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  1. #11

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    I agree. It's just a little frustrating. I mean, read test reports on alot of these new lenses and the same comments keep cropping up. Things like:

    "...has moderate barrel distortion, but it is symmetric, simple barrel distortion so it can be easily corrected with software" (ie so we'll just forget about it and give this lens an A)

    "...has a higher level of chromatic aberration than we'd expect, which increases as you stop down, but the Nikon D3x corrects for this" (ie so we'll just forget about it and give this lens an A)

    "...very sharp in the center, even wide open, but even with stopping down it seems to be optimized for center sharpness at the expense of edge and corner sharpness, perhaps recognizing the fact most users will end up using the lens on cameras with DX sized sensors" (ie so we'll just forget about that too and give this supposed "full frame" lens an A)

    And I'm not talking exclusively about exotic focal lengths or zooms. I'm talking about things as bread-and-butter as 35mm and 50mm primes.

    And to offset the optical negatives and justify the excellent rating and ridiculously high price, you get:

    -Perfectly rounded aperture blades, and lots of them
    -"Beautiful bokeh"

    Wow sign me up right away! [sarcasm]

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Yup... my typing accent strikes again. I meant "chromatic aberrations".
    Maybe adding some chromatic abrasion would decrease distortion!

  3. #13
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    You cannot really beat the 28mm f/2.8 AI-S and 50mm f/1.8 AI. Two of the best lenses ever made, in terms of both optics and build quality, and you can get both of them (both of them, not each of them) for under 1/2 the price of your 50mm Zeiss lens. The 24mm f/2.8 AI and AI-S are also great. With this outstanding used Nikkor glass sitting around at bargain prices, I don't see how Zeiss can even make it worth their while to produce the ZF lenses! They are fine lenses, but oh so pricey...and aren't they made by Cosina anyhow?
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 06-21-2011 at 04:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  4. #14
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    With DSLRs, it's desirable to go shooting with no flash in super dark settings, and between high ISO settings and bright lenses, it's easy to do and gets photos that were impossible before.

    The ability to stop action with good shutter speeds is apparently more important than some minor lens shortcomings that affect pixel peeping testers, which are correctable in the camera or computer.

    I'm sure it's capable of beautiful photos (as is the $100 18-55 afs kit zoom). The round aperture and beautiful bokeh are things that lens manufacturers can differentiate their offerings with that matter more than sharpness tests. (Digital folks will adjust sharpness to suit their needs in software). If you are shooting in low light you probably have bright point souces of light and how they are rendered is important. I can see photos shot in existing light and say, that's a canon lens because of the number of aperture blades in the highlights or flare.

    The whole silent focus thing is getting some favor by people shooting video who don't want to hear the lens focusing like the mechanized focus on the AF-D.

    I won't get one though. Too expensive, no aperture ring, doesn't do anything special I need.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    You cannot really beat the 28mm f/2.8 AI-S and 50mm f/1.8 AI. Two of the best lenses ever made, in terms of both optics and build quality, and you can get both of them (both of them, not each of them) for under 1/2 the price of your 50mm Zeiss lens. The 24mm f/2.8 AI and AI-S are also great. With this outstanding used Nikkor glass sitting around at bargain prices, I don't see how Zeiss can even make it worth their while to produce the ZF lenses! They are fine lenses, but oh so pricey...and aren't they made by Cosina anyhow?
    The fact they're made by Cosina doesn't really bother me. If they were made in Germany they'd be the same lenses but cost twice the already high prices. Although I guess on some snobby level I'd still prefer to know my Zeiss lenses were made of German glass (I think Zeiss might even own Schott at this point but I might be wrong) like the older Contax lenses, and the way we traditionally think about Zeiss lenses.

    Regarding it being worth their while, I guess there are just alot of people like me out there who have been a little disappointed in some of their Nikkor primes and get excited about the prospect of putting a Zeiss lens on a Nikon body. That was initially how it started for me. I was never happy with Nikon 24mm lenses, so I thought Zeiss would be my savior with the 25mm ZF. Nope. In fact that is the least imrpessive one in the ZF line.

    The ZF I would recommend to anyone who can afford it is the 21mm as I said earlier in the thread. It is an excellent lens, and that has always been another relatively weak focal length for both Nikon and Canon. I am very pleased with it. It's not quite as good as the rangefinder lenses, but I guess it would be exceedingly expensive to make a distortionless retrofocus wide angle lens.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    With DSLRs, it's desirable to go shooting with no flash in super dark settings, and between high ISO settings and bright lenses, it's easy to do and gets photos that were impossible before.

