Canon 5D Mark III with Zeiss ZE lenses

17 comentarios
*Black&White, *Landscape, *Photography, *Reviews

I´m simply expressing my opinion as an camera enthusiast and former photographer assistant so I will show you some simple pics with the 50mm planar on my 5D Mark III. It has that I don’t know, hard-to-describe handmade look. Sharp enough in the middle, softer on the edges. I shot all pictures wide open with an Vari-ND filter and 3200 ISO to make some… noise and vignetting tests… and what else… different light sources… different situations…

A lot of photographers from my photographic circle say the Zeiss is too soft, not as sharp as expected. They tried it wide open and didn’t nail the focus. Well you can really fine tune the focus but it requires some time…

I suspect that a lot of people try these lenses and then they don’t keep using them because of the difficulty to nail the focus wide open… they do show up on ebay quite often. There is nothing wrong with the glass. But if you want to shoot wide open, or close, you have to be very good at manual focus. And this lenses are difficult to master in chaotic fast moving situations. Depending on the situation I take several images to make sure my subject is in focus when shooting at f1.4 or f2.

As I understand you can’t see the depth of field of f/1.4 on a standard Canon DSLR focusing screen because it is only capable of displaying f/2.0 or narrower in the viewfinder. So you really can’t manually focus, without changing focusing screens. But the AF points in your viewfinder will still light up when the image is sharp. Pick a focal point, press the shutter button down half way, spin the focus on the lens, and when the AF point lights up, you know you have accurate focusing. This is called Autofocus-assist. Since some cameras, including the Canon 5D Mark III, don’t have interchangeable focusing screens, AF-Assist is the method to rely upon for shooting with a very wide aperture on manual focus lenses and of curse live-view… but take an eye on the battery it will drain fast.

I’ve used the Zeiss now consistently for some years. The contrast, sharpness, and color rendition are great. The Zeiss just takes a little more time, but the results are worth it. I’m in medium format quality territory with the Zeiss – the images are that fine or more probably it’s what I like to think. If I am walking out the door to take photos of I don’t know what, this is my favorite lens.

If you are looking at a 50mm I guess the question is which one to buy. This is better build quality and better glass than the Canon 1.4 and obviously more money. I admit, most viewers (including me I think) won’t know the difference between an image taken with a Canon lens and a Zeiss lens. The Canon 50mm 1.2 (L) is incredible, but I’m not sure it’s better in image quality than the Zeiss – maybe, I haven’t done a test – but it is with autofocus (a big deal), and from 1.4 to 1.2 autofocus is a must I think… Did you know that Canon used to produce a 50mm lens with a F1.0 aperture, one-point-zero. This was the fastest SLR lens in production. In 2000 the lens production was stopped and was eventually replaced by the F1.2 version. Why? some considered that the lens actually wasn’t very good… except for the bokeh and why paying 4000 bugs when you don`t use it wide open… right?

There is also the Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM “Art” lens. Getting great reviews and has autofocus. It’s a little more expensive. I haven’t tried it yet. I am partial to manual focus at this point and like spherical aberration, which is considered a flaw. My personal opinion is that the Zeiss images have more character and for sure it’s a personal choice. But no other lens I have tried feels this good in the hand. Zeiss has solid metal everything; weighty, excellent construction and well… no weather sealing…

I own some Zeiss and I only like them so much because there are different to use as I was used to at work.


Escrito por

Founder of Lichtbild & Head of his own strange world / Vintage Enthusiast / Photographer / Graphic Designer /Typography "lover" / Book Collector / Spanish+German Mix / Lives in Coruña / Sometimes heads back home & Sleeps. /*

17 thoughts on “Canon 5D Mark III with Zeiss ZE lenses”

  1. Hallo Alberto.
    Ich kann deine Meinung uneingeschränkt bestätigen. Man braucht die Mattscheibe nicht wechseln, der Fokusassistent arbeitet hier sehr zuverlässig. Zeiss hat schon eine besondere Haptik. Wenn man erst mal eines in Gebrauch hat, mag man nicht mehr davon lassen :-) Mir gefällt vor allem das Bokeh bei den Wassertropfen. Du erwähntest mal das Takashi Kitajima Bokeh, das war mein erster Gedanke beim Betrachten. Wunderschön!
    LG kiki

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  2. Brilliant shots ~ pushing lens/camera/yourself out of the comfort zones and shots like these result…you are a great example of how taking more risk yields greater rewards :-)

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  3. luna tan dice:

    the images are all stunning! i don’t have much experience with variety of lenses but your explanation and photos are convincing to go for Zeiss.

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    • Well I´m not as consistent as I should be… I write two or three posts and I don´t Post it immediately. I set up it for publication on specific dates ;P

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  4. Hallo Alberto,
    Zustimmung, ich habe das 2.0 50mm Makro an der 5MK3, sowie das 15mm, 21mm und das 35mm,
    scharf stellen manuell ist kein Problem, die Haptik genial und die Schärfe sowie der Bildeindruck sind super…
    Grüsse, Jürgen

    Me gusta


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