PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

21Jul/080

A cornucopia of Zeiss reviews

Reviews of Zeiss lenses are hard to come by. There are so many copies of old press releases floating around the interwebs that the actual user accounts are drowned in the noise. This is a common issue for high-end products in general, I suppose, because those that write reviews try to appeal to general consumers and not niche buyers.

A few weeks ago I was excited to find a second review of the 2/100 ZF. The text of this review is rather lean on details – most information there is available straight from Zeiss here or here. The review is memorable for its images however, the author includes original images that demonstrate all the important points.

For example, scale with a 1-series Canon body:


Straight, pure lines clash with the curvy Canon spaceship. Linked from here.

This is also the first time I’ve seen an image of the lens focused all the way in. Note that it extends considerably down at 1:2 ratio:


This is a slight negative, but I doubt it’ll wobble as Canon/Nikon equivalents would. Linked from here.

But wait that’s not all...

Elsewhere I’ve found a cornucopia of Zeiss lens reviews. Most are of older Contax models, but some of the key features are shared (most notably the T* coatings). All are interesting – these are reviews to read carefully, the entire text delights with information!

Of particular note are its 50mm sibling:


I think this image sells the lens to me instantly (from here). It’s a cute rock too (from here).

And its Contax cousin:


What I love most about this photographer’s reviews are the real-life image samples (this one from here).

Memorable quote from the Contax MM 2/100 review:

"If you’re reading this page to learn more about the 100/2 - you’re done! Buy the lens. You’ll love it. Don’t worry if it is sharper than this or has less CA than that... After you see your first image, all those doubts will be a distant memory."

Now there’s also a review there of the Contax MM 4/18 Distagon T*… and it's clear this lens rocks. The colors sell the lens in my opinion, well they sell T* lenses in general but the 18mm perspective amplifies the color advantage with glorious-ified skies. What I see there is somewhat at odds with my perception of the lens from its published MTF data, one that carries over to the ZF 3.5/18 Distagon... MTF is only part of the picture.


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