Zeiss Zeiss Baby!

Discussion in 'Nikon DSLR Forum' started by Ray Sachs, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    As long as we're free associating potential names for the forum, may as well do the same with thread titles... When I first started contemplated selling off my Fuji gear and getting into Nikon, the one serious negative I saw with the whole thing was losing out on Fuji's excellent 14mm lens. Every other focal length I cared about had an alternative on the Nikon side that I'd be at least as happy with, but the only affordable 20-21mm options for Nikon aren't particularly great - not in the same class with the Fuji 14. There was just the Zeiss Distagon 21mm f2.8 ZF, a lens that sells new for north of $1800, an amount I've never paid for a lens (depending on how much of the RX1's total cost is from the Zeiss Sonar nailed to the front of that incredible little camera). So I reluctantly bought a used Nikon 20mm f2.8 and figured I'd keep my eyes open for a bargain on a used Zeiss 21. Well, I found one a couple of days ago for not all that much more than a Fuji 14, or at least what it would have cost at introduction. Anyway, I jumped on it. And it's incredible. Manual focus, but not even remotely a problem at this wide focal length. And not just as nice as the Fuji 14mm, a couple of steps beyond.

    I took a walk around town today and shot a bunch of typical small town shots. And then tonight, my wife and I walked into town to find the place absolutely mobbed. We asked around and turns out the Budweiser Clydesdales were due in town this evening. So I walked back home and grabbed my Df and took a few shots of them with the Zeiss and a few with the 24-120 f4 Nikon zoom.

    But the Zeiss images pop like nothing but a Zeiss pops. So I've got 21mm covered now, and then some! Now I just have to sell the Nikon 20, which isn't a BAD lens, but it's not in the same universe with the Zeiss...

    15076192022_8f3ae4e238_h. West Chester Walk-112-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    15053549556_b72a4e6416_h. West Chester Walk-96-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    If any of you are Letterman fans, back when he was on NBC he used to have a regular feature called "Stupid Human Tricks". One of the best entries was a guy who could stop an electric fan with his tongue. So popular, he had him back on 3-4 times, maybe even once on CBS. Well, that guy is our local hot dog stand guy, seen here on the steps. He's been selling dogs on this corner for all 22 of the years I've lived in this town. Serves up a mean keilbasa with kraut too. Nice guy. And a minor celebrity for 15 minutes back in the day.
    West Chester Walk-26-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14890001917_3fd7c7078f_b. West Chester Walk-20-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    And, the Clydesdales - really impressive horses, crummy crap for beer...

    15077483412_86c8460f5f_h. Clydesdales-30-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Clydesdales-35-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    These last three are with the Nikon zoom:
    Clydesdales-55-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Clydesdales-62-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    Clydesdales-63-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr
     
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  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Love the Clydesdales photos, esp 35&63, and I remember stupid human tricks very well :smile:.

    I read about the Zeiss 21 years ago when it was only available for several thousands of dollars and was hard to track down. So glad they released a new version of this legendary lens. My dad just bought one to use on a D810, and it is awesome. If I switch from Leica M to Nikon, it's definitely one I'll pick up.
     
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, I think it's resolution-proof. If I ever move toward a 24 or 36mp sensor, this lens ought to do just fine....

    -Ray
     
  4. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    So when are you buying the rest of the Zeiss lenses? Nothing like Zeiss pop:)

    21mm is legendary for landscapes. I have 100mm Makro, but I don't carry it much due to its size... Contax versions are usually a little smaller then the latest ZE/ZF versions but they are harder to adapt to Nikon.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Well, I've got the 35 in my RX1. Someday I'm gonna have to buy a longer portrait lens for this thing than the 85mm I've got now. Zeiss makes a really nice 135 f2. But I don't use that focal length enough to be able to easily rationalize the Zeiss Price - the 21mm I'll use a LOT and will get my money's worth out of over time. Also, I think at any focal length north of 120 or so I'm gonna want both AF and VR, neither of which the Zeiss have. So I might just be good with those two. Never say never though.

