Opinions on Zeiss C/Y 85mm Planar?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by brucemuir, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Hey folks.
    I'm considering an 85mm for my 159mm (and EOS via adapter) and am looking at the 1.4 Planar. The 2.8 Sonnar is a possibility but I like to go as fast as I can afford because I prefer natural light whenever possible.

    Anyone lived with the 1.4 Planar for awhile and care to offer an opinion or comparisons to other 85's from any manufacturer?
    I do have a 1.8 for EOS but want to try something else despite that EF 85 1.8 being great.

    This would be for shooting people at the larger aperture range.

    Thanks to all.
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    What do you want to know? It's phenomenal as is pretty much the whole line of Zeiss C/Y lenses.
     
  3. pstake

    pstake Member

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    What he said.

    For portraits, I can't think of a better lens.

    I don't own it because I can't afford it, and because my other c/y lenses suit my needs. I have its little brother, the planar 50 1.4. Closed down to f5.6, it yields one very sharp and 3-D image. I think you will see a more natural reproduction of colors using the Zeiss over your Canon lens, as well.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Mostly if it is sharp wide open. Most fast glass I've used in the 50mm range is somewhat compromised wide open which I understand can sometimes be unavoidable. Although my 135L is stellar even at f/2... so basically how it performs wide open.

    Also bokeh (there I said it) characteristics. Does it exhibit any nervousness if the bg is extra cluttered?

    Just asking opinions although I didn't think anyone would malign it.
    Only CY lens I own at the moment is the 50 1.4 planar.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I'll see about digging up some scanned shots I have using this lens and maybe even shoot a new roll of B&W wide-open people shots this weekend...
     
  6. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Just shot a roll of Tri-X and APX25 at the breakfast table with the 85/1.4 Planar wide open. Will try to develop later today or tomorrow and try to scan some by tomorrow night.
     
  7. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Wow, thanks Rich.
    I'm hopefully going to go for it early this coming week.
    I've just been in the DR today printing a few shots from the 50 1.4.
    Skin tones are soooo smooth even in 135
     
  8. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    There was also an f/1.2 version
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Ok, just souped the film in HC-110 and it's hanging to dry. Some change of plan: I shot another roll (this time Plus-X) later this morning of my little girl and wife in the playground while my son was having his swim lesson. I did not soup the APX25 today after all so I'll have shots indoors at a bright breakfast table all wide open on Tri-x and a roll shot at f/2.0 to f/5.6 taken on Plus-x outdoors in mid-morning sunlight. I did a 5-6 frame "test" of bokeh" for you on the Plus-X by focusing on my daughter at about 2 feet or so away and then shot a house and trees across the street leaving the lens at the close focus and shot a frame at f/1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0 and 5.6 so you can see identical out of focus elements at all those f/stops. Also took one of the same scene in sharp focus. Anyway, got some friends coming for a BBQ soon so depending how late that goes and how much wine I have I'll either do some scanning late tonight or tomorrow, maybe tomorrow night.
     
  10. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Yeah, a real beauty. Sold mine a few years back when I was more budget-constrained and found the 50/1.7 to be quite the awesome lenses itself and felt I did not need both. That was back when you could get a 50/1.7 for $90 from KEH and the 50/1.4 at maybe $175-200. Have you seen the KEH prices for all the Contax C/Y glass these days? Glad I stocked up 10 years ago on the 35/2.8 PC, aforementioned 50/1.7, 60/2.8 Planar and 85/1.4. Also on an expensive whim picked up the 100-300 Vario-Sonnar too back then. i think it's my sharpest lens I've ever used. It's simply amazing. Oh, and nailed the 180/2.8 from KEH for about $300 a month or so ago. Been lusting after that puppy for years and finally pulled the trigger. KEH had it classified as UG because of a nick on the barrel, but NOTHING else wrong otherwise. Just souped my first roll with that lens and I am excited to see the results.
     
  11. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Yeah, a gorgeous lens. And expensive and rare, and TWO POUNDS itself!
     
  12. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Yes I have definitely noticed the KEH prices on C/Y going haywire about a year or so ago.
    I managed to get my 50 1.4 for around 225.00 (which wasn't the greatest deal considering) then shortly after they climbed to at least 300usd for bgn.
    I even made a post about it back then I think.

    If I didn't have 2 135 fl lenses already the 135 2.8 C/Y is one of the only ones under 2 bills haha.

    I really appreciate the tests and both of those Kodak films are at the top of my user list.
    I visit your flickr & blog fairly regularly so I know that even test shots will be useful.
    Thanks again Rich.
     
  13. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Ok, here's some from the rolls taken yesterday.

    First a "bokeh" test.

