85mm f/1.4D or Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85 ZF

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ruben silva, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. I am wondering where shoud I invest in my next portrait lens. Any suggestions?
     
  2. I would think that eather lens will take great photos.The Zeiss might have a little better contrast, but they are both about as good as you can get. Do you need the Auto Focus and is the amount of money the Zeiss will cost worth it to you. Only you can answer that.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You might find the following post in DPReview informative:
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=20726630
    That is one person's opinion.
     
  4. umd

    umd

    I have the Nikon for a year, never shot with the Zeiss, in my experience AF (esp in continuous mode) is very helpful because of the thin dof at portrait distances. A MF lens is not worth it considering Nikon is also great optically (and cheaper afaik).
     
  5. I have no experience of the Zeiss. But the Nikon 85mm f1.4D is fantastic.

    I can not imagine that you would be disappointed with the Nikon. My suggestion is, buy it and enjoy.
     
  6. If the D version of the 85mm 1.4 is the same optical formula as the 85mm 1.4 AIS, I would buy it and not look back. It delivers stunning results.
     
  7. I purchased the 85 AD-D F1.4 a couple years ago because of the better optical performace at F1.4 and 2.0 than the AIS version. I also use the lens at 1.4 and 2.0 so the autofocus is really critical, especially when your're only several feet from your subject. The DOF is really shallow close up at the larger apertures.
     
  8. I've been very pleased with the build quality and the optical quality of the 85mm f/1.4 AFD Nikkor. I'd need to see solid proof that the Zeiss ZF lens was demonstrably better than the Nikkor before I'd buy one. And I just don't get how the proto-Cosina 85mm ZF manual focus lens with no CPU/D-capability retails for $1,250 compared to $1,025 for the Nikkor.
     
  9. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Whats not to like about Nikons super lens. The Nikkor is afd the Zeiss isn't. How many can say that they will see more resolution from the Zeiss, better bokeh, more three dimensionality? I regard the Zeiss products highly, and just purchased their 25mm f2.8 ZM for my Leica M4-P. But there is no afd for Leica anyway so Zeiss produced a lens that they say has no equal at 400lmm resolution for a FF mount at a third what Leica charges. This is opposite the Nikon vs. Zeiss situation where their gear costs more than Nikon. What you get is good build quality but limited features. Now if they made an 28mm f1.4 equal to Nikons for less like my ZM lens I would be interested if I didn't already have the 28mm f2.0 MF lens. Most of my lenses were bought used when a I saw the item for an excellent price including the ZM lens I have.
     
  10. Firstly, here's a comment copied from Nikonians from someone with both these lenses.

    "I've done some informal tests between the Nikkor and Zeiss. Basically, the Zeiss is sharper wide open. In the range of f2-5.6 the lenses are pretty much on par for sharpness. The Zeiss, however, continues to improve as you stop it down further. The Nikkor peeks at about 5.6. Contrast and color appear better on the Zeiss. The lens just reproduces color and has a feel that I've never seen."

    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID17/15998.html#7

    As for me, I also own a Zeiss ZF 85/1.4 (btw the Zeiss is cheaper than the AF Nikkor here in Japan) and have found it to be a top quality lens in every respect. My experience with it on film and a D200 has shown me that it's really sharp at all apertures, with excellent contrast and colour. I've never owned a Nikkor 85/1.4, but did compare the Zeiss with my (now sold) AIS 85/2. The Zeiss was so much better than the AIS 85/2 that I lost the desire to hang onto that lens despite its handy compact size. I also compared the Zeiss to my 18-200 VR at 85mm and the difference was astounding! So much so, that I'm beginning to think I got a dud 18-200 VR.

    If AF is important to you, then the decision is easy, go for the Nikkor. But if you like to MF, then the Zeiss is an excellent choice.
     
  11. Further to my response above, you can find some links to "real world" photos I've taken with the Zeiss 85/1.4 at the link below.

    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID17/15998.html#3
     
  12. Jon I appreciate you comments, especially in view of the fact that only few of the Zeiss lenses are sold yet and therefore few owners can report hands on experience.

    However I would like to comment that a comparison of any good fast prime to any zoom with an extreme reach is not really fair.
     
  13. Looks like Jon compares the Zeiss with his:

    "I've never owned a Nikkor 85/1.4, but did compare the Zeiss with my (now sold) AIS 85/2."

    It would be interesting to know Zeiss compared to the latest Nikkor 85/1.4 AF lens that has 77 mm filter size. I believe many agreed already that the Nikkor 85/1.4 (77 mm filter), is much better than the Nikkor 85/1.4 (72 mm) when lens is wide open.
     
  14. Per link provided by Shun we have one opinion:

    "I've shot it side by side on the same Canon 1Ds II (adapters are wonderful) with the Canon 85mm f1.2 and a Zeiss 85mm f1.4, and the Nikon wins in every category: sharpness, contrast, and bokeh."

    Is this general concent ? or just isolated experience ?
     
  15. In response to Walter Schroeder's comment:

    "However I would like to comment that a comparison of any good fast prime to any zoom with an extreme reach is not really fair."

    Walter, I agree. Its not really fair at all. Unfortunately I currently I only own the 18-200mm and six primes so didn't have any similar range zooms to compare with, and besides the difference really was startling! There's a few (boring) comparison photos at the link below.

    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID6/18962.html

    In response to Frank Skomial's comment:

    "Looks like Jon compares the Zeiss with his:
    "I've never owned a Nikkor 85/1.4, but did compare the Zeiss with my (now sold) AIS 85/2."

