Zeiss Vario Sonnar against Sigma UC Zoom

G

Guest

Hi all,
I've just flicked through the photodo.com MTF measurement results for my brand-new Vario-Sonnar 1:3,5-4,5 28-70 and my older Sigma UC Zoom (same nominal characteristics). To be honest, I am a little bit surprised that the DM 250,- Sigma lens beats a DM 1500,- Zeiss lens in terms of overall MTF performance. I experienced that the Sigma produces pretty bad vignetting at 28mm wide open, which is the main reason why I bought the Zeiss. I usually take slides, and I think that the Zeiss Zoom produces nicer colours and better contrast.
And, of course, the Zeiss has a much better and sturdy feel to it. But anyway, can anybody think of a reason for the Sigma's better MTF values as published at photodo.com?
 
G

Guest

Thomas

Have you taken any pictures with your new Zeiss lens yet? Only then will you know about the quaity of the Zeiss lens. There is more to life than MTF charts, but many people seem to get hung up on them.

Can I think of a reason why the Sigma has better MTF values? I can think of two:

1. Photodo got it wrong
2. The Sigma is a better lens

Go out with your lens Thomas, take lots of pictures and enjoy them. Life is too short to worry about MTF charts.

Simon
 
G

Guest

Hi Thomas,

The Sigma UC 28-70/3.5-4.5 from 1990 and 1997 is a Leitz/Sigma Cooperation. The lens design was from Sigma for both years. The only difference to the Leitz lens was the material for Leitz with more metal and for Sigma with more "plastic".

There was a test in the German "Fotomagazin" 1989 or 1990 about the two lenses, which was at that time quite a skandal for the Leica fans, because the Leitz zoom was even more expensive then now the gap to the mentioned Zeiss zoom. Optically, assuming you got a good model, the Sigma has the identical MTF-curves as the Leica/Leitz zoom. Just the quality control in the production can not be as good as Leica for that price. The Sigma is not available anymore, obviously Leica learnt and made different contracts afterwards.

But back to your question. The Zeiss zoom is a totally different design from the Sigma zoom. Obviously, like with the Leica zoom, it is also different build quality. It is just the luck for Sigma that they could calculate the design cost of that lens on the P/L of Leica, otherwise just the design costs would have made the Sigma lens also more expensive.

Since the Zeiss zoom has to make profit and Zeiss can not share this reserch cost with other brandnames, it has to be more expensive - even if it would not be that solid builded. Additionally you have the cost factor for quality control in the mass production and the so called "Zeiss effect"


dirk
 
G

Guest

Thomas,

another thing I forgot to mention. You should be careful with the photodo MTF numbers. The weighting and calculation is quite different to other MTF measurements. Look for this in their explanations how they get these final numbers together. Although I like the photodo site and I also have a link to it, it seems to be dead. Last update was in June 2000.

dirk
 
G

Guest

Hi everybody,
thanks for all the comments! I certainly know that there is more to life than MTF charts ;-). I really like the Zeiss Zoom better for reasons I've already mentioned and I am quite happy with it. I was just curious...

Thanks again,
Thomas
 
G

Guest

Something I forgot: I have taken a lot of pictures with the Vario-Sonnar, also in direct comparison to the Sigma. In my opinion the image quality of the Zeiss is far above the Sigma. One more reason why I was so puzzled...
Alright, I got the message.I'll simply use my new lens and enjoy it!
Cheers,
Thomas
 
G

Guest

Hi Thomas!

I can really agree with all this statements upon MTF-charts. I had the 28-70 Vario-Sonnar, and I sold it. The MTF charts made be beleive that it has a similar performance to the 35-70/3,4 but I failed. The 35-70 is much better in the bookeh (Hope this is the right terminus for the way how a lens "draws" a picture), and in contrast at full aperture. But I had to sell this either due to server problems I posted here a few days ago.

Nevertheless as a real Contaxarian I would never put a Sigma lens on my "holy" Contax.

