Zeiss 85/2.8 vs. Zeiss 85/1.4

muskrat

Member
Has anyone debated buying one of these 2 lenses? I have been reading reviews and the 1.4 seems perfect but pricey. Is the 2.8 worth it's price?
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Rick,

I've never tried the 2.8 but for reasons I won't bore you with I currently have two German-made 1.4 AEs in my possession. Optically there is very little to choose between the two ex&les, both of which are fairly well-used (I picked up the more expensive of the two for 300 GBP).

Both of them are extremely sharp beyond f/4, and give very good bokeh. However, I was shocked by the performance up to f/2, as both lenses are soft to say the least. A Canon 85/1.8 EF is appreciably sharper at f/2, for ex&le. I can post cropped test shots at f/8 and f/1.4 if you want to see what I'm on about, but all this is in accordance with the MTF results on photodo.com (which I didn't make the effort to fully understand before setting out to buy).

However, I've got no regrets about the 1.4 because if you stop it down a little it is definitely one of the world's sharpest lenses. Even at wide apertures it is still valuable, because the soft-focus effect it produces can be used to good effect, but don't expect sharpness at those apertures or you'll be disappointed.

HTH

-= mike =-
 

nickser

Well-Known Member
Hi Mike,
I would be most interested in seeing the shots you mention. I am considering one of these lenses as my next aquisition for taking portraits.

Many thanks

Paul
 
M

mike_nunan

Right, here goes. Here is a low-res JPEG of the whole frame, plus some centre-frame detail at 100% in a TIFF file. These shots were taken on Pan F+ and scanned at 2700ppi on a Nikon LS-30. No sharpening has been applied, the scans were done in RGB and then converted to greyscale just by changing the image type in PS7. At this distance at f/1.4 the DoF is very shallow, so I have chosen a detail that extends a short way along the lens axis, to guarantee that some part of it will be in the plane of sharpest focus. The stitching on the strap should give a pretty clear idea about the fine resolving power of this lens at both apertures.


<center><table border=1><tr><td>
Detail at f/1.4
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(33.6 k)</td></tr></table></center>
<center><table border=1><tr><td>
Detail at f/8
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(40.4 k)</td></tr></table></center>
 
M

mike_nunan

Here are two more detail areas, of the canvas of the right-hand shoe, so you can get a rough idea of edge sharpness.

<center><table border=1><tr><td>
f/1.4
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(130.3 k)</td></tr></table></center>
<center><table border=1><tr><td>
f/8
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(131.6 k)</td></tr></table></center>

Finally, here is a portrait taken at full aperture. Unfortunately this board's restrictions on image size mean that you can only get a rough feel for the soft focus effect provided by this lens wide-open, but it's better than nothing:

 
M

mike_nunan

(Under IE6 at least, when you download the TIF files in the two messages above they will be saved by default as .UNK files for some reason. Simply rename them back to .TIF and they should open fine.)
 

andrew_le

New Member
>I have used both the 2.8 & 1.4 85 lenses extensively. Both are optically >very sound but I agree that the faster lens is soft wide open: it is also >not as quick to focus. For travel photography the 2.8 is just fine; for >portraits I prefer the satisfaction of the extra weight in the 1.4. You may >wish to make your decision also on the basis of camera body: the 1.4 is >simply too heavy for an Aria (but perfect with an RX). Either will do the >job: unless you really need the speed I would base the decision on whether >weight is an issue and, for me, the fact that the 1.4 is more pleasurable >to use in a tactile sense.
 

laverda3c

New Member
This thread is a rather timely one as I too have been considering the 85mm focal length. As much as I would like to get the 85/1.4 my budget does not stretch to it. Knowing that I like the results from my Rollei 35SE I have been considering the 85/2.8 Sonnar. The only problem is that I can not find a used one. My question is why is this lense so hard to find used? I keep on scanning keh.com and nothing comes up.

Cheers,

Mark -%)
 

andrew_le

New Member
>Mark You could try The Classic Camera Exchange (Contax specialists) on (UK number) 01200 422422. Ask for Carsten: he took an 85 2.8 in p/x from me a couple weeks ago.
 

molte

Member
Mark

I will post my 85's in the for sale area - if I can figure it out ...

cheers

Lars

Posted by Mark Williams on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 7:20 am: This thread is a rather timely one as I too have been considering the 85mm focal length. As much as I would like to get the 85/1.4 my budget does not stretch to it. Knowing that I like the results from my Rollei 35SE I have been considering the 85/2.8 Sonnar. The only problem is that I can not find a used one. My question is why is this lense so hard to find used? I keep on scanning keh.com and nothing comes up. Cheers, Mark -%)
 

muskrat

Member
Thank-you all for the comments, especially Mark. As I said before the 85/1.4 seems to be what I am looking for since I do want a faster lens, yet is the price justifiable? I have an Aria with the 50/1.4 and 28/2.8 so this next lens seems logical. I like to do available light (translation: I don't like flash) so the 1.4 makes sense, but if it is too big for the Aria maybe I'll settle for the 2.8? I'll try some test shots this weekend. BTW Lars how much are you selling your lens for? I can pick up a new one in Taipei for around $455 US.
 

muskrat

Member
Whoops, as appreciated as Mark is I think I meant Mike, Thanks for the shots- very helpful. Also $455 is for the 2.8 and 1.4 is going for $715.
 

molte

Member
Rick

See the thread under second hand C/Y - all the info is there=20

Lars

Posted by Rick Kwan on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 2:48 am: =20 Thank-you all for the comments, especially Mark. As I said before the 85/1.4 seems to be what I am looking for since I do want a faster lens, yet is the price justifiable? I have an Aria with the 50/1.4 = and 28/2.8 so this next lens seems logical. I like to do available light (translation: I don't like flash) so the 1.4 makes sense, but if it is too big for the Aria maybe I'll settle for the 2.8? I'll try some test shots this weekend. BTW Lars how much are you selling your lens for? I can pick up a new one in Taipei for around $455 US.=20 =20
 

pkipnis

Well-Known Member
I have had the 85/1.4 for almost 10 years and am amazed by the quality of this lens from 2.5 downward. While it's not great at1.4 it's still good. I've used the lens on trips all over the planet and it's worth it's weight (pun) in excellent images. It allows me to get 1 1/2 steps closer than a 50 would but has enough speed for limited light conditions. I also travel with the 35/1.4; 25/2.8 and 18/4.0. The 70-210/3.5; 180/.2.8, and 60/2.8 usually stay home or in the hotel.
 

muskrat

Member
Ok, can not I believe I found this but a brand new untouched display model 85/1.4 for $548.00 U.S. Picked it up yesterday. Will shoot this week, pretty impressed with it's size and weight against the Aria. What a deal!
 
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