    Frank, the AIS 85/2 is no slouch. Photodo rate it a 4.2, which is an excellent rating compared to other Nikkor primes, and not that much short of the 4.4 they rate the AIS 85/1.4.

    Still, I understand that it is a Nikkor AF-D 85/1.4 & Zeiss ZF 85/1.4 comparison that we'd all like to see. If I could get a loan of an Nikkor AF-D 85/1.4 I'd gladly do it :)
     
  16. For the sake of clarity, the comment below is in reference to the Nikkor AF-D 85/1.4 and Zeiss ZF 85/1.4, so we have a second opinion.

    "I've done some informal tests between the Nikkor and Zeiss. Basically, the Zeiss is sharper wide open. In the range of f2-5.6 the lenses are pretty much on par for sharpness. The Zeiss, however, continues to improve as you stop it down further. The Nikkor peeks at about 5.6. Contrast and color appear better on the Zeiss. The lens just reproduces color and has a feel that I've never seen."

    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID17/15998.html#7
     
  17. Here is my testing of the 85mm 1.4 vs the 80-400mm & 70-300ED: http://aaronlinsdau.com/gear/articles/lens_comparison85.html I didn't have a Zeiss to compare against but I wouldn't want to loose the AF-D information and capability. I've found the top sharpness to be at 5.6-11. Perhaps I should have sent mine back as it softens up at 1.4 and 2 but I can also use that range and the f16 setting as a fake defocus control to soften up portraits, too. Hurrell used the smallest aperture for that effect and was quite successful. I decided not to send it back for another sample simply because that's a crap shoot and my results reflected what other people have written. I enjoy shooting with this lens for landscapes as it somewhat mimics my old Canon FD 100mm macro in compression and better in sharpness and that's tough to beat. Attached is a shot I did, full sensor on the left, 100% crop on the right. This is JPG +1 in camera. No sharpening has been applied in PS, just open, crop, resize, save for web High. It was shot at f11, 1/100th, ISO100 on a tripod. I've been pretty happy with the sharpness of the 85mm 1.4 as you can probably see. My other compeditors in sharpness an the 50mm 1.8 and then the 35 2.0. It's tough to beat this lens.
    00IjuB-33426684.jpg
     
  18. It is not easy to accurately focus a 85/1.4 lens wide open from close range as you would for
    head shots. What good is superior optics if a good percentage of your shots are out of
    focus?
     
  19. No insult intended, but improve your technique. You can do the focus/recompose dance or adjust the focus point. Since the D200 only has one cross sensor, I usually focus/recompose when it's critical, as I've had many times where the outer sensors just don't lock on as well.

    I've had plenty of out of focus shots due to shallow DOF as I've learned this lens. I got most killed when I did a martial arts shoot and it was in the usual dark as a cave stage. I did get some good keepers and no other slower lens would have worked as well for me. Unless I get that 200mm f2.0...
     
  20. Because the size of D200's VF is lesser some people say they have difficulty manual focusing ZF. ZF line of lenses are lacking both AF and CPU. You have no matrix meter or s-priority with Zeiss. As for color-reprodicing niuances they are difficult to note - digital labs, printers and LCD give much more errors. Don't forget that ALL Full Frame lenses lose a significant part of their resolution on DX sensor. If you were a film user I would recommend Hassy 500 + Zeiss or Contax RTS III + Zeiss (second hand now, Yashica Contax bayonet). Heavier weights are not obviously more reliable. So, get NIkkor.
     
  21. For serious portrait work at f1.4 - f2 you're going to get better, more consistent results using a tripod and manual focusing over using AF handheld. And when it comes to manual focus feel and the amount of focus throw, the Zeiss ZF 85/1.4 is better than the Nikkor AF 85/1.4D, so its easier to precisely manual focus with the Zeiss. For precise MF work the standard D200 focusing screen sucks, but I have a KatzEye focusing screen in mine and it works great.
     
  22. 1. I own both the Nikon 85/1.4 (77mm) and the Zeiss ZF 85/1.4 (72mm).

    2. I concur with Jon Manjiro's reply dated Nov 13, 2006 03:41am.

    3. I concur with Jon Manjiro's reply dated Nov 09, 2006 08:21am.

    I'm a wide open shooter. In studio and on-location, the advantages of using a tripod when shooting at 1.4 are tremendous. For me, at
    1.4, autofocus is useless, as the subject's eyes must be tack-sharp
    and, most often, the focusing point is not positioned over either
    eye.

    Both lenses are beautiful pieces of glass. Ignoring the autofocus
    vs. manual discussion, "optically" the Zeiss is sharper at 1.4, has
    more color and contrast, and has a more dimensional look & feel.
    My only complaint with the Zeiss (on a D2Xs) is that the focusing
    ring is close to the camera body, which creates cramped ergonomics.

    One other note. The focusing/helical ring has a granularity far
    beyond the Nikon 85/1.4. It takes "fine-focusing adjustment" to
    a new level. As an example, I can place the focusing point of a
    D2Xs over a subject's pupil, focus, obtain the focus circle in the
    viewfinder, and still turn the focusing ring in both directions
    while the focus circle in the viewfinder remains a circle (i.e.,
    the left/right arrows do not appear). In other words, the Zeiss
    focusing mechanism's granularity is beyond the focus sensor in
    the D2Xs!
     
  23. (cont. from my response, above)

    4. With the newer Nikon bodies, the Nikon 85/1.4 can be shot in 1/3,
    1/2, or full stops.

    5. The Zeiss 85/1.4 has 1/2 and full stop indents. I'm assuming one
    can set the f-stop ring to any position, other than the indents, if desired.
     

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