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Zuiko vs Zeiss lens flare shootout some surprising results

Perhaps there are three or four other folks in the universe who would find this interesting. Today I had some time on my hands, and a small selection of Zeiss Contax and OM Zuiko lenses within reach. It was a warm sunny day here in Denver. I decided it was time to do a little side-by-side testing of my two favorite orphaned lens families. I wanted to see if there was any meaningful difference between my Zuikos and Zeisses, considering that the *T coatings on the Zeiss are generally regarded as the pinnacle of flare resistance.

First I mounted up my two 28s, the Zeiss f2.8 and the Oly 2.0 on appropriate bodies. I aimed towards the afternoon sun, which was bright enough to create ghost images, but filtered a little with clouds so as not to blind me too much, too fast. I removed all filters, to make this a fair test, and composed scenes with the sun placed anywhere from the center to the corner of the frame. The resulting flare from both lenses was slight, and virtually equal. Both showed faint, fuzzy ghost images that dimmed as I stopped down to minimum apertures. They wouldn't have been a problem in a photo, assuming I was careful not to place the ghosts against darker tones where they would stand out more. Among these two wide angles, I could see no advantage.

My 50s proved to be a more diverse lot. The Zeiss Planar f1.4 indeed showed much less flare than the Zuiko f1.8. The Zuiko exhibited vivid, well-defined ghosts, both conical and dish-shaped that dimmed but didn't extinguish by f16. As for the Planar, it showed only fuzzy blobs that, in astronimical terms, were several orders of magnitude less bright. Advantage Zeiss.

Then I reached for my "keeper" Zuiko 50, the F1.8 I'd heard recommended by so many web reviewers, the "Made in Japan" model proudly displaying the letters "MC." I was shocked that, despite the multicoating, this lens showed a much worse set of flare ghosts than the other Zuiko! The shape of the string of ghosts was the same, but the disk which had been a subtle purple hue in the older version now was a bright yellow-orange. Now I knew which lens I'd choose to shoot a textbook illustration of "lens flare."

I've been puzzling for months whether I should sell off either my Zeiss or Zuikos. But I just can't decide. Both systems have the same problems -- poor digital upgrade options, collector prices and lack of new technlogy. And Contax and Olympus have different but complimentary virtues, of course. Too hard to choose, so I won't just yet. This test gives me one more factor to puzzle about. Yes, Zeiss *T lenses are the flare-busting ch&ions, at least in the 50mm length. But several points of conventional wisdom didn't pan out. The faster lens, among the 28s, did not have more flare than the slow one. And the officially multicoated Zuiko flared worse, IMHO, than the humble single-coated version.

I wonder if anyone else has done similar tests and found comprable results?