Saturday, May 18, 2013

Zeiss 15 mm. on D800E

I spent weeks going over reviews, test pictures, comments and so on, trying to figure out whether to get the Nikon 14-24, or the Zeiss 15 mm. All my reading really didn't settle the question. In some testing the Nikon came out ahead, in others the Zeiss, and there was no consistent pattern to the kinds of problems found in these lenses.

So, off to The Camera Store here in Calgary, and I borrowed a Nikon first. It had a hitch in the zoom that was most unpleasant, and was near impossible to focus - live view at f8 had so much depth of field that it was 'why bother' focusing. I worried that the focus shift reported would cause autofocus problems and in fact it did, producing a significantly blurred image.

I tried out the Zeiss - no diff. focusing, using manual focus of course (it isn't an autofocus lens) and focus confirmation in the view finder.

Corners were noticeably soft at f 5.6 but the vast majority of the image (probably 80+% was very sharp.

I tried another Nikon - no hitch but still challenging to focus. This time I did get a good image. Right, back to the Zeiss at f11.

Corners are decent if not wonderful but the rest of the image is great, and we're now talking 95%of the image. Not only that, it's easy to focus, buttery smooth, and feels nice in hand. I bought it and headed over to The Bow to photograph Calgary's newest tall building.

The piece was created by Barcelona-based designer Jaume Plensa.  It's a face and here we are looking past the chin to the underside of the nose, with the Bow in the background. Both the building and the sculpture are a superb addition to Calgary. Oh, and the Zeiss 15 is damn fine too.

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