    This shot of my daughter taken about 2.5-3 feet away I believe f/4.0, maybe f.5.6:

    Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Scan-12.jpg

    I then left this focus in place and shot some homes across the street from where we were sitting.

    Here's the across-the-street shot in perfect focus first of all:

    Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Scan-12.jpg

    Here it is at the focus point of my daughter above but at the following apertures as shown in the bottom right corner of each:

    f1-4+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    f2-0+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    f2-8+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    f4-0+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    f5-6+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    f8-0+Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Sc.jpg

    And now a few from the breakfast table on Tri-X all taken wide open at f/1.4:

    Breakfast+Mimi+Amy+Ben+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Tri-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac.jpg

    Breakfast+Mimi+Amy+Ben+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Tri-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac.jpg

    Breakfast+Mimi+Amy+Ben+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Tri-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac.jpg

    A some from later on that day, most taken at f/4.0 to 5.6:

    on Plus-x:

    Mimi+Amy+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Plus-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac+9000+Scan-12.jpg

    Tail end of the Tri-X roll:

    Breakfast+Mimi+Amy+Ben+ContaxRTSII+85f1-8Planar+Tri-X+HC-110dilH+9min+20C+1minAg2x+04-2012+VSmac.jpg

    Ok, very unscientific but I hoped it helped. I had fun....
     
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  15. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    And here's just a few more from the past taken using the 85/1.4 Planar (film and developer used in the image file's name):

    Ben+Albany+-+Cordonices+park+with+emily+ContaxRX+85Planar+ShantouERA100+D-76+stock+7min+21C+11-2.jpg

    Berkeley+Rose+Garden+with+emily+ContaxRX+85Planar+APX25+HC-110dilH+7min+21C+11-2006+15.jpg

    Ben+Cordonices+ContaxRX+85Planar+Neopan400+D-76+stock+11-2006+NS+05.jpg

    Mimi+Ben+Albany+French+Marin+Cheese+ContaxRTS+85Planar+ShantouERA100+DiXactolUltra+8min+21C+08-2.jpg
     
  16. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Rich,
    Again thank you so much for these.
    Does the 'ninja star" highlight rendering only show up around f/2? There is a lot of discussion on the net on the effect this has on bokeh even where there re no specular highlights in a scene.

    I'm thought the 135 f/2 had this also but I need to look into it more. I'm not sure I dig that look but it's supposed to be one of the reasons the lens renders so nicely. Doubt it would be an issue if it does become offensive to me as I could avoid that aperture in those situations.

    Gosh I will miss neopan 400 when it finally is kaput.
    Thanks again.
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    The ninja star only shows up at f/2 and most distinctly only for sharp distinct highlights usually off chrome or glass. Perfectly round when wide open and octagonal-like in other apertures.
     
  18. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Or get hold of the Rolleiflex version of the lens for triangular apertures and highlights....

    Anyway, lovely lens (the 35mm 1.4 is *even* better).
     
  19. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    So what did you decide Bruce? I'm trying so hard right now to ignore those 135/2.8 Sonnar's on KEH......
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Bruce-

    I too had the 85 1.4 and had nothing but amazing results from it wide open and otherwise. I have some of my Cambodia stuff posted on my website that was shot with it - take a look at the Angkor Wat gallery in the Travel section, particularly images 1,2 and 3 -

    http://www.theflyingcamera.com/

    I apologize for the small size of the images on the website - it's a section I need to re-do.
     
  21. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Hey guys,
    they have a ninja star version for 599 on KEH so I'm debating if I should go an extra 100.00 for an MM. (just under 700)

    I was watching these on eBay and in the low 600's seems what they were going for on average.
     
  22. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I never knew the MM version had a different aperture shape for f/2? i thought the only real difference of the AE to MM lenses was the ability to use in shutter priority mode....
     
  23. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I was researching it on FM alt forums and it appears that some early MM had jagged aperture but the later MM's went to more rounded aperture blades.

    There was some examples posted from various members showing the aperture.

    Now to find out when the change occurred exactly but I'm thinking I may be making too much of the issue.
     
  24. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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  25. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Looking at your website and the people shots I'd say you should go for the MM version without the ninja star if you can. How often would it be an issue? Hard to say but it could ruin a shot (though nothing PS could not take care of? GASP! Did I just say that?) Maybe not much but always watching out for specular highlights and watching out for f/2 would be too distracting and bothersome I think. Unless you think you can just keep it to wide open in such instances then you'd be fine. Otherwise the extra $100 or so might be worth it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2012
  26. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Rich, you are probably right but 599 sounds better than 699 :wink:
    I don't want to be PSing out those jagged edges tho and I do prefer shooting on location when the issue may show up.