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Author Topic: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2  (Read 2063 times)

Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2017, 04:26:10 PM »

Oh dear - out of innocence/ignorance ?? - I appear to have drifted unintentionally into some crossfire.
I said that the Z135 'can' look clinical - which, to my eyes,it can just as the V125 can look a little 'fuzzy'. I used 'clinical' as term which might be approximately clearly understood whilst avoiding overlong specificity - 'fuzzy' might have been used in precisely the same way. We could explore the crevices of linguistics for quite a long time and be little more clear as much of the matter is subjective.
We are discussing two excellent lenses and some people seem to find one preferable to the other for certain types of work - and have given their reasons. That is interesting and informative and exactly what I have always thought Michael encouraged these fora to be used for.
I apologize if I have trodden upon any toes ... or shibboleths .

My definition of lens "character" is endearing flaws.

There are several things that stand out about the 135/2 Apo Sonnar:

An almost complete lack of focus shift (at least at 2 m). This is going to make the lens more convenient to use.

Extreme sharpness

Lots of LoCA, considering how sharp it is.

Excellent coverage if you stop it down a bit. The coverage is so great that you can easily use the lens on a 33x44 mm camera.

Relatively little sharpness falloff off axis. Again, so little that you can use it on a bigger sensor than the one it was disigned for.

Solid mechanical qualities, and an excellent, but not absolutely top-notch helicoid.

Little LaCA and SA. Actually, incredibly little SA.

Jim

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #41 on: July 08, 2017, 04:42:06 PM »

Oh dear - out of innocence/ignorance ?? - I appear to have drifted unintentionally into some crossfire.
I said that the Z135 'can' look clinical - which, to my eyes,it can just as the V125 can look a little 'fuzzy'. I used 'clinical' as term which might be approximately clearly understood whilst avoiding overlong specificity - 'fuzzy' might have been used in precisely the same way. We could explore the crevices of linguistics for quite a long time and be little more clear as much of the matter is subjective.
We are discussing two excellent lenses and some people seem to find one preferable to the other for certain types of work - and have given their reasons. That is interesting and informative and exactly what I have always thought Michael encouraged these fora to be used for.
I apologize if I have trodden upon any toes ... or shibboleths .

"Fuzzy" is not the same as "Clinical" in type, but enough is enough.. This is why I remind myself not to spend too much time here. Things just disintegrate.
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Michael Erlewine
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2017, 09:27:39 PM »

I'm not sure why there has to be an emotional tailspin on the subject of these lenses.

They are all great lenses :D

To help underscore a point (mine, anyway) brought to light through this inquiry, I have harvested the LenScores for these respective lenses ... as they pertain to my bag ... as well as in reference to each other:



It is pretty much unanimous that the Zeiss 100mm Macro is better than any Canon macro (I have owned them all) ... but that the Zeiss 100mm Macro is not as good as either the Zeiss 135 Apo or the Voigtländer 125 Apo macro. Those who have used both are unanimous that the Voigtländer 125 Apo Macro is better than the Zeiss Macro in pretty much every way (esp. in color-correctedness + the fact the Voigtländer is a true 1:1 macro whereas the Zeiss 100 is only 1:2) ... but a hair or two behind the Zeiss 135 Apo in sharpness/correctedness. Therefore, since LenScore hasn't measured the Voigtländer, I have added an arrow to illustrate (my opinion) of where the Voigtländer's placement belongs, within the scheme of things, for perspective.

The LenScore profile pretty much sums-up all subjective assessments that the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar is a much sharper, much more color-corrected lens than the Zeiss 100mm Macro ... but is a few notches down from the Oti. I don't think anyone, who's experienced all of these lenses, will argue with my placement of the Voigtländer 125 Apo in between these two Zeisses. (All 3 of them are made by Cosina.)

Harkening back to a couple of years ago, I was thrilled when I purchased the Sigma 180mm 'Apo' Macro (it is not a true Apo lens). It was significantly superior to the Canon macro lenses I had used for several years. Also, the Sigma's AF was faster than the Canons', which was important for shots of moving subjects.

Because macro photography is my mainstay, and because of Michael Erlewine's fascination with the Voigtländer, I too became interested in this lens. After switching to Nikon, for better DR, and after using the Voigtländer, I could see its superiority to my Sigma 180 ... but I didn't want to give up the AF + reach of the Sigma, either.

