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Author Topic: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon  (Read 11102 times)

Paulo Bizarro

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2015, 04:08:49 am »

I think many people would prefer to buy a lighter Otus f/2 (24mm/35mm/55mm/85mm/100mm) if only such lenses would've been manufactured. I believe the additional f-stop to f/1.4 was a must to show Zeiss craftsmanship and it served them greatly for marketing purposes.

Actually Zeiss sort of did it already: Batis 25 f2, Sony Zeiss 55 f1.8, and Batis 85 f1.8. This trio is very high quality, kind of mini-Otuses. Of course they are Sony E mount...

johnnycash

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2015, 05:12:15 am »

Actually Zeiss sort of did it already: Batis 25 f2, Sony Zeiss 55 f1.8, and Batis 85 f1.8. This trio is very high quality, kind of mini-Otuses. Of course they are Sony E mount...

E mount doesn't solve anything for Canon guys. Having Zeiss EF with AF is many photographers' dream combination.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2015, 10:03:13 am »

E mount doesn't solve anything for Canon guys. Having Zeiss EF with AF is many photographers' dream combination.

I know that, I have used Canon EOS for 20 years, sometimes with ZE glass. I think we will never see Zeiss AF glass for Canon or Nikon, as the mount is proprietary and Zeiss is not willing to reverse-engineer, and Canon is not willing to open it.

Actually, being able to use Zeiss AF glass (Batis) and Zeiss MF glass but with electronic contacts that allow for easy MF (Loxia) is a very good reason to use Sony Alpha E mount system:)

NancyP

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2015, 12:14:14 pm »

Well, this is a pretty darn good advert for Canon, at least on a landscape photography site where most photographers are stopping down their lenses! The price ratio between Otus 85 and Canon 85 f/1.8 is over 10 fold. Particularly when not needed f/1.4-f/2 and when wanting a less conspicuous or lighter or AF-capable lens, that Canon looks pretty darn good, and I might be inclined to give it a try. However, I love my 125 mm f/2.5 macro Apo-Lanthar, and now carry that as my short tele landscape/macro lens.

I bet the wedding and portrait photographers with enough money and with a taste for manual focus are all drooling over that Otus, though!
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2015, 12:41:07 pm »

Hi,

The lens discussed here, the 85/1.8 is a quite old one, but it seems it is quite good. Now, the DxO-mark figures may not tell the full story.

What I have noticed is that Canon may really be on the go. The new 24-70/2.8 LII is said to be stunning and may be the next lens I would buy. I recently got my 16-35/4L and it may not be optimal on the Sony A7RII I have but it still delivers good image quality right into the corners.

No, I did not compare with alternatives from the Zeiss Otus line, but as long a lens is good for 30x40" prints (or something like that), I don't really care.

Just to mention, Lensrentals just dissected the Canon 35/1.4, a stunningly well made lens with a surprising amount of attention to fine detail:
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/12/canon-35mm-f1-4-mk-ii-teardown

Best regards
Erik

Well, this is a pretty darn good advert for Canon, at least on a landscape photography site where most photographers are stopping down their lenses! The price ratio between Otus 85 and Canon 85 f/1.8 is over 10 fold. Particularly when not needed f/1.4-f/2 and when wanting a less conspicuous or lighter or AF-capable lens, that Canon looks pretty darn good, and I might be inclined to give it a try. However, I love my 125 mm f/2.5 macro Apo-Lanthar, and now carry that as my short tele landscape/macro lens.

I bet the wedding and portrait photographers with enough money and with a taste for manual focus are all drooling over that Otus, though!
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chrisgibbs

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2015, 09:12:07 pm »

Well, this is a pretty darn good advert for Canon, at least on a landscape photography site where most photographers are stopping down their lenses! The price ratio between Otus 85 and Canon 85 f/1.8 is over 10 fold. Particularly when not needed f/1.4-f/2 and when wanting a less conspicuous or lighter or AF-capable lens, that Canon looks pretty darn good, and I might be inclined to give it a try. However, I love my 125 mm f/2.5 macro Apo-Lanthar, and now carry that as my short tele landscape/macro lens.

I bet the wedding and portrait photographers with enough money and with a taste for manual focus are all drooling over that Otus, though!

Unfortunately, those of us shooting environmental portraiture on fast glass find the MF OTUS line somewhat redundant given the sad state of modern DSLR focusing screens.  I'd take the Canon 85 f/1.8 over the OTUS, simply for ease of use.  There's really only one FF camera that's any use for running an OTUS wide-open and that ironically is the one with the wrong native mount, Sony, and as someone already mentioned, a BATIS is the better option there too.

