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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 01 Sep 2015 (Tuesday) 06:15
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Which Zeiss....

 
ceriltheblade
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Sep 01, 2015 06:15 |  #1

Dear all,

For a while now, I have been kicking around the idea of getting one of the Zeiss lenses
but have been put off for a couple reasons
1st : MF
2nd: price
3rd: I haven't been sure which focal length I really wanted.

So now, I am again entertaining the idea
to try one of the Zeiss lenses
and I am debating between the 21, and the 135 APO f2. I don't have the budget for the OTUS 85 (which would have been nice... but no)

My worry is this
While I really like potraits, I have never shot a 135 without AF or IS. I am not sure about the learning curve. And while the lens is on of the sharpest lenses out there, I am not sure that I would be able to differentiate it from the 135 f2 Canon with my (lack of) skills.

The 21mm is an unique focal length and I like the pictures I have seen with it. Again I am trying to envision the use with the MF

So my question is this: Given that I am a spoiled brat and started to shoot just recently and have never learned properly to use a manual lens - which one is the most forgiving?

Granted, the most cost effective idea would be to experiment with a cheaper MF lens or turn off the AF on one of my current lenses - but I am not sure that a "lesser" build of a lens or one not built for MF would be the same experience given the attention to detail of the focus ring movement etc.

Any ideas or insights?


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ZoneV
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Sep 01, 2015 08:08 |  #2

Yeah, don´t waste your time to judge your manual focus ability with a AF lens on manual mode.

But many cheaper manual focus lenses will work well - not all. I would not reccomend Samyang lenses to learn and test manual focus ability, better a helicoid focussed classic lens.

Lenses with a f-stop faster than f/2.8 can no longer be focussed with the normal Canon screen. And Liveview on the display is much less fun than the viewfinder. You may get a good result with a f/2.0 lens, but it is not sure to achive exact focus, cause you will not see the real DOF.

So for a test with a fast lens you will need a proper screen.


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lilkngster
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Sep 01, 2015 08:57 |  #3

The difference between manual focusability of your current AF lenses with a "cheap" manual focus lens is much more than the difference between the cheapie and a Zeiss/Otus with a longer focus throw (how much the ring turns), increased smoothness of the rotation, and a more accurate distance scale. The price difference is going to come from build quality, glass/coatings, and a premium for new/name/R&D.

MFing a 21mm is very different than a 135 f/2.0. 21mm tends to be used for nonpeople and stopped down to increase your DOF. It is something that you can set, forget, and just worry about composition. It will also be an easier experience for you and I agree, the images from that lens are something! 135mm wide open has such a small DOF that it requires much better technique and a lot of experience, especially if your subjects move, i.e. this could be a frustrating experience.

That being said, if your first priority is seeing if you can and like manual focusing, a set of lenses over a variety of focal lengths makes more sense than a single one near the extreme of typical MFing range. For about the same money, an alternative strategy would be adapted Contax C/Y mount Zeiss lenses (25 or 28, 50, and a 100 or 135), which still gives you some of that Zeiss pop/color but in a more classic look and you would get a better feel for MFing.


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MBB89
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Sep 01, 2015 09:02 |  #4

I own and love both of my MF lenses (Voigtlander Ultron 40mm and Zeiss 100 ZE) but it takes some getting used to.

The "Zeiss Colors" are a real thing that I think you can only decide if you like after shooting with one of the lenses. I can't recommend live view enough for focusing the longer ones. With the 21 ZE I assume most people have it stopped down to f/11 or so where everything is in your DOF anyway.




  
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advaitin
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Sep 01, 2015 09:20 |  #5

21mm ZE is remarkable. Possibly one of the best in the focal length. Great for architecture and large groups.
135mm is great for portraiture, but requires more skill to focus, using zoom focus in live view increases chance of getting it right. I have Canon's own 135mm L and AF with it on any Canon camera is superb. On a Sony a7 series camera, however it requires manual focus for accuracy. Fortunately manual focus on a Sony is very easy.