So I upgraded to the Nikkor 300mm VR II to meet my needs for quick focus. Immediately, I realized this lens was better than all of them, with better reach and better AF than the Sigma ... and it was so much better than a standard macro lens quality-wise ... that I could crop from the 300mm, standing 7-10' away, and get superior single macro shots than with my Canons up-close at 1:1.

In fact, the 300mm almost rendered my Voigtländer 125 Apo obsolete, too. While the CV 125 was superior to other macros, quality-wise, it was not superior to a Nikkor super-telephoto, and I started realizing that I could nail shots from a comfortable distance, that I might miss "trying to creep close enough" to (butterflies/lizards, etc.) with the smaller macro lens.  The 300mm also opened-up a whole new outlet: bird photography (ah, but I digress ...).

Anyway, what the 300mm can't do, that the Voigtländer 125 Apo absolutely excels at (more than any macro lens on the planet), is macro stacks. With its 1:1 magnification, and its precise-turning 620° focus throw, the Voigtländer 125 Apo gives me something neither the Nikkor 300mm (nor the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo can do) 1:1 deep macro stacks.

IMO, as a hiking nature photographer (who's used more macro lenses than most), the Voigtländer 125 Apo is essentially like owning both the Zeiss 100mm macro and the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo telephoto, combined. It beats the Zeiss macro across the board, and it is close enough to the Apo Sonnar, quality-wise, to satisfy anyone as a telephoto ... adding the 1:1 dimension to the package. (Importantly, it is also much, much lighter to boot.)

In the end, there was nothing the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar could do that my Nikkor 300mm couldn't do better (quality-wise) ... and there was nothing that the Apo Sonnar could do (macro-wise) that my Voigtländer Apo couldn't do better, either.

Had the Zeiss 135 Apo been a macro lens, my choice might have been different. The deal-breaker was its hamstrung working distance in a focal length I already had. It is a beautiful lens, delightful to try, but it's just too limited in its applications to realistically bring with me, given what I already have.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2017, 06:45:26 AM »

I hate to be the spoilsport, but someone has to keep pointing out that the Zeiss 100mm macro, while sharp, is so poorly corrected as to be unusable, at least for my work. I sold my copy (and the 50mm Macro) years ago. IMO there is no comparison of the Zeiss 100 Macro with the CV-125 as far as being well-corrected is concerned. I have no understand why this myth keeps being passed on. Anyone who actually used the Zeiss 100mm Macro has to see the chromatic abberation (etc.) in that lens and it affects the color and sharpness, and so on.

And yes, the CV-135 may be the Swiss-army knife of macro lenses, but it is "soft" compared to the 135mm Zeiss APO or the 85mm Otus. It just is. If I want some atmospherics, I can use the CV-125 and do. But, if I want corrected sharp, well, I use the 135mm APO Zeiss.

And I love the CV-125, but like all lenses, it is what it is.
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Michael Erlewine
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Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2017, 12:17:34 PM »

I hate to be the spoilsport, but someone has to keep pointing out that the Zeiss 100mm macro, while sharp, is so poorly corrected as to be unusable, at least for my work. I sold my copy (and the 50mm Macro) years ago. IMO there is no comparison of the Zeiss 100 Macro with the CV-125 as far as being well-corrected is concerned. I have no understand why this myth keeps being passed on. Anyone who actually used the Zeiss 100mm Macro has to see the chromatic abberation (etc.) in that lens and it affects the color and sharpness, and so on.

And yes, the CV-135 may be the Swiss-army knife of macro lenses, but it is "soft" compared to the 135mm Zeiss APO or the 85mm Otus. It just is. If I want some atmospherics, I can use the CV-125 and do. But, if I want corrected sharp, well, I use the 135mm APO Zeiss.

And I love the CV-125, but like all lenses, it is what it is.

I think Michael is right about the Zeiss 100 Makro. It has a lot of LoCA, and strong differences in resolution with wavelength:

http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/focus-shift-and-loca-in-the-zeiss-1002-makro-planar/

Compare that to the CO 60/4:

http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/focus-shift-and-loca-in-the-coastal-604-at-110/

Or even the Sony 90/2.8:

http://blog.kasson.com/the-last-word/focus-shift-and-loca-in-the-sony-90mm-f2-8-at-110/

Jim

JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2017, 02:19:24 PM »

It seems that you're both making a case that's already been admitted: e.g., I said “the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar is a much sharper, much more color-corrected lens than the Zeiss 100mm Macro,” and, “the Voigtländer 125 Apo Macro is better than the Zeiss Macro in pretty much every way (esp. in color-correctedness + the fact the Voigtländer is a true 1:1 macro whereas the Zeiss 100 is only 1:2).”