Telecaster

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2015, 09:20:54 pm »

There's really only one FF camera that's any use for running an OTUS wide-open and that ironically is the one with the wrong native mount, Sony…

I imagine Zeiss is playing a long game here, betting on most new camera VFs being of the electronic variety in the medium if not short term.

-Dave-
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chrisgibbs

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2015, 09:34:41 pm »

I imagine Zeiss is playing a long game here, betting on most new camera VFs being of the electronic variety in the medium if not short term.

-Dave-

To be honest Dave, I've never met an average DSLR shooting pro willing to spend that kind of money on an OTUS, most are smart enough to see there's virtually no quality return for that kind of capital outlay.  Most would rather drop that kind of coin on an FS5 or a C100.  I think the OTUS is aimed squarely at hobbyist/semi-pro landscape photographers, those with good incomes and lots of discretionary cash.  Look at Canon's latest lens offerings, they're absolutely wonderful, beautifully consistent in their manufacture and sharp to boot.  The only thing Canon are really missing right now is a normal lens that performs per the recent 55's, we know it's coming, and it'll be 1/3rd the price of an OTUS and twice as useful.  ~Chris

hjulenissen

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2015, 04:04:45 am »

Hi,

The need of stopping down to stops is no law of physics. It is absolutely possible to make a lens that performs best at full aperture. But, such lenses will be expensive.
I guess Canon could release a 85mm f/5.6 based on the current f/1.8 design where aperture selection is simply capped at f/5.6. I assume that production costs would be the same (and thus that sales price could be the same and still be profitable), and that lens might perform its best at full aperture.

Taking into account more of the world as I know it, I guess that making lenses that perform well at "large" apertures tends to be hard/expensive. When the engineers are able to make an f/5.6 lens that performs excellent, they can perhaps stretch that design to perform "adequate" at f/1.8. If they can, why should they constrain users from using that setting if/when really needed? And why should they constrain marketing from selling that setting if it increases sales?

Thus I think that the need of stopping down is not a law of physics, but a "law" of economics or human nature or some such thing.

A slightly more complex and (perhaps) second-order question is if availability and quality of very large maximum aperture affects quality at moderate apertures in a negative way. Canon has some f/1.2 lenses. Do they have to sacrifice some f/5.6 quality in order to reach those max apertures? While something like a Ferrari might be a joy to use on the racing track, it may (or may not) be difficult to drive in rush hour at low speed with many stops for red light etc.

-h
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 04:08:51 am by hjulenissen »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2015, 06:43:29 am »

I imagine Zeiss is playing a long game here, betting on most new camera VFs being of the electronic variety in the medium if not short term.

I wonder how I manage to get so many keepers shot wide open with my Otus 85mm f1.4 on the D810?

Cheers,
Bernard

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2015, 08:10:52 am »

I guess Canon could release a 85mm f/5.6 based on the current f/1.8 design where aperture selection is simply capped at f/5.6. I assume that production costs would be the same (and thus that sales price could be the same and still be profitable), and that lens might perform its best at full aperture.

Hi,

In theory they could, but I don't think people will like the dark viewfinder compared to what an f/1.8 can offer. Also accurate focusing gets much more difficult, and there is much less capability to separate the main subject from the background. I do not think it would sell well.

Quote
Taking into account more of the world as I know it, I guess that making lenses that perform well at "large" apertures tends to be hard/expensive. When the engineers are able to make an f/5.6 lens that performs excellent, they can perhaps stretch that design to perform "adequate" at f/1.8.

The optical design options/limitations are sooo different, they'll more likely wind up with completely different optical optimizations and constructions.

Quote
Thus I think that the need of stopping down is not a law of physics, but a "law" of economics or human nature or some such thing.

I think it's first and foremost a creative decision, the choice for less or more DOF. Only specific uses are dictated by technical performance instead of creative reasons. Sometimes, e.g. with stationary subjects, special techniques like stitching or focus stacking or drizzle/super-resolution can be used to defy the laws of physics.

Quote
A slightly more complex and (perhaps) second-order question is if availability and quality of very large maximum aperture affects quality at moderate apertures in a negative way. Canon has some f/1.2 lenses. Do they have to sacrifice some f/5.6 quality in order to reach those max apertures?

In general, I do not think that better performance wide open will negatively impact image quality at narrower apertures. Maybe there can be a trade-off in how bokeh is affected. A very creamy bokeh is likely caused by an under-corrected lens, which would not perform at its best when used wide open. But if cost is no objection, they can design pretty much anything as far as image quality is concerned, even if it results in an unpractical lens to use and a lens that only few would buy or can even afford.

Cheers,
Bart
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Telecaster

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2015, 03:38:30 pm »

I think the OTUS is aimed squarely at hobbyist/semi-pro landscape photographers, those with good incomes and lots of discretionary cash.

