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Zeiss Planar T 55/1.2

G

Guest

I have been presented with the opportunity to buy this very rare anniversary lens. Before I spend my hard-earned cash on that big and expansive chunck of glass, I would like to know if anyone on Contaxinfo has had experience with it. Is it worth the investment? If I do buy a lens like this, I will sure try to exploit its low-light advantages. How is color correction, distortion and vignetting? How about the bokeh? Would I be better waiting for an elusive Yashica ML 55/1.2 which costs about 1/5th of this price?

Thanks for any input

G Couture
 
G

Guest

buy 50/1.4 zeiss, could be old-type. buy if you are collector or/and rich.
 
G

Guest

I have Planar a 55/1.2 lens with RTS III.
I love this lens, maybe very personally. The greatest advantage of this lens must be its wide aperture with no degradation of picture quality. I used to take pictures with this lens without flash. The result always satisfied me showing delicate shadow details. Very nice very nice!!!

I have to say about color rendition of this lens. It seems to me that this lens shows much more natural colors compared to any other lenses that I own. I had a test this lens with Zeiss 35/1.4 which is very famous for the sharpness and splendid colors. Somebody calls a 35/1.4 killer lens, you know.

Amazingly the mutual relationship between colors in the picture Planar 55/1.2 showed astonished me not to mention that color itself looked more natural.

I concluded WOW, 55/1.2 beated 35/1.4. But there is a bad thing. the closest distance of 55/1.2 to an object is only 60cm. It's not enough, you know. Also it's very expensive. Well, except that everything including the shape satisfies me.
 
G

Guest

And Mr Przewrocki,
Planar 55/1.2 is not an old-type lens. As far as I know It was produced just two years ago, 2001 summer.
And am I rich? Could be!
But I'm not a collector.
I believe it's worthy of that much money.
 
G

Guest

> Posted by Park, Seung-Jo on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 9:06 pm: > > And Mr Przewrocki, > Planar 55/1.2 is not an old-type lens. As far as I know It was > produced just two years ago, 2001 summer. > And am I rich? Could be! > But I'm not a collector. > I believe it's worthy of that much money.

Is someone selling one? If so I'd be interested.

Austin Franklin austin@darkroom.com
 

nicolas

Active Member
After reading that Zeiss test actual production lens units for the MTF, I also checked some independent websites which have tested Zeiss lenses for MTF & f-stop accuracy, I decided to test my zeiss and non-zeiss lenses vs a light meter.

Shocking! I found that my Vivitar Series 1 28-105/2.8-3.8 is actually an f4-5.6. More disturbing was that the Yashica ML 50/1.9 is actually an f2.8. Apparently the manufacturers used a calculated f-stop and not the real production figures.

My question is: Has anyone tested the famous Yashica ML 55/1.2 to see if its really an f 1.2 lens? (Could the Contax 50/1.4 actually be a faster lens?)

My testing is based on readings taken off an evenly lit white wall. The light meter is a Sekonic L508 and readings were both incident and reflected, distance to wall is adjusted to account for the different magnification of the lenses. Zeiss lens f-stops tally with the light meter (cross checked with 2 different contax bodies and 1 yashica body)
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Nicholas,

All maximum f-stops are calculated, because by definition they express the ratio between the focal length and the diameter of the aperture diaphragm when fully open. They do not account for the light transmission characteristics of the glass, so on an SLR you will find the meter will recommend longer exposures with a 15-element f/2.8 zoom lens than it will with a 7-element prime. It is reasonable to assume that the quality glasses used in Zeiss and other premium lenses will transmit more light than those used in cheaper lenses (there had to be a reason why we paid that ransom money, right? ;o) so it’s no surprise that your Contax primes fare better than a Vivitar zoom or a cheap Yashica prime.

Mr. Park, it sounds like you are swept away on a wave of enthusiasm for your expensive lens, but I wonder if your statement that the lens shows "no degradation" at wide apertures is based on a controlled comparison or just your general feelings. If it were literally true then this lens would be totally unique in the field of optics. The mystique of Zeiss and certain other manufacturers is perpetuated by statements such as yours, and while I don't doubt that it is a good lens, a dispassionate assessment of it might show the truth to be somewhat different. I bought AE 85mm f/1.4 T* an with great expectations of its performance at full aperture, only to be sorely disappointed at it extreme softness until about f/2.8. A Canon 85mm EF lens makes it look stupid at f/2! I have done back-to-back tests with two Zeiss 85's, and they were indistinguishable, so it wasn't just a bad ex&le. (To be fair, the Zeiss is soft in a very flattering and pleasant way, so maybe they thought that was the right way for a "portrait" lens to perform at wide apertures...)