However, compared to other macros the Zeiss 100 rates pretty high. The truth is, most macro lenses are of very poor quality compared to telephotos (Oti, etc.). Therefore, I think the Zeiss Makro Planar achieved 'legendary status,' in comparison to other macros (Canon's, Nikon's, Sigma's, Tamron's), but it certainly doesn't stand up to what a lens connoisseur needs. The figures above pretty much show the Zeiss Makro's weakness in the CA area (compared to the finest lenses). Sharpness and bokeh-wise, the Zeiss is superior to the standard macros. The Voigtländer Apo macro is essentially a Zeiss macro ... with better color-correction and even creamier bokeh ... and it is a true 1:1.

I think Michael has gotten a little spoiled, since purchasing the Zeiss 135 and Oti lenses. I remember when, in his eBook, Michael said of the Voigtländer:

  • I could write a book about this lens, but I will spare you. The CV-125 is, hands down, the best macro lens I own and I use it all the time, even though I have a shelf full of some of the best macro lenses in the world at the ready. It has no major negatives. It is very fast, very sharp, focuses close, reproduced to 1:1, has 9 blades (great bokeh) – the works. If I want to complain, it is on the heavy side, but I am always happy to carry this piece of glass in the field.
    ...

    Despite all the good qualities, probably the features that set this lens apart from other fine macro lenses are the fact that it is truly apochromatic (APO) and has such exceptional bokeh (lovely out-of-focus blur in the background). Of course, IMO, I would add that it has a 'magic' quality that words can’t express and a very-long focus throw that makes macros and stacked-photos so very easy. I find it very stable when it comes to handling various types of light in the same frame, like shade with rays of sunlight. This is a real workhorse and I have used mine day in and day out for years. It focuses to 1:1 and lets you get very close in on your subjects. A feature not often mentioned about this lens is that it is also very sharp at mid-range and even at landscape distances. This is the little lens that could and it does. If you ever find one, buy it. You will never be sorry.”

I 100% agree with Michael's assessment. Adding this lens has been a huge bonus for me and my needs, especially when I bring 2 cameras with me.

I can't say anything remotely close to this about the Zeiss. In fact, I also agreed with Michael's assessment of the Zeiss lens, too, particularly where he says, “It is perfect, but is not the easiest to use. It has a great focus-throw, but a not-so-great minimum close-focus distance of 2.62' (.80m), which is a ways back.” These facts were the deal-breakers.

My own findings were, while the Zeiss 135 was sharp, and is nicely-corrected, my Nikkor 300mm is even sharper ... and it's better-corrected. So what do I need the Zeiss for? Macro? Nope again. Doesn't do it here either. As a macro lens, the Zeiss 135mm is a crippled option compared to the absolutely useful Voigtländer IMO. At best, in instances of 1:4 or greater, the Zeiss 135mm would produce slightly-better images than my Voigtländer ... but not as good as my Nikon 300.

Sorry, but I am just not willing to carry an extra (fragile) 2lb barbell plate at my hip for a 1:4 to 1:8 magnification window, after which my 300mm blows it away.
For anything over 1:4, so does the CV 125. At 1:2 or 1:1, no 'crop' from the Zeiss 135mm is going to equal full-frame capture with the Voigtländer.
Beyond 1:4, I can get anything the Zeiss could get with my 300mm.
While the Zeiss 135 is a delightful lens, its usefulness was very limited, given what I already have.

Now if I were only shooting flowers and plants in my studio, or in garden, and wasn't carrying a whole bunch of gear already, then maybe selecting the Zeiss 135 Apo would be a real treat, ideal actually.
Flowers and whole plants are actually the perfect subjects for this lens (as would portraits). But as an unnecessary extra for wildlife? Mmm, not so much.

My two existing lenses, the 300 mm and the 125 CV, form a great team for my purposes.
The Zeiss 135 was an added 2 lb of weight that didn't do a thing for me that I could do already.
And it was not good enough to stand on its own right, taken on a hike by itself.

I can go out with my 300mm, by itself, and have a great, well-rounded day. (Would miss virtually nothing.)
I can go out with my 125mm macro, by itself, and do the same (Would miss birds, only).
Yet I would miss every bird with the 135 ... and I would wish I had the CV 125, 8x out of 10, on virtually every macro opportunity.

