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08-03-2019, 05:53 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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Tale of two lenses - DFA 15-30 and Contax 85 Sonnar

I was up in Sedona on Thursday doing some shooting with a friend. I just happened to shoot the same view with the DFA 15-30 (cropped) and an old Contax Zeiss 85/f2.8 Sonnar lens (pano) that I had converted mounts (C/Y to K with the Leitax.com remount kit). I didn't intend to make a comparison. Fair comparison - well not really, but the 30mm cropped shot and the pano, were somewhat similar - and the shadows were just really difficult. I just had not shot with the Contax in a couple of years and just wanted to try it again since I brought it along.

This just happened to be a pull out on the road that folks had make into somewhat of a view site over the years - of Cathedral Rock. The weather was blowing through, some rain along with some lightning. The overall lighting was drastically changing by the minute.

I was doing some quick editing and with the 15-30 at 30 I cropped the top and bottom off. Looking at the images from the Contax, I had a single shot, followed by a pano of 9 frames wide. I was just looking at the output from the two lenses - and for a 35 year old lens, the Contax has not lost anything at all. I have to use my two Contax lenses more often. I should probably re-edit these, but I have some unexpected Milky Way shots to work on first....
  • First - 15-30 @ 30mm
  • Second - 85mm single frame
  • Third - 85mm 9 frame pano



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08-03-2019, 07:19 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I was up in Sedona on Thursday doing some shooting with a friend. I just happened to shoot the same view with the DFA 15-30 (cropped) and an old Contax Zeiss 85/f2.8 Sonnar lens (pano) that I had converted mounts (C/Y to K with the Leitax.com remount kit). I didn't intend to make a comparison. Fair comparison - well not really, but the 30mm cropped shot and the pano, were somewhat similar - and the shadows were just really difficult. I just had not shot with the Contax in a couple of years and just wanted to try it again since I brought it along.

This just happened to be a pull out on the road that folks had make into somewhat of a view site over the years - of Cathedral Rock. The weather was blowing through, some rain along with some lightning. The overall lighting was drastically changing by the minute.

I was doing some quick editing and with the 15-30 at 30 I cropped the top and bottom off. Looking at the images from the Contax, I had a single shot, followed by a pano of 9 frames wide. I was just looking at the output from the two lenses - and for a 35 year old lens, the Contax has not lost anything at all. I have to use my two Contax lenses more often. I should probably re-edit these, but I have some unexpected Milky Way shots to work on first....
  • First - 15-30 @ 30mm
  • Second - 85mm single frame
  • Third - 85mm 9 frame pano

That single frame one is superb.
08-03-2019, 08:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
That single frame one is superb.
Thanks! I now need to come back and spend a bit more time on processing that one. I took the single frame, then flipped the camera and then quickly took the 1 row pano, so perhaps 10 seconds between the single frame and the start of the pano, and maybe a minute to the end of the pano. The clouds were really moving.

There were a couple of guys there at the point taking long exposures trying for lightning, and about 5 to 6 other folks with DSLRs shooting just the landscape.

We were out scouting locations to try to shoot the Milky Way, if the clouds broke - which actually occurred.

08-03-2019, 10:29 PM   #4
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This is good example of wideangle/tele stitched. Of just clouds would have co-operated. Shot tele and stitching really compresses the scenery. Wideangle is best used as really BIO drama sky, wall ect. Thang and tele to bring hills mountains buildings ’closer’. I like to use my 70-200 for landscapes too. Only problem which is still there is that problem when light changes a lot(clouds) and you have to wait for the best moment. As you single shot has.

08-04-2019, 12:07 AM   #5
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Looks like the 15-30 is the wrong choice for the range of distances in that scene. The 85mm works better for that composition.
08-04-2019, 06:19 AM   #6
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Nice comparison. The 15-30 shot lacks foreground interest so the the telephoto shot seems a better choice for the scene. The stitched image has a different exposure/color balance so hard to compare. The clouds present a real challenge for stitching unless stationary. A substantial percentage of my landscapes are shot with a telephoto.
08-04-2019, 06:38 AM   #7
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The images are three different perspectives.
What are we showing here?
08-04-2019, 06:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The images are three different perspectives.
I would have said they are all, by definition, exactly the same perspective because they were taken from the same spot. What has changed is lighting and angle of view.

For mine, the tighter angle of the single frame with the 85mm lens is the most compelling image, for the reasons already mentioned.

08-04-2019, 07:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I would have said they are all, by definition, exactly the same perspective because they were taken from the same spot. What has changed is lighting and angle of view.

