Wide & Super Wide Angle Lens on Digital Sensor Belong to Zeiss

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pham_minh_son

I have tested extensively Canon, Leica and Carl Zeiss lens on Canon Digital sensor. I come to the general conclusion that when it comes to Super Wide and Wide Angle (WA) lens there is no lens better than the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* lens on Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras.

There are several factors that I love my Distagon lens include the following:

1) Well control Chromatic Aberration (CA); purple fringing.

2) Extremely high Micro-Contrast (MC) and Macro-Contrast (MaC) that lead to 3-D image looks as compared to the Canon lens.

3) The well even resolving power across the whole image plane. Canon and even Leica lens has the tendancy to be sharp in the center and soft in the corners whereas the Carl Zeiss lens are very sharp in the center and on the edges. This is extremely important since we cannot tilt with these lens and thus the plane of sharpness from the center to the edge cannot be enhanced such as large format camera. Therefore, these Carl Zeiss Distagon T* lens application are very useful optical tools.

4) High MC, Mac, and Saturation; these lens applications are great not only for color photography but also very important in B&W photography.

5) Very compact and yet extremely high in performance for your applications.

6) For the first time we see something that is collectible and yet the performance is second to none.

The two areas that Carl Zeiss Distagon T* lens out performed the high quality of the Leitz's SWA and WA lens are a) CA and b) Corner sharpness. However, Leica lens is the only lens that render beautiful red color and this is where Zeiss fall behind and has the tendancy to overblown the red. This is where the macro lens are very essential to have Leitz glass. Here I recommend the Leitz Apo-Summicron-R 100mm F2.8. As you know there is no perfect system but there are so many areas that makes the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* as my choice of SWA and WA lens.

-Son
 

wang

Well-Known Member
Well, I agree with you most of the time apart from the choice of macro, at least in my case we prefer Zeiss.

I used to have a Canon 10D and used it for before and after photos in cosmetic surgery. I am no good in managing the colour balance of digital photos and I prefer to use the photos straight away after shooting. To me, the fine details and the skin colour is of paramount importance, so is the contour of the face.

On a 10D, we tried various lenses including Contax 100 2, Contax 100 2.8 macro. For Leica we have 60 2.8 macro, 90 2 Summicron. We tested which are better to suit our task. We always use studio flash, never use direct flash.

In terms of the skin tone, Zeiss lenses produce the best result, I don't have to do any colour balance in the photoshop. For Leica, the skin colour is never right the first time. I always have to go to photoshop to do colour balance. Redness is an important component of the skin colour, it does not look right for my Leica 60 or 90


This photo is taken by Leica 60. To me, the colour is not right.


If Contax lens is used as in this ex&le, I don't need to go to the photoshop to do colour balance.

To me Zeiss render redness more close to reality than Leica in general. Althought apo Sum 100 2.8 has such a good reputation I can see this as no exception. You said Zeiss overblown the red, but I don't see this as the case. In the processing of prints, most lab compensate for colour red. As the general public uses Leica,Canon, Nikon and other brands more often than Zeiss, the lab. tends to add more red to the endresults. They very often overcompensate the redness when they process my prints when I am using Zeiss. Overblowing the redness is not a problem of the lens, but a problem of the lab. In the ex&le I showed, more redness should be added to the photo.
 
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pham_minh_son

Chi Yuan Joseph,
I agree with you when it comes to macro I still enjoy my Zeiss S-Planar 60mm F2.8 for head shot and face shot like what you do. The bokeh of the Zeiss S-Planar 60mm F2.8 and the Makro-Planar 100mm F2.8 are simply among my favorite Zeiss lens thus I listed them among my 15 favorite Zeiss lens. I do not like the Leica 60mm macro lens. In close up the Zeiss 100mm F2.8 is even sharper than the Leica Apo-Summicron-R 100mm F2.8 macro. However, when you get the chance to try out the Leica Apo-Summicron-R 100mm F2.8 macro you will see the color that it renders is very pleasing and the resolving power is also very high. The only time that the Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm F2.8 can beat the Leica Apo-Summicron-R 100mm F2.8 Macro is in very close focusing distance such as 1:1. The Leica macro 60mm F2.8 is not a good lens. Thus, I am not surprise to see your results posted here. Thanks for sharing your view.

-Son
 

thedruid

Well-Known Member
I have to agree with Mark, to me me the Leica 60mm looks better. I assume you took them one after another, same lighting, just switching lenses?
 

wang

Well-Known Member
I think the colour of the apo R100 2.8 should be very similar to my apo M90 2 ASPH.

To Marc, I choose these two to post just to point out the difference in skin colour, to me the colour from Contax bears more resemblance to reality.

In this posting, there are three photos, all three have three different colours. The two from my collections have not gone to the photoshop. The one from Leica 60 has a stony complexion, this is typical in those old generation Leica lens. In my situation, it does look like patients with renal failure.
The current generation of Leica lenses does have a better skin tone as shown by the third posting.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
The last sentence should read as the current generation of Leica apo 100 2.8 does have a better skin tone as shown by the third photo posted by DJ.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Since we are a little off the thread here...

What about the skin tone for the C645 planar 80mm f/2?





Shot with ND.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Hmmm, I have to respectively disagree on the skin tone aspect. I shoot both Leica (M and R ) and a LOT of Ziess (total 645 system, total N system, and C/Y on RX and Canon 1DsMKII or 20D ... including 25/2.8, 28/2, 60/2.8, 35-135/3.3, 85/1.2, 70-210 ).

My general impression is that in the same light on the same camera the Zeiss C/Y glass is a bit cooler than the Leica glass.
(or it could be said that the Leica glass is a bit warmer). This is reflected in the photos posted above in my opinion.

