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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 07 Jul 2010 (Wednesday) 17:46
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Focusing with Zeiss lenses

 
palwin
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Jul 07, 2010 17:46 |  #1

I have been looking at some Zeiss lenses like 35/2.0 ZE and 100/2.0 macro ZE. I really like the images from these lenses, stunning! :) But, how easy is it to focus with these lenses? I believe they have an focus indicator so I suppose it's easier to do manual focus on Zeiss than Canon.

I currently have the 35L and I use that mainly for street photography and where light is limited, such as at night or indoor. How would a 35/2 ZE do in street photography of moving people? Is it hard to take that kind of shots? How about in low-light situations?

If the 35/2.0 ZE can handle these situations well then I might replace the 35L.


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Rsyx
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Jul 07, 2010 18:04 |  #2

I recently bought the 35ZE and really like the images it produces. If you mostly use the lens for street photography though, you might first want to try how you like the manual focusing. Set the 35L to MF and see how you handle yourself without AF. The focus ring on the 35ZE is very nice though, and is a pleasure to use.

There is indeed a focus indicator, but I am going to purchase a Ef-S screen to improve my MF. I can't see well enough whether or not the subject is fully in focus through the standard viewfinder.


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banpreso
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Jul 07, 2010 18:15 |  #3

with the 5D that you have, grab the ee-s precision focus screen, swap it out (takes 1 minute), and you'll be on your way to MF zeiss heaven! :)

with the 35mm ZE you'll really need some practice to nail the focus. it's not hard under normal situations, but takes some practice when focusing on back lit subjects and moving subjects. but you'll miss focus with AF as well... so


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spacetime
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Jul 07, 2010 21:43 |  #4

With the 28 or 35 ZE I find the AF light to be more accurate than my eyes and an ee-s screen. The problem is at these focal lengths it's difficult to focus on a specific item because everything is so small in the viewfinder. With a tele lens it's much easier and the ee-s screen is very reliable. But at wider lengths I often miss focus with the lens near or at wide open. Maybe a viewfinder magnifier would help, I just have to find one for the 5d.




  
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BlueTsunami
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Jul 08, 2010 00:21 |  #5

You own a 5D so you're all set (viewfinder is large enough to make the focusing experience enjoyable). I manual focus with my rabbit hole of a viewfinder on my Rebel XT. The fear of focus error is overstated, just practice practice practice (which shouldn't be hard if you're like me and carry your camera on you all the time).


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denoir
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Jul 08, 2010 01:35 |  #6

If you change the default focusing screen to a precision matte focusing screen it's surprisingly easy. The focus rings on Zeiss glass are much easier to use for MF than Canon's focus rings and that helps a lot. You can forget about the AF confirm light - it's not accurate enough to give you precise results.


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gte357s
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Jul 08, 2010 02:57 as a reply to  @ denoir's post |  #7

How easy it would be to focus on moving kids, like, assuming they are not running around, but not stand still like posing. I guess it should be similar to taking street photos where people are usually moving, right?


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denoir
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Jul 08, 2010 03:09 |  #8

Street photos are not easy - prefocusing at a fixed distance is a classic solution. Kids running around are basically an impossibility - they will often defeat AF systems as well. In short, MF is not great for stuff that moves if you really need to capture a specific moment. You can however get better over time and I've always taken a perverse pleasure in trying to use MF glass for action shots.

I've posted these before - they were one of the first shots I ever took with my Zeiss 100 MP:

IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-1.jpg

IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-2.jpg

IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-3.jpg

100% Crop:
IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-3-crop.jpg

IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-4.jpg

100% Crop:
IMAGE: http://peltarion.eu/img/zeiss/zeissbif-4-crop.jpg

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palwin
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Jul 08, 2010 04:28 |  #9

I already have the focusing screen for my 5D, one of the best things I bought :) It really has made things easier even when using AF. In street photography you often want to capture a moment quickly and I'm worried I might not be able to do it fast enough with MF.

I'm going to play around with my 35L on manual and see how that works for me but it's not exactly the same thing as using a lens that's designed only for MF. Does anyone use the Zeiss 35 for street photos?

I'm sure some famous street photographers have used MF lenses in the past so it shouldn't be impossible but it's all about practice I suppose. I really love my 35L, my favourite lens so it's a hard decision.


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bkdc
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Jul 08, 2010 05:56 as a reply to  @ palwin's post |  #10

Luke, join me and the Zeiss side of the force, and we can rule the universe!


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bohdank
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Jul 08, 2010 07:40 |  #11

I've given up on manually focusing anything that moves and even things that don't move if they are close enough, I'm not shooting at high magnification and wide open.

Getting the shot is more important to me than any nostalga I may feel from my manual film days.

Yes, I have a FF (5DII) and the matte screen.

I've relegated manual focus to tripod and Liveview of stationary subjects.


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palwin
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Jul 08, 2010 08:00 |  #12

bohdank wrote in post #10498103 (external link)
I've given up on manually focusing anything that moves and even things that don't move if they are close enough, I'm not shooting at high magnification and wide open.

Getting the shot is more important to me than any nostalga I may feel from my manual film days.

I agree it's more important getting the shot. As long as I can get the shots I intend to take I'm happy but I'm worried it would be very difficult photographing people unless it's portraits. I might have to see if it's possible to rent a Zeiss 35 lens.


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Double ­ Negative
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Jul 08, 2010 09:25 |  #13

Street shooting MF lenses is easy, if you know how. Use a decent aperture; f/8 works. Pre-focus the lens on where your average subject distance is. At f/8 you'll get enough DoF to just shoot from the hip. The hyperfocal distance is good also, but doesn't work well here since most of your subject matter is in close and infinity doesn't really matter and if anything, you want background blur anyway. Naturally, a wider angle lens works best (21mm to say, 35mm).


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LamontSanders
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Jul 08, 2010 09:25 |  #14

It is not that tough if you have the precision screen. Highly recommend it - you will work to get better at focusing in order to get the shots that the Zeiss can help you make.


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palwin
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Jul 08, 2010 10:39 |  #15

Double Negative wrote in post #10498592 (external link)
Street shooting MF lenses is easy, if you know how. Use a decent aperture; f/8 works. Pre-focus the lens on where your average subject distance is. At f/8 you'll get enough DoF to just shoot from the hip. The hyperfocal distance is good also, but doesn't work well here since most of your subject matter is in close and infinity doesn't really matter and if anything, you want background blur anyway. Naturally, a wider angle lens works best (21mm to say, 35mm).

Pre-focus might work, going to test that next time :) I used to have 24L and that was way too wide for me for street stuff, 35mm fits me perfectly.


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Focusing with Zeiss lenses
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