I'm looking for users opinions of the ZD, particularly regarding using it with the 35mm lens. I'm using Canon 1DsmkII and I'm wondering about the ZD. Are the edges better than the mush I'm getting with the Canon on wide lenses?
Generaly how is the ZD performing, I think most users have gone from Nikon/Canon to the ZD what have been the plus and minus points i.e. was it worth it?
I agree with Quentin's comment.
I use the 35 mm to shoot landscape on a ZD, and my range of f stop is between f12 and f18, but I am satisfied with the results.
The edge to edge sharpness is probably not quite as outstanding as that of a D2x with the 12-24 DX, but that is probably best in class. I'll let Canon users comment.
Here is a full scale sampe taken with the 35 mm (8 MB):
This image was converted with Raw Developper 1.5 on Mac. RD provides more control on sharpness/noise than Silkypix 3.0. I have found the best results in print (Epson 4000 at A2 on Hanhemhule photorag 308) to be obtained when some noise remains in the image with more emphasis on the non-digitalness of the image.
I have started to stitch with the ZD also, and the results I am seeing in print at A2 with 4 ZD images stitched together are in the same class/superior to what I see with Imacon scanned 4*5. Stability of the camera can be an issue though.
For landscape applications in cold weather, the ZD's battery life will probably be a bit of an issue though. When shooting in the Japanese Alps last week at temps aroud -7 degrees, I could only get about 4 GB of data with one battery (about 100 images). This includes exposures as long as 1 or 2 seconds and pretty heavy use of the LCD.
In terms of ease of use, the D2x is clearly very superior to the ZD, but then again it is best in class also. The digital part of the ZD is where the "problem" shows most. This being said, my ZD still has the old firmware, the new one could improve on some of these points:
- the LCD preview takes ages to show up on the ZD,
- there is basically no zoom capability,
- the screen is pretty small, but I found it usable in the outdoors, even in 3000 m mid day bright alpine light (need to shade the screen though),
- no RGB histogram,
- limited buffer which can become a problem when shooting panoramas with many images. I had a CF corruption the one time I reached the buffer capacity. This could be recovered using PhotoRescue on PC,
- since there is no standard L bracket for the ZD, I had to ask Kirk to do something special for me. It works but it lacks rigidity a bit in portrait mode,
On the other hand:
- the AF is very accurate, even with the 300 mm f4.5
- the viewfinder of the Mamiya is clear and large, although the gap with the Nikon D2x is not as huge as I would have expected,
- it is much easier to manually focus the 35 mm that it is to focus the Nikkor 12-24 since there is less DoF with the Mamiya. Then again, focussing at the right distance becomes a lot more important that it is with the D2x that has virtually infinite DoF,
- the image quality is great, with a sharpness per pixel that is superior to that of the D2x (itself pretty good when compared to the 1ds2 for instance). Going more into the details, there is clearly more noise than on the Nikon, but the detail and DR are clearly superior,
- the 4*3 aspect ratio is interesting, and I find that I crop less than I used to with the Nikon. This is a major difference to be aware of,
- all the controls are easy to access, and the camera CAN be used with gloves (Black Diamond ice climbing gloves).
I might write a short review of the ZD a la Michael focussing on my landscape experience. I'll see with Michael if he is interested in publishing that or not.