Showcase Sony 35mm F1.4 Zeiss Distagon FE ZA

WTran

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I finally succumbed and bought the lens.
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snpr9696

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Great lens. Might be my new favorite.
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snpr9696

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Impressive low light
Yeah I was satisfied although I thought at the wedding I shot last week it struggled a bit. I was dark tonight and it was tracking my daughter just fine. Camera is A7Rii


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chalkdust

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snpr9696

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This looks like a great lens and both images 1 & 2 are attractively composed. (Does #2 look like your daughter is about to get hit by a car? Might make a good safety poster...)
But #3 is not my favorite. It seems a bit soft to me... :) .
Haha. #2 was when we were on the side of the road and my fiancé was backing out. I caught her at the right moment meant when she was backlit. #3 was supposed to be soft as it is an out of focus Bokeh rendering nothing more.


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addieleman

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Finally! Today I tested a fourth sample of the FE 1.4/35mm, in this case a used one, and it is good; bought it an hour ago.

The previous three copies weren't able to show sharpness in either the left or the right side of the frame. For the record, these were tested before buying, in a shop or at the seller's place. These days I do a very simple test to start with: I photograph the pavement under an angle of roughly 45° and then sharp features must be visible somewhere along the vertical, everywhere from left to right. Curvature of field is often visible in that optimal sharpness at left and right lies closer than in the center but that's OK to me. My present copy does that quite well, but the field is skewed: optimum sharpness is much closer at the right than in the center or left part, but that's OK too. I'm happy as long as I can focus in some part of the frame and get sharp features there, because I intend to use it for low-light street photography and I won't be interested in across-the-frame sharpness; the lens has to be stopped down to f/8 to deliver sharpness in all of the frame at about infinity and that's fine too. Mind you, the other three copies couldn't even produce good sharpness at f/8 at their bad side. Lloyd Chambers has the same experience with his copy, as well as some others reporting on dpreview. These performance inconsistencies of Sony lenses are a real PITA, it's such a hassle to secure a good copy.

Of course I'm very excited and I'll go out in a moment to see how it does on the street. Apart from seeing the results I'm also curious about the effect of having a monster lens on the camera instead of the small and unimposing FE 2.8/35mm.

As we're in a showcase here, I'm proud to present this exciting picture of the rainmeter in my backyard :). Shot at f/2 BTW.
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NickCyprus

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Congrats Ad! It must be a phenomenal lens from what I've read/seen and judging by its price tag :) Wish I can afford it one day :)
 

addieleman

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And I took the FE 1.4/35 for a spin on a street shoot like I usually do. Long outing this time, shooting in daylight as well as in the dark; thank heavens I bought some thin gloves recently that enable me to operate the camera.

First off, people react differently to my camera with this beast mounted. My camera definitely got much more looks than when I have the FE 2.8/35 on it; probably that big petal-shaped lens hood attracts a lot of attention, I'm going to find a shallow round screw-in hood and see if that helps. This lens is like a proud race-horse as opposed to the 2.8/35 which is a humble workhorse. Focussing may be just a little less snappy than that of the 2.8/35 but I'm not sure about that. I was much too conservative in opening up the aperture in the beginning, at normal distances depth-of-field at f/1.4 is amply sufficient. The lens is sharp at f/1.4, although markedly lower in contrast and bite than at f/2. Still, performance at f/1.4 is more than satisfactory for street shooting because motion blur and focussing errors detract from optimal sharpness anyway.

The shots below aren't necessarily prize winners (like I ever win prizes :rolleyes-20:) but they give you an idea of what the lens can do on the street.

Simple static shot at f/8. Lots and lots of detail, a little bit less on the right side where curvature of field throws the parts further away slightly out of focus. Full res
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ISO 160, f/2, 1/60 s, EV comp. -1. Due to the large focus distance background blur is limited. Full res
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ISO 500, f/1.4, 1/250 s, EV comp. -1. Could have gone to 1/500 s to diminish motion blur. Full res
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ISO 320, f/2.8, 1/60 s, EV comp. -1. Stopped down to f/2.8 to ensure sharply delineated lights in the tree, not sure if f/2 would have been OK too. Full res
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ISO 640, f/1.4, 1/250 s, EV comp. -1. Fairly dark place here and it's great to have f/1.4 at your disposal to keep noise at bay. Note that I use a -1 EV compensation so that this is effectively at ISO 1250. Using the FE 2.8/35 would have forced me to go to ISO 2500, probably resulting in too much noise for my taste; with the 2.8/35 I usually stopped shooting under these circumstances. Full res
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ISO 4000, f/1.4, 1/250 s, EV comp. -1. Even darker scene, at least where the girl is fumbling with her bike. Full res
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GabrielPhoto

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I got this lens not long ago as my 1-2 combo for small walk around bag. Here is one sample from a recent shoot I did where I used it :)
The 3D pop from this lens is lovely specially when you consider is a 35mm not a long lens yet it still gives you that awesome extra "dimension".
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cvt01

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And I took the FE 1.4/35 for a spin on a street shoot like I usually do. Long outing this time, shooting in daylight as well as in the dark; thank heavens I bought some thin gloves recently that enable me to operate the camera.

First off, people react differently to my camera with this beast mounted. My camera definitely got much more looks than when I have the FE 2.8/35 on it; probably that big petal-shaped lens hood attracts a lot of attention, I'm going to find a shallow round screw-in hood and see if that helps. ..
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I think the lens handles the flare amazing, so the lens hood could have been removed in the shots you took to make it less intimidating :)
 

addieleman

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I think the lens handles the flare amazing, so the lens hood could have been removed in the shots you took to make it less intimidating :)
Yes, the lens is amazing indeed. In the meantime I did a lot of shots wide-open to find out that it's fully useable at f/1.4. Removing the lens hood crossed my mind indeed, but the front element is quite exposed then so I'd have to add a filter and that may introduce extra ghosting and flare with all those bright lights in evening shots. We'll see, gonna try it out.
 

cvt01

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Reading the Lensrentals article how the lens is constructed I learned that a front element replacement would be costly as hell. I bought the best UV filter I could afford to protect it. I did not notice the flare performance declining with that but I did not thoroughly test it.
 

rayvonn

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This is an immensly useful thread for those of us considering the Zeiss 35/f1.4 on other systems as the images will practically be the same, MF abilities notwithstanding.
 

addieleman

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Tonight I did a comparison with the FE 1.4/35 with and without protective UV filter. The filter is a B+W F-Pro 72mm UV 010. The street lights are the only light sources here.

This is at f/1.4 with filter, no hood; no use showing a comparison, I can't see a difference between the shots.
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Same scene at f/8 with hood, no filter
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At f/8, with filter, no hood; hood yes or no didn't make a difference. Here you see three reflection discs.
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Different camera position, f/1.4, street light at the right just outside the frame; hood, no filter. Note the streak at the right.
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At f/1.4, with hood and filter. Rather bright ghost below the center at the left part of the right block of houses.
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At f/8, with hood, no filter
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At f/8, with filter and hood. Extra reflection discs.
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So the filter does introduce extra ghosting, although not too severe. The hood will only help if it shades a bright light source outside the frame, which apparently is not the case here. This whole exercise started because I was planning to ditch the hood, hoping that the camera/lens combo would be somewhat more inconspicuous.

On a different level this may be irrelevant to me: I've come to realize that in street photography people that notice the camera aren't interesting subjects most of the time and if people are engaged in something that makes me want to photograph them, they usually are unaware of the camera, big or small. Or in short: size doesn't matter all that much.
 

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