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Author Topic: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter  (Read 11203 times)

jensputzier

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Dear all,

I currently own a Canon 1Ds Mk3 and a 1DX and a range of Zeiss lenses including the 15mm and 21mm. I am very content with the gear except for the fact that I would prefer more pixels for the wide angle lenses.

Canon is rumored to bring out a 75MP 1D? but with my experience of rumors I might see this (if ever) not before 2015.

Having read about the Otus lens and the results with the Nikon D800e I was slightly tempted to go for a D800e and a 15mm for Nikon which would set me back quite some. OK, I could sell the 1Ds and eventually the 15mm ZE lens, but still nothing I would really like to do. Also probably once I have the Nikon I might be tempted to get other Zeiss lens for Nikon as well and this is not a preferable situation.....

So having had some time now over christmas to read hundreds of photography related posts in a few forums I feel that the new Sony A7r with a Metabones adapter would be a good solution not only over the Nikon solution but I could also use all of my EF mount lenses as well as all the old Yashica and Contax lenses plus whatever crosses my way. That would cost me (camera and adapter) as much as the Nikon body.

Also together with the original Sony Zeiss 35mm lens it would be a moderately small travel camera.

Now the only thing I haven't found in any of the posts I have read is a hands on experience with the A7r and the 15mm Distagon.

Did one of you ever try this or maybe can provide a link I haven't found?

I read that Leica M type wide angles don't seem to be a good solution, but some Nikon and Canon WA zooms seem to do OK at 14mm settings.

Thanks!
Jens
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 08:22:43 am »

Hi,

It should work fine!

Best regards
Erik

Dear all,

I currently own a Canon 1Ds Mk3 and a 1DX and a range of Zeiss lenses including the 15mm and 21mm. I am very content with the gear except for the fact that I would prefer more pixels for the wide angle lenses.

Canon is rumored to bring out a 75MP 1D? but with my experience of rumors I might see this (if ever) not before 2015.

Having read about the Otus lens and the results with the Nikon D800e I was slightly tempted to go for a D800e and a 15mm for Nikon which would set me back quite some. OK, I could sell the 1Ds and eventually the 15mm ZE lens, but still nothing I would really like to do. Also probably once I have the Nikon I might be tempted to get other Zeiss lens for Nikon as well and this is not a preferable situation.....

So having had some time now over christmas to read hundreds of photography related posts in a few forums I feel that the new Sony A7r with a Metabones adapter would be a good solution not only over the Nikon solution but I could also use all of my EF mount lenses as well as all the old Yashica and Contax lenses plus whatever crosses my way. That would cost me (camera and adapter) as much as the Nikon body.

Also together with the original Sony Zeiss 35mm lens it would be a moderately small travel camera.

Now the only thing I haven't found in any of the posts I have read is a hands on experience with the A7r and the 15mm Distagon.

Did one of you ever try this or maybe can provide a link I haven't found?

I read that Leica M type wide angles don't seem to be a good solution, but some Nikon and Canon WA zooms seem to do OK at 14mm settings.

Thanks!
Jens
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Erik Kaffehr
 

allegretto

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 09:17:41 am »

Disclaimer;

I am just a photography for fun guy who has used many a camera on an off throughout my life. Very much a "hard scientist" who understands a lot, but not all advanced math. Not an engineer, but have worked closely with various flavors throughout life. Understand the mindset and many basic engineering principles, but there are folks here (Erik amongst them) that have likely forgotten more than i know.

FWIW I own both those lenses and love them on my lowly 6D

But I can read too, and am perfectly capable of drawing conclusions of some validity... so;

Have read page after page of complaints, both large and small about non-compatabilities between lenses and bodies with use of adapters. This makes basic sense to me. You take camera "A" and lens "B" whose design goals and parameters were never optimized for each other and expect a CNC bit of metal to bridge that gap. As if something as complex as steering photons is a simple matter to do at the degrees of accuracy that many of us demand. In fact, my intuition is that folks should be happy that it works at all, not that it does not work always. Sometimes it's not just the ray tracings, but the secondary systems (shutter functions) that mess things up and again, no engineer should be at all surprised. They know that things typically have ideal operating ranges that if exceeded can yield undesirable results.

With apologies to many, this is precisely why Sony holds no interest for me (except my lovely RX-1). Though some of the folks here love them and they indeed understand the complexities.

If you're talking about getting a D800 and big Zeiss glass for particular use you are not a poor man and I would say, have at it. My objection to Nikon involves skin tones and the lenses you speak of are hardly portraiture glass, so go for it. I would guess you want to crop your WA shots and the 800 with twice as many pixels is a logical choice for such approaches.

