she is abandoning the ZF system.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Interesting.
I think the fact that there are CZ lenses available for the Alpha system makes the system look very exciting.
The review I have found so far seems favourable.
Maybe there will be an adapter become available too, to let us use our existing CZ lenses as with Canon etc.
The camera appears to have the same sensor as the Nikon D200 which is well thought of.
 

patrik

Active Member
Just for the record.
I ordered my ZF 50/1.4 for two weeks ago and received it today. As far as I know will Zeiss announce more ZF lenses at Photokina.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Hi Steve,

I checked with Zeiss and the ZF line will definetly not be canceled. As we know with the N-System and Zeiss-Ikon System, it sometimes can takes a little bit longer than expected


Since Sony decided to take the slow road with new DSLRs, The Nikon ZF alternative becomes even more interesting


I have to find a better photo for my profile soon, this one is so ugly...
 

patrik

Active Member
Hello Dirk,

I own the Nikon AF 50/1.4D. I have not have time right now to do any tests of picture quality.

At the swedish community Fotosidan (in swedish) comparisons have been made between the Zeiss and Nikon 50/1.4. The conclusions drawn from the discussion are that the Zeiss lens is sharper at wide apertures, 1.4 and 2. Minor differencies at 2.8 and equal from 4. Tests were done with a Nikon D2X.

My feeling is that it is easier to focus the Zeiss compared to the Nikon. The Nikon focus from close focus to infinity by turning the focus ring approx 180 degrees, it is 270 degrees for the Zeiss. This makes it easier to achieve correct focus. The build quality is very good and the lens has a solid feel. Reminds of old AIS Nikkors, but not as rock solid as Leica R lenses.

The Zeiss lens does work with matrix metering on my F6, D200 and D2X. Also focus confirmation works on these bodies (and also with Fujifilm S3).
 

patrik

Active Member
Here are some test pictures from the thread at fotosidan.se

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


The thread is in swedish but it is written over each picture which lens and aperture that is used. The thread is long and the main conclusion is that it is much easier to focus with the Zeiss lens.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
mmmmhhh, on these images, the difference is huge...

The problem is that you never know what the user there might have done wrong when taking the pictures. Since he is not a member here, we can not ask him


But if this turns out to be the realistic difference between the 2 lenses, Nikon will have a hard time to sell his Nikkor 50/1.4 in the future
 

patrik

Active Member
The tests on the first page he did put focus wrong with the Nikon lens. In the second page the one the link referers to he put the focus correct. The pictures are 100 % crops from a Nikon D2X file with no post processing. Later in the thread he mentions that he has tested 4 different Nikkor AF 50mm F4 to exclude that his lens was a bad one. The Zeiss is much better at wide apertures.

I will do my own tests but I would expect that my findings is the same as the one in the fotosidan thread.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Wow

kudos to Zeiss. These ZF lenses seem in this case to be extraordinary good...

And he did not compare the lenses yet for lens flare and colour balance, which is a common problem with non-Zeiss optics
 

grumpoid

Well-Known Member
Hi Dirk,

Thanks for the reply..I think UPS tried to deliver my ZF 50/1.4 today when i was out!

Do you have info on why the 85/1.4 is late and production stopped? also do you yet know what other ZF's we can expect later this year?

Cheers..
 

patrik

Active Member
I did a quick test between the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4 and Nikon AF 50/1.4D. I put my D2X on a tripod and used mirror lock and a remote shutter release. For the focus distance I used, approx 3 meters, there were almost no differences between the lenses at aperture 1.4, 2 and 2.8. I just compared sharpness at the center of the pictures. I do not post the pictures because of the almost non existing difference in sharpness. Both lenses are sharp and there is a different character between them. I used the camera in A mode and the Zeiss lens gave approx 1/3 stop brighter exposure (for the same aperture).

However, the Zeiss lens is a joy to use with butter smooth focus and better build quality. A correction to my earlier posts, the Zeiss lens focus ring does not rotate as much as 270 degrees but only approx 210 degrees (but it is still more compared to the Nikon).

This was just a first quick test. I have not compared colors or bokeh.
 

patrik

Active Member
I bought the swedish photo magazine "Proffs Foto", (which in english means Professional photography), and there are tests between AF Nikkor 50mm F1.4 and Zeiss ZF 50mm F1.4 and also between Nikkor AF 85mm F1.4 and Zeiss ZF 85mm F1.4. The tests included sharpness, bokeh, how the lenses handled bright light, colors, distortion and vignetting. The tests were performed on Nikon D2XS and D200 bodies.

For the 50mm lenses the sharpness, distortion and vignetting were equal. They stated that the bokeh was better with the Zeiss lens (there was hard to see any large differencies on their s&les). The Zeiss 50mm F1.4 has better colors (more realistic) and handled bright light better. I can verify the conclusions from the magazine since I own these lenses myself.

The Nikon AF 85mm F1.4 has a reputation of being a very good lens with good sharpness and good bokeh. The Zeiss lens handled bright light better and has better colors. Vignetting and distortion were non existent. The sharpness was equal at F1.4. At F5.6 the sharpness was better with the Zeiss lens in center and corners (the Nikon has very good sharpness at F5.6 but the Zeiss is better!!!). The bokeh was MUCH better with the Zeiss. The colors are more accurate with the Zeiss. They had shot portraits with both lenses and the only "parameter" that was different was the lens. The skin tones were much more realistic with the Zeiss lens.

I know that this are well known "facts" for most people on this forum but I got a bit exicted. I have never thought of the importance of color rendition of a lens. With other words I have never thought the difference was so significant. I found it very interesting that they tested colors, bokeh and ability to handle bright light. These features are often not taken into consideration in other lens tests. Also interesting to see the better sharpness of the Zeiss lens in the cropped sensor size, especially in the corners.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
It is the colour which make me stay with Zeiss.

Great bokeh are the important feature of new generation Zeiss lenses, it was being ignored when I was playing with Contax. When one was not happy with the bokeh of C-Y 85 1.4, you have to move up to buy the C-Y 85 1.2. Now, you could get great bokeh with many lenses like ZM 50 2, ZF 50 1.4 and ZF 85 1.4. Together with great bokeh, you get nice skin tone as well. Nice skin tone and bokeh goes hand in hand.

I am looking forward to try the ZM 50 f2 MP. The design of this lens is as complicated as the C-Y 55 1.2. I would guess the f2 of this lens will be better than f2 of ZF 50 1.4.
 

mohican

Well-Known Member
Chi,

Which ZM 50 f2 MP you're talking about? What's "MP"? Are you talking about C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5?

I have Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2.0 ZM that I use on my Ikon. In combination with Fuji Astia 100F it produces possibly the most color-accurate photographs I ever had been able to take. I also like it with Fuji Pro 160S and almost any Ilford B&W film.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
It was a typing mistake. I meant ZF 50 f2 Makro-Planar.

No matter which one you are talking about, ZM 50 2 or ZF 50 2 MP, they both have colour reproduction of the highest quality.
 
Top