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What’s coming — Zeiss, Nikon, Leica...

On my 4+ day excursion to Yosemite, the White Mountains and northern Death Valley, I shot pre-dawn to late at night, an exhausting but satisfying effort, with my main focus being the Zeiss lenses. Sorting and selecting alone will take at least a day (60GB or so), but soon I’ll be adding a variety of images to my Guide to Zeiss ZF/ZE Lenses, for the 25/2.8 Distagon, 28/2 Distagon, 35/2 Distagon, 50/1.4 Planar, 50/2 Makro-Planar, and a few for the 100/2 Makro-Planar and 21/2.8 Distagon. I also made a special effort to compare the two 50mm lenses.

Looking for a landscape lens? The Zeiss 25/2.8 Distagon is approachably priced, and I find that it is an apt lens for many of the outdoor scenes I encounter. On this trip, it just felt right, as compared to the 28/2 or 35/2, and I enjoyed using it at night also.

Bristlecone Pines before sunrise
Nikon D3x + Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Distagon @ f/11

On the Nikon lens front, I did shoot several comparisons with the Nikon 24-120, 24-70, 24/1.4, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, to establish just how well those zooms compare to the primes. Also, I shot some new material with the Leica M9 which will also be posted. All of this will take some time to publish, but I plan a steady effort over the next week or so, with a short break for turkey and trimmings.

I shot the image below wide open using the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar (see Wide Aperture Landscapes in DAP). No saturation was added; it’s straight from Nikon Capture NX2. I’ve seen some dull sunrises in this area, but the Nov 17 sunrise was pretty incredible, and a feature of late-year shooting is that instead of a rushed minute of excellent light, one enjoys 5 minutes or so, because the sun hugs the horizon much longer.

Bristlecone Pine at daybreak
Nikon D3x + Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar @ f/1.4

This 32 second moonlight exposure on the Leica M9 was also pushed two stops:

Ellery Lake, Nov 17, 2010
Leica M9 + Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH @ f/2.8

Flare control is not perfect with the 21/2.4 Summilux, with both coronal flare at lower left and right as well as ghosting flare. Both could be removed.

Moon with Halo Cloud
Leica M9 + Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH @ f/2.8

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