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Zeiss macro lens question
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:01 pm    Post subject: Zeiss macro lens question Reply with quote

Does anybody know if the planar s bellow lenses from zeiss suffer from the same horrible oof ca problem as the macro planar 100mm f2
I may be getting a contax bellows and are wondering if it be worth my while going that route with the uber expensive s planars , if they also have excessive ca ? any advice welcome !


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think your "horrible oof ca problem of the macro planar 100mm f2" is nothing to worry about. just stop down to f4 - f5.6, and the "horrible oof ca problem" is completely gone.
Someting you might want to do anyway, especially on a bellows, if you want more than a hair in your depth of focus.

I own the "horrible Macro-Planar 100mm f2", and have learned to appriciate it as one of the very best lenses I own. But every lens is a tool you have to learn to use at it's best.
Your "horrible oof ca problem of the macro planar 100mm f2"only shows up if you are shooting a subject with high contrast edges AND wide open.
Easy to cure by stopping down a bit.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This "horrible OOF CA" problem only exists for the new Z-Series f2/100mm lens, not for the older Contax series S-Planar/Makro-Planar or the bellows head S-Planar!

Gerjan is correct, from about f4 it starts to disappear and from f5.6 onwards, that problem is gone! here is the proof (f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6 - left to right, top to bottom) shot using the ZF 2/100mm on my Nikon:



Just avoid situations like that:



100% crop:


Used carefully, it can deliver quite good results::



100% crop:


with very creamy bokeh:


Last edited by kds315* on Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:17 am; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, that at f/4-f/5.6 the results are pretty impressive, but the lens is very expensive. If I buy such expensive f/2 lens, I would expect excellent performance even at f/2. I think there are many 85-135mm lenses, which are very sharp and CA-free around f/5.6... Not only the Lanthar, but even some quality enlarger lenses offer great macro performance + low-CA and even with expensive custom-made helicoid they can be cheaper...


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Jiri, I bought my ZF100 new for around $1500 if I remember correctly and sold it then in favour of my Apo Macro Lanthar 2.5/125mm, as that additionally does 1:1 and not just 1:2 without that issue.

I also agree that an Apo enlarger lens on a helicoid (like the Apo Rodagon 105mm or the similar Apo Componon HM) would deliver outstanding results for much less, but I guess that was not the question of the OP Wink

If the OP wants to go the Contax bellows route (and excellent bellows btw.) he could either get the Contax 4/100 S-Planar original bellows head (not cheap, but outstanding incl. infinity - I have that one too) http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=11 , or get an M39 (Leica thread mount) adaptor for it and an excellent enlarger lens like the ones mentioned above. The (rel. cheap) Apo Rodagon D 75mm also comes to mind http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=154 , just having shorter focal length and infinity would not be doable and the outstanding but hardly known Zeiss S-Planar 4/74mm (needs special mounting ring as it has a nonstandard thread mount) http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=76 (I have several of the latter two lenses, just in case... Wink ). One should also not forget the outstanding but also hardly known Schneider Macro Symmar 5.6/80mm and 120mm lenses, which also deliver outstanding results (have and tested both) which can be found used at reasonable prices sometimes. The old and sometimes cheap to find S-Planar 4/60mm http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=106 (the little brother of the legendary Zeiss S-Orthoplanar 4/60mm http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=78 ) is a very fine lens too for bellows use (but needs a special mounting ring). Of course the Zeiss Luminar macro lenses have to be mentioned also (63mm + 100mm).

Having mentioned those, fairness demands to also mention the excellent Leitz Photar macro lenses (series II, 80mm and 130mm) as well as the really outstanding Nikon Macro Nikkors (65mm + 120mm) all good up to 4x5" format and very long bellows draw up to 700mm (data all on my macrolenses site here: http://www.macrolenses.de/objektive.php?lang ).


Last edited by kds315* on Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 am; edited 13 times in total


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fine, sorry for slight OT Smile


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apo Rodagon are fine lenses, they can give interesting APO flare


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very artistic shot (I like a lot), but not the everyday macro shot Wink A proof how import a long sunshade is...


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
Well Jiri, I bought my ZF100 new for around $1500 if I remember correctly and sold it then in favour of my Apo Macro Lanthar 2.5/125mm, as that additionally does 1:1 and not just 1:2 without that issue.

