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06-21-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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DA* 55MM SDM vs. Zeiss Planar T* 50MM

Can you tell which is which without "peeking" at the EXIF?

Both photos shot in RAW @ f2.4 within minutes of each other, and both with no PP other than the "AUTO" adjustments settings applied in ACR (for the sake of level-matching), then reduced in size by 50% and saved as a JPEG in PS CS4. (Originals are available if necessary!)

IMAGE #1


IMAGE #2


Thoughts? Surprise anyone?

-Paul

06-21-2009, 01:24 AM   #2
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Bottom's Zeiss. Top's Pentax.

Easy to guess, as while the coating on the Zeiss is very good, there's a slight difference in the contrast, with Pentax retaining more details in oh, bloody all right, the top one's bigger.
06-21-2009, 01:25 AM   #3
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First one is the Pentax.
06-21-2009, 03:08 AM   #4
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oooh blodyhell, you just made me want the zeiss (price increase have put the Zeiss only 20$ more exp than fa 50/1.4, while the da* is 300$ more than the zeiss)

06-21-2009, 06:10 AM   #5
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Top one is Pentax, besides the smaller FOV it is also more contrasty.

I like the OOF rendering on the top one more. The bottom one looks rather busy/weird in the right-bottom corner.
06-21-2009, 06:50 AM   #6
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The lower one's focal distance is shorter. Hence the Zeiss.
06-21-2009, 07:09 AM   #7
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It is surprising to see how much better contrast the Pentax (assuming it is the first picture) shot has than the second. It would have been interesting to see a comparison with the same shot and the DA* vs. the Pentax DFA 50/1.4
06-21-2009, 08:15 AM   #8
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I would say the Bokeh is better on the first shot (assume Pentax due to FOV)

Great comparison - could I suggest two shots with adjustment for FOV? I would also be very interested in a wide open comparison as well.

Many thanks - most useful to me, if not my wallet ;}

06-21-2009, 11:31 AM   #9
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Bokeh on first is definitely better. The bokeh on the Zeiss almost seems to have a motion blur to it, sorta like astigmatism.
06-22-2009, 01:04 PM   #10
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Minawee, any chance of some more images?
06-22-2009, 08:54 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jfsavage Quote
Minawee, any chance of some more images?
Sorry for my absence...

jfsavage, I will try to fulfill your request(s) tomorrow!

But with respect to the cropping so both frames looked "equal" - I realized the slightly different FOV's of the lenses were dead giveaways for which was which, but I thought this was acceptable insofar as total resolutions of both images were the same; I wanted to introduce as little "digital corruption" to the images as possible.

In the end, the cropping isn't the focus of this small comparison; it's the different rendering characteristics (in both the details and bokeh) of these lenses that intrigues me.

My own personal take: I LOVE the way the Zeiss handles. It is an MF lens of all-metal construction, and as such the focusing action is just butter smooth and substantial feeling. As good as the DA* 55mm is, it is still a plastic lens and will always feel that way when compared to the Zeiss. Image quality-wise, at first I found myself preferring the Zeiss over the DA*; but as I've played more and more with the DA*, it began to win me over. The Zeiss' bokeh almost has a Nokton 58mm-esque quality to it, though not as (as others have described it) "dreamy". I preferred this look at first, but now find the no-nonsense "clean" bokeh of the DA* more appealing...

So, in the end, I still love both lenses, however I find the DA* consistently mounted to my K10D about 90% of the time when I want a 50mm-range lens.

Now I just have to decide if I'm going to keep the Zeiss...it just feels sooo niiice (the way I'd imagine one of the Pentax Limited lenses would feel, though I haven't had the privilege of handling one personally...yet!)

Anyhow, as I said at the start of this post, I'll try to get the images you requested, but I probably won't be cropping them to match frames. Okay?

-Paul
06-23-2009, 06:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Minawee Quote
Now I just have to decide if I'm going to keep the Zeiss...it just feels sooo niiice (the way I'd imagine one of the Pentax Limited lenses would feel, though I haven't had the privilege of handling one personally...yet!)

-Paul
If the Zeiss 50 feels the same way as the other Zeiss glass I've used, I'd have to guess that the manual focusing feels even better than the FA limiteds. Very well damped, completely silent and smooth.

It'd be a tough one to get rid of! I got a DA*55 and have been using my Voigtlander Nokton less and less. Different characteristics in the rendering, but close enough that I'll take the extra sharpness, contrast and autofocus nearly every time! The Nokton is a pleasure to use though, and the bokeh is a bit smoother.

As an aside, I read recently that the Zeiss 50, Voigtlander Nokton 58 and FA 50 1.4 all share the same optical formula:

Voigtländer Nokton 58/1.4 SLII
06-23-2009, 05:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Minawee Quote
But with respect to the cropping so both frames looked "equal" - I realized the slightly different FOV's of the lenses were dead giveaways for which was which, but I thought this was acceptable insofar as total resolutions of both images were the same; I wanted to introduce as little "digital corruption" to the images as possible.
I think that with different focal lengths, the solution would be to move the camera to achieve the same view - it would be slightly different perspective, but should be better than cropping.

Many thanks!
07-10-2009, 02:20 PM   #14
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Well..."tomorrow" turned out to be a rather long time, so I apologize for the delay!

I've expanded the comparo a bit to include my latest acquisition: a Pentax 16-50mm SDM! Since this lens isn't as fast as the other two, I did two series of test shots: one with all lenses stopped to f2.8 (the 16-50mm SDM's lowest stop), and the second with just the two f1.4 lenses at f1.4.

All shots were taken within minutes of eachother with the major differences between this series of shots and the first being different (outdoor in the shade) lighting and no rain droplets. All images were cropped ever-so-slightly to match sizing (to actually MAKE you smart-arses guess which is which without the aid of focal length framing give-aways!), with only slight exposure tweaking to match levels; all contrast, brightness, saturation, etc. settings were left untouched.

So...which is which?


F2.8 SERIES:

Image #1


Image #2


Image #3




F1.4 SERIES:

Image #1


Image #2


Let the guessing begin!

-Paul
07-10-2009, 06:13 PM   #15
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I'll take a crack at it.


F2.8 Series
Image #1 - DA*55mm
Image #2 - DA*16-50mm
Image #3 - Zeiss

I had a last minute change of heart on that first series and I swapped my #1 and #2 picks.

1.4 Series
Image #1 - DA*55mm
Image #2 - Zeiss
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