Saturday, March 7, 2015

35mm Prime Shoot Out ....

So the other day one of my friend at work who owns multiple Zeiss lenses, was telling me to go at least ones in my life for Zeiss lens and test it. So i took the liberty and asked him to lend me his Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF.2 lens. Note that Carl Zeiss makes only MANUAL FOCUS LENSES

I took the lens in the office and had it coupled with my D810. Then i requested another friend of mine at work and asked him to be my model which he happily did .... and i was blown away with the image that i had from the Zeiss :) 

Note that this image is right from the camera (SOOC) and no editing or retouching done. Not to mention that Carl Zeiss makes only manual focus lenses. Hi-Res can be viewed using this link.

After watching the Zeiss performance i thought to start compare it with the 35mm that i own (two of them). I have one cheap glass from Samyung 35mm f/1.4 & another is old pal from Nikon 35mm f/2D. Then i requested another friend of mine to give me Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art series lens.

Note: Being a Nikon shooter you will not find the canon in the below list. So Canon shooters can stop reading here if they like.

Now i have following 4 champions to compare .....

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF.2 (S1000)

B- Nikon 35mm f/2D ($330)
C- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG Art Series ($900)
D- Samyumg 35mm f/1.4 ($400)

So i have tested the famous photography term "BOKEH" first .... because thats what these lenses are famous for. I coupled each of them over my D750. I went outdoor near by park with some far street to have them as a Bokeh. First i choose flower first as a foreground subject and the street light to have some Bokeh. But due to heavy wind, the flower was constantly swinging and i was not able to capture the flower tek-sharp even at higher shutter speed. 

So later i decided not worry about much over the foreground subject sharpness and focus only at the Bokeh at the background. For the sharpness i have done indoor test shot which you will find below in the end. 

So here is the first Test shot of the Bokeh from lens-A (Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZF.2)
You can download this file using this link

Followed by lens-B (Nikon 35mm f/2D)
You can download this file using this link

Followed by lens-C (Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG Art Series)
You can download this file using this link

Finally lens-D (Samyung f/1.4)
You can download this file using this link

Now surprisingly i have found Nikon 35mm f/2D the "least" minimum focus distance (0.85 foot) in compared to the rest of the 3 which all got 1 foot, thats why you can see bigger Bokeh created by Nikon lens even @ f/2.

Now the next topic is Sharpness. How Sharp each lens is .... lets find out. 

But before we head for the comparison, note that i have used my camera in manual focus mode, used the "live view" and "zoom +" button to make sure it is really sharp and then took the shot. The camera was in manual mode with AUTO WB & AUTO ISO. Aperture was open to maximum for all 4 lenses. 

Here all 4 lens sharpness in one shot to compare. 

Zeiss result
You can see the Hi-Res file using this link

Nikon result
You can see the Hi-Res file using this link

Sigma Art Series result
You can see the Hi-Res file using this link

Samyung lens result
You can see the Hi-Res file using this link

All offers heavy vignette at the maximum aperture except Carl Zeiss which offer least vignette & this shows the clear superior optical quality and colour rendering offers by Carl Zeiss distagon which is a manual focus lens. In this world .... quality comes with a price and you will be paying the most to get the best which is Carl Zeiss. But will you able to sacrifice the auto focus thing against the superior optical quality .... at the heaviest price from the list?  I am just wondering .... if this normal Zeiss lens is performing top notch .....Imagine how OTUS going to deliver the quality !!!!!!!

But ..... in my humble opinion ..... all this comparison comes down to your budget & your skill set. I have shooted images with all 4 of them. Apparently the most low quality colour rendering lens among the list is Samyung which producing yellowish tone image and it also a manual focus lens (second cheapest among the list). I have some stunning & tek-Sharp images from it. Take a look on a sample image using this link. You already experienced the Zeiss result at the top of this blog. Then i left with Nikon & new Sigma Art Series which i will check later in detail

Honestly speaking the most budgetary lens with better sharpness even @ f/2 (due to less focus distance) and able to deliver most contrasty images is Nikon old Pal .... 35mm f/2D. Not to mention it can Auto Focus but only over full frame & D7X00 crop bodies. No Auto focus offers over D5X00 & D3X00 crop bodies.

On Long term basis, Sigma is not a good choice. Even it offers superior optical quality and Auto Focus ability and with little less price with almost near-to-quality to the Carl Zeiss, but they are made for the current generation of the camera. Imagine if you change the body after few years and if not work on the new one? Atleast with the similar brand lenses, you have very very rare chances of compatibility issue.

Hope you all will find this blog interesting & help you choose the best 35mm lens as per your taste & budget.

Happy learning Guys.

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