For mine, the tighter angle of the single frame with the 85mm lens is the most compelling image, for the reasons already mentioned.
But in the larger context what does that mean? Beyond that 85mm was the most appropriate FoV from that perspective (given a choice between 15-30 and 85mm), disregarding the possibility that with a 70-200 zoom (or even a 28-105), a different FoV would likely have been the best.

Sorry if I confused you. My terminology was imprecise. Hopefully this helps.
08-04-2019, 08:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The images are three different perspectives.
What are we showing here?
I got two things out of the OP’s comments:

“Hey, my antique 85mm is still a pretty good lens, even compared with a brand new one”

“There is something creatively interesting about this comparison I would like to investigate and use in the future”

And then there were some nice pictures that are really tiny on my phone

-Eric
08-04-2019, 10:14 PM   #11
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I didn't see any advantages of stitched Panorama except for the resolution. The differences to the 30 mm shot could be egalized in photoshop.
For me the 30 mm shot feels crispier. But without a look at the photos in original resolutions you can't decide it. I like the singe 85mm shot.
08-05-2019, 04:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Looks like the 15-30 is the wrong choice for the range of distances in that scene. The 85mm works better for that composition.
As we parked and I pulled out the camera, I had the 15-30 on because we had originally gone up there to try to shoot the Milky Way, and I wanted to get some shots of the areas that we were considering. At this location, it was just the wrong lens. The 85 was a much better selection.

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentax Syntax Quote
Nice comparison. The 15-30 shot lacks foreground interest so the the telephoto shot seems a better choice for the scene. The stitched image has a different exposure/color balance so hard to compare. The clouds present a real challenge for stitching unless stationary. A substantial percentage of my landscapes are shot with a telephoto.
There was no foreground interest at this point. Everything was in the difference and you needed the focal length to shoot over the near stuff and get the far view.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The images are three different perspectives.
What are we showing here?
That I made a stupid lens selection for the shot, and that I had forgotten just how good the old Contex was.....

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I would have said they are all, by definition, exactly the same perspective because they were taken from the same spot. What has changed is lighting and angle of view.

For mine, the tighter angle of the single frame with the 85mm lens is the most compelling image, for the reasons already mentioned.
Yes, the same location with the lighting and the AoV difference in the lenses. Cropping the wide angle and just happening to stitch the 85 provided pretty much the same view.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
But in the larger context what does that mean? Beyond that 85mm was the most appropriate FoV from that perspective (given a choice between 15-30 and 85mm), disregarding the possibility that with a 70-200 zoom (or even a 28-105), a different FoV would likely have been the best.

Sorry if I confused you. My terminology was imprecise. Hopefully this helps.
.... and I had not shot with it for quite a while and I was really happy with the results, as the post below captures it very well.

QuoteOriginally posted by TwoUptons Quote
I got two things out of the OP’s comments:

“Hey, my antique 85mm is still a pretty good lens, even compared with a brand new one”

“There is something creatively interesting about this comparison I would like to investigate and use in the future”

And then there were some nice pictures that are really tiny on my phone

-Eric
Yup!

QuoteOriginally posted by joergens.mi Quote
I didn't see any advantages of stitched Panorama except for the resolution. The differences to the 30 mm shot could be egalized in photoshop.
For me the 30 mm shot feels crispier. But without a look at the photos in original resolutions you can't decide it. I like the singe 85mm shot.
I might just spend a bit more time with these and see what the results produce.

08-06-2019, 06:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
That I made a stupid lens selection for the shot, and that I had forgotten just how good the old Contex was.....
Well then, I have some stories to tell about my own stupid lens selections, but I won't hijack your thread.
The sad thing is, you make a stupid lens selection then the next time you go out you pack every lens you own, which of course, you never need when you have it there.

The magic question is "how many lenses do I have to pack to ensure I have the right lens for the job?" The photography gods always play stupid tricks on photographers who haven't met the minimum requirements.
08-07-2019, 11:29 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Well then, I have some stories to tell about my own stupid lens selections, but I won't hijack your thread.
The sad thing is, you make a stupid lens selection then the next time you go out you pack every lens you own, which of course, you never need when you have it there.

The magic question is "how many lenses do I have to pack to ensure I have the right lens for the job?" The photography gods always play stupid tricks on photographers who haven't met the minimum requirements.
Yea, I usually pack more than I need, and the 15-30 usually is mounted for the night shooting. During the day, I've been sometimes too lazy to sway, or slow to sway - this time I actually fixed my crappy initial selection - and was much better off. The magic answer is - I don't have a clue. I need to pack a few and make some better selections along the way.

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