Regards
Wolfgang
 
G

Guest

Thomas

Sounds like you are enjoying the lens already. I have to admit, being a die-hard Leica M and Hasselblad user with all prime lenses, that I am constantly amazed by the quality of the images that come out of the N zoom lenses. Of course I could take all the credit, but I am sure the optics have something to do with it ;-)

Zeiss certainly know how to make zooms as well as primes.

Simon
 
G

Guest

Hi Everybody,
I am a M6 user, have used previously The R3 and R4 and had electronis problems, I felt the need of a reflex to be able to use the ultra wide angle lenses, so I bought a 2nd hand Contax 159. I am new to this system, can some one tell me how are the Yashika lenses on it, what is their optical quality compared to Tamron or other lenses apart from CZ and Leica.
 
G

Guest

Hi Mohan,

In general I would strongly encourage you to buy Zeiss lenses for your 159MM. It just makes no sense to buy a 159MM and then put a Tamron on it. You can have this cheaper by buying an old nikon etc.

If you look at the second hand prices for Zeiss lenses you will realize that they are very cheap compared to used Leitz lenses. Since you are looking especially for ultra wide angle, this is slightly different. These lenses are not that often seen on the 2nd hand market. The 21mm is not just outstanding in quality, but also expensive (but it is worth it). I have not had experience with ultra wides of other brandnames, so I can just give you this advice from my experience with lenses of 35mm upwards.
 
G

Guest

I just saw a 15mm f3.5 Zeiss C/Y at ProCamera, Charlottesville, VA for $2000. 434-979-1915
Talk about a wide angle!
 
G

Guest

Mohan,

>I bought a 2nd hand Contax 159. I am new to this system, can some one tell me how are the Yashika lenses on it, what is their optical quality compared to Tamron or other lenses apart from CZ and Leica.<

I would endorse the advice you have already had on steering yourself towards Zeiss lenses once you have made the decision to go with Contax. I too have a 159 and it's a lovely little camera. Although Zeiss is glass you'll never regret buying, there are some very acceptable Yashica lenses in the ML range. I recently acquired a 28-85ML lens, and was quite taken aback by how good the images were, especially as I only bought it because it was inexpensive and my wife, who supervises all my spending with a furrowed brow, was momentarily distracted and looking the other way. When they're side by side with the Planar images on the same set, you can tell the difference, but the ML lens cost a fifth the price I paid for the Planar.
 
G

Guest

Mohan wrote: "I bought a 2nd hand Contax 159. I am new to this system, can some one tell me how are the Yashika lenses on it, what is their optical quality compared to Tamron or other lenses apart from CZ and Leica."

Hi Mohan,

Congratulations with your new camera - one of the most delicately designed Contax models ever in my eyes.

This may sound a bit biased to you - or even weird - but I don't know what other way to give you my advice.

Having used Contax cameras and most of the Zeiss lenses ever since 1977 I had kind of grown into taking the quality of Zeiss lenses for granted. And to be honest: I had begun to think that with new technology and computerized designing ... welll, all lenses probably were more or less the same quality. It may sound strange, but there I was.

Two incidents made me wake up. First, I bought af Tamron zoom for my girlfriends camera. Second, I bought a set of Yashica FXD and three Yashica lenses (two of them the distinguished ML-line) for her son. Both buys were great bargains and great quality ... I thought.

And what did I get? The most convincing proof that Zeiss quality is NOT general quality.

Those other lenses produce pictures, right ... but pictures with these other lenses seems to lack so much in detail and colors - not to talk about vignetting (dark corners), distortions (straight lines not being straight) and other highly visible drawbacks. Such optical failures that Zeiss engineers just must be so much more caring about and seem to avoid much better than others.

To me, this experience was a real eye opener. There are so many qualities to a lens that you take for granted and tend to forget about when you have them. Fact is that many producers do cut 'heels and toes' and make many compromises with picture quality.

And - Yashica and Tamron, I would say, generally is in quite different leagues from Zeiss.