This is not an indictment of the Zeiss' quality, but of its usefulness as a field lens.
There is no 135mm on the planet that is as useful as the Voigtländer 125mm Apo macro, and that's precisely because of its ability to get up close and go 1:1.

Michael may have cooled down on Voigtländer, but I sure haven't.

As Michael admits, when he was leading field explorations, he wanted "all purpose" lenses.
I would bet a hundred dollars to a penny, that is Michael went on an all-day hike in the mountains, he would leave the Zeiss 135 at home, and would bring the CV 125 ;)

At the end of the day, no one is going to see a well-composed, well-taken shot from the Voigtländer 125 macro and not like it.
It does everything the Zeiss 135mm can do, and a whole helluva lot more that the Zeiss cannot do.
It doesn't have to be the best damned lens in the universe ... it just has to be damned good ... and the CV 125 most assuredly is that :D

Cheers.

Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2017, 02:50:26 PM »

It seems that you're both making a case that's already been admitted: e.g., I said “the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar is a much sharper, much more color-corrected lens than the Zeiss 100mm Macro,” and, “the Voigtländer 125 Apo Macro is better than the Zeiss Macro in pretty much every way (esp. in color-correctedness + the fact the Voigtländer is a true 1:1 macro whereas the Zeiss 100 is only 1:2).”

Just because I agree with Michael doesn't mean I disagree with you. You've found a kit that works for you/. Great.

What do you think of the CO/Jenoptik 60/4?

Jim

Michael Erlewine

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2017, 03:58:00 PM »

What do you think of the CO/Jenoptik 60/4?

Jim

This might be the right time to use the word "clinical," although forensic might be a better word. It is a great lens, but:

Focus through is way to small. Need to mount the lens/camera on a rail.
Not so well made, IMO.
F4 is a hardship for me.
Does not handle mottled light well, like a forest canopy and sunlight.
Has a terrible hotspot at close range.

Otherwise, very well corrected.

My comments about the CV-125 were BEFORE the advent of the Zeiss 135mm APO, although I still reverence the CV-125. I just don't use it a lot.
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Michael Erlewine
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Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2017, 04:13:36 PM »

This might be the right time to use the word "clinical," although forensic might be a better word. It is a great lens, but:

Focus through is way to small. Need to mount the lens/camera on a rail.
Not so well made, IMO.
F4 is a hardship for me.
Does not handle mottled light well, like a forest canopy and sunlight.
Has a terrible hotspot at close range.

Otherwise, very well corrected.

I agree with all that, except that f/4 is fine with me and I never noticed the problem with mottled light (flare?). Not the sharpest thing in the world, either.  On my copy, the name plate is upside down and the diaphragm markings are not accurate. I wonder, is it like with stamps and printing errors? Maybe my copy is worth a fortune! Good IR lens if you stay away from the hot spot distances.

Jim

JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2017, 04:57:12 PM »

Just because I agree with Michael doesn't mean I disagree with you.

There was no disagreement as to the Zeiss macro. We all agreed.

It's on the usefulness of the Zeiss Sonnar where some of us disagreed.



You've found a kit that works for you/. Great.

Indeed. Others who have both leave the Zeiss Apo Sonnar at home and travel with the Voigtländer: it's lighter and does more. The Zeiss is heavier and does less.

Whatever (slight) advantages the Zeiss has in contrast/sharpness are overshadowed by its weight and limitations.



What do you think of the CO/Jenoptik 60/4?
Jim

I've never used it. I've read Michael's review of it, but it appears to have a very limited (non-existent) usefulness as a wildlife lens.

Jim, I am not a lens collector at all. I am actually the opposite: I am a lens discarder, except for those lenses which are irreplaceable.

I am a firm believer in the adage: "A man with one watch knows what time it is ... a man with many watches is never sure."

I don't want to have duplicate-lenses of the same focal length. I only want to keep the one which best-addresses my needs.

The C/O 60mm appears to have zero advantages over the CV 125, only disadvantages.

Have a good one.

Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2017, 05:08:04 PM »

The C/O 60mm appears to have zero advantages over the CV 125, only disadvantages.

For your uses, I think that's true.

Jim

RobertJ

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #51 on: July 09, 2017, 05:08:32 PM »

I hate to be the spoilsport, but someone has to keep pointing out that the Zeiss 100mm macro, while sharp, is so poorly corrected as to be unusable, at least for my work.