I also agree that an Apo enlarger lens on a helicoid (like the Apo Rodagon 105mm or the similar Apo Componon HM) would deliver outstanding results for much less, but I guess that was not the question of the OP Wink

If the OP wants to go the Contax bellows route (and excellent bellows btw.) he could either get the Contax 4/100 S-Planar original bellows head (not cheap, but outstanding incl. infinity - I have that one too) http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=11 , or get an M39 (Leica thread mount) adaptor for it and an excellent enlarger lens like the ones mentioned above. The (rel. cheap) Apo Rodagon D 75mm also comes to mind http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=154 , just having shorter focal length and infinity would not be doable and the outstanding but hardly known Zeiss S-Planar 4/74mm (needs special mounting ring as it has a nonstandard thread mount) http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=76 (I have several of the latter two lenses, just in case... Wink ). One should also not forget the outstanding but also hardly known Schneider Macro Symmar 5.6/80mm and 120mm lenses, which also deliver outstanding results (have and tested both) which can be found used at reasonable prices sometimes. The old and sometimes cheap to find S-Planar 4/60mm http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=106 (the little brother of the legendary Zeiss S-Orthoplanar 4/60mm http://www.macrolenses.de/ml_detail.php?ObjektiveNr=78 ) is a very fine lens too for bellows use (but needs a special mounting ring). Of course the Zeiss Luminar macro lenses have to be mentioned also (63mm + 100mm).

Having mentioned those, fairness demands to also mention the excellent Leitz Photar macro lenses (series II, 80mm and 130mm) as well as the really outstanding Nikon Macro Nikkors (65mm + 120mm) all good up to 4x5" format and very long bellows draw up to 700mm (data all on my macrolenses site here: http://www.macrolenses.de/objektive.php?lang ).


Thanks Klaus (and other posters !)
Exactly the info i needed

One of the reasons for the possible shift to the contax bellows is that apparently the bellows has an electrical auto stopdown mechanism that i am positive can be re-engineered to fire the shutter of the 50D
Most of my macro is done with out a tripod and losing focus while stopping down is a big hurdle for me
But will only know if possible when it arrives in a few days
Thanks once again Laughing


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
I agree, that at f/4-f/5.6 the results are pretty impressive, but the lens is very expensive. If I buy such expensive f/2 lens, I would expect excellent performance even at f/2. ...

+1 Laughing


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad that I could be of help!


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be kind of obvious, but all those APO enlarger lenses are slow at f/4-5.6. If they were f/2 they might be even more expensive than the Z* MP100/2 because it's difficult to make such a fast 100mm apochromatic.

The Z* MP100 can perform outstanding at f/2, but not in every situation, especially with macro.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Cosina Voigtlander Macro Apo Lanthar f2.5/100mm is apochromatic, and its list price was JPY94.000
(about EUR800 now) when it was still being sold as new not too long ago. Obviously it was not that
"difficult" for Cosina to make a fast apo lens ...


PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty wrote:

One of the reasons for the possible shift to the contax bellows is that apparently the bellows has an electrical auto stopdown mechanism that i am positive can be re-engineered to fire the shutter of the 50D
Most of my macro is done with out a tripod and losing focus while stopping down is a big hurdle for me
But will only know if possible when it arrives in a few days
Thanks once again Laughing


If you need auto aperture with the Contax bellows, you need Contax mount auto aperture lenses, such as the S-Planar 100/4 - enlarger lenses won't work for that. You should be able to rig a cable that will fire the 50D when the lens is stopped down. You then stop down the lens through a mechanical cable release or the stop down button on the side of the bellows.

A simple work around for handheld work without a re-engineered cable is stopping down the lens with the bellows button then releasing the camera's shutter on the camera itself. This works particularly well with reversed lenses, as the stopdown button is then perfectly positioned for your left thumb. This way I used my Minolta bellows (Auto Bellows III), a bellows nearly identical to the Contax swing shift bellows. I've got both bellows and a S-Planar 100/4, and I haven't bothered rigging an electrical cable - yet.


PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ! How do you find the s-planar compared to other macro lenses at 1:1 Do you find that it lives up to the s-planar hype and is significantly better than other you have used ?


PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
I agree, that at f/4-f/5.6 the results are pretty impressive, but the lens is very expensive. If I buy such expensive f/2 lens, I would expect excellent performance even at f/2. I think there are many 85-135mm lenses, which are very sharp and CA-free around f/5.6... Not only the Lanthar, but even some quality enlarger lenses offer great macro performance + low-CA and even with expensive custom-made helicoid they can be cheaper...


+1