Buying a new Lens, How about Zeiss 85 1.4?

Joined
Oct 7, 2008
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Hey folks


I sold some stocks i had laying around collecting dust, i have a few extra bucks. I was thinking of getting the Nikkor 10.2 DX fisheye for timelapse and astrophotography.

then i started thinking about what else there is i would like, and i have always heared fantastic things about Zeiss lenses. I hear the build quality is top of the line, the optics are incredible.

So i was looking at the 50mm 1.4 for about $750, OR maybe the 84 1.4 for 1,250. I could get either, but not both.

Im cool with it being MF, this would be used almost exclusivly for still life and portrait work, in fact, my shooting partner is a lighting technician and has been building a head-shot rig based of the KinoFlo system. This may be perfect to use with that.


However here is my question, thats a lot of money to drop, especially as i already have top of the line Nikon glass coving 24-70 70-200 2.8 throughout.

Can anybody comment on the optical quality of the Zeiss vs pro-nikon zoom lenses?

The 1.4 vs 2.8 dont overly concern me, the D7000 shoots clean high iso well enough that im not worried about gaining a stop or so.

if im just splitting hairs in optical quality here ill probably go with my origional plan of the 10.5 2.8 DX.


and please, please, please, before somebody starts lecturing m about the 50 and 85 zeiss primes VS the Nikon 10.5 fisheye and how they are whole different beasts, yes, i already understand this, they would be for distinctly different uses.


Thanks in advance!


i have to be honest, there is a big gear-head part of me that would love to own a zeiss lens simply for the sake of having one.
 
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I agree that there isn't a Zeiss lens I haven't liked! The 100 2.0 is just a complete level above everything else. We did a calendar shoot not to long ago and the 300 4.0 Nikkor easily topped the 80-200 zoom but the Zeiss 100 is pretty much a step above the 300 and the 300 is absolutely beautiful.
 
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From what I read the 85 1.4 is the poorest performer of the Zeiss lineup. Having owned and considering purchasing again, the 50 1.4 is a great lens if you don't mind the manual focus. I cannot comment on the other lenses except that I read good things about all of them.
 
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The Zeiss 35/2 is probably the best Zeiss for the money vs performance IMHO. The Zeiss 100/2 Makro Planar and 50/2 MP are in a league of their own. The Zeiss 21/2.8 is superb for landscapes.

The main difference I find, between the Zeiss lenses and Nikon pro lenses is the more pleasing, to me, colour of the Zeiss. Manual focus on a Zeiss is super smooth and completely different to using a Nikon AF lens on manual focus. The all metal and glass construction of the Zeiss lenses definitely give a high quality feel to them. You can tell just by picking one up that they're built to last.
 
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To be honest, your "gear hard" reason will be the main reason you`ll love Zeiss - you seem to have a 35 and 50, so the 85 will be the best fit. Snap it up!
 
G

gorbuchul

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From what I read the 85 1.4 is the poorest performer of the Zeiss lineup.

Then you have not read a lot or have restricted your lecture to the interpretation of test charts.
The design of the ZF85 is not for shooting charts, it is all about rendering and it renders different from the other fast 85 lenses. One of the reasons for this is that it is not overcorrected against spherical aberration, which results in a very special, very beautiful soft look, when shot wide open near minimal focus distance. Many classic portrait lenses are designed similiar, e.g. the 135/2 AIS or the 105/135DC variants. (In fact using the DC feature means to introduce more spherical aberration.)

Stopped down with growing distance the ZF85 gives world class resolution, much better than the AF-D 1.4 or 1.8 alternatives. It is a two-in-one lens and personally my most loved Zeiss. This is a very special lens.

Kind regards,
Bernd
 
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Then you have not read a lot or have restricted your lecture to the interpretation of test charts.
The design of the ZF85 is not for shooting charts, it is all about rendering and it renders different from the other fast 85 lenses. One of the reasons for this is that it is not overcorrected against spherical aberration, which results in a very special, very beautiful soft look, when shot wide open near minimal focus distance. Many classic portrait lenses are designed similiar, e.g. the 135/2 AIS or the 105/135DC variants. (In fact using the DC feature means to introduce more spherical aberration.)

Stopped down with growing distance the ZF85 gives world class resolution, much better than the AF-D 1.4 or 1.8 alternatives. It is a two-in-one lens and personally my most loved Zeiss. This is a very special lens.

Kind regards,
Bernd

Bernd, I believe you are correct. The main criticism of the 85 that I read came from the chart analysis crowd.
 