Subjectively I prefer humans to have a warmer cast. For ex&le, my older Leitz 50/2 produces a very flattering skin tone.

HOWEVER, keeping on thread, I agree that the C/Y wide angles are hard to beat on the Canon 1DsMKII. The distortion of some L Canons is almost a crime. I tested a Zeiss N 17-35 verses a Canon 16-35 both at 17mm f/2.8, and the Zeiss won hands down ... especially in corner/edge sharpness. It remain to be seen how the Leica 21-35 performs on the 1DsMKII. As far as primes are concerned, the C/Y 28/2 is a wonder to behold and the 85/1.2 is superior to the Canon 85/1.2 (which I also own).

Just one man's opinion based on shooting thousands and thousands of photographs with all these different lenses on different cameras.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
What do you want to say, Albert ? Yours come from different lighting.
What I wish to say is that keeping the camera and lighting constant, my Leica 60 does not get a result as good as the other two.

To answer Marc's question as well, I was showing these photos to talk about skin colour. The photo from Contax 100 2.8 has a special lighting. It is not the kind that you usually use for portraits. The light comes from the top going down. The direction of light is vertical. This lighting method will accentuate the contour of the face. it will show up eyebags or wrinkles more easily. This lighting is for documentation of eyebags. Nevertheless, it has the typical skin colour from Zeiss on Canon. The one from Leica 60 has flash right and left 45 degrees to the face. It shows the typical colour from old Leica on Canon. DJ photo shows the typical colour from new Leica lenses.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
Although Contax 100 macro may not be as good as Leica 100 macro at low magnificant, what about Contax 100 2 ?
I find out that Contax 100 2 with extension ring or my AX performs better than my Contax 100 2.8 at low mag.

Despite my Leica 60 does not do well with Canon, I certainly get good shots from it for portraits in film. I like this lens with both colour and B&W.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
OK Marc, what about this one ?



The person in this photo is the same as the one taken by Leica 60. Same Lighting, same place but different camera. This time is Sony DSC717. To me, this has a warmer skin tone. The skin tone of this one is even warmer than the one taken by Contax 100 2.8 macro.
In your opinion, if you see the Leica one is warmer, I believe you have a different perception of colour from me. The perception of colour is different among individuals, it is determined by the genes.
 

deshojo

Well-Known Member
The focus on the 2nd of Chi's shots is slightly behind the one with the Leica, so the out of focus lips and cheek bones influences overall visual favour back to the Leica shot.

However, when it comes to colour I think this is one occasion when both points of view can be said to be correct.

The Leica, to my eyes, certainly provides more flattering skin tones. If I were a bride who had paid a sizeable fee for high quality wedding photographs, I would want to be flattered. Bugger accuracy, I would want to look as good as possible. The warmth stands out even more in DJ's shot, and I think most people would be happier with this very flattering tone.

However the Zeiss does seem to produce more accurate skin tones, which for medical research or assessment is absolutely essential.
As usual it seems that different lenses suit different purposes and tastes.

Looking at those Leica shots though they do look lovely, I hope I'm not now going to have to change my whole system to Leica...(aaarrrghhh!!!)

BTW Any news on that Leica R9 Digi module Marc?
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
That one is very nice, but it is processed better than the others.
To many variables on the internet and conditions shot.

A truer test would be a locked down tripod with clean consistant light like Profoto and shoot a person with both type lenses on the same camera (1DsMKII).

But I am waaaaaay to busy doing real work to do made up work on top of it. Just shot a lake location job with Contax 645, Kodak ProBack, and Zeiss 35/3.5 from 5AM until light got to harsh. Also shot 1DsMKII with 16-35 as back-up. No comparison. C645 kit could handle the contrast and the Canon could not.
 

nickser

Well-Known Member
With regard to the Leica 60 2.8 and the Sony DSC717 you say the lighting is the same, the place is the same, but it definately looks like there are two quite different exposures with these two shots. The Leica shot to me looks flat. The background is so different in it's brightness with the Sony as well.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
As far as skin tone concern, there were too many variable as Marc mentioned.

Anyway, I don't have the luxury to own any Leica lens yet, so I can't comment on it. One thing I know if I'd shot my wife with DJ's 100 APO, she would be pissed (too much detail.)

I have never satisfy with Canon's skin tone. It has a funky yellow tone I seem to have trouble with. Perhaps I allowed too much ambient into my exposure. But the Zeiss usually is dead on.

Marc pointed out a interesting color observation that he prefers the warmer skin tone. Being in North America, I can certainly understand that and would agree with warmer skin tone does look better. However, as mentioned by few of the lab operators, most Asian, say Chinese or Japanese, does not like their skin look "yellow" (warm.) Perhaps that's the reason Fuji films are cooler and Kodak films are warmer. Well, European, perhaps redder.
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
I think Albert might be on to something here as far as tone preferences are concerned. Early this month I got married in the Philippines and my new wife has very dark skin as compared to mine. While I was there, I noticed all the women trying to lighten their skin while all of them here in the US are trying to darken it, or so it seems. My wife much preferred the pictures I took of her in which her skin tone was "cooler", while I liked the other ones best that were closer to reality.
 
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djg

I think the aspect of which picture is better is going to vary widely with the audience. Son just got married so he probably can give some perspective on this too
.

Albert, what do you mean "too much detail"??? I was going to post a 100% crop of the mouth & nose but it's too scary ...

Instead, here are some Leica 21-35mm Asph shots. The last one exibits very nice flare control.

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However, this being the Contax forum, I better get on topic
... with the CZ 35mm /1.4

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