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Zeiss Loxia T* 35mm f/2 Biogon

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by ilovehatephotography, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed

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  2. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    These Loxia lenses look amazing, the build quality of a top legacy lens but contrast beating top modern lenses. The trade of is, I'm sorry to say, that Bokeh. Definitely not to my taste
     
  3. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    The bokeh and the Zeiss pop would be my main reason to purchase this lens. It's a 35mm after all, which really shouldn't have any significant DOF. But this lens actually does.
     
  4. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    I wasn't talking about how shallow the DOF is. You will hear people say (ad nauseam) that technically "Bokeh" refers to the quality of the blur, not how out of focus something is.

    Especially in the last two shots, the blur is pretty harsh and distracting. It doesn't melt away beautifully like some other lenses. I think this is a trade off the lens designers made to get better sharpness and contrast?
     
  5. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    is there a 'rendering' reason to choose this over say the biogon ZM for use with sony cams? the zm is much smaller and cheaper. both are mf only, both zeiss quality, and i assume the same lens formula.
     
  6. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    Can you show me an example of good blur according to you? Preferably with a lens similar to 35mm @ f/3.2. Thanks.
     
  7. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    There are two main reasons to choose the Loxia over the older Biogon ZM: (1) the Biogon suffers from the infamous corner performance issues associated with some legacy lenses on a mirrorless full frame sensor (i.e. color shifts, unsharpness, vignetting)(please see http://www.ronscheffler.com/techtalk/?page_id=248 and http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/good...nctly-and-visibly-better-than-the-zm-version/ and http://diglloyd.com/blog/2014/20140904_1012-ZeissLoxia-vs-ZM.html) (2) the Loxia electronically communicates with the camera body so that the Focus Magnification is automatically switched on via a twist of the focus ring and the aperture values are communicated to the body.
     
  8. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    thank you. i'm still very surprised at these corner rendering issues appearing at the 35mm fl. something just doesnt ring true there for me. i do further assume that the magnification function will indeed work for all adapted lenses, perhaps a bit differently, but it will work, no? the recorded aperture is a nice feature, but for me personally, i,m put off by the bulk. small camera/big lens, i just dont get it. but thats wholly subjective.
     
  9. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    You're right, it's not easy to find a 35mm lens with really nice bokeh. My 35mm Sony F1.8 is pretty nice, but not fair because it is not full frame.

    While not great, I do think that the bokeh on the Sony Zeiss 35mm F2.8 is less harsh to my eye: https://www.talkemount.com/threads/5897/page-2

    I would say an example of good blur would be the samples posted by DigitalD from this Canon FD lens: https://www.talkemount.com/threads/4957/

    It is all pretty subjective though!
     
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  10. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    The new Loxia 35mm is based on the older/classic Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2 for the Leica M mount. It is not a brand new lens design like a Sigma Art or the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.8, but an updated version of an old lens specifically made for the mirrorless format.

    While all adapted lenses will have Focus Magnification via the C1 button on an A7, only these new Loxias automatically engage Focus Magnification automatically as soon as you twist the focus ring. This is a subtle yet incredibly handy feature that makes shooting with a manual focus lens really enjoyable on a digital camera.

    That being said, you can certainly save a lot of money with legacy lenses!
     
  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Simply put, the ZM lens was designed for film, where as the Loxia's optical forumal is slightly adjusted to account for the ~2.5 piece of optical glass that exists between the lens and the sensor itself. Native lenses are designed with that glass in mind and their performance reflects that, but legacy lenses are not. Lenses that are fast, wide, and have symmetrical designs (like this biogon) are particularly affected. For such legacy lenses, the optical glass causes an increase in astigmatism as you move toward the edges of the image.
     
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  12. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    thank you for the explanation. isnt it true though that at some FL, this kind of distortion disappears?
     
  13. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    The longer the focal length and the smaller the aperture, yes. And in addition, typically longer focal lengths have longer exit pupils, too, so it definitely becomes less of an issue. Still, it doesn't disappear, per se, it just becomes less and less noticeable. And it doesn't always appear at this FL, it depends on the particular lens and its design.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  14. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    I love your photos - they indeed have a 'pop' over the 35 2.8 and the colours are gorgeous. Particularly for portraits - this combo looks to rock.

    Does anybody else have this lens out there and care to share some images :)

    iLHP your blog definitely shows that the FE35 2.8 is a smidgen sharper in the center than the 35 f2 loxia - visible in the tiles of the shuttle.