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I agree with Bernd. Different Zeiss lenses are designed to do different things. Don't get caught up in the technical. I love my 100 but there are many things my Zeiss 50 1.4 can do that the 100 can't. I really feel more like I am creating a photograph with the Zeiss. Not a snapshot. There is an artistic feel to the Zeiss glass that is different. With digital cameras mostly having sensors made from just a few companies, different is good. It is not always good to have a lens that just is built to test good on a review chart. IMHO
 
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Ah Milan I knew you would be lurking in the Zeiss threads, lol!

The only experience I have with Zeiss is when I rented the 100/2 - Head to head against the 70-200 proved that wide open the Zeiss showed sharpness and contrast that the 70-200 showed stopped down to f/4 - its simply a gem and MF is a breeze even at f/2.
 
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May 25, 2009
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I have done a comparison of my Zeiss 35/2 and 100/2 lenses with the Nikon 24-70 and 70-200 at their respective focal lengths. The Zeiss lenses are significantly sharper at f/2.8 and f/8, especially at the corners. The only Nikon 2.8 zoom that is comparable to the IQ of my Zeiss lenses is the 14-24.

Please consider that not all Zeiss lenses are created equal; the most outstanding ones are 100/2.0, 35/2.0, 21/2.8 and 50/2.0. The Zeiss 85/1.4 and 50/1.4 are not significantly better than their Nikon counterparts.
 
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I personally like the ZF2 85/1.4. It is a very special lens with a deep love for portraits.


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Joined
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I really feel more like I am creating a photograph with the Zeiss. Not a snapshot. There is an artistic feel to the Zeiss glass that is different.

Very well put. I feel the same way when I'm using mine. It only gets used for special uses and is not used for my general shooting. Use it on my D700 and D7000 and the results are always amazing.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
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Then you have not read a lot or have restricted your lecture to the interpretation of test charts.
The design of the ZF85 is not for shooting charts, it is all about rendering and it renders different from the other fast 85 lenses. One of the reasons for this is that it is not overcorrected against spherical aberration, which results in a very special, very beautiful soft look, when shot wide open near minimal focus distance. Many classic portrait lenses are designed similiar, e.g. the 135/2 AIS or the 105/135DC variants. (In fact using the DC feature means to introduce more spherical aberration.)

Stopped down with growing distance the ZF85 gives world class resolution, much better than the AF-D 1.4 or 1.8 alternatives. It is a two-in-one lens and personally my most loved Zeiss. This is a very special lens.

Kind regards,
Bernd

Speaking of spherical aberration, have a look at this:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1022953&page=2
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
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The Zeiss 35/2 is probably the best Zeiss for the money vs performance IMHO. The Zeiss 100/2 Makro Planar and 50/2 MP are in a league of their own. The Zeiss 21/2.8 is superb for landscapes.

The main difference I find, between the Zeiss lenses and Nikon pro lenses is the more pleasing, to me, colour of the Zeiss. Manual focus on a Zeiss is super smooth and completely different to using a Nikon AF lens on manual focus. The all metal and glass construction of the Zeiss lenses definitely give a high quality feel to them. You can tell just by picking one up that they're built to last.

You definitely nailed it here. Just what I was about to say.

Once you have a Zeiss, you would want more, as long as budget permits. I have the 35/2. My 50/2 MP is currently in transit.

However, to the OP, there is another suggestion. Very close to the performance and feel of the Zeiss at half the cost and manufactured by the same factory.....Cosina Voigtlander. Check out the 20/f3.5, 40 f2, 58 f1.8 and I believe there is a 75mm and a 90mm. The 20mm and the 40mm are pancakes and small enough to carry around with hardly any weight.

Definitely, if you have the budget, go for the Zeiss. Otherwise, you can get two Voigtlanders for the price of one Zeiss. Just a suggestion. :smile:
 
Joined
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Or, now heres a radical idea, in most cases buy the better or similar performing nikon versions.

Zf21 is outdone by the 14-24
Zf25/28 outdone by the 24-70
Zf35 better than the nikon 35/2
Zf50 outdone by nikons 50 and certainly by the sigma
Zf50 makro certainly no better than the 60g
Zf85 outdone by the 85g and d
Zf100 makro marginally better than the 105

So go ahead and buy zeiss glass if the placebo effect has a significant impact on your photography experience. For any other quantitative reasons buy the nikons.

Have a nice day zeiss fanatics. lol
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
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Littleton, Colorado
Thanks for all of the input everyone, i have decided against the Zeiss and went back to my origional plan of the Nikon 10.5 2.8 fisheye.

The main reason is i do a lot of astrophotography and timelapse work, and wide angle is awesome for that type of stuff. Plus it is faster than my 12-24 wide angle from Tokina.

The Zeiss would have been great, but it seems somewhat redundant for me as i already have pro grade glass that covers 85. So the Zeiss would be just a pleasent alternative to what i already have, the 10.5 will fit into what i enjoy what im doing and offers me a new dimention to add into my work


:biggrin:
 
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