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Zeiss N70-200 vs. Zeiss N70-300

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Guest

Dirk

I am sure Contax would be amazed at your view that the 20-80 and 70-200 are optically superior than the 24-85mm and 70-300mm. I hope you are not basing this view on MTF's etc. As someone who has used them all, they are most definitely not optically superior, the latter lenses producing consistently sharper images across the whole field.

Simon
 
G

Guest

Oh, one last point. Talking to Contax, they regard the 24-84mm and 70-300mm as the opticaly superior lenses, in the construction, glass used and end results. Hence the price premium.

Simon
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Hi Simon,

actually I wanted to write down a week ago already a comparison between these lenses, but have not had the time yet. I will probably move this conversation to the Zeiss lens section later this week.

Yes, the N70-200 is optically superior vs. the N70-300 and the same is valid for the N28-80 vs. the N24-85. The differences are in certain areas bigger then in others. I was discussing this last December with Zeiss in Oberkochen before I bought my lenses, and I guess they know what they are talking about. But you can see it also in the MTF charts and in real life photography, if you use both side by side. But I have to aknowledge, that the differences are only slightly - but visible.

Before I go into detail, one comment on the different prices and glasses. The use of certain modern glasses does not guarantee by itself to achieve optical improvements. Depending on the zoom-range of the lenses, the more complicated and more expensive lens design is already needed to be on par in image quality with other zooms, which has a narrower zoom-range. BUT The major reason for the more expensive lenses N24-85 and N70-300 is according to Zeiss Germany the implementation of the Dual Focus mechanismen, what produces a lot more problems in design and production of these lenses, therefore the higher price.

I made testshots (handheld, fuji velvia, Nx&N1) side by side with all 4 zooms and saw differences with a 4x loup on the light table. But to be more objective let us look at the MTF data (see the download section), which are giving a quiet good impression where is what better. The differences, that I am referring to are visible, if you compare both lenses to each other directly side by side, which is not really how people make pictures in general
You will never regret to use a N70-300 or N24-85, the optics are just great.

1. N70-200 vs. N70-300.

Every lens design follows certain task which shall be achieved with this lens. The N70-200 was designed for the best results in the center of the image. The N70-300 was designed with a more consistent performance til the corners of the image, above all til 15mm. The N70-200 outperforms the N70-300 in the center of the image til ca. 8-10mm, depending on the Zoom range significantly. Not at 10 lp/mm, but at 20 lp/mm and at 40 lp/mm.

If you look at the different curves, the higher is not always the better. As stated in the Zeiss article available in this Forum, there are some "rule of thumbs" at what point you can really see the difference in image quality. Depending on the lp/mm there are different percentages to look at. For the 10 lp/mm you only need an improvement by 5% and you will see the quality improvement in the final picture, for the 20 lp/mm you need more differences (10%) so that it is visible for the human eye in your picture and for the 40 lp/mm you even need 20% improvement to be able to detect it in in the picture.

As described above you can sse in the center of the image the differences. After 15mm from the image center the 70-300 is better then the N70-200. This is because of the different aim in this lens-design. Distortion and Vignetting is with both zooms more or less the same. I find the quality of the N70-300 outstanding if you think at the wider zoom range and the implementation of the Dual Focus mechanism. It just weights to much (1070g) for the aperture 4.0-5.6, compared to 620g for aperture 3.5-4.5 of the N70-200.

2. N28-80 vs. N24-85

This is more complicated. Depending on what is important to you, there can be different "winners". Additionall we do not have the MTF data at the exact same zoom-range, which makes it actually unfair to compare only by this. The N24-85 has at 24mm an outstanding correction of the distortion. The N28-80 has a bigger distortion by numbers (!) at 28mm then the other at 24mm. As you can read in my other article about common pitfalls in interpreting MTF data, you will see, that this is not comparable in reality like this.

At 50mm distortion is almost at zero with the 28-80, with the 24-85 slightly more then +1 at 20mm height, which is totally o.k. At 80mm/85mm the 28-80 has again an advantage with same center image quality but a more consistent line towards the corners. In general the height of the curves is almost the same throughout the picture with both lenses. The main difference is the gap between sag. and tan. lines for each lp/mm. To describe it very basic the closer they are, the better the image quality.