    -Ray
     
  7. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
  8. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    Amazing images!! They really pop!

    I wish they did a 35mm f1.4 with E-Mount for my A7 and I wish I could afford it :(
     
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'd actually seen that case "deal" of Zeiss lenses at some point. There's a side of me that would love to get a bunch of them - they do have a pretty special look to them. BUT, I'm really pretty satisfied with most good lenses. I was more than thrilled with the Fuji 14mm when I had it. I'm very happy with the Nikon 28 f1.8 G. I've got the Zeiss 35 (actually more like 32) in the RX1. I don't shoot at 50mm enough to spend real money on a lens, and I'm frankly very happy with the Nikon 50 f1.8 D that I paid under $100 for. At 85mm I'm very happy with the Nikon 85 f1.8 D also. The only other lens/focal length that's at all on my radar at the moment is something in the 135-150 range and the Zeiss 135 f2 is worth thinking about. But as I noted above, at that focal length I think I'm gonna want AF and probably VF too, and it'a another I don't use THAT much to justify spending that kind of money. The 21 I'll use a LOT and will get my money's worth out of it. And I might have considered something at 28 if I didn't already have something I was so pleased with. But I may not add any more Zeiss lenses to the herd - certainly no more than one additional one...

    In terms of weight, it's pretty heavy for a prime - a little over 600 grams - most of my other primes are around 300 grams or lighter. And it's not particularly small, with that large front element. But it doesn't feel or carry as large or heavy as it is. I think because the barell is so narrow and the focus ring and aperture ring are on the narrow part, it just doesn't feel like all that much lens. The whole weight thing is kind of funny with the DSLR. All of my longer primes feel quite light, because they are. I have this Zeiss and a Rokinon 14mm f2.8 to cover the ultra wide end - the Zeiss is heavier than the Rokionon but the Rokinon feels heavier. I also have two zooms, the 24-120 f4 that I use a lot, and the 70-300 f4.5-5.6 that I use almost never. The two zooms weigh almost exactly the same at about 770 grams - the 70-300 feels like a tank that I don't like holding when I'm using it - the 24-120 doesn't bother me in the least. But walking around with the Zeiss on the camera yesterday, I didn't notice the size or weight at all and just had the feeling that I'd be spending a lot of time shooting with this lens. I could end up carrying a bag with the Df with the Zeiss 21 and the 85 and the RX1 quite a bit. Or just the 24-120 and the Zeiss 21 - an f4 zoom really goes a long way with this sensor. The other lenses will get used, but I suspect not a huge amount.

    Nailing focus is easy, but the DOF with a lens like this is pretty vast, so there's room for error too. It's got a very close minimum focus distance so if you're shooting at near macro distances and open the lens up, it can get pretty narrow. But for most stuff I'm shooting that's more than a few feet away, I can leave it somewhere in that small area between 2 meters and infinity on the focus ring and I won't miss many shots, even wide open, and definitely not stopped down... I'm not much of a tripod shooter at all and haven't used live view once on the Df yet (other than just to see how it works). But I find it easy to see focus through the OVF and this lens is s Nikon specific version so it works with the CPU and the little green dot will confirm focus too. With this much DOF, that's plenty. I didn't really miss focus on a single shot yesterday and I shot quite a bit. So I'd say at this focal length, no worries.

    -Ray
     
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  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Thanks Andy. I don't really agree that they're amazing images - they're the same shots I've taken a zillion times of my home town and I don't see much in 'em anymore. But I TOTALLY agree that they really pop! So this thread is indulging the "gear" aspect of the site rather than the image portion. I can't wait to get someplace new and interesting with this lens in the bag!

    I just saw that Zeiss is coming out with a manual focus 35mm f2.0 for e-mount. I find f2 plenty fast with today's full frame sensors, and offers plenty narrow DOF as well. I don't have ANY lens faster than f1.8 and no plans to get anything that fast either...

    -Ray