    On the flipside, most other similar real world tests that I have seen appear to say that the Loxia is indeed much sharper at F2.8 and equally if not slightly sharper at F2 compared with the FE35/28 at 2.8. B Where I am going with this , is whether it is possible that your unit was defective or sample variation? I noticed that you commented similar on this thread (again similar type of test, but contradicting results to your test samples for sharpness). Did you ever follow up?
    http://www.backgroundblur.com/#!/articles/5486bdb7e2939c1336dcbfab

    Steve Huff's review here and side by side portrait... shows the Loxia 35 to be quite a bit sharper in his portrait test at F2 than the 35 is at F2.8 and with more contrast/microcontrast in his crop.
    http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2015/03/19/the-zeiss-loxia-35-biogon-f2-lens-review/

    ... Victor Lobo's (who I find to be very thorough and straight up with his opinions) finds similar and by F5.6 the much sharper lens in his testing results.
    http://www.verybiglobo.com/zeiss-loxia-biogon-352-review/2/

    I'm not disputing that images out of the Loxia are not gorgeous. They are. I think they are stunning! Center sharpness is not the be all and end all for me. It's more a question of whether I can rely on the results and would be 'safe' to pick up a 1400 US dollar lens if there significant sample variation floating about..

    Interested to hear your opinion iLHP.

    Thanks a lot,

    Tom.
     
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  15. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Real world tests aren't relevant for determining whether a particular copy is a problem. You need to test a a couple dozen copies of each at the same time and place to know. On the flip side, it may simply be that the Loxia that Huff and Lobo received for review were unusually good samples.

    We also don't know what differences there might be that result from other factors. All lenses are deigned to operate at an optimal focal distance (a distance that is also subject to copy variation), comparing real world shots where there's no way of measuring those distances means that it's entirely possible that all three lenses are equally superb or equally poor, but one lens is being shot closer to its ideal focusing distance and another lens is not. There's simply no way of knowing. That's true of both the Loxia and the FE. It's entirely possible that if we put Ed's copy in Victor's chart shot, it might even perform better than Victor's.
     
  16. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    For sure Mike - that's a very fair point and I always value your opinion.
    I regularly read Victor's blog too where his reviews e.g. 70-200FE shows just how 'relevant' Imatest results are to real world shooting scenarios.
    Your bang on right though. Some lenses perform vastly better than others at different focus distances and this does not always translate well to Imatest test results. The 70-200 is a classic example. I've found the 24-70 Zeiss to perform quite differently as well at various focus distances.

    The only scientific way (as you alluded to) to 100% account for sample variance would be to line up as many loxia 35 lenses from different production batches, shoot the exact same spot in the exact same lighting with exact same focus distances on the exact same camera and compare results between the samples.... oh yeah and use the exact same Raw processor! I get that. So for sure I'm not being scientific.

    Practically speaking though, in the real world for the majority of us, being 100% scientific isn't possible or feasible!

    Really what I am hoping to achieve asking iLHP here, is to get as much info to make a reasonable assumption/inference as to the lens' performance without renting 12 copies so that my expectations are in check. It's an assumption no doubt but based on some amount of tangible evidence it's also the best that we can do.

    Not that there is anything wrong with the Loxia images. I actually personally prefer the loxia images hands down for colour, out of focus, the way it draws etc... it's one of the nicest 35's available on any system period. I'm just wondering if that slightly softer centre is a result of a preproduction copy that Ed was dealing with?! When I've also seen differing reviews showing central sharpness to be very very sharp. Perhaps production copies perform a little better?!

    I've mailed Huff and Viktor too to get their take. I'll share if I hear anything back. :)

     
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  17. grillec

    grillec TalkEmount Regular

    88
    Mar 19, 2015
    The only "bad" thing I have heard about the Loxia 35mm is the form of highlights at open aperture and the lightly more harsh bokeh in some situations.
    The sharpness of the loxia at open aperture from corner to corner seems to be very good.
    Here are some crops of a highlight comparison between the Loxia and a Sigma Art: https://www.flickr.com/photos/enrico-heller/16405292647/
    With a little harsh/restless bokeh I mean something like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cklppt/15085608488 or this https://www.flickr.com/photos/wpau/15990116488/
     
  18. ilovehatephotography

    ilovehatephotography TalkEmount Regular

    153
    May 30, 2014
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ed
    Thank you for your well thought out and detailed comments Tom. Our sample size was indeed (1) and it is entirely possible that we got a less than stellar unit. We also rented the Loxia 35mm out of pocket from Lensrentals.com and were not provide for by Zeiss USA in this instance. It could very well be that we got a de-centered unit and not a factory-checked perfect one from the manufacturer.

    We trust Victor Lobo's lens test as well because he is very thorough and independent. Steve Huff seems to like every lens he comes across which kind of diminishes his opinions and I'm not sure if he is sponsored or affiliated with manufacturers. We disagree with Background Blur's conclusions, simply because that wasn't what we saw.

    Bottom line is, the Loxia 35mm is an exceptional lens and I think you will be very happy with your purchase.