Just one guy's opinion of course, but look around yourself... places like B&H are great for this since their return policy is bulletproof as long as you play by the rules and you can try before you buy.

75M...??? Gonna need a lot of fancy subsystems to keep those images sharp, but I am thrilled. Can I put in my order?  ;D
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jensputzier

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2013, 11:53:30 am »

Allegretto:

Some of what you write is exactly what I thought about the adaptors. I have been a Zeiss guy ever since I bought my first Contax 139 with a 50mm Planar from hard earned money when I was a teenager. After Contax was terminated I put great effort into researching the right adapter to put my precious Zeiss glass on my Canon EOS D10. I absolutely second what you imply about the quality of the adaptors. The Metabone adaptor seems to be much lower in quality than the camera and for sure the Zeiss lenses. When a manufacturer does not have the equipment - or probably rather not the will - to make it as good as it needs to be, then why should I trust him? I believe that when you use a SLR lens on an (more or less) SLR body, it should deliver good image quality if the adaptor is machined precisely and is optically treated against reflections. I mean Zeiss claims to use special laquer on the outer diameter of the lenses of the Otus to reduce internal reflections and then look inside the adapter with people glueing in some kind of velvet carpets.....

What could be done easily is to manufacture a better adapter by reusing the Metabones electronics and put it into a really well manufactured and measured housing.

Or just go ahead and get the Nikon......

Will continue thinking about it......

Thanks
Jens
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robdickinson

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2013, 03:55:08 pm »

Hi,

It should work fine!

Best regards
Erik


Thats rather optimistic!

So far the adaptors for canon on sony a7r are imperfect. The metabones mkIII seems the best but still has poor manufacturing tolerances when compared to native mounts, plus low contrast , ca, corner softness etc. This is all exaggerated as you go wider - the 15mm will show up any issues.

Check out threads here , on fm and Rogers blog over at lensrental.com

I'm currently waiting for a new body , had planned on an a7r but so far I am unconvinced I want to deal with it and adapted lenses.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2013, 08:31:31 pm »

Now the only thing I haven't found in any of the posts I have read is a hands on experience with the A7r and the 15mm Distagon.

Did one of you ever try this or maybe can provide a link I haven't found?

I read that Leica M type wide angles don't seem to be a good solution, but some Nikon and Canon WA zooms seem to do OK at 14mm settings.

I have not yet found a Nikon F-mount lens that did not do well on the a7R. Specifically, the 14mm f/2.8, which you'd think would be the most problematic, does fine:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=4039

The same design considerations that keep the lens out of the way of a swinging mirror seem to be sufficient to avoid troublesome ray angles in the a7R.

The 21mm Distagon ZF.2 does great, too:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=4009

although it's not so good on the smaller, higher sensel density NEX-7 sensor:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=1258

Sorry I can't give you a direct Canon test.

Jim

« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 08:36:49 pm by Jim Kasson »
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Mark Muse

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2013, 09:59:42 pm »

I had an A7R for several days, then sent it back because of the vibration problem and the raw file compression. But while I had it I shot my 2.8/21 ZF.2 on it (Novoflex) and it performed better there than on my 800e (I am not particularly happy with it on my 800e). I don't have the Zeiss 15 though, so can't comment on it.

Contax CY lenses 35-70, 2.8/35, 1.7/50, 100-300 (Novoflex again) all seemed to do better than I remember them on my 5D2, especially the 100-300 which drove that Canon sensor off the deep end.

By the way I used the Novoflex tripod mount with these and recommend that practice unless hand holding.

If they ever come with a version that has both shutter curtains and allows me to save uncompressed 14 bit raw files I'll jump on it. Again.
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jensputzier

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2013, 02:58:43 am »

Thank you Jim and Mark for your additional comments. I will now have a look into the RAW compression issue and then decide what I do.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2013, 11:06:16 am »

I will now have a look into the RAW compression issue and then decide what I do.

Although I'm concerned about it theoretically, and see no important size advantages over the Nikon lossless compression scheme, I've not found any image problems I can pin on the Sony compression, either on the a7R, or the RX-1, which uses a similar (identical?) technique.

There is a way to do a test, since the details of the Sony scheme are public: implement the method in software and pass test images through the compansion chain. I have resisted doing this because I don't want to spend the time coding it up, and I fear the results wouldn't be definitive. I'm sure I can find a synthetic test image that will produce ugliness when the delta modulation can't keep up, but what would that prove? I'm sure I can find many images that are visually indistinguishable with and without the compression, but what would that prove?