This is certainly how the Otus line functions in the marketplace. But I personally don't think Zeiss cares much about how many Otii they sell or who the buyers are. The lenses exist as a statement of capability: "Here's what we can do!" The cameras they natively mount on aren't even optimally equipped to operate them, Bernard's apparent focusing skills notwithstanding. And if some of the tech makes it into more affordable products, all the better.

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2015, 04:50:01 pm »

Hi,

Almost any new camera has magnified live view, so I think they can make full use of the Otus.

My take is that there are cheaper lenses if the 1.4 aperture is not needed, but for f/1.4 aperture shots the Otus may be worth the money. Zeiss offers some interesting alternatives themselves. The Milvus 85/1.4 and Batis 85/1.4. The 100/2.0 Macro Planar seems also be very sharp, but has poor less than optimal correction of axial chromatic aberration.

Best regards
Erik

This is certainly how the Otus line functions in the marketplace. But I personally don't think Zeiss cares much about how many Otii they sell or who the buyers are. The lenses exist as a statement of capability: "Here's what we can do!" The cameras they natively mount on aren't even optimally equipped to operate them, Bernard's apparent focusing skills notwithstanding. And if some of the tech makes it into more affordable products, all the better.

-Dave-
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Dave Ellis

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2015, 11:16:23 pm »

Hi Eric

Getting back to your original two posts, I think what you show there is well supported by theory and measurement. Just out of interest, attached are some MTF50 measurements I took on my D610. The notations about with and without AA filter refers to the fact that the D610 appears to have an AA filter that operates in the vertical direction only (and MTF measurements were taken in both directions). These measurements are at the centre of the lens only.

The other issue with lens comparisons which doesn't seem to get much coverage is the basic contrast that the lens produces. By that I refer to the contrast that is not related to the contrast reduction that occurs as line spacing gets closer (MTF), but rather the overall contrast characteristic of the lens which I believe is particularly caused by veiling flare. In this regard, the AF-S 50 has better contrast than the AF-S 24-85 and this helps give a more favourable perception of sharpness I believe.

Dave

« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 11:49:47 pm by Dave Ellis »
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Telecaster

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2015, 03:44:52 pm »

Almost any new camera has magnified live view, so I think they can make full use of the Otus.

True enough. Yet using an SLR with a big, fast & heavy lens in this manner is IMO still a bit of a kludge unless you're working on a tripod. It can be done. I'd personally opt for something different.

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2015, 04:03:31 pm »

Well, me too.

But, I think that live view is needed for pinpoint accurate focus. Also, I mostly shoot on tripod and often prefer to look at the camera display instead of the EVF. For accurate focusing I prefer the EVF, though.

Shooting handheld, it is a different thing. But I guess that our ability to do manual focus is different. Some folks are good at it, I am not…

Best regards
Erik

True enough. Yet using an SLR with a big, fast & heavy lens in this manner is IMO still a bit of a kludge unless you're working on a tripod. It can be done. I'd personally opt for something different.

-Dave-
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chrisgibbs

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2015, 11:01:07 am »

Hi,

Almost any new camera has magnified live view, so I think they can make full use of the Otus.

My take is that there are cheaper lenses if the 1.4 aperture is not needed, but for f/1.4 aperture shots the Otus may be worth the money. Zeiss offers some interesting alternatives themselves. The Milvus 85/1.4 and Batis 85/1.4. The 100/2.0 Macro Planar seems also be very sharp, but has poor less than optimal correction of axial chromatic aberration.

Best regards
Erik

The Milvus 85/1.4 looks like a lovely portrait lens, extremely nice rendering, and regarded by some OTUS 85 users as producing better Bokeh too,  I think Ming Thein was one of the first to publicly state so after Zeiss loaned him the set.  There's also the old 58/1.2 Nikkor, lovely looking images off it, but again difficult to deal with on the D810 or D4S reference manual focussing.  I'm surprised the Df isn't more popular amongst OTUS shooters, it, according to Nikon, offers the best manual focusing experience of their DSLR's.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2015, 11:47:20 am »

Hi,

My take is that Zeiss has gone a long way to eliminate the magenta/green fringing on out of focus objects. So you are playing a lot for that. Nikon has the 85/1.4G that is intended to have very good out of focus rendering, but doesn't correct the axial chroma, so it has a lot of magenta/green fringing, at least in some samples I have seen.

The Milvus family is mostly the older Zeiss line, in new clothes but the Milvus 85/1.4 has been redesigned. Rumor says it doesn't use aspherics just spherical lenses as that would be beneficial for good bokeh.

Personally, I would like to see more lenses that are very well corrected but with moderate apertures and a moderate price tag.