I just couldn't bring myself to buy the Zeiss 100 f/2 makro.  By now, it seems severely outdated, no matter how sharp it is.  The purple and green fringing is out of control, especially when you compare it to the Sony 90mm f/2.8 macro, which is a lens I really love.   

PhillipReeve.net has a test that shows that the Laowa (VenusOptics) 105mm f/2 (T/3.2) STF has basically ZERO purple/green fringing by comparison to the Zeiss 100mm f/2, even wide open, and especially in the out of focus areas.  It is also sharper wide open.

I bought the Laowa in E mount, and decided to sell it, because the performance of my Samyang 135mm f/2 is in a different universe by comparison at f/2 and stopped down, and I already have the 90mm f/2.8 macro.  The 90mm was also sharper than the Laowa.

Waiting for a good, corrected 85mm other than the Otus.  The Loxia looks good, but I may well end up with an Otus, even if I have to use an adapter.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2017, 05:17:48 PM »

Waiting for a good, corrected 85mm other than the Otus. 

Fuji 110/2 on the GFX?  :)

Jim

JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2017, 05:47:17 PM »

My comments about the CV-125 were BEFORE the advent of the Zeiss 135mm APO, although I still reverence the CV-125. I just don't use it a lot.

Both lenses were featured in the same eBook.

Since most of your macro work is nowhere near 1:1, I can see why you'd find the Zeiss extremely useful.

Since most of my macro work is right around 1:1 (often going beyond 1:1), the Zeiss is much less useful to me.

Nice photo of the enshrined Voigtländers btw ...

We both agree that if Zeiss ever made an Otus-level, 1:1 macro lens, that it would be purchased instantly.

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2017, 12:48:54 PM »

...beyond 1:1, jkoerner? How? Extension ring on existing lens? bellows lens? Studio or field?
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2017, 11:06:09 PM »

...beyond 1:1, jkoerner? How? Extension ring on existing lens? bellows lens? Studio or field?


How? is the reason I use MF Nikkor AI-S lenses: they play a double-role in my gear bag (they're very light, they take great wide shots, and they reverse and become super-macro lenses). They are so useful, I really do love these little lenses :)

I have a set of MF AI-S lenses (18mm, 20mm, 28mm, 50mm) that reverse and achieve 4.1x, 3.4x, 2.1x, and 1.1x macro magnification, respectively.

I use all of them in the studio, but I typically only bring either the 20 or 28 into the field (to act as a wide-angle for landscape/terrain shots ... or, if needed, to reverse as a super-macro).

Since the 50mm only reverses to 1.1x, I don't really need it outdoors as the Voigtländer covers that.
The 18mm reverses to 4.1x, which is not something that is very easy to accomplish in the field (wind, etc.)

Meanwhile, the 28mm reverses to 2.1x (which is quite doable), while the 20mm reverses to 3.4x (which is trickier, but doable).
If I plan on a heavy macro day, I will bring both; otherwise, I only bring one.

To reverse-mount an AI-S lens, you need two adapters: the BR-2A (mounts to the camera on one end, allows you to screw-into the lens filter threads on the other end) and the BR-3 (acts as a lens shade for the exposed rear element of the lens). Like this:



Reversed lens ready to receive the BR-3 and the BR-2A



Reversed lens now-attached to camera via the BR-2A



Reversed 28mm lens now-ready for use as 2.1x macro, with the BR-3 acting as lens shade



To reverse the 20mm (and get 3.4x) need a third adapter (BR-5), between the front filter and the BR-2A to convert the 62mm thread to 52mm size.


Hope this makes sense ...



Studio or field?

Both. It is very hard to do a deep stack live in the field over 2:1. I was able to get deep stacks with the mantises (preceding pages), because they were not quite 1:1 as they're fairly big for insects, etc.

At 2x (and especially 3x) any little movement matters. I can get 4-12 image stacks at 2:1 (if I'm patient) ... but beyond that I need to bring the specimen into the studio so there's no wind movement at all.

Hope this clarifies,

NancyP

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2017, 11:00:18 AM »

28mm f/2.8 AIS? I have the BR2A already, didn't know about the BR3
How is it for a landscape lens? That lens would hit a sweet spot for me as well in a hiking kit.
I have a gap between my Zeiss 21 and my Canon Shorty 40 (or AIS 50 1.2)
I like and use my dad's old AIS Nikkor lens 105 f/2.5, not as sharp as some modern lenses but it has a nice look. And the AIS 50 f/1.2 is a lovely light MF lens. If I am going to work on tripod in live view, no reason not to use MF.

