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Field Tests: Zeiss 50mm F1.4, 50mm F2 Macro, 18mm F3.5, on the 5D Mk II

by Chris Gampat on 03/17/2010

I recently got the opportunity to team up with my old boss, Sal Cangeloso of Geek.com to try out some wonderful Zeiss glass on the Lower East Side in NYC. My Canon 5D Mk II came along with the new 2.0.3 firmware update that allows recording of 24p HD video. Here are some of my findings in my short test.

My general findings with each lens is this: they’re all very lovely. Sometimes, the bokeh is a bit distracting for my tastes, but for videography these are perhaps some of the nicest lenses one could get their hands on when using something like the 5D Mk II.

Focusing manually gets a bit hard with these lenses though at times and really requires careful concentration and viewing. Their build quality is very solid being all metal. However, they don’t seem the expose correctly and I found myself overexposing a whole stop when shooting. I usually tell everyone to manually focus. However, with a lens like this, I’d say that it is better having the eyepiece that will help you do that better.

Wide open, they’re pretty soft. Stop them down a bit, and just like any lens they become very sharp. Their color rendition is very nice, very vibrant and actually very lifelike.

For video, I’d pair them up with my essential videography items.

By far, my favorite was the 50mm F1.4. That’s the most useful focal length and f stop in my opinion and if I had one, it would probably stay on my camera.

Now here are the samples. Video samples are being uploaded to Youtube and well post those when they’re ready.

Zeiss 50mm F1.4

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

160th f16 50mm f1.4

50mm f1.4 at 12000th f1.4

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 at 150th f9

50mm f1.4 1/1000th second at f1.8

50 f1.4 1/8000s f1.4

Zeiss 50mm F2 Macro

50mm f2 1/400th f2

50mm f2 at 1/400th f2

50mm f2 at 1/400th f2

Zeiss 18mm F3.5

18mm f3.5 1/8000s

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