Best regards
Erik


The Milvus 85/1.4 looks like a lovely portrait lens, extremely nice rendering, and regarded by some OTUS 85 users as producing better Bokeh too,  I think Ming Thein was one of the first to publicly state so after Zeiss loaned him the set.  There's also the old 58/1.2 Nikkor, lovely looking images off it, but again difficult to deal with on the D810 or D4S reference manual focussing.  I'm surprised the Df isn't more popular amongst OTUS shooters, it, according to Nikon, offers the best manual focusing experience of their DSLR's.
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chrisgibbs

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2015, 12:11:07 pm »

Yes, the problem that still persists is how they're molding these aspheric elements, you still see the onion ring effect on the OTUS.  I think Panasonic have almost perfected the molding process, their little 42.5 looks like the best of the lot, but only if you shoot the half-frame sensor, maybe they'll start to outsource their manufacturing tech, see Imaging Resource for the tech review.  The OTUS has me a little perplexed, those shots at >f/5.6 are basically indistinguishable to the best of the rest, and at maximum aperture, there are better looking options IMO, for portraiture especially.  The old Canon 85L looks pretty sublime wide-open and superbly corrected by f/2 (as do most good Canon primes).  For landscape work, I'd probably just cherry-pick a far cheaper option from a dealer.  There's a gal named Lisa Holloway , she does wonderful things with the Canon 85L & 200L.

https://500px.com/lisaholloway

Interesting topic, there's no black & white answer, simply shades of grey.

Cheers,
Chris


Hi,

My take is that Zeiss has gone a long way to eliminate the magenta/green fringing on out of focus objects. So you are playing a lot for that. Nikon has the 85/1.4G that is intended to have very good out of focus rendering, but doesn't correct the axial chroma, so it has a lot of magenta/green fringing, at least in some samples I have seen.

The Milvus family is mostly the older Zeiss line, in new clothes but the Milvus 85/1.4 has been redesigned. Rumor says it doesn't use aspherics just spherical lenses as that would be beneficial for good bokeh.

Personally, I would like to see more lenses that are very well corrected but with moderate apertures and a moderate price tag.

Best regards
Erik

Michael Erlewine

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Re: What the Otus gives - compared to a cheap and good Canon
« Reply #39 on: December 27, 2015, 02:49:45 am »

I have the the Otus 55mm, 85mm, and the 135mm f/2 (which I consider of similar quality), and the 28mm f/1.4 Otus on order.

I happen to shoot on a tripod, which I don’t consider a shortcoming of any kind. For the stacked, close-up work that I do, it is necessary.

I use the Nikon D810 in LiveView, along with an early Zacuto Z-Finder, and find no problem focusing, although anything earlier from Nikon (D800E, etc.), does not quite make it for me in that regard.

I ended up with the Otus lenses only because they are more highly corrected than other lenses that I have, and I have about eighty very high-quality lenses, although since acquiring the Otus series, I am selling off more and more of them, because I never use them anymore.

In my work, sharpness IMO depends on color correction, and many of my older lenses, like the Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar are just not corrected well enough, although that lens is sharp. And I am fighting an uphill battle with the Otus series, because they really are not made for close-up work. I use the thinnest of extension on some of these lenses, the Nikon K1 Ring (5.8mm), which allows me to work a bit closer without too much degradation of the lenses.

My point here is that I am sure I am part of a subset of a subset of a subset of photographers and don’t really count, number-wise. I mean: who wants to shoot on a tripod and stack focus, with extension and also viewfinder enhancement, using highly corrected lenses aside from a few?

I did not get where I am by being trendy or going for high prices. I resisted the Otus series of lenses for quite a while for the obvious reasons that they don’t fit my very specialized close-up work… and they are way expensive. Then, based on reviews of people I respect, I broke down and tried the Zeiss 135-f/2 and was shocked at what that lens could do, compared to the other Zeiss lenses I own, like the 50mm, 100mm Makro-Planars, which I, as mentioned, never use.

Perhaps I am an exception because I shoot them (mostly) wide open, where the depth-of-field is razor thin, but I stack focus, which practically amounts to painting (layering) focus to make what I wish stand out, and allow the rest to got to bokeh. Yet, I also find that single-shots at f/16 with the Otus series stand up very well.

For a while I had a shoot-off going on my mind between stacking wide-open and single photos at around f/16, but for me, the stacking won out.

So… as I browse through this thread, I can understand most of the opinions here and why they might be held. I just wanted to add my own: that for very specialized work, these lenses are the best I have ever used and worth every penny.

P.S. I tend to have a whole series of lenses that I love, each of which has its own special style and reason for use, like the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar, the Leica 100mm Elmarit-R APO, and many industrial lenses like the El Nikkor 105mm APO, the CRT-Nikkor, the Printing Nikkors, and others. I feel the same way about ultra-Wide-angle lenses like the Venus 15mm macro, etc.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 08:30:50 am by Michael Erlewine »
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