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Want some opinions on the Zeiss ZE primes

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    Want some opinions on the Zeiss ZE primes

    Are these worth getting? It kind of seems... they are marketed towards a type of stills shooter that wants the "exlusive" lenses... but the price point is low & optical performance on paper is... not perfect. Yet there is a really lovely look to these lenses.

    Been looking on the 50mm ZE f1.4 for a good while now but still can't decide if it's worth it. (According to Ken Rockwell the optics aren't even made by Zeiss...?)

    #2
    The only way I would invest in ZE lenses is if I was only ever going to shoot exclusively on Canon EF electronic mount cameras.

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      #3
      Originally posted by David W. Jones View Post
      The only way I would invest in ZE lenses is if I was only ever going to shoot exclusively on Canon EF electronic mount cameras.
      For clarification, the Zeiss lenses are made in many camera mounts. There's the ZE lenses in Canon mount, the ZF lenses are the exact same lenses but in Nikon mount, there's ZS for pentax screwmount, etc.

      If having the choice of buying the Zeiss lenses in ZF, ZE, or ZS version, the question is: are you only ever going to use the lenses on a Canon camera? If so, the ZE is the right choice, but if you want the flexibility to use the lenses on other cameras, then ZE is the absolute wrong choice; you'd be better off with the ZF. ZF has a manual aperture ring, and ZE doesn't. ZF can be adapted to Canon mount and used on Canon cameras, but ZE can't be adapted to use on Nikon-mount cameras.

      That's why David said (and I agree) that if considering Zeiss lenses, ZE is the wrong mount to get unless and only unless you plan on only ever using them on Canon cameras.

      As far as the lenses themselves, they're pretty much as good as any SLR lens gets. They're a fantastic set, and priced accordingly.
      ..
      The AU-EVA1 Book - The DVX200 Book - The UX180 & UX90 Book - Lighting For Film & TV - Sound For Film & TV

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        #4
        Originally posted by Martin Oller View Post
        Been looking on the 50mm ZE f1.4 for a good while now but still can't decide if it's worth it. (According to Ken Rockwell the optics aren't even made by Zeiss...?)
        *what follows are my opinions based on both the research I have done and my experiences on set with these lenses. Take them as such; others may have different tastes*

        I have used the Zeiss ZF's on an FS100 for several shoots (as an AC) and I can say that it is very sharp, has great rendering and, overall, a very pretty image. I would put it on par with my favorite 50mm (Pentax SMC 50 1.4. absolutely beautiful rendering and sharp, though not quite as sharp as the zeiss).

        Now, on the other lenses: the 18 is pretty slow (3.5), the 21 is great (very sharp and wonderful rendering), the 28 is so-so (not bad at all, but nothing special), the 35(f/2, I have not worked with the new f1.4 yet) is also very nice (on par with the 50). The 100mm macro is crazy awesome. Sharpest lens I have seen (still lens at least). beautiful zeiss rendering as well. It breaths quite a bit though (probably because of the macro design)

        Now, the 85mm I am not a big fan of. although it is very very sharp, even wide open, the out of focus rendering is very strange to me, distracting almost. of all the ZF lenses, this one may have too much "Zeiss Magic" in it (probably not a good way to put it). Although it doesn't show up all the time, the funky out of focus rendering shows up when there are strong highlights in the background (I first noticed it on tree leaves with direct sunlight on them). Again , not all may dislike it, but I personally do.


        Now that I have said all that: they are FANTASTIC lenses for the money. Silky smooth focus and manually controlled iris. probably as close as you can get (once mods have been made) to cine lenses without actually buying cine glass. with the ZF mount they will mount on everything from a RED to a DSLR to a Letus 35 adaptor.

        I hope that helps somewhat and doesn't just completely confuse you.
        Please check out my film resume and contact me if you need a DP, AC or Steadicam Operator for an Atlanta-based shoot.

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          #5
          I will only ever use EF cameras, so I have absolutely zero regrets with my 21/28/35/50/85 zeiss primes. They're all extremely sharp, fluid hard focus stops, super sturdy construction, etc. The focus confirmation is very precise and works well. It's a lot easier with a focusing screen, obviously, but either way, as long as you don't have a need for AF (wedding/concert photography), then you wouldn't regret it.

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