For vignetting there is basically no difference between the two lenses. So both lenses are excellent and again for the wider zoom range of the 24-85 and the dual focus mechanism an outstanding result.

I know this sound all very technical, but this is the only way to compare in a objective way the differences.

Dirk
 

dirk

CI-Founder
This thread started originally in the Nx folder. I think it is worthwile to move it here, so that othere members find this comparison easier...

"Hi Michaela,

welcome to the Contax User Site!

You choose excellent lenses with your NX. These are not "just" kit lenses. The 28-80 is actually optically better then the 24-85, same counts for the 70-200 vs. the 70-300. This is due to the narrower zooming range and the easier task therefore to design it.

I switched from my 70-300 to the 70-200 mainly because of the weight and aperture advantage. I used to have the 28-80, but I absolutely need the 24mm, so even it is optically inferior (on a Zeiss level), I sold the 28-80 and use the 24-85 instead."

Dirk
 
G

Guest

Is the manual focusing smooth for the VS 28-80 and VS 70-200 compared to the VS 24-85, VS 70-300? I own the two latter lenses and the manual focusing is absolutely smooth and has the right feel.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Hi Patrick,

The convenience in manual focus with the 24-85 and 70-300 is the best I have experienced yet. You have almost the same feling like with the C/Y-mount lenses which is already very difficult to achieve for AF lenses.

The two "low cost" zooms 28-80 and 70-200 can not keep up here. It is just a different construction. That does not mean that it is uncomfortable with the two latter ones, but not as "perfect" as it is with the Dual Focus lenses.

There you can "feel" the price difference.

Dirk
 
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Guest

Not to add fuel to the fire, but I thought I'd post my test shot with with 28-80mm for amateurs like me on a budget or don't want/can't afford the 24-85mm. This is a bit more than 1/2 of the original picture. It was shot with NX, 28-80mm, Superia 400, and a Vivitar 285HV flash. I am quite satisfied with it. The dust on some parts of the figure (top left and bottom left of the helmet) is even visible.

 
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Guest

Hi,

I'm an owner of N1 and 28-80mm lens. I plan to upgrade my lens to 24-85, and here comes my question: Is that lens worth so much money? I don't care about the difference between 24/28 and 80/84 (4mm), it's not as important for me as sharpness is. I know that generally, more expensive is better, but maybe not as better as more expensive is? So regarding to sharpness, would you spend about $650 more for that lens or not?

Thank you,
Kris.
 
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Guest

BOTTOM LINE, Dirk and Simon. With the 70 - 200mm and the 70 - 300mm zooms ... USING THE RANGE OF 70 TO 200MM AND AN APERATURE OF5.6 or F8, which lens is SHARPER. I don't care about charts and graphs ... just the sharpness of the photographs printed on a sharp printer such as a Fuji Frontier minilab. Rick
 
G

Guest

Isn't this comparison one of apples to oranges? There is a huge difference between
24mm and 28mm. Add in the dual focus ability
and you have the key reasons to spring for the functionally superior lens: 24-85. Unless my finances absolutely dictated the less expensive lens, the dual focus feature alone would be enough to sway me. I say that because the Ns focusing is less than that of a Canon EOS 1 or Nikon F-100, and I find the manual "touch-up" an absolute necessity with
the N1 and N-Digital.
 
G

Guest

I was considering 28-80 lens (that's was my question about difference between 28-80 and 24-85). I ordered that lens from a warehouse. I had several days to check it and eventually return to a seller. So I got one and shot some pictures. One of them is on the screen "a piece of wood". Yesterday I returned this lens because I'm not satisfied with this sharpness. Maybe I do something wrong, or maybe this is not so great lens like 24-85? Now I ordered 24-85 and I'm curious if I get better quality (sharpness). I'm satisfied with the pictures I can see on that forum, but what I got using this lens is not exactly what I expected. Does anybody have any experience with 28-80? Most people use standard lens for Contax N1, it's 24-85, but I thought that if I don't need 4mm wider lens, I can save some money. I didn't scan this photo personally, I just sent it to a lab and ordered CD together with prints. I'll upload another one picture I did in the same time. I put the filter HOYA 81A on my lens, but I dodn't think that it made any difference in sharpness.
 
