Zeiss Lenses, Who's Used Them?

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Jul 26, 2012
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Florida
Just wondering if any users of Zeiss lenses, specifically the new 135 f/2?



Thanks
 
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Aug 5, 2011
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Northern NJ
I gave the 135 a try while at B&H a few months back, extremely impressed with it over all, all except for the long throw of the focus ring. I could barely get my Girlfriends standing about 15 feet away in focus because she wouldn't exactly sit still but when I did it was impressive corer to corner.

Zeiss focus rings are not for the faint of heart.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
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New York
I gave the 135 a try while at B&H a few months back, extremely impressed with it over all, all except for the long throw of the focus ring. I could barely get my Girlfriends standing about 15 feet away in focus because she wouldn't exactly sit still but when I did it was impressive corer to corner.

Zeiss focus rings are not for the faint of heart.

I have the same problem with my wife. Long trow or short trow MF is just too slow for her. She is just incapable to stand still for 15 sec. She moves and steps back and forward and she wants to check out the picture you just took and she never returns on the same spot and then she is "not in the mood anymore". Very fast AF is the only solution for that, and check your settings beforehand, you will not be granted second chance to take a picture at the same spot. I learn not to take MF lenses with me when I take pictures of my wife.
MF is for serious photography and for serious fun. :biggrin:
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
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Kalamazoo, MI
Practice makes better (but not perfect) with MF glass, Zeiss is no exception. Look at all of Mike's awesome portraits and other work in the Zeiss thread as of late. Or you can take Dino's approach and stop down more when there's enough light. Either way you can get great images.

Some lenses are easier to focus than others in the ZF lineup. The 50/1.4 and 85/1.4 are planars with focus shift. The 50/2 and 100/2 are near macro lenses, much easier to tell what's in focus, but the throw is mostly dedicated to short distances. The 35/2 and 135/2 should be the easiest to hit focus with, lots of contrast, no focus shift, decent throws on the rings. The 35/1.4 is a tough one because of the wide-open spherical aberrations, but has a nice throw.

I have the 35/1.4 and 100/2, and have had success with both at all apertures, but to get over 75% success (critical focus) I need a still subject and a bit more time, or just stop down to f/4-5.6 as needed.
 
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hochiminh city, vietnam
Just a sample with 135mm apo for my son's portrait... You know boy, they are always active and never stay still...mf stills work fine

9236985080_42c6b69790_c.jpg
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Go for it, you will never regret. With zeiss, you will be hunger for more of its glasses.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Zeiss 135/2

Eye Candy:

Here's a whole gallery of portraits, stills, shots at all apertures. All done with the Zeiss 135/2. http://danmacdonald.zenfolio.com/zeiss135_for_nikon/slideshow

I've used Zeiss lenses for six years now. I do a lot of artifact photography, museum work, for hire and some portraits professionally. I use Zeiss lenses, especially the 100 and 135, for a lot of in studio artifact work, often in combination with Helicon Focus software, which works very well with the 135/2.

Personally, I wouldn't do candid portraits or street events with the 135/2. It's just too difficult to get the focus fast enough. If you have a subject, maybe a child in the family, who already gets photographed a lot with AF lenses, then go for it, get some shots with the 135/2. Especially if your subject is willing to sit still for you and work with you. But if it's a one of a kind occasion that won't get repeated and you can't guarantee your subject isn't going to dance all around you, use a Nikon AF lens, the 85G, the 200/2, the 70-200VRII. The opportunity cost (the candid shots you lose) with the 135/2 is just too high, despite what you read in some forums, and I love the 135/2 as much as anybody.

For image quality overall with a Nikon body, the 135 can't be beat. The results can compete with what I get off a Coastal Optics 60 APO or a Hartblei 80, and that's saying a lot. But the Coastal can't really do portraits well, and the Hartblei is a very cumbersome lens. And each of them costs a lot more than the ZF 135/2.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
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Collecchio, northern Italy
Look at all of Mike's awesome portraits and other work in the Zeiss thread as of late. Or you can take Dino's approach and stop down more when there's enough light. Either way you can get great images

Thanks Matt you thought of me among the many beautiful pics posted in that thread, especially comparing to Mike superb work. I think also other members here are showing excellent use of their gear and skill. A few coming to my mind are Paul Lindqvist, one if not the very first adopters of Zeiss lenses, Ripolini with his nature shots, Dubaiphil with his style and exotic pics remembering me at times Steve Mc Curry and probably the best poster for the ZF 2/35. It looks like bread and butter working with that lens.

I do agree each lens has its own specific field of use in which it shines and photographer skill and creativity is finding that field.
 
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Joined
Sep 6, 2006
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Lompoc, CA
I gave the 135 a try while at B&H a few months back, extremely impressed with it over all, all except for the long throw of the focus ring...

I love the long focus throw on Zeiss lenses, it gives me real control over the DoF. Just goes to show the only thing that matters is if the lens works for you. Reviews are a starting point, but there is no substitute for trying it yourself.
 
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I have ZF 100mm f2 and ZM 21mm f4.5 also tried ZF.2 135mm f2. They are all superb optically and mechanically.

Used to have ZM 25mm f2.8 until i dropped it from height onto concrete and it became insurance write off, it was still good for producing images at f8.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
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Youngstown, Ohio
I started a 365 project a couple of years ago with just manual focus glass. I think at the time I was shooting with a 2/35 and 2/100 (both ZF and not ZF.2), as well as a 50/1.2 Nikkor. You can find the images here:

https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=243583

I didn't make it a year, but there are some of the best images I have ever shot in that thread...all MF, and a lot of my kids. WARNING: If you don't want to part with great amounts of money in a relatively short amount of time, I wouldn't look through any of the Zeiss threads. I haven't shot Zeiss glass in 3 years, but there's a 2/135 and a 1.4/35 in my Amazon cart right now...
 
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Joined
Mar 23, 2007
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Collecchio, northern Italy
Mladen could you post some zm 21 f/4.5 shots? It's a very good lens often in the shade of its bigger brother yet afaik it's optically at least as good as its more famous brethens.
 
Joined
May 4, 2008
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Location
Stafford, UK
Mladen could you post some zm 21 f/4.5 shots? It's a very good lens often in the shade of its bigger brother yet afaik it's optically at least as good as its more famous brethens.

With pleasure, there is couple more B&W on my flickr page
8669338349_c7ca83120a_c.jpg
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Skycrane by mmradman, on Flickr[/IMG]
 

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