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01-28-2008, 07:03 PM   #1
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Carl Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon T* for Pentax

Hi, this new Zeiss 28mm F/2 is priced similar to the FA 31mm f/1.8 Limted. Check this review below:

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm f/2 ZF Lens Review - Digital SLR Lens and Camera Reviews

They both are very attractive lenses for indoor low light or lanscape. The 31mm limited has the AF advantage, but the Zeiss 28mm is very sharp even at wide open (check the samples in the review link)! It would be interesting to see a comparison test between them in terms of IQ. Any opinions?

01-28-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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I wouldn't say they're priced similarly, especially in the US. With the $100 rebate, you're looking at $750ish for the 31, while the ZF would be $1000+.
Unfortunately, SLRlensreview hasn't reviewed the ZF 35/2, which is similar or a little worse compared to the 31 (based on photozone data). However, if this lens performs similarly to the Contax Hollywood version, I would say you have a neck to neck performance here, though if you stop down, the Contax might lose out a bit. I saw the MTF charts of the Contax 28/2 and 28/2.8. From f/5.6 on, the 2.8 performs similar to better (stopping down further).
I've not done any formal comparison between my Contax and the 31. I probably will during this weekend and report the result.
01-28-2008, 08:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Aegisphan, it would very interesting to see your test results.

In Australia, the Zeiss 28mm f/2 cost AUS$1341 and FA 31mm limited is AUS $1167 on ebay. There is no $100 rebate here, so the difference is about US$150 which is not that much for lens at this grade. The FA 31mm limited is a gem itself for sure, but there is some magic behind the name "Carl Zeiss"...
01-31-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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Today I have a day off so I did a quick comparison between the 31 Limited and the Distagon 28/2.8. Overall, the result is pretty much as expected, though the Distagon's performance was closer than I thought.

At 2.8, being 1 1/3 stop faster, the 31 beat the 28 both center and corner, though this wasn't a fair fight since the distagon was wide open here. However, the Distagon had much better CA control. Even at this aperture, the 31 still displayed more CA than the Distagon at wide open.

At 4, CA was completely gone in the Distagon, while the 31 still had traceable amount. By now, the 28's center was very close to the 31's. Corner wasn't as good, nevertheless.

At 5.6-8, CA was under control for the 31. Center's resolution was very similar. However, 31's corner was still much better.

At 11, the 28's center became a little softer, while the 31 was still hodling strong both center and corner.

Overall, I would say the 31 has more even resolution from center to corner. The 28 performed exactly the same at f5.6-f8 at center, yet the corner couldn't reach the level of sharpness of the 31. Despite of its superior resolution, the 31 can't come close to the Distagon at CA control. My observation was almost the same with photozone review (31's CA is gone at 5.6).

01-31-2008, 04:39 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=aegisphan;167870]
At 5.6-8, CA was under control for the 31. Center's resolution was very similar. However, 31's corner was still much better.

At 11, the 28's center became a little softer, while the 31 was still hodling strong both center and corner.
[QUOTE]

Thanks for that confirmation.

Many people claimed f8 is the peak one can use for long exposure as diffraction would kick in. Lately, f16 has been used on Fa 31 ltd and da 14; little image degradation is noted comparing to f8!

Last edited by roentarre; 01-31-2008 at 04:44 PM.
01-31-2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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Thanks Aegisphan!

Your test is very helpful. However, I am still very keen to see a report from Photozone on Zeiss 28mm f/2.

I noticed that you also have both the 77mm ltd and the FA* 85mm. What differences you notice between them on colour, bokeh, and sharpness? The FA* 85mm cost 2x the price of FA 77mm. I wonder if it worths the extra?
01-31-2008, 09:29 PM   #7
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I would love to see the photozone result as well. All the new Zeiss ZK are impressive, though I am a bit disappointed with the 2 macro lenses in their magnification. If they ever decide to revive the old Contax 21mm (not very likely, unfortunately), I would be sure to be in front of the line to get it.

As for the two Pentax lenses. I got the FA* 85 mainly for posed portrait and individual snapshot. For this category, I would say the FA* is peerless, especially in the bokeh department. Some say 77 is better than the FA* 85 in everyway. I have to disagree, the bokeh of my FA* 85 is better. Sharpness at close distance (1-3 m), they seem to be equivalent, though the FA* 85 is more appealing to me. The 85 has a bit warmer tone, which I also prefer. Beyond 3 meters, the FA* 85 is quite soft at wide open. Stopping down does help but I much prefer the Planar 85.

I just got my 77 recently to replace my Planar 85, which is at the repair shop at the moment. I plan to use it for street photography (taking pictures of objects and the like). That's what I used my Planar for since it was better than my FA* 85 for distance work. The Planar had a cool tone to it that I think fit very well for street photography.

However, I think you should ask James (Roentarre) for a better opinion since he has more experience with both the 77 and FA* 85.
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