Anybody using mainly Carl Zeiss lenses for your Nikon DSLR ?


Quinty

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Dec 27, 2005
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#1
As stated in the title..
Wanna know if any Nikon user in this forum uses mainly Carl Zeiss lenses for his/her Nikon DSLR or SLR..
I'm kinda' keen on the 85mm f/1.4 as well as the 25mm f/2.8..
What would be your views on it ?
Should I go for those 2 or go for the Nikkors ?
Photos to illustrate would be good..
 

photobum

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Apr 17, 2005
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#2
My answer to you is it depends on the kind of photography you are into. I own the Carl Zeiss 50mm and 85mm f1.4 ZF lenses. Both are excellent lenses compared to Nikon's very own AF lenses (the classic Nikon AI-S manual lenses are surprisingly better than many Nikon's new AF lenses).

In term of resolving capability, the Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 ZF is slightly sharper than the Nikon 85mm f1.4 AI-S lens. Then again, if you are looking for the legendary Carl Zeiss color and contrast, I strongly recommend the Carl Zeiss. No doubt about it.

As these are manual lenses, you will need to focus by hand. Are you comfortable with this?

Another point to consider is that the viewfinder inside most Nikon DSLRs is not meant for manual focusing. You have to purchase a third-party viewfinder with a center split-screen. Orient Photo at Sim Lim Square sells them. Are you comfortable with 'tweaking' your DSLR as this may void your warranty?

Overall, I love my ZF lenses (sorry.... I don't have any images to share). Do I love my ZF lenses MORE THAN Nikon's, well..... it depends on what I am photographing. If I am shooting events and weddings, I prefer my AF lenses. If I am shooting fine art, commercial and my portfolio, I will use my ZF lenses.

As you can see, I am split 50-50 between the manual ZF lenses and Nikon's AF lenses. I use both. But I don't think you want to own both types of lenses unless you need to use them for specific purposes.

Here are the pros and cons in short:


Carl Zeiss ZF lenses

Pros:
- Built quality
- Sharpness
- Natural colors
- Excellent contrast
- 9-blade aperture (Excellent bokeh!)

Cons:
- EXPENSIVE!!!
- Manual focus (same applies to Nikon AI-S lenses)
- Can be difficult to focus with DSLR (same applies to Nikon AI-S lenses)

Nikon AF lenses
Pro:
- AF (of course!)
- Solidly built (but not as solid as the ZF lenses)
- Better resale value
- Sharp, but not in the same league as the ZF lenses
- Great bokeh, but again, not the same as ZF's bokeh

Cons:
- Almost none!
- (Maybe one) color and contrast lack the neutrality of ZF lenses.
 

WuffRuff

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Jan 10, 2007
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#3
Another point to consider is that the viewfinder inside most Nikon DSLRs is not meant for manual focusing. You have to purchase a third-party viewfinder with a center split-screen.
Can you tell me more about this centre split-screen? How does it change the view/screen. Where is it installed?
Does other DSLR need this kind of viewfinder for manual focussing? I am using Canon actually and I have a manual focus lens. I do find it kinda difficult to focus manually thru the viewfinder.
 

photobum

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Apr 17, 2005
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#4
Can you tell me more about this centre split-screen? How does it change the view/screen. Where is it installed?
Does other DSLR need this kind of viewfinder for manual focussing? I am using Canon actually and I have a manual focus lens. I do find it kinda difficult to focus manually thru the viewfinder.
You can ask around the camera retailers here regarding the center split-screen. I do know that they make some for Canon DSLRs. Orient Photo sells them.

Installing the viewfinder is kind of tricky. You will need to use a dental floss toothpick to pry open the viewfinder housing and then use a tweezer to grab the original viewfinder to remove. Be very careful or you may scratch it. Once it is scratched, you'll probably void the warranty also.

I understand that installing the split-screen in a Canon is a bit 'trickier' compare to a Nikon. It took me roughly 15 minutes to install mine into a D200 (you'll probably take shorter time to install yours.... this is because I took extreme care not to scratch the viewfinder).

