Discussions (118)

Canon 85 ƒ1.2 V's Zeiss 85 ƒ1.4 T*

gigantic books [deleted] says:

Hi All,
I'm new here and must confess to not owning any Zeiss lenses. I am looking to buy an 85mm lens at the moment and I was wondering how the Zeiss 85 ƒ1.4 Planar T* compares to the Canon 85 ƒ1.2 L?

The 1.2L is widely regarded as one Canon's finest, so can the Zeiss, which weighs in at about €900 less equal it's performance?

I wouldn't really be using this lens in low light so the manual focus part doesn't bother me. I am really looking for the wide aperture for OOF background areas.
Which brings me to ask what is the bokeh on the 1.4 like?

I have a 20D for now and will be upgrading to a FF camera in the new year if that affects anyone's advice.

I assume the ZF (Nikon mount) would be the one to go for as I know Nikon --> Canon adaptors are readily available.

So to recap...Can the Zeiss 1.4 match the 1.2? What is it's Bokeh like, and is the ZF variant the best choice to make?

Thanks for your time.
10:57AM, 28 December 2006 PDT (permalink)

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Mawz says:

Frankly, no. The L is better, even for Bokeh. As is the Nikon 85mm f1.4 in both forms (AI-S and the even better AF-D) and the Pentax 85mm f1.4 SMC-A*.

The Pentax is the best of the lot IMHO. All are superb. But in this case, the Zeiss is the least of an incredible set of lenses.
ages ago (permalink)

gigantic books [deleted] says:

Fair enough Mawz, looks like I'll be breaking the bank after all ;)
Thanks for the reply.
ages ago (permalink)

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Mawz says:

Well, you could get the similarly priced Nikon 85 f1.4 and use it on an adaptor like you were going to with the Zeiss. It's at least as good as the L and half the price.
ages ago (permalink)

gigantic books [deleted] says:

Fair point also, will take it into consideration.
Thanks once more.
ages ago (permalink)

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Mawz says:

I highly suggest checking out 16-9.net's lens tests. They're pretty illuminating (The Zeiss 85 f1.4 gets beaten badly by the 85L at close ranges, the Pentax A* proves fractionally better than the L).
ages ago (permalink)

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Nigel No 4 says:

16:9 link here;


Incidentally, I have the older C/Y mount Planar 85 f1.4 and it is my favourite lens. It does the portrait lens (soft wide open) thing and I prefer it at f2. At f4 and f5.6 it is so sharp you can cut yourself. Bokeh is also dreamy. I have photographed everything from products and friends at a party to catwalk models and directors of Tesco with it.

I have also used the Canon 85 f1.2 Mk II and it's great. Actually, bokeh is really good too (far better than almost any other Canon lens). And you get AF.

If you need f1.2 and f1.4 and AF, save for the Canon. f2 and up, MF, save your money and get a second hand C/Y mount one.
ages ago (permalink)

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photogeniks says:

... at the end of the day, it's still the singer and not the song. I'll take the Planar anytime.
ages ago (permalink)

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zafassa says:

the tests in the 16-9 site are probably affected by the a lousy adapter.
zeiss (whose claims have never been confuted to my knowledge) resolved 250 lines pairs per mm with the zf planar 85 f1.4 between f2 and f5.6. well, do the math, compare with the pixel size of the ccd used in the body of the 16-9 test and draw you own conclusions.

since the zeiss lenses are not available for the canon mount, the body needs an adapter to fit the zeiss lens. given the extremely tight tolerances involved in a zeiss objective, a nonperfect adapter will result in skewed results. having said this, there are people getting stunningly sharp pictures on 1ds mk2 using zeiss objectives (e.g. 21, 2.8 distagon, planar 85, 1.4 zf).
the most accurate way to compare the most relevant objective paramenters is reading their tested (as opposed to calculated) mtf charts at various frequencies, and not taking pictures of walls or the likes. In this respect the canon 85 f1.2 is surprisingly equivalent to the planar zf 85 f1.4, both of them being slightly inferior to the "state of the art" planar 85 f1.2 especially at high frequencies and open. To my knowledge these three ones are the best 85mm lenses ever made.

because of such high performance, i would not recommend canon body owners to buy the zeiss counterpart, unless they really fancy zeiss glass. in such a case, do extensive testing with the adapter and the objective before signing the check.
ages ago (permalink)

calculating experience [deleted] says:

When you talk about Contax Planar 85/1.4 Zeiss, be aware of the two versions of the lens - there're lenses made in Germany (AEG) and in Japan (AEJ, MMJ).

I shot with both versions and my feeling is that the Germany-made AEG Planar 85/1.4 is completely different from its Japan twin.
AEG Planar 85/1.4 has the best bokeh, color clarity and 3-D effect of the two.

