Mid Range Performance (f1.4)

Mid-Range (4-6m) Performance at f1.4

Given the trouncing meted out to the Zeiss ZF 85mm at close range, it seemed fair to extend the test to a mid-range subject. Can the blame be laid at the door of close range correction? The Canon adaptor? The Cosina factory? Or has the ZF inherited the unremarkable traits of its Contax/Yashica mount ancestor in this regard?

Zeiss ZF 85mm f1.4 ar f1.4 (centre)
27,750 bytes
Canon 85mm L (Mark 1) f1.4 (centre)
27,295 bytes

The test subject was here placed at a distance of approximately 5.75m. And it’s very hard to separate the two lenses for resolution. Across the frame, the Zeiss ZF 85mm renders slightly stronger contrast and perhaps the merest whisker more resolution, as supported by the file sizes. Note also that, although the Zeiss has conspicuously better control over chroma aberration, it isn’t quite entirely blameless.

Zeiss ZF 85mm f1.4 at f8 (corner)
25,528 bytes
Canon 85mm L (Mark 1) f1.2 at f1.4 (corner)
27,749 bytes

Despite a fraction more vignetting in the extreme corners, the wide-open Zeiss draws its colours with greater solidity and presence than the Canon L, but it isn’t quite as sharp. The mildly warmed-up Canon JPEG has noticeably more information in it. This pair are hard to separate at middle distances.