5D Kit Lens vs Zeiss VS 28-85

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by david_wu|6, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. I have seen some very nice "3D" (Zeiss Look) photos taken with Zeiss Lenses. Recently, with 20% BCB help, I got a chance to get a VS 28-85 (Japan). For a quick comparison (to show wife why spending $$ to get a manual, redundant lens), I took some shots with the lens and the 24-105 L kit lens. Here is one result:
    5D, ~F4 at 85mm; used PS to convert it from raw, cropped at the center, and saved it as a JPEG with 100 PPI
    I know this is not a serious comparison; but it seems there is no difference between the two at this condition. Is this normal? Or will the "Zeiss Look" show only at certain conditions?
     
  2. [​IMG]
    Link dosen't work! :-(
    Please go to my "Portfolio" to see the image.
     
  3. Wow, You can tell all that from such a small image? No wonder, you call the 24-105 a kit lens ;-)
     
  4. The pix on the right seem a little brighter to me. So the bokeh looks a little rougher beacuse of that, If they were exactly the same in brightness, Perhaps it would easier to judge the bokeh.
     
  5. it seems there is no difference between the two at this condition. Is this normal?​
    The EF 24-105 4L IS USM is a kit lens albeit a "luxury" kit intended for well heeled gentleman amateurs, so no surprise it's a cut above average and hard to beat. OF, Photogeeks and pixel peepers are a hard to please market so Canon pumped it up a bit. Probably the Zeiss optical design lost something in the translation from German to Japanese.
     
  6. Tommy, I had to downsize the image to meet the 1500 pixels limit, but if you doble click the image, it's not too small. As mentioned, this is a rough comparison for wife (not a pixel vs pixel); but I expected to see some differences. David
    BTW I thought Canon markets the lens as a 5D kit lens
     
  7. The 24-105 f/4 is an L lens, marketed as the highest quality lenses Canon makes. There are only two general-purpose full-frame L lenses, the 24-105/4 and the 24-70/2.8. So, though it is the kit lens for the 5D, it is still about as good as it gets from Canon.
    I can't really tell much difference between the shots... the background blur is quite good in both.
     
  8. How about the focusing speed, Which one is faster? LOL.
     
  9. How about the focusing speed, Which one is faster? LOL.​
    David has the latest bionic finger upgrade so he's as fast or faster than ring-type USM (if he has his coffee & sugar fix).
     
  10. Don't show your wife this result! To my eye they are almost identical. The only difference I think is worth mentioning is that of the background blur, and in this case I give the subtlest of nods to Canon.
    So what's up with this Zeiss/Leica mystique? There are a couple of wellsprings of truth and fiction. We can dispense with the fictions first: Germans (as a nation) make better lenses. That's just silly. There are variants of this along the lines that Germans and Japanese have different aesthetic values, they see things differently, etc. All ridiculous. Japanese have as much or even more of a fetish for Zeiss/Leica than any other nationality. So that can't be it. (Before the Internet, this kind of lore had more currency than it does today, but now, thanks to tests like yours, it's easy to debunk these myths.)
    The truth is that Zeiss lenses are mostly known in connection with Hasselblad cameras, which are medium format rigs that dance circles around any 35mm camera without even trying. The lenses are superlative, and they out to be since they cost 5-10x what their 35mm counterparts cost. But, the big difference here has been the format of the film. Anyway, these lenses have outstanding image quality. (But, so do Mamiya, Pentax, Bronica and a host of other non-Zeiss medium format camera lenses.)
    The truth about the Leica lenses is that they are mostly known in connection with 35mm rangefinder cameras, which, because they don't have a reflex mirror, are much easier to equip with high-performing, compact wide-angle lenses. Note that there is plenty of competition with Leica today from third-party lenses that are extremely good on the rangefinder. Leica makes a few high-end lenses for their now-defunct SLR, but so do Canon, Nikon, et. al. It's the rangefinder lenses that have been exceptional, but that's because the lens is closer to the film/sensor which means that the lenses are simpler to design well.
    Some of the very finest optics ever made available to pro/amateur photographers have been for non-reflex, medium-format: the Zeiss 38mm Biogon (for Hasselblad), and the Mamiya 6/7 lenses.
    Some day, I pray that we will have digital backs for these lenses that can dispense with the reflex mirror and once again I can use my Mamiya 7 lenses. It's very, very hard to do because the light comes out of the back of the lens at a very acute angle with respect to the sensor, and no sensors today that I know of can deal with this. As a result, we all must suffer with reflex mirrors and big, complex wide-angle lenses that don't perform as well as those cute, little Leica or Zeiss rangefinder lenses.
    Of course, there's fit and finish, and who dislikes having a nicely crafted hunk of metal and glass? But, don't expect big differences in image quality. The L lenses and comparable third-party efforts should be very, very close under most conditions.
     
  11. YOu can buy the zeiss, and then transplant the glasses to the 24-105, That way you'll have Fast AF and Zeiss glass.
     
  12. Some day, I pray that we will have digital backs for these lenses that can dispense with the reflex mirror and once again I can use my Mamiya 7 lenses. It's very, very hard to do because the light comes out of the back of the lens at a very acute angle with respect to the sensor, and no sensors today that I know of can deal with this. As a result, we all must suffer with reflex mirrors and big, complex wide-angle lenses that don't perform as well as those cute, little Leica or Zeiss rangefinder lenses.​
    Ken, wasn't that the same argument against a full frame digital 35mm rangefinder camera? Leica looks to have addrressed the light angle problems with M9.
    Who knows what the future holds.
     
