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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

Zeiss 35mm F/1.4 Distagon T Lens for Canon EF 1771-847 B&H Photo

Has anyone had the opportunity to use this guy? Would you guys use it primarily for video?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:21 AM   #2
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

I held this lens at NAB. I was disappointed to find that it has the shorter 110 degree focus throw, rather than the 220 degree focus throw of the 50/1.4 or 84/1.4. Then again, I've got the 35/2 and the 110 degree throw is adequate for that lens.

The weakness of the 35mm f/2 lens is a bit of falloff wide open. It's smooth enough that it's not too noticeable. I would guess that the f/1.4 is much flatter than the 35/2 at f/2.

One nice thing about the 35/1.4 is that the close focus distance is identical to that of the 35/2, so aside from money, you don't give up anything when going for the faster lens.

For me, the 35/2 is a bread and butter lens. The 35/1.4 would spread the butter uniformly out to the corners - and the butter is one stop brighter. :)
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Old May 17th, 2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

I think the only real reason to invest the extra money into this would be if one has a tendency towards working with a "showy" depth of field. I personally shoot 90% or more of my work at a f2.8 or greater, because a) I like my subject to actually be in focus when they move two inches, b) it's the minimum aperture of my slowest lenses (the 21 ZE, or my zooms), c) with today's sensitive cameras, shooting in low light is a function of ISO, not aperture as it used to be, and d) I consider extremely shallow depth of field to be an effect, thus only appropriate when required.

However, I realize a lot of people can't get enough of the super-shallow thing, at least until the trend wears itself out. So I imagine this is a good choice for them.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

Charles is right. Unless you're shooting in extreme low light or going for the extreme shallow DOF, the f/1.4 is more of a luxury than a necessity.

Still the falloff of the 35/2 isn't ideal. It's poor at f/2 and still loses a stop and a half at f/2.8. I have yet to see tests of the 35/1.4, but it's sure to give better corner performance on a full frame camera at wide apertures.

[roll over to compare f/2 and f/2.8]
Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 Distagon T* ZE Lens Vignetting Test Results

Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF (ZE) (on Canon EOS) - Lab Test / Review - Analysis

The 35/2 has a bit of barrel distortion, but I don't mind that for a 35mm view.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

Is it really worth that much more then other, cheaper lenses, like the new 35mm Samyang lens for example? Zeiss is name recognition vs actual performance?
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Harris View Post
Has anyone had the opportunity to use this guy?
If it was 20mm or less, AND had a longer focus throw (as Jon pointed out), I'd get this lens right away. Hence, I'll pass this time (although it's always cool to see Zeiss releasing new stuff).

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Old May 19th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #7
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
Is it really worth that much more then other, cheaper lenses, like the new 35mm Samyang lens for example? Zeiss is name recognition vs actual performance?
It also depends on how long the lens can withstand day to day abuse. What works out cheaper initially mightn't be in 5 to 10 years time over the life time of the lens.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #8
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

There's truth in that. The Zeiss lenses feel like they could fall off a truck, be abused from the Sahara to the Antarctic, look like something the cat dragged in, and still perform smoothly and cleanly. The metal bodies are that solid feeling and the focus control is that well controlled.

For video, I don't know that the Samyang isn't the equal of the Zeiss. For photos, I'd be surprised if the Zeiss isn't the clear winner. Then again, Canon might win that battle with auto focus. (Though by 35mm it's not nearly so critical as it is at narrower views.)

The other advantage is that Zeiss offers a full range of lenses from 18mm to 100mm. There is peace of mind in shooting with well-matched glass. Does Samyang offer a full range of video-optimized lenses?

That said, the Samyang looks to be killer for the price!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #9
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

I've read many times that virtually any lens you put on the Canon DSLR line-up will resolve much higher then the chip is capable of recording. Have no idea if that's true or not...
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Old May 19th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #10
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

That might be somewhat true in the middle of the frame at f/11, but even the best lenses have trouble in the corners or when the aperture is extremely wide.

When a lens lacks resolution, it often lacks contrast too. Ack!
Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Macro Lens Image Quality

Recently, I read a review of the ZE 100/2 Makro, and they claimed that the center sharpness set their record. On that lens, they believed that it out-resolved the sensor for photos.

Of course, we don't need to worry about photo resolution, except for on timelapses, or when we replace a background with a photo. 1/3 resolution is as much as we get in movie mode from the sensor.

BTW, taking a still is a good idea when the background is in sharp focus. If it aliases like mad, masking the video and showing the photo can solve the problem. :)
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Old May 20th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #11
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Re: New Zeiss 35mm F1.4

I picked up one of these last week but I've been using it for photography primarily and haven't shot any video with it yet. The shallow DOF ability is of course what you would expect but I tend to use that more in photos than I do video. The lens is built like a Panzer tank just like the rest of the Zeiss line up and the images are razor sharp with the great microcontrast that Zeiss is known for. If anyone new to Zeiss wants to see what they're capable of at least from a photographic perspective check out these two links:

ZE/ZF/ZM Images (Official Thread!) - FM Forums

ZeissImages.com - Photos from the Gallery.

The first one is a thread specific to Z lenses that is now at 317 pages long as of today. Some great photographers on both sites.

Of course these are photos and shouldn't be confused with compressed 1080p video.
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