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11-15-2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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Has anyone tried Zeiss 85mm f1.4 ZK mount lens?

Hello everyone,

Since Zeiss is going to stop producing ZK mount lens, I am just wondering if anyone tried this lens on pentax bodies. Is it that good as everyone said?

I got a K200D and I am thinking to get one for myself

Thanks for any inputs!

11-15-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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I did.

I've own that lens for a while now and used it on my K20D and K7.

It is a GOOD as everyone says indeed.

Manual focus ... if you don't mind.
Bokeh is unbelievable.
Very heavy for an 85mm lens.
Very solidly built and it feels like it has been made to last forever.

I'll look for sample shots and post here. In the meantime, please do a search here on this forum and you might find some.

Cheers.

JP


1/200s, Av, f1.4, ISO 320 85mm with Zeiss T*Planar 85/1.4


XMasFigure Bokeh 85mm 1/200s, Av, f1.4, ISO 320 85mm with Zeiss T*Planar 85/1.4

Crop of above

Last edited by jpzk; 11-15-2010 at 08:22 PM.
11-19-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
I'll look for sample shots and post here. In the meantime, please do a search here on this forum and you might find some.
Cheers.
JP
I like the shot of the bokeh highlights circling around the globe - alludes to the earth in amidst (a few very bright) stars.

I'm still trying to understand this lens, don't think I've figured out its characteristics yet to use it well. Here's one of my recent shots from the lens though.

12-08-2010, 10:34 PM   #4
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I have it and it's pretty nice, it's the one I have for my picture, it's the best looking lens I have seen. As far as the photos they are pretty interesting and I am also trying to get the hang of it.

12-08-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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Hope this works

This is my first attempt to post a photo on here so I hope I did it right. This is with the ZK 85 1.4 It has a good sized crop.
Attached Images
 
12-09-2010, 05:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mundo Quote
This is my first attempt to post a photo on here so I hope I did it right. This is with the ZK 85 1.4 It has a good sized crop.
Nice bokeh! what f stop was this?
12-09-2010, 07:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by knyghtfall Quote
I like the shot of the bokeh highlights circling around the globe - alludes to the earth in amidst (a few very bright) stars.

I'm still trying to understand this lens, don't think I've figured out its characteristics yet to use it well. Here's one of my recent shots from the lens though.
Thanks for the reply.

This lens is rather difficult to get used to.
1. It is manual focus and I find the focus ring a bit stiff. I mentioned that to the seller and they say that it could be loosened a bit but also that this is the way it is made.
2. It is very picky in the sense that at F1.4, and under dimmed lighting conditions, you have to be very steady in order to find focus.
3. At first, I thought this was a very HEAVY lens! And it is; however, I now like very much the feel of it.

Your shot is bang on, with very nice OOF areas and very sharp focus on the main subject.

I use mine mostly for portrait and it is wonderful.

JP
12-09-2010, 09:35 AM   #8
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This was wide open at 1.4, you can see some purple on the birds feet, I hadn't noticed until now but there's a little more purple around so it doesn't look so bad I think.

07-27-2011, 08:54 PM   #9
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I have been using one from new for six months now and it is a dream lens. Heavy, yes but in the way that something really important and well-built feels solid.

I am totally sold on manual, never using AF on my other lenses (good primes) and actually appreciate the stiffness of the focusing ring.

I have front focus with this lens on my K5 but not on my K10. Not sure why and, to be honest, I don't really care because the fine auto-focus feature enables me to make the necessary adjustment.

I use it for portraits a lot, and for head shots it is easily one of the best lenses I have ever worked with. The only lens I have that I swap around with at near this focal length is my DFA 100 Macro WR - which also gives marvelous portraits.

The lens is expensive but I can see me using this for a long time to come. Oh, and it is FF - a useful bonus for when Pentax finally go digital with an SLR below the 645.
09-26-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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Does anyone find the focus ring a little "tough" ?

JP
09-27-2011, 01:55 AM   #11
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I have a Zeiss 85mm/f1.4 and use it with my K-7. I posted a recent review in the lens database (Carl Zeiss Planar ZK T* 85mm F1.4 Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database). The focus ring of my lens is slightly harder (than my VLs) but it is realy nice and precise.

No the focus ring is not tough.

Overall the lens is really interesting. I am still learning to get the most about it. It works very nicely with Catch in Focus, and the precise focus ring helps a lot. Recently used it in a school evening event and I use CIF + Hi continuous shooting with great results.

My 5c thoughts....
09-27-2011, 10:03 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by yliu Quote
Hello everyone,

Since Zeiss is going to stop producing ZK mount lens, I am just wondering if anyone tried this lens on pentax bodies. Is it that good as everyone said?