    The ability to stop action with good shutter speeds is apparently more important than some minor lens shortcomings that affect pixel peeping testers, which are correctable in the camera or computer.

    .
    Really? I mean, who's stopping action in low light with a 24mm lens?

  7. #17

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    Well.... you CAN when you got ISO 12800.... With super sensitive CMOS sensor and low noise amplifier, coupled with majorly huge flux capacitors, you can do things that were impossible just few years ago.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #18
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    I would say that the CV 20mm f/3.5 Color-Skopar is the best new SLR lens in that area of FLs. They are not necessarily inexpensive themselves, though.

    My "dream kit," if talking about spending the money for brand new lenses, would be the CV 20, 40, and 58 lenses for Nikon cameras. Add a brand new Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AI-S and you have pretty much the best lenses money can buy for what most 35mm and digital shooters shoot.

    You will be hard pressed to find a 50mm lens that performs better than the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI. And at the price, I would say that there is no better all-around 50mm lens, performance-wise.

    I'm honestly surprised that the Nikkor wides disappointed you. Especially if you tried the 28mm f/2.8 AI-S. What do you shoot, and what bothered you in the pix?

    Even on digital, which is hard on lenses compared to film, the old Nikkor fixed-length lenses are sharp as can be seen in most real world situations. And the 28mm 2.8 and AI-S and 50mm in particular are about as distortion free as you can get in a standard (non-macro) photographic lens (short of using copy lenses on large format cameras).

    There are always compromises when shooting fast lenses. You gain lens speed at the expense of distortion, coma, and corner sharpness. And when there are not compromises when wide open (i.e. the Noct-Nikkor 58mm or the AF 28mm f/1.4), you get compromises in performance, or at the very most no gains over the slower models, when not wide open, and you pay through the nose. (Got a spare 4 or 5 thousand dollars for those two lenses?)

    I guess my point is that for affordable prices, there will always be a compromise somewhere.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Really? I mean, who's stopping action in low light with a 24mm lens?
    I sure do! Lots of people shoot shoot moving things in low light. I use a 28mm f/2.0 for shooting live music and street photos all the time. They can be especially helpful in stopping action in low light, since you can use slower shutter speeds to freeze things, due to less magnification.

    And, I should clarify. I didn't really mean to say that the CV 20mm 3.5 was "better" than the Zeiss 21mm f/4. Just that for most of what most people shoot, it is probably the best performance for the dollar spent in a brand new 20/21mm SLR lens, making it the best choice for most manual focus shooters who have the money to spend. It is very respectable, even if a bit overpriced. The way I look at it, the sharpness of a lens is not usually the limiting factor in the sharpness of someone's prints; technique is. And the work that most people do with 35mm (8x10 or smaller prints shot at moderate apertures) does not consistently push a lens to it's optical limits anyhow. So splitting hairs about lens performance can only do so much good for most shooters. I can only split hairs with 35mm equipment for so long before I just say "screw it" and pick up my 645 for bigger, sharper prints.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #20

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    Agreed. The specific focal lengths that have always bothered me are 21 (or 20), 24 and 35. 24 and 35 bother me more than 21 only because I use 21 less of the time. I'm talking here of the AF-D lenses. The problem is not necessarily sharpness, since I'm usually stopped down to f8 or smaller for lots of depth of field, so once you get to f16, even a lens that was outstanding at 5.6 is subject to noticeable diffraction anyway. But depending on the print a softening toward the edges/corners (sometimes more at the edges than the corners!) is sometimes visible at middle apertures (actually it is sometimes even more pronounced in the Zeiss ZFs because the center is so bitingly sharp and they are highly center weighted in optimization). Flare control is not the best on the older Nikkors, and some of the lenses, like the 24mm have an annoying amount of field curvature. But most bothersome is distortion, even with the 35mm lenses. At this point in optical history (and for $2000 in the case of the new Nikkors), a 35mm lens should have negligeable distortion. A 24mm prime should be pretty square too, and I find it ridiculous that the new $2,200 Nikkor 24mm prime has significantly more distortion than either the AFS-G 14-24mm or the AFS-G 16-35mm zooms at 24mm.

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