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Zeiss and Schneider-Kreuznach

By Andrew Paquette

When I originally joined this forum, I had exactly one lens for my D800--a Zeiss 100mm Macro-planar. I added a 15mm Distagon, 55mm Otus, a 135mm ZA, and the 35mm and 80mm G-series Nikkor lenses. With these lenses, I took a lot of photos and posted them here: pictures of moss, mushrooms, horses, street scenes, a wedding, and a lot of sports.

For all those images I was very happy with my cameras and the lenses I was using, particularly the Otus and a 35mm Leica summilux I had picked up. However, I had been curious about medium format from the beginning. My first real camera--a Yashica two and a quarter was almost medium format, and I knew my uncle used a 4x5 to shoot his paintings for his portfolio. What I'd seen on the Internet regarding Hasselblads and Pentax digital cameras though was very exciting. The prices made the cameras impossible, but still--I always wondered what they'd be like.

More recently, just when Phase One phased out their DF+ camera and the 2xx line of IQ backs, they put the other gear on sale. So I got a DF+ and an IQ250 for a reasonable price. This system uses SK leaf shutter lenses and I simply cannot mount any of my other lenses to this camera. The sensor is bigger, meaning the mount is bigger also--too big for 35mm lenses.

After buying the P1 gear, I ran a number of tests against (primarily) the Otus. My conclusion was that the Otus is better than the SK lenses because its color control is a lot better. The SK lenses have noticeable LOCA when shot a certain way but the Otus never has this problem. That said, the P1 sensor is better than the D800 or A7r sensor, so the colour rendition is better overall. As long as LOCA is controlled for by stopping down the lens and not pointing it directly at a light, the results are good.

All of this is to say that it is amazing to me that the Otus is so much better in this way than the SK lenses. I am shooting the P1 a lot more lately because it is easier to use than the D800 or A7r despite its greater bulk and weight, but I really wish Zeiss would make lenses that could fit on the P1--preferably with AF. I used the P1 for a portfolio shoot in Thailand that I posted here recently and am happy with the results, but also remember that several photos needed careful retouching to eliminate purple fringing.

AP

Replies

Reply from Tim on 12-12-15 2:24 PM
The ONLY advantage to Phase over anything else is file size. Colour depth has now been matched by the Sony , and really when your working what else is there?
I used to shoot fashion on MF because of the depth of field. I had the Blad 110 f2 and mamiya RZ with the 110 2.8 so i could shoot standard lens ...ish perspective but still throw the background out of focus. On 35mm the 110 mamiya lens was about the same depth as my Leica M6 with the Noct f1 but way better sharpness and i could use a polaroid back. The canon 50s i had were not up to par and I had bad experiences dealing with Nikon that i still wont get over although their top camera now is a cracker.
So move on to 2015 and we have Otus and other Zeiss primes that are SO much better than what we were shooting in the days of film. So now the MF look is achievable if you shoot wide open , the dynamic range is better , the colour fringing is better the ISO or should i say anything above 50 iso is WAY better , i no longer need to own 6 profoto 2400 packs (have you priced those lately?) So for me with magazine work , outdoor bus shelter size advertising and other general commercial work its a no brainer. The Phase is not a good. Fine art , 50iso f22 tripod huge gallery prints then sure you need the Phase.
Reply from Wolf Rainer Schmalfuss on 09-30-15 2:52 AM
ZEISS doesn't make any MF camera lenses anymore!

Medium cameras are not important anymore for ZEISS!
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