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notastockpikr
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Post edited over 2 years ago by notastockpikr.
     
Sep 01, 2015 10:32 |  #6

Like the OP, I was currious about MF lenses as I used only MF lenses when I first started in photography. Zeiss was my choice to re-visit MF and I started with the 21mm f2.8. I used the 5D III and 1Dx and found that the focus confirmation beep worked perfectly with Zeiss lenses and very accurately. I rented a 21 and it produced sharp and colorful images to my surprise.

My recommendation is to start with the 21mm, use the camera's focus confirmation and enjoy the experience. Don't expect to use this lens to photograph HS football or kids playing in the backyard using a MF lens until you get comfortable with the technique as you will get too many OOF shots and become frustrated and blame the lens.

One caution about starting out in the Zeiss world of lenses. You will want other lenses and your bank account and credit card will suffer dearly. I got the 21, then bought the 100 f2 mp, then the 135 f2 and stopped after I got the Otus 55/1.4. Would love the Otus 85.

Enjoy.....




  
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ceriltheblade
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Sep 01, 2015 15:26 |  #7

thanks everyone for the ideas and insights.

i agree that maybe the idea of starting with the 135 is a bit rash considering that i have never used an MF lens in my life.
and the idea of starting with cheaper but good MF lenses is attractive.
Finding them in my "neighborhood" isn't really easy, but I will give it a try.
It is much easier to find a zeiss here...

Another attractive thing about the Zeiss is that it comes already in an EF mount...
it is a petty concern indeed, but it is yet another "issue" and thing that can get lost (the converter I would need, that is)

Supposedly a new old trioplan meyer 100 is also to come out in canon mount which also seemed like a fun albeit niche lens.

Can a 5d3 change its focusing screen? I am pretty sure that the 7d had significant challenges to do so.

anyway thanks for all the input. I have some time to wait before a pocket of time opens up that I can reasonably give any lens some attention
but yall are helping solidify an initial plan "of attack"
thanks
and keep the advice coming.


7D/5dIII
50 1.8 II, MP-E65, 85 II, 100 IS
8-15 FE, 10-22, 16-35 IS, 24-105, 70-200 f4IS, 100-400 ii, tamron 28-75 2.8
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wunhang
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Sep 01, 2015 18:17 as a reply to  @ ceriltheblade's post |  #8

No, the 5D3 focus screen is not meant to be changed out. I would actually suggest you look into Magic Lantern and the focus peaking feature on the liveview. It is supposed to be used on video production, but I have used it quite extensively for stills.


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ZoneV
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Post edited over 2 years ago by ZoneV.
     
Sep 01, 2015 23:48 |  #9

I use the old Trioplan 100 (external link) often and have much fun with it and its results. Looks like the new Trioplan has a ~ similiar drawing, probably less flare and higher contrast due to newer coating.
It is easy to manual focus, even with crop and normal screen.

From my point of view I avoid using Canon liveview for manual focussing, cause I do not like to hold the camera a distance away from the eye to focus. Some of my lenses are to heavy to do this over a longer time. With the smaller lenses I probably use liveview, but don´t like the handling and problems with reflections on the display due to bright light around the camera. Furthermore at least on my EOS 1000D there is a long time between pressing the shutter and exposure in liveview, probably this is better on newer cameras. For static objects and with tripod use it will be ok.
On the Sony Alpha 7II I have the liveview viewfinder or display. There I use normaly the viewfinder.
The focus screen on the 5DIII can be changed (external link), but not as easy as on many other cameras.

Some of the Zeiss Contax lenses are very good, some not very special.
The special Zeiss 3D (not from small DOF, but with lens stopped down and no blurred parts in the image) I do get not very often. The Zeiss Contax 85mm/1.4 is the lens I use for this. But wideopen this lens is much less sharp than for example the Samyang 85. Could be good for portrait work, especially with the non aspherical bokeh - no onion rings.