Nikkors 85/1.4 AF-D and AI-s are different in performance, but they lose to Zeiss Planar 85/1.4 AEG in resolution, contrast and bokeh.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L is a great lens, it's almost a twin of the 'state-of-the-art' Zeiss Planar 85/1.2 optically - they both have aspheric elements to improve contrast/sharpness when shot wide open and floating element for CRC. None of it you can find in Planar 85/1.4.

EF85/1.L is twice as havier compared to Planar 85/1.4.

Fully open, EF85/1.2L delivers better contrast/sharpness than Planar 85/1.4 due to the aspheric element.

I found AF speed of EF85/1.2L acceptable for almost any situation.

A lot of people swear by the Canon EF 85/1.2L bokeh. But for me it's vapid. I prefer the creamy bokeh of the AEG Zeiss Planar 85/1.4 and Leitz Summicron-M 90/2.
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
calculating experience edited this topic ages ago.

useful wave [deleted] says:

u may want to consider the Zeiss 2/100 which is much more competitive with the 85L as far as IQ (not low light performance though)
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
useful wave edited this topic ages ago.

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PatJandak says:

Well I am sure that Canon 85mm 1.2 is amazing lens and probably worth the money. I have few Zeiss lenses with adapters to Canon and have to say if you don't mind MF and manual settings save your money and shop for used C/Y Zeiss lenses. I have 28mm 2.8 Zeiss Distagon and so far that is my favorite lens, so sharp and what I like the most is lower contrast compare to any AF canon Lenses so I can actually see details in shadow areas without any post production and if I need more contrast it is always easier to ad it rather then reduce it :)
I also have 80mm 2.8 Zeiss lens that is for Pentacon 6 medium format camera, if you know how to focus it's another great lens to try.
So my advance is it depends on what and how you will shoot and for sure how much money you have to spend. I am not saying that Zeiss is better then Canon but it's not worse and if you can save some $$$ it's always good :)
I am just waiting to get my Zeiss 35mm any day soon :) And all my Zeiss lenses did not cost even 1/3 of one Canon lens :)
ages ago (permalink)

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Paolo Dolina says:

I have the 85L II and the CZ ZE 1.4/50. Don't have the CZ ZE 1,4/85 and 50/1.2L.

Canon's 85 trumps Zeiss' 85 even if the AF isn't that good. Optically speaking the Canon is better. Worth the money IMO.

Zeiss' 50 trumps Canon's 50 even if their is no AF motor. Optically speaking I feel it doesn't perform as well as any other L thus doesn't warrant the cost. Zeiss's may be double Canon's 50/1.4 and lacks an AF motor but it isn't that all, better built and is a Zeiss not to mention lighter and half the cost of a 50/1.2L. It also doesn't hurt that the photos using a Zeiss makes it look like it was taken a few decades back.

A good review on the Zeiss 85 ZE www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Zeiss-85mm-f-1.4-ZE-P...
ages ago (permalink)

last society [deleted] says:

Well, I have to chuckle a bit here folks...

Lens tests at this level are the equvilant of splitting the thinnest of hairs. It's similar to the "best guy" in spring training who can't make it when the game starts or the "slow guy" who always seems to find the end zone.

I've never known a client to give a rats a** about the things that have been mentioned in the above posts.

They all are winners - choose your weapons and worry more about great light and a great subject than lines of resolution or what trumps what.

I have a set of Zeiss/Contax primes, the 25 2.8, 50 1.4 , 85 1.4 and the 135 2.8. 2 are made in West Germany, 2 in Japan. They all are exceptional. For portraits and foilage, I like the 85 1.4. For wide angle, the 25, for compression, the 135. I don't use the 50 1.4 that much because I usually use my "cheap" nifty 50 1.8 on my 30D for everyday stuff.

The Nifty 50 is as sharp as many L series lens. I have the 70-200 2.8 and it shoots the same at 2.8. Don't go on about the 1.4. Save the $200.00 and buy some Velvia or Pro 400H!

My Zeiss on Canon set...

ages ago (permalink)

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BlueTsunami says:

The Zeiss 85 for Pentax, Nikon and Canon seems to be the older designed 85mm (as is the 50mm Planar). The ZA (Alpha Mount) 85mm is supposed to be a totally different beast and renders amazingly from close to far.

With that said, for an older design being pit against a modern one, the older Zeiss 85 can still hold its own. But if I had to choose, I would also get the 1.2/85 (mainly due to the speed, AF and very dreamy rendering wide open).
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
BlueTsunami edited this topic ages ago.