I admit that I haven't yet tried to work with greater than 1:1 in the field.
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Rob C

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2017, 12:17:18 PM »

28mm f/2.8 AIS? I have the BR2A already, didn't know about the BR3
How is it for a landscape lens? That lens would hit a sweet spot for me as well in a hiking kit.
I have a gap between my Zeiss 21 and my Canon Shorty 40 (or AIS 50 1.2)
I like and use my dad's old AIS Nikkor lens 105 f/2.5, not as sharp as some modern lenses but it has a nice look. And the AIS 50 f/1.2 is a lovely light MF lens. If I am going to work on tripod in live view, no reason not to use MF.

I admit that I haven't yet tried to work with greater than 1:1 in the field.


Nancy, the 2.8/105 Micro Nikkor manual lens is a beauty. I use it mostly betwen f4 and f11 (obviously depending on what I want to achieve) and is indispensable when I use it. The landscape and close-up specialist John Shaw writes about using it with perfect faith both as a normal tele lens and as a close-up tool. If it works for him... he has a book on close-up work that I bought; well worth buying if you have that interest.

I never owned a 28mm focal length; felt it neither fish nor fowl, which could be reread today as meaning it has its own perfect niche.

Rob C

NancyP

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2017, 02:04:00 PM »

Thanks, John.
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JKoerner007

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Re: The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar ZE/ZF2
« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2017, 02:04:20 PM »

28mm f/2.8 AIS? I have the BR2A already, didn't know about the BR3
How is it for a landscape lens? That lens would hit a sweet spot for me as well in a hiking kit.

IMO, the 28mm AI-S is one of the most valuable tools in my hiking arsenal: light, good, and extremely flexible, which is why Nikkor lensman, Kouichi Ohshita, wrote a passage about it in Nikon’s Thousand and One Nights series. If you don't want to read the whole article, the important passages descibing this lens are these:

  • If a lens is too large and heavy for users to carry with them, it ultimately will not be used, regardless of how good it is.
  • I think that more importance should be placed on minimum focus distance and maximum reproduction ratio. These aspects are directly related to the degree of flexibility a lens offers.

This is exactly why the Zeiss 135mm didn't make the team and the CV 125 did: the Voigtländer was lighter and a 1000x more flexible.
By contrast, the Zeiss (while a high-quality optic) was heavy and very limited in what you could actually do with it.

Ohshita goes on to describe the 28mm AI-S:

  • For example, have you ever photographed flowers with a normal (sic) lens, and then switched to a telephoto lens to make the flowers appear larger or closer, only to find that you couldn't make the flowers appear any larger or closer because the minimum focus distance for the telephoto lens was quite long? ... Therefore, with actual shooting, the minimum focus distance is every bit as important as focal length. If we look at (lenses) in this way, the unique characteristics of the AI Nikkor 28mm f/2.8S covered in this tale become clear. It has a minimum focus distance of just 20 cm (7.9"), one of the shortest among wide-angle lenses, and a high maximum reproduction ratio of 1/3.9×. This is one of the reasons this "approachability" is still included in our manual focus lens lineup.

That pretty much sums up why the 28mm f/2.8 AI-S is such a useful lens to me in the field. It's only 250g, it takes very nice landscape images (contrasty, decently-sharp), and it allows you to get right up on a subject for an intimate shot, while capturing a lot of the background. The fact that you can flip it over and turn it into a 'super-macro' makes it even more valuable as a field lens.



I have a gap between my Zeiss 21 and my Canon Shorty 40 (or AIS 50 1.2)

Yep. My Nikkor 20mm is the same valuable tool: it's light (270g), it takes terrific images, it's tough, it allows close approach (9"), and it flips to become a 3.4x macro.



I like and use my dad's old AIS Nikkor lens 105 f/2.5, not as sharp as some modern lenses but it has a nice look. And the AIS 50 f/1.2 is a lovely light MF lens. If I am going to work on tripod in live view, no reason not to use MF.

I've seen some nice shots taken with the 105 f/2.5. I don't need it though, because I have the CV 125. And, while l love my AI-S 50mm, for the studio and family photos, one of the reasons I seldom take it in the field is because (unlike the above two), the 50mm AI-S has a 1.7' min. focus distance, which makes it less appealing than its two little brothers.



I admit that I haven't yet tried to work with greater than 1:1 in the field.

It's best done either with a flash, if mid-day ... or on cool mornings, when the air is heavy (still), and the tiny subjects are still resting.
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