I got a K200D and I am thinking to get one for myself

Thanks for any inputs!
I don't have the Zeiss 85mm, but I considered it at one point. I am a big Zeiss fan, at least of their older glass. However, I owned the newer ZK mount version of their 35mm and was really disappointed in that. The older Contax-Zeiss 28mm and the Zeiss Jena 135mm which I just acquired are fantastic. What I like about them more than anything is their color rendering and contrast which yields a very rich, almost 3D look. The new ZK mount 35mm (my copy at least) did not have it; this Sirens review (for the Sony Alpha, FF) which you likely have seen seems to have a positive opinion of the Zeiss 85mm ZK. He says for example:

"Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ZA is as close to being the perfect portrait lens as one can ever get at the moment of this writing. Every lens mount has one or multiple signature lenses, lenses that would make you remain loyal to the mount or even want to switch from an alternative one. Planar is that lens for Sony Alpha cameras. The lens has a few minor gotchas, some of which like flare and vignetting are benign or can be controlled, while others, like color fringing at wider apertures and somewhat slow AF (slow to those of us accustomed to the latest generation USM speed monsters at least), might annoy some."

The question for me was, is it worth the price? The best price I'd found was from Pop Photo who still sells them on Ebay here, which with shipping to Australia for you (about $52) would come to $1039.

PF members who've read my other comments know I decided on, and often recommend, Voigtlander which I am about to do again. I love Voigtlander for the same reason I love old Zeiss glass . . . color and contrast rendering, but I'd say the VLs are a bit sharper (though it may require a little stopping down to get it). Over the Zeiss for that 85mm range FL I chose the Voigtlander 90mm/f3.5 SL II with its true APO, close-focus design. I also have the Voigtlander 58mm/f1.4, which, when I want major speed or bokeh, is the lens I turn to (you could own both those lenses for the price of the Zeiss).

The VL 58mm is relatively compact, but it isn't as compact as the VL 90mm, which is about 2 x 2.5 inches and weighs only 320g (half the weight of the Zeiss, and shorter and smaller and diameter by about an inch). At 19 inches the VL 90mm also focuses twice as close as the Zeiss (which only gets as close as 39 inches). Like Zeiss, VL lenses are all metal construction (built like tanks), and talk about smooth focusing . . . the smoothest I've ever used, hands down.

Besides rivaling Zeiss in color/contrast production and construction, the VL 90 in particular is the sharpest lens I've ever had the privilege of using. The Siren's reviewer examined the older SL I version of the VL 90 here, but it has the same optics as the newer, more lightweight and compact version. He said:

"Voigtlander APO Lanthar 90mm f/3.5 SL showed very solid overall performance in the field. Images were sharp corner to corner throughout the aperture range on both APS-C and FF cameras (Canon bodies), with accurate but a little bit saturated colors and excellent overall contrast . . . . And speaking of the closeup - the lens sports a pretty short minimum focusing distance - 50cm (1.64ft), which is quite rare in non-macro telephoto lenses. . . .

Chromatic aberration on an APS-C camera was nothing to speak of (thanks to the apochromatic lens element), averaging ~0.3px throughout the frame and across all aperture settings. Quite low even for a medium telephoto lens. . . . On an APS-C body the lens showed basically no vignetting throughout the tested aperture range. Voigtlander APO Lanthar held up very nicely against flare, even at its widest aperture and showed no visible barrel distortion. Color fringing was basically non-existent across the frame. . . .

Consistency is always welcome, and this lens shows one of the most consistent results I have seen so far. Conclusion? Solid, solid, solid - all that comes to mind. The only complaint I can think of is how come Voigtlander did not make this lens a bit faster?"


So there's the thing, do you need the F1.4 speed of the Zeiss? Of course, there is a price to pay for that beyond money, which is bulk, but maybe you don't mind that (I do, which is another reason I love Voigtlander, they are all relatively compact little gems . . . even the VL 180 weighs only 485g! . . . while the heaviest VL, the 125, still beats the Zeiss 85mm in weight at 685).

Some users have mentioned the Zeiss bokeh, but you don't need an 85mm lens to be fast for that since telephotos are generally easy to get bokeh from by getting close to the subject and having enough space behind. The VL 90mm is no exception in this respect, except because you can get so close, it is even easier to do. Below are a few samples that show that, as well as how lovely it renders color and how razor sharp it can be. Whatever you decide, good luck!

Lichen at f3.5:



Also at f3.5:



At f4:



Also at f4:



f4:



At f5.6:



Also at f5.6:



At f8:



Also f8:



F8:



At f11 (purposely softened in PP):

09-27-2011, 10:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flshman Quote
I have front focus with this lens on my K5 but not on my K10. Not sure why and, to be honest, I don't really care because the fine auto-focus feature enables me to make the necessary adjustment.
Leaving out the possibility that you just need to adjust your diopter focus (you've probably done that) or some kind of technique issue (not likely since the problem's not present with your K10D), the focusing issue on your K-5 would most likely be caused by the wrong thickness of focusing screen shim. You could get a set of shims from Pentax and trade them out until you found the appropriate one, or you could send it in for service and have them do it.
09-27-2011, 02:21 PM   #14
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Awesome shots Les, that cat looks like he's getting the life squeezed out of him!
09-27-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaSA Quote
Awesome shots Les, that cat looks like he's getting the life squeezed out of him!
Lol. My wife says its love, I speak up for the poor cat (Coconut) and say it is torture. But the wife is unrepentant . . . last night she informed me she wants to dress Coconut up in a bumble bee outfit for Halloween.
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