  13. So we are all agreed, Canon kit lenses are a match (indistinguishable) from Zeiss glass.
    Nice :)
     
  14. zml

    zml

    The "3D" (Zeiss Look), Leica "glow", <insert the imagined and poetically named property of your favorite toy here>, etc. are very much present when you are told beforehand that the picture was made with that lens/camera... In real life, given a choice of well-executed photographs made with all kinds of lenses and cameras, you'd have a crap shot chance of actually identifying such pictures. Ah, the power of carefully crafted legends..!
     
  15. I've used Leica M's with modern lenses, the Kyocera Contax SLRs, and a Canon 5d mk 1 with the 24-105/4L. They're all great lenses. I think you have to remember that Kyocera's Zeiss lenses as well as Leica's M lenses are superb, modern lens designs with excellent quality control. They may have different design goals though. Leica likes to optimize for performance wide open. Zeiss does superb overall designs with optimum results stopped down a stop or two. Canon is similar to Zeiss, but with a little less "performance at any cost" mentality. I've found I get great results with all three, but with good tripod technique, the Leica and Zeiss lenses are probably better (but more expensive) and not by that much. That's just subjective opinion there.
    As far as the "Leica glow" there is an interesting effect you get at wide apertures with older Leica lenses, say the 50/3.5 or the 50/2 summitar which can give you an interesting semi-out of focus halo like effect. But with more modern Leica lenses what you get is a superb picture assuming your subject and your technique are good. And the build quality of the M lenses is also extremely high. I don't know that the results are worth the price.
     
  16. I couldn't agree more Michael. For eight years I worked with Hasselblads (which I had bought after leaving art school to start my career in professional photography - a purchase based primarily on reputation and mystique). I sold everything eight years later, after becoming increasingly frustrated with their lack of functionality and many irritations (three bodies, six lenses, multiple magazines, Polaroid backs, accessories, etc) to buy a full Mamiya RZ67 set up. The difference in day to day functionality was enormous, but the thing that surprised me most was that I much preferred the image quality. The Hasselblad "magic" for me was in the resale price!
    I think a lot of times a camera system or lens's qualities are being given the credit that really should go to the photographer. It's a little like complimenting a chef on his pots and pans after he prepares a wonderful meal.
    This is a true story, that for me says much more than any empirical lens tests ever could. When I started my career I also succumbed to the Leica myths. I bought one for my personal photography (I used large and medium format exclusively for work). On a weekend outing with my family I realized that I had forgotten my camera... wanting a record of the day (I had a baby at the time) I bought a Kodak cardboard disposable camera. I got the 24 images printed at 4"x6" at a pharmacy. A photographer friend of mine - a Leicophile - visited my studio in London and saw the pile of prints on my desk. He flipped through them, studied them and then said "... even at this size you can still see the Leica quality shine through." He had assumed I had shot them with my Leica knowing it was my only 35mm for family pictures! I didn't have the heart to tell him they were taken with a cardboard camera with a plastic lens - I didn't want to make him feel foolish. However, it taught me to drop the preconceptions and to judge images purely on their merits without being influenced my a large dose of BS and years of carefully honed mystique.
    That's not to say there aren't bad, good and excellent lenses - there are huge differences, which are usually (although not always) reflected in the price. But this concept of a magical "look" is generally a testament to great marketing as opposed to great lenses.
     
  17. Confidence in a system is a tangible factor. If you're confident in a given system and you're comfortable with it, it seems to me your results are better. But you do see what you expect to see to some extent in the work. A photographer is more of an artist than a scientist, so he's trying to create art, not assess the technical qualities of his lenses -- as long as they are good enough.
    But Leica and Zeiss do have superb optical formulas implemented in a flawless fashion so they really are great lenses. But then so are many from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta/Sony, etc. But remember that in Leica's case, ALL there lenses are the equivalent of the Canon L's (all part of the higher quality line).
     
  18. One example doesn't make a comparison that can lead to anything of consequence. Why not try the lenses at different focal lengths, under a variety of lighting conditions?
     
  19. Some day, I pray that we will have digital backs for these lenses that can dispense with the reflex mirror and once again I can use my Mamiya 7 lenses. It's very, very hard to do because the light comes out of the back of the lens at a very acute angle with respect to the sensor, and no sensors today that I know of can deal with this. As a result, we all must suffer with reflex mirrors and big, complex wide-angle lenses that don't perform as well as those cute, little Leica or Zeiss rangefinder lenses.​
    Ken, wasn't that the same argument against a full frame digital 35mm rangefinder camera? Leica looks to have addrressed the light angle problems with M9.
    Who knows what the future holds.​
    I was excited by this prospect. Alas, examples I've seen of plain white fields shot with ultrawide lenses on the M9 have strong color casts off axis. So, the problem hasn't been addressed quite completely enough to make it practical.
    I noticed that Ricoh has started selling compact cameras with the lens and sensor integrated into units which can be swapped out. So, there's the possibility that they could make a curved sensor that is married to a particular lens. That might give them the needed design freedom for truly superb wide angle performance. Or, maybe not. I have no idea if making a curved sensor is science fiction at this point. I suppose if this was their secret sauce, they would mention it in their marketing materials, so probably not.
     
  20. It would be very tough to do the required lithography on anything but a flat silicon wafer, and silicon doesn't take well to bending anyway. While a curved sensor may not be science fiction I don't think it's very likely anytime soon.
    I think the Zeiss lenses (for Canon anyway) are made in Japan, not Germany. Not that it really makes a difference. I don't think they've started making them in China yet, but that day may come too.
     
  21. As long as you get for each Zeiss glass an hand signed control certificate, you can be very sure that you get an first class Zeiss lens, regardless whether produced in Japan, Germany or elswhere!
    Cheers
     

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