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lucasadamson says:

I am right there with you rroresteen! Clients don't give a rat's a** about the indiscernible differences between these lenses and neither should photographers. Go with the cheaper (the Zeiss - or preferably the even cheaper old Contax version which is awesome, or even better the even cheaper old Contax Zeiss Sonar 2.8 85mm which is a massive bargain if you can cope with the wider aperture)

The equation of better lenses = better photos simply stops working above a level of quality arrived at much cheaper than any of the above mentioned lenses. Especially the sharpness differences, which are way overrated. Lens tests are for geeks! I know - I've been there. Why would anybody ask which lens has the better bokeh, and then trust the answer without seeing for themselves? This is perhaps the one area where spending a bit more might yield a quality that can't be found cheaper, but you should only pay plenty extra $$$ for good bokeh if you fall in love with it and have to have it. If you want to know if a lens is "good enough" search for photos taken with it in flickr tags - then you'll see and know, (or maybe you won't, in which case, buy whatever.)
ages ago (permalink)

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Nicomaker says:

I have the CZ Planar T* 50mm f1.4 and a CZ Planar T* 85mm f1.4, and I say get the Carl Zeiss because their lenses has more characteristics. It has this amazing 3d look to it which Canon L lens can never achieve. I am not saying that the Canon L lenses are no good, but after all the L lens feel totally plastic to me. And is more fun to shoot MF because u get more control.
Good luck
ages ago (permalink)

excellent toad [deleted] says:

I use the 50/1.4, 28/2 and 85/1.4 by CZ and sold my Canon glass for it. I fully agree with Nico. Especially about L glass. Although I still got the Canon EF 35/1.4 L I am disappointed by L glass compared to what CZ lenses deliver.
ages ago (permalink)

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Kopfgeburt says:

And I fully agree with Ulrich =)

I also had most Canon glass rented. The only ones I actually bought where the 24mm TS-E and the 35L. I also have a converted 35mm FD TS-E, but that's it.
The 85/1.2 is a great lens, but it doesn't arouse the same emotions when I look at photos taken with it as the Zeiss does. It's hard to explain though. Probably some of the effect is contributed to the 3D effect that this lens is known for, but most of it is very subjective I guess.
And I don't know if I was just lucky, but mines very sharp wide open. I also have the W. German version, so if in doubt get this one. They're cheap these days. I paid 350 Euros on Evil-Bay.
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
Kopfgeburt edited this topic ages ago.

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creagency is a group administrator creagency says:

What about the Contax/Zeiss 85/1.2? Not very available (or affordable) but a better direct comparison. They made 50th and 60th anniversary editions of this lens.

I think the bigger difference is the practical - autofocus, real world usability (in your world), cost, etc. I love the quality of Zeiss optics and find them different and frankly superior to Canon, but I well understand that is not something tangible for everyone. Using the Zeiss lenses is not as easy as an autofocus lens.

Another interesting option is the Contax "N" 85/1.4 autofocus converted for Canon. Would be likely be a bit slower than the Canon but quite a piece of glass. see Conurus
ages ago (permalink)

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I have recently sold almost all my Canon Ls for Contax glasses (only 17-40 L which sits on my 5D MK1 100% and the 100-400 L which sits on my 40D 100% remain).

The 3D from the CZ is hard to beat and each glass I have bought secondhand thus far has been top notch in IQ and 3D look - no variations in build quality.

With Canon, it was mostly hit & miss from one glass to the other...I keept having to return new lenses just to eventually get a 'good' copy...disgraceful!

I now smile when people on forums gloat about their Ls...what I know is I have removed one more blocker from my quest to capture images...build quality issues are non-existant with buying CZ or Nikon glasses...not something I can say about Canon.

CZs owned at present are as follows;
28/2.8 - a real gem lens focusing as close as 10"...shoot at f/11 and you will be amazed at corner to corner sharpness...only cost me £200...surely can not be right!

50/1.7 and 1.4 (am selling the 1.4 becuase the 1.7 is better on the 1Ds MKIII though there is little difference in IQ on the 40D or 5D however I mainly use the 1Ds MKIII)

35-70/3.4 - what a lens...sharp to f/11!

85/1.4 - this is my FAV lens...sharp from f/1.4 on the 1Ds MKIII

135/2.8 - great for bokeh, lovely glass.

180/2.8 - a hidden gem, sharp from f/2.8 and too sharp by f/11!

Also have Nikon 14-24 for when I really need to go UW. Just debating about a a Macro lense however I may opt for a VL 125/2.5 however am not sure. I may go down the route of a 300/2.8 - Canon or CZ - coupled with the Kenko extension tubes that I already own.

The 300/2.8 route may give me better option than a Macro - I do not really do much Macro...just 'feel' I should have a lens in case I need it though the CZ 35-70/3.4 has a 1:2 macro capability all be it at the 35mm length.

Ohh yeah!, I prefer MF to AF...why rush to capture an image unless you are a sports shooter...which am not, thank God!
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
MSSKITS edited this topic ages ago.

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Xp[oM] says:

Blah blah bla~!
52 months ago (permalink)

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