Keep in mind that if you use a Nikon DSLR, only certain models can use manual focus lenses. Please check your operation manual to see if your camera will take such lenses.
 

nightwolf75

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Staff member
Dec 18, 2003
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#5
Can you tell me more about this centre split-screen? How does it change the view/screen. Where is it installed?
Does other DSLR need this kind of viewfinder for manual focussing? I am using Canon actually and I have a manual focus lens. I do find it kinda difficult to focus manually thru the viewfinder.
there are some 3rd party split screens for canons - esp for the prosumer range. i believe the pro 1D-series have their own separately bought focusing screen accessories? u have to check ur manuals for it.

to TS - yeah. CZ lenses are :bigeyes: .. if u have the patience to do manual-everything. esp the 85/1.4. IMHO, beats the pants off the AFD 85/1.4. if it has AF (argh... sacrilege!), i'll buy it in a heartbeat. the CZ 35/2 is another interestingly pricey lens for me. :)
 

photobum

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#6
there are some 3rd party split screens for canons - esp for the prosumer range. i believe the pro 1D-series have their own separately bought focusing screen accessories? u have to check ur manuals for it.

to TS - yeah. CZ lenses are :bigeyes: .. if u have the patience to do manual-everything. esp the 85/1.4. IMHO, beats the pants off the AFD 85/1.4. if it has AF (argh... sacrilege!), i'll buy it in a heartbeat. the CZ 35/2 is another interestingly pricey lens for me. :)
I couldn't agree more. ;)

If you want absolute image quality and care less about AF (speed), then you will :lovegrin: the Carl Zeiss lenses.

In short, the ZF lenses are not for everybody. It is a love-hate relationship. A friend of mine actually bought the ZF lenses and sold it the next day.
 

leith1978

New Member
Nov 2, 2006
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#7
i use ZF 50 as my main lens on my D200,
with Dk-17M attached and without KE split screen
my hit miss rate is about 50% only
i love the result from ZF much more than the nikon counterpart
but i still keep my nikon for my lazy focusing days and for times when i couldn't afford to miss 50% of my shoots.

manual focusing in ZF lens itself actually a real pleasure compared to nikon manual lens because the focusing barrel is easy to grap, smooth and made from solid metal.

if you are ok with manual focusing in nikon manual lens, i would suggest you to go for the ZF.
otherwise, probably better go with the AF nikon first.
 

TMC

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Sep 4, 2004
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#8
tried both before and I didnt think that the difference is that big. CZ might have that bit of color edge over the nikkor but that would be nitpicking already. Nikkor has a big plus in that it can AF.
 

fuwen

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Aug 11, 2004
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#9
If u are using negatives and slides then Carl Zeiss and Nikon will have different character. Which one is better is depending on individual taste. Zeiss is famous for its brilliant colour reproduction (some may find it too much) and smoothness, and Nikon is famous for its sharpness and hardness.

However, I am not sure will there be significant differences when use on digital platforms. Colour may be different, plus the latest ZFs are supposed to be designed for FF CCDs. There maybe advantages especially for the ZF wide angles but I am not a digital person so cannot comment.
 

Quinty

New Member
Dec 27, 2005
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#10
I'm using a Nikon FM2.

As in my previous thread..
After visiting John 3:16, I tried out the Carl Zeiss and found it to be pretty nice.

Wouldn't mind getting it as I'm quite used to manual focusing.
The only thing that it doesn't feature would be autofocus for DSLRs which I'm gonna have to get one in the future.

On the other hand, if I'm to use an autofocus lens..
I might simply just get lazy.
Hee'
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#11
Can you tell me more about this centre split-screen? How does it change the view/screen. Where is it installed?
Does other DSLR need this kind of viewfinder for manual focussing? I am using Canon actually and I have a manual focus lens. I do find it kinda difficult to focus manually thru the viewfinder.
Here..
http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#12
Keep in mind that if you use a Nikon DSLR, only certain models can use manual focus lenses. Please check your operation manual to see if your camera will take such lenses.
All the models can use manual focus lens, but only certain models (D200, D2-series, D300, D3) are able to meter with MF lenses.
 