Kind regards,

Jak
 
G

Guest

Hi Dirk,
Thanks for your comments. I have seen the prices, for Leica one 2nd hand 35mm is 1000 euro and for contax it is 320 Euro, The contax quality which I can only compare with Leitz and the price difference. I will start looking for the real CZ lenses.
Mohan
 
S

sol74

Yes, Sigma is ok for sunflare resistance etc (considering its a zoom) I had a 28-70 macro sigma on a Nikon F80 a while back but the experience propelled me to Zeiss/contax. The only thing outstanding about this lens is it's macro mode - better quality images than off-macro , but nowhere near the quality of my 50mm1.4 reversed on my RX
 

roberto

Well-Known Member
I am looking for a decent zoom to fit into my trusty Contax S2, fitted since new with a Planar 50/1.4.

I had used to fit from time to time a Tamron 28-70 with quite bad results (out of focus, difficult to get the picture focused -well, it was 13 years old an had had a very hard life, through three cameras-).

As I mainly use the 50mm I had thought about getting one Cosina zoom lens 28-105 f 2,8-3.3 in C/Y mount or a Tokina or Sigma in similar focal distance and aperture instead.

But after having read much of what the users say, then I think I will have to come back to Zeiss again.
Obviously the Vario-Sonnar 28-85 3,3 is the best bet, but it's too heavy for usual hand-held shots and for trekking, and does not fit in my C-3 case.

Then that takes me to the 35-70 Vario-Sonnar, which is both light, one-touch zoom and performant, but lacks the 28mm choice.

Then the last contender is the Vario-Sonnar 28-70. It's a very good lens, not very bright (f3,5-4,5 is just the same as my old Tamron), but whats puts me off is that many people have told me that does not deliver the usually great optical quality that Zeiss lenses deliver.

Has anybody had some experience with the three VS lenses and other third-party lenses who could give me some advice?

I know Zeiss is the best, and I prefer to use Zeiss lenses in my Contax, simply I would like somebody to point me some alternative.

Great forum. Thanks a lot.
 
J

jgban

You've seen the different opinions on this thread, so there is little to add...

2 years ago I had the same question: 28-70 or 35-70? I had been happily using a Vivitar 28-105, but I realized I could afford Zeiss...

My main consideration was the range of focal lengths. The 35-70 may be wonderful, but if you like to shoot wider or longer, it just does not make sense. If truly most of your shooting is between 35 and 70, then go for it.

The point I am trying to make is that to me the focal length is the number 1 deciding factor. The long controversy re. the performance of the 28-70 is kind of boring. I got the 28-70 and I was a very happy user. If you want to convince yourself you want another lens, go to Photodo and see it has a very low mark. If you want to convince yourself it is a very nice lens, go to
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Later I found a bargain VS 28-85, and now it is the one I use, not so much for the quality (which is, as everybody has said, outstanding) as for the range--85 is much better than 70 for my shooting. Unfortunately, as more people has pointed out, flare IS a problem.

And now that I have 2 VS zooms (of which I don't need one, obviously) I would still prefer a 28-105...The reviews of the current Tamron are excellent, with quality (and price: list $1,491, available for $850 new!) at Zeiss level, they say. But I have never used one. The Vivitar Series 1 I used, still in production (list 330, available new for less than $150), was very good (or so I thought)-- at least the one I have (someone has complained about it in this forum, and the mark it got in Photodo was an abysmal 1.9! --one of the worst, go figure).

Bottom line: the VS are all good, you can't go wrong with them. My advice is to choose based on focal length. Regarding non-Zeiss short zooms, my only experience may not be representative.

Good luck,

Juan
 

roberto

Well-Known Member
Dear Juan,

Thank you very much for your advice. I don't rely very much in what magazines say, I prefer comments based upon experience, such as yours.

So I will probably go for the 28-70, even though I would prefer the 28-85 or the Tamron 28-105, but size and weight really matter in this case because they would not fit into my S2's case.

Thank you and best regards,

Robert
 
V

vdipiet

Robert, I agree with Juan -- the 28-70 is a very good lens. I also use the 35-135 vs which is a great lens, as sharp as any of my primes, but very large. I like the 28-70 for crowd scenes at rallies or events. In my opinion both lenses have great bokeh.
 
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