Warm regards to all,

-= mike =-
 

tbc

Well-Known Member
> Nicholas, Your test was actually your light meter, vs your camera's light meter and whatever light losses are found in the particular lens. Angle of view of the lens, area covered by the light meter are also factors. It was not the calculated f/stop (physical dimension of the aperture vs focal length, compared to actual light transmission. Mike Nunan's comments are correct. If you want to test for the real f/stop, shoot slide film and compare lenses under the same lighting and f/stop. You can also look at some Pop photo lens tests where they measure the actual f/stop by the light transmitted through the lens. I don't think you'll find a difference of 1 1/3 stops, maybe more like 1/2 stop. As an aside, are you happy with your photos or are they all 1 1/3 stop underexposed?

Also, most photographers are used to the current definition of f/stops. Besides, the TTL meters of cameras will take the actual f/stop into consideration. This may also explain some of your differences you have seen.
 

nicolas

Active Member
[Thank you for your comments. As most modern cameras use a built-in TTL meters, I believe that manufactures try to 'stretch' the speed of their lens in their marketing. Because of TTL, lens f-stop numbers are seldom questioned. The only concern for the manufacturer is that 'stops' between f2 to f2.8 (and so on....)are acurately a 1 stop difference, so that automatic "stopping down" can work. Simple question: How can anyone be sure that his lens at f2.8 is actually f2.8?

Lens f-stop numbers are meant to account for light loss in the glass - think along the lines of: large format photography and handheld meters.

In TTL cameras, suppose an 'f 1.4 lens' is really an f2 lens, the camera simply tells us to use a slower (1 stop) shutter speed - the user will not notice the difference. The true test is if we use our SLR like a view camera, and we meter with a handheld and then set the info in the camera (eg. f5.6,1/30s) and the exposure turns out over/under exposed. I have checked pop photo, photodo etc. I can safely say that 'cheap' primes and zooms are not tested for their f-stop accuracy or MTF. Does anyone have an ML55f1.2 to perform a lens speed test to quench my curiosity?

BTW, I also tested the P50/1.7 vs the ML50/1.9 on the same 3 camera bodies. To get the same exposure reading for the ML at f1.9, I had to stop down the P50/1.7 to f2.8 ]
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
The true test is if we use our> SLR like a view camera, and we meter with a handheld and then set the > info in the camera (eg. f5.6,1/30s) and the exposure turns out> over/under exposed.

I sometimes use my handheld meter for incident light readings , plus of course , flash , and I havent noticed anything amiss . Never done a full on test though . Steve
 

tbc

Well-Known Member
> Nicolas, I hope the following data "quenches your curiousity"!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The only concern for the manufacturer is that > 'stops' between f2 to f2.8 (and so on....)are acurately a 1 stop > difference, so that automatic "stopping down" can work. I used a SLR system where the exposure measurement wide open did not agree with the reading at the next stop. For ex&le, 1.8 would indicate one speed, 2.8 would indicate .5 stop difference (reflected in the shutter speed). It was within a .5 stop tolerance, but it irritated me nonetheless. I had several lenses made by the mfr for the system and they all did that. I now use Nikon and Contax SLR's, Leica M6 and do not find this discrepancy. Don't forget that the acceptance angle of a hand-held meter is often wider than a spot meter built into the camera, thus affecting your readings.

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lens f-stop numbers are meant to account for light loss in the glass > - think along the lines of: large format photography and handheld meters. Not true. F/stops do not account for losses in many more elements (not as great a factor before zoom lenses in the '50's, and do not account for improvement made by single or multi-coating. With older lenses with fewer elements, the calculated f/stop was close to the actual, differences were not that great. F/stops are calculated at infinity. Therefore, there will be an inaccuracy the closer you focus. Did you know that the older 55 3.5 Micro-Nikkors for Nikon F had a "compensated" f/stop that was mechanically linked with the focus so that it "opened" up slightly as you focused closer? I have such a lens my father bought new in 1967. That feature became unnecessary, indeed counterproductive when TTL was developed. >>>>>>>>>>>> In TTL cameras, suppose an 'f 1.4 lens' is really an f2 lens, the > camera simply tells us to use a slower (1 stop) shutter speed - the > user will not notice the difference. Pop Photo, testing various Contax SLR's claims that exposure is biased toward .5 stop under. This is claimed to intensify colors with slide film, not to make a lens faster.

>>>>>>>>>I have checked pop photo, photodo etc. I can safely say that 'cheap' primes and zooms are not tested for their f-stop accuracy or MTF. Not true. Check Pop Photo again. The Pop Photo test shows the Zeiss 50 1.4 Planar for the N has an actual f/stop of f/1.50. The Zeiss 50 1.4 Planar MM has an actual f/stop of f/1.68! Even zooms with several elements and multi-coating do not exhibit huge f/stop discrepancies. In fact, the Zeiss 35-70 3.4 tests out at f/3.21-3.37! Photodo does not mention actual f/stop. MTF has nothing to do with actual f/stop.

Therefore, since the 50 1.4 Planar-N is actually a f/1.50, your test is not the f/stop of the lens, but a test of your hand held meter compared to the camera meter. When you eliminate the factor that the f/stop on the lens is grossly wrong, look elsewhere for the differences between your cameras+lenses metering and a handheld.
 
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