WideZoom

Senior Member
Mar 8, 2004
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Lavender
#13
You can ask around the camera retailers here regarding the center split-screen. I do know that they make some for Canon DSLRs. Orient Photo sells them.

Installing the viewfinder is kind of tricky. You will need to use a dental floss toothpick to pry open the viewfinder housing and then use a tweezer to grab the original viewfinder to remove. Be very careful or you may scratch it. Once it is scratched, you'll probably void the warranty also.

I understand that installing the split-screen in a Canon is a bit 'trickier' compare to a Nikon. It took me roughly 15 minutes to install mine into a D200 (you'll probably take shorter time to install yours.... this is because I took extreme care not to scratch the viewfinder).

Keep in mind that if you use a Nikon DSLR, only certain models can use manual focus lenses. Please check your operation manual to see if your camera will take such lenses.
Hi photobum, could u advise how much is the D200 split screen focusing screen & is it Katz brand bought from Oriental Photo?
 

photobum

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Apr 17, 2005
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#14
Hi photobum, could u advise how much is the D200 split screen focusing screen & is it Katz brand bought from Oriental Photo?
The D200 split prism focusing screen at Orient Photo cost S$65. Katzeyeoptics split-prism screen cost US$95.

A colleague of mine paid almost S$200 (with shipping) for the Katzeyeoptics version. A quick comparison shows no differences. The latter may be slightly brighter but with a f1.4 lens, it is already bright enough.

Anyway.... Unlike leith1978, I have no problem getting sharp images with my ZF lenses. Even at f1.4, the subject looks nice and sharp.
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
11,941
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#15
The D200 split prism focusing screen at Orient Photo cost S$65. Katzeyeoptics split-prism screen cost US$95.

A colleague of mine paid almost S$200 (with shipping) for the Katzeyeoptics version. A quick comparison shows no differences. The latter may be slightly brighter but with a f1.4 lens, it is already bright enough.

Anyway.... Unlike leith1978, I have no problem getting sharp images with my ZF lenses. Even at f1.4, the subject looks nice and sharp.
What's the brand OP is selling? How good is it and is exposure compensation required?
 

photobum

Deregistered
Apr 17, 2005
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#16
What's the brand OP is selling? How good is it and is exposure compensation required?
It has no-brand (Made in China) but good enough for me (a full-time professional photographer). No exposure compensation is required!

It is made from very high-quality polycarbonate. I don't find any flaw on mine. If you want to be cautious, make sure you check the split prism screen before leaving the store. Anyway, I have no problems with my purchases at Orient Photo so far (touch wood).



Service is excellent as usual.
 

WideZoom

Senior Member
Mar 8, 2004
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Lavender
#17
thanks for the info. Dint know there is another so much cheaper focusing screen compare to Katz. it will be very useful when using MF lens. :)
 

zac08

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2005
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#19
eek~ my viewfinder has a speck of dust.. time to change the focusing screen to a split screen :bsmilie:
Wah... this is power..

next you'll start claiming your camera has lil specks of dust on the sensor, it's time to change to D3... :bsmilie:

I like the idea...
 

Ansel

Senior Member
Apr 30, 2003
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Land Downunder
Visit site
#20
It has no-brand (Made in China) but good enough for me (a full-time professional photographer). No exposure compensation is required!

It is made from very high-quality polycarbonate. I don't find any flaw on mine. If you want to be cautious, make sure you check the split prism screen before leaving the store. Anyway, I have no problems with my purchases at Orient Photo so far (touch wood).



Service is excellent as usual.
This is quite cool...and affordable too! But how did u do the surgery? Or does the price include surgery done by them.
 

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