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Portrait lens: Zuiko 45/1.8 or legacy Contax Zeiss 50/1.4?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by shesmu, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Dec 18, 2013
    I'm buying Olympus E-P5 camera and trying to decide which portrait lens to get. Is it worth buying old Contax Zeiss Planar T* 50/1.4 instead of autofocus Zuiko 45/1.8, which appears to be the first and obvious choice? I can get them for the same price. It seems like with Zeiss I can get shallower DOF and nicer bokeh. What I'm worried about is its contrast and sharpness wide open. I wasn't able to find comprehensive test of this Zeiss but I've seen many legacy 50/1.4 lenses that are too soft wide open. If I have to use it stopped down to f/2 than I'd probably better stick to new autofocus Zuiko as it's sharp enough for me at f/1.8.

    Maybe somebody owns both of these lenses? I'd appreciate any thoughts and advices.
     
  2. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    If you want to shoot wide open with a manual focus lens, and with those sorts of apertures, a modern Samyang/Rokinon 85mm f1.4 will be cheaper than a Zeiss 50mm f1.4, and probably even sharper. It won't however have 'character' or the famous *T coating.

    I got a Contax Zeiss 85mm f2.8 as my portrait lens. Its small and sharp wide open and not too expensive. However my choice of adapter means my depth of field is thinner than using a 'dumb' adapter - effectively 120mm f2.

    Oh - and welcome to mu-43.com :biggrin:

    Edit: for Contax Zeiss MTF data, see this page - http://lenses.zeiss.com/camera-lenses/en_de/service/download_center/contax_yashica.html
     
  3. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Dec 18, 2013
    Yep, Samyang/Rokinon lenses are nice but they don't make anything in 40 to 60 mm range AFAIK.
    I'm afraid that 85mm (170mm equivalent) would be too tight for my portrait needs.

    Thanks :)
     
  4. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    In my opinion, super-thin DoF for portraits - where the eye is in focus but the ear isn't - is a specialty case and I wouldn't get an f/1.4 instead of f/1.8 for that purpose only.

    The 45/1.8 is lovely and tiny, nicely priced, and offers AE & AF. On the other hand, these are less important for portrait shooting than other cases.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
  6. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Dec 18, 2013
    Oh, thanks guys, I probably need to read more about that speed buster, never heard of it before.
     
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have the contax Zeiss 50/1.4, and iT is probably my favorite lens on FF. Not everyone loves the bokeh on the planars, and it's not as sharp as the 45/1.8 (close, though). Mostly it's a lot heavier and a bigger pain to use on MFT, was my experience. I love it on FF, merely like it on MFT.

    The 45/1.8 is plasticky, but very shape, very small, and makes a great kit. I'd choose that one first, and add legacy glass for fun later.
     
  8. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    You can read more about the Speedbooster, its benefits and how it works in their white paper. For some reason they removed the whitepaper from their website, but its still available from the wayback machine -> http://web.archive.org/web/20130510...mages/metabones/Speed Booster White Paper.pdf

    Its an expensive proposition though... ~$400 a pop. More than the Zuiko 45/1.8. Only really makes sense if you have a few lenses to use.
     
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I gave up with legacy lenses. Big, no AF, usually less sharp than native lenses (especially wide open with issues of blooming and halos), no EXIF, stop-down metering, ... Personally, I don't see any compelling reason not to get the 45/1.8. It's got excellent IQ, is small, light and very reasonably priced. You'll get AF (incl face detect which having now overcome my deep-rooted objection on 'purist' grounds, I now realise is an absolutely excellent feature for portraits!!!) and EXIF.

    Its only downside is a plastic build, but it still looks great and seems plenty durable enough (I've heaard no complaints of the mount breaking away from the lens :-/ ).
     
  10. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Dec 18, 2013
    Thanks for your advices! You convinced me, it seems there's not much sense in getting legacy Zeiss at this moment, so I really should stick to native Zuiko 45/1.8. :)
     
  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Our powers of persuasion are legion. Have you thought of the 75/1.8 as a next step after the 45? :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. shesmu

    shesmu Mu-43 Rookie

    16
    Dec 18, 2013
    Not yet because E-P5 is my first m43 experience (and the camera hasn't even arrived yet). I've also ordered Lumix 20/1.7 for everyday use. I hope these two lenses should be enough to get acquainted with a new system, so I'm trying to stop myself from even thinking about other m43 lenses. :)
    Chances that I'll be using it for only a year or two until mirrorless full frame cameras get cheaper. But who knows.
     
  13. icolquhoun

    icolquhoun Mu-43 Regular

    32
    Dec 18, 2013
    Long Valley, NJ
    I understand the 45f1.8 is probably the best way to go here, but I inherited some nice fd mount canon lenses from my dad and use the 50mm f1.4 SSC quite often. I cannot see how a lens could be sharper, and for portrait work, this thing comes out every time. Cheap on ebay or kickin around old garage sales!

    [​IMG]"800" height="600" alt="Duncan at the dam"></a>[/IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    A great inexpensive portrait option is the Minolta 58 1.4. Known for bieng a bit soft wide open, it is in a good way, especially for portraits. If you shop around, you could probably find one for 50-60, and another 20 for an adapter.