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Guest

This is my 2nd picture shot by 28-80. Again, in my opinion these leaves are not as sharp as others pictures in this forum (probably shot by 24-85). The same film FUJI Superia X-TRA 400 with HOYA 81A filter. One idea came to my head... Is is possible that these pictures are not so sharp because I used a negative film instead slide?
I had to compress both pictures using Photoshop because they were to big to upload. I saved to jpg format using 72 dpi (typical scree resolution) and using quality 10 (12 is max). I know that using compression I'll loose some quality, but now when I'm comparing this uploaded photo to my original (before compression) photo, I can't see any difference, so this is very similar photo to my uncompressed file.

Kris.
 
G

Guest

Hi Kris,

I am using the 28-80 but I am quite curious about the 24-85 as well. The price and weight of the 24-85 prevents me from getting it. I was just on hike yesterday and the light weight of NX and 28-80 combo was a blessing. My feet were tired but my neck was spared.

For handheld shots, factors that cause the image to be less sharp can be camera shake or slow shutter speed in relation to the zoom/focal length (the norm is to use shutter speed equal to the zoom/focal length or better yet, twice the zoom/focal length). But I guess you know that already.

If it helps, here again is my test shot with the 28-80 (my earlier post did not upload correctly). It's one stop over-exposed (which explains the bright red). So far, I am satisfied with the 28-80. The negative was originally scanned at 600x404 at 72dpi. Then I resized the image in Photoshop Elements.

Please do post pictures taken with the 24-85. I would love to see how sharp the images can be and read your comparison.

 

dirk

CI-Founder
Kris,

sharpness of a photo is determined by many different factors. There more obvious ones is handshake.

If you want to shoot handshake free without a tripod, you actually need a speed of 1/250 at least with the 28-80. The bigger the lens the faster the shutterspedd must be.

2nd reason could be wrong focussing. The N1 is not always right calibrated. You see this above all, if you use the split-screen for focusing (optional for N1). This is not nice to hear, but prevents in too early wrong judgements about the focus accuracy of the N1. Contax will fix that normally for free.

3rd. The film might be too old or just not good

4th. Your lab did a bad job for the prints. Try thze same neg with another lab to make sure.

5th. if you test sharpness or qaulity of a sstem, NEVER put a filter in front of it!

6th. Pay attention which aperture you are using. With some lenses at 2.8 or 3.5 the DOF is just to shallow to give pleasing results...

try it out, and use something like a wall with some nice structures and colours and more DOF in it.

dirk
 
G

Guest

Regarding to the post above; I can agree with some suggestions, but not with all of them.

1st. - "a speed of 1/250 at least with the 28-80". That's would be true. Next time I'll do the same using faster speed.

2nd. - I'm not sure, unlikely reason. As you can see, there is no big depth of field (a piece of wood). The difference between the closest and the farest object is about 2 or 3 inches. The largest aperture you can set in this lens is 3.5 or 4 (depends on focal lenght). I remember that the subject was very sharp through the viewfinder. I didn't shoot this picture in any kind of rush. So using aperture 3.5 this piece of wood should be sharp enough even if focus wasn't very accurate.

3rd. - The film was far away from end of developing date. Again, unlikely reason.

4rd. - In my opinion this is the most likely reason. I'll try to develop my new film in a different lab. Does anybody know any good place, where you can develop a film via mail?

5rd. - I read in many photo magazines, and not only that this filter has very small influence (almost not at all) on sharpness of final result. Next time I'll take a series of pictures with and without this filter. In my opinion unlikely reason.

In a week or so, I'll upload some pictures using 24-85 targeted at the same subjects.

I forgot to add that the pictures I uploaded were shot at speed about 1/125 and 1/90, I thought it's enough to eliminate influence of handshaking. I suppose faster speed is required if you use a lens at least 140 or more, but 80mm or zoom mode (the same 80mm) is not so demanding.

Kris.
 
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