I think the best I could do is run the algorithm on a bunch of real images and have the software set a flag every time the image contents slew too fast for the delta modulation to keep pace. But that's certainly not dispositive.

Jim

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 11:41:35 am »

Hi,

I have actually checked many of those threads.

I guess I agree with Roger Ciala's observations on adapters, but most users are quite happy. If you focus using the sensor (live view)  it will compensate for incorrect length of the adapter, infinity will be probably off mark, so that needs to be considered.

It is probable alignment errors magnify with adapters. The adapters are just mechanical devices, so they won't affect optical properties, except possibly internal reflections.

The problems that are reported with wide angles all relate to symmetric type of lenses which don't work well digital sensors, but the Distagon is a retrofocus design (Distagon is the name Zeiss uses for retrofocus designs). So the Distagon 15/2.8 will work on the A7r like any other lens. You could also say, if it works on a Nikon D800E it will also work on the A7r, as it is the same sensor.

Best regards
Erik

Thats rather optimistic!

So far the adaptors for canon on sony a7r are imperfect. The metabones mkIII seems the best but still has poor manufacturing tolerances when compared to native mounts, plus low contrast , ca, corner softness etc. This is all exaggerated as you go wider - the 15mm will show up any issues.

Check out threads here , on fm and Rogers blog over at lensrental.com

I'm currently waiting for a new body , had planned on an a7r but so far I am unconvinced I want to deal with it and adapted lenses.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 03:41:15 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Mark Muse

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2013, 07:01:11 pm »

>>You could also say, if it works on a Nikon D800E it will also work on the A7r, as it is the same sensor.<<

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't believe it is quite that simple. It might or might not be the same chip, but that is not the same as the same sensor. The sensel lenses, IR filter, protective glass, and AA filter arrangement are all different, all of which affect the behavior and certainly how the sensor responds to lenses. I do agree though that retro focus (Distagon) designs should work well because they deliver relatively less angled (more collimated?) light to the sensor than do symmetrical wide angle designs.

Regarding adapters, there is a huge range of quality and quality standards/control out there. In my opinion the Leitax adapters (actually lens mounts) are hands down the best available, and it does indeed make a significant difference in the performance of a lens/camera combo. I would put Novoflex adapters (a more traditional adapter) as second to Leitax. I have no experience with Metabones. It seems to still be true that you get (at most) what you pay for. Leitax is not that expensive (relative to Novoflex), but you need one for each lens which does add up. Novoflex is expensive but, as I am sure most know, they are very well made.

In addition to several Zeiss CY lenses with the Novoflex CY to E adapter, I tried three of my Zeiss ZF.2 lenses, one Leica R (Leitax F mount) and one Zeiss CY (Leitax F mount) using the Novoflex F to E mount and all seemed to perform at least as well as on my 800e.

And all focusing on the A7/R is via the sensor. There is no other way unless you are zone focusing according to the lens scales.
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robdickinson

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2013, 08:51:18 pm »

It is the same silicon but Nikon do their own microlenses and lithography, sony have theirs. and they are not the same.
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jensputzier

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2013, 11:19:20 am »

OK, so yesterday I went out and picked up the A7r and the Metabones adapter (funny that both were available in stores...). The adapter fits firmly onto the lens and without play on the camera. Much better than some of the wobbly C/Y-EOS adapters I had..

The adapters manufacturing quality is a little bit under expectations with regarding to manufacturing quality. Some scratches before final surface coating and some holes not really debarred. On the other hand it comes in a nice box with foam insert and two hex wrenches and plugs. No explanation though what they are for. Also no manual or whatever to explain the use (there is an electrical connection on the outside but who knows what for).

The A7r is well built and as of now I cannot see any faults. It's a little better built than a Canon G1X but far away from my 1DX/Ds.

The interior of the adapter seems a little too bright but we will have to see whether it makes a difference or not. I assume though that a can of matte paint will do the job nicely if required.

Only drawback is that after a week of blue skies now we have rain and you can't find a decent place to take some pictures.

And funny how the camera plus adapter plus Otus feel like a mini version of a 1D plus converter plus 300/2.8 ;-)
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Zeiss ZE Distagon 15/2.8 on Sony A7r with Metabones Mk III adapter
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2013, 12:39:38 pm »

The interior of the adapter seems a little too bright but we will have to see whether it makes a difference or not. I assume though that a can of matte paint will do the job nicely if required

Hi Jens,

On the subject of internal reflection.

Cheers,
Bart
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