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ceriltheblade
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Sep 02, 2015 08:02 |  #10

thanks for the link about the focusing screen
what is the difference between the screens?
Ec-a
Ec-B
Ec-L
Ec-s?

is it a matter of personal preference or is there an actual functional difference?


7D/5dIII
50 1.8 II, MP-E65, 85 II, 100 IS
8-15 FE, 10-22, 16-35 IS, 24-105, 70-200 f4IS, 100-400 ii, tamron 28-75 2.8
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wunhang
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Sep 02, 2015 13:47 as a reply to  @ ceriltheblade's post |  #11

They're different types of focusing screens that are normally available to the canon 1D series of cameras.

EC-A - Microprisms in the centerpoint that will refract the focus point area when it is out of focus.
EC-B - The centerpoint focus area has a horizontal split that will not "align" until it is in focus.
EC-L - The centerpoint focus area has a cross split that will not align until in focus
EC-S - The entire screen is matte and will give more realistic DOF view for lenses faster than f/2.8

They're normally a matter of preference and compatibility.

I will reiterate my warning... the 5D3 focus screen is not meant to be replaced by ANY of these screens. They can cause metering issues if you're using spot metering with the centerpoint area. The third party selling these screens are taking 1D replacement screens and then cutting them to size for the other cameras. The 1D, 5D2 (only for matte), 6D (only for matte), 7D2 (only for matte) have built-in firmware settings for changing the screens so that the metering is not affected.


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notastockpikr
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Sep 02, 2015 14:53 |  #12

The focusing screen in the non-interchangeable focus screen Canon cameras use the focusing screen for metering. The third party screens void your Canon warranty if that matters.

As I mentioned, using One Shot and a constant half-press on the shutter button or BBF and manually focusing the Zeiss lens will produce a beep like AF Canon lenses regardless of the screen. Basically from my experience, it isn't neccesary to go the thid party focus screen route.

As an aside, I purchased a 1Ds III, so that I could use the Ec-S screen for manual focusing with my Zeiss lenses. While the Ec-s screen works very well, I use focus confirmation more.




  
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MNUplander
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Sep 02, 2015 16:04 |  #13

I agree that trying manual focus with an AF lens just doesn't cut it - the throw is so short to allow fast AF that your hand will never be precise enough to get it right most of the time. Focusing a Zeiss lens manually is a dream, especially if your camera will take a MF screen. If not, it's not the end of the world by any means.

I have a sick soft spot for the ZE21 - I love the way it renders wide angle images. Not to wide, not too long for landscapes and its "flavor" of IQ feels just right to me. Add in the very useable MF distance scale, it can almost be "set it and forget it" for landscapes, as long as your nearest foreground object distance doesn't change much.

They're both specialty lenses in their focal length and use but I personally would get more use out of the ZE21. I had to sell it to make way for the 24-70II but it's on my re-buy list as soon as I can save up the cash.


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ceriltheblade
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Sep 02, 2015 23:50 |  #14

thanks for the descriptions and explanations

I am not the handiest man on the earth, so seeing that it voids warantees and potentially screws up metering...I suppose I will pass.
Thanks for the warnings.

I will have to figure out which one I want to try now. I started looking through some of the examples of each zeiss lens in the forum
and the 100 f2 started showing some amazing shots too.

Sheesh, this is going to get expensive
:rolleyes:


7D/5dIII
50 1.8 II, MP-E65, 85 II, 100 IS
8-15 FE, 10-22, 16-35 IS, 24-105, 70-200 f4IS, 100-400 ii, tamron 28-75 2.8
600 ex-rt, 055xproB/488rc2/Sirui k40x, kenko extens tubes

  
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Sep 05, 2015 11:53 as a reply to  @ ceriltheblade's post |  #15

I have the Zeiss 2/100 ZE and have no issues focusing with my 5d3 or 5dsr, you get the focus confirm light which is accurate and easy to deal with. as long as you get a ZE i say go for it, it will not be as daunting as you might think.

although i don't own either the 135 or 21 i am very impressed by the photos i see here in the photo threads plus they both have very good reputations.

bob


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