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Reader Feedback on Zeiss 50/2 Makro-Planar, Live View

Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar
for Canon or Nikon

Subscriber Kirk T writes:

I recently emailed you to thank you for the referral to the Hoodman loupe for manual focus using Live View. I need to thank you again, as it has completely changed the way I shoot and the quality of the images I capture.

Today I photographed a vehicle that was in a collision (I am a biomechanical engineer that studies injury, and do this kind of inspection work frequently).

I used my Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar for most of my shooting. Bright daylight sun, usually very harsh rendering with my typical lens kit (24-105 f/4L and 70-200 f/2.8 L IS). I used a tripod and the Hoodman loupe (and a remote shutter release) and it was a revelation. Once I got into the rhythm of photographing the vehicle, there was very little difference in efficiency and effort between what I normally did handheld, and what I was doing with the tripod. Plus, manual focus makes me compose more thoughtfully. I can see how a wrecked car may seem somewhat mundane to most folks, but this was an eye-opening experience. I have had the Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar for about a year but I am now just starting to get the hang of unleashing its awesomeness.

I seem to use a hybrid approach - I first compose through the viewfinder and then focus with live view and the loupe. Works for me.

So, thanks again.

Also, the Zeiss lens renders these images in a way that is hands down going to bankrupt me, because I have a feeling I am going to be adding to my current collection of one Zeiss lens. The 50mm makro is an amazingly versatile lens, as I shot full views of the vehicle all the way down to focus-stacked macro shots of abrasions on the shoulder belt d-ring with the same lens. How about that! Dang, I am going to have to subscribe to the Zeiss Guide now?


Kirk T
Berwyn, PA

PS - I shot some of the images today with a 580EXII on a Pocket Wizard to fill dark shadows. However, I have a feeling that I may need to supplement that lighting with a Lupine Betty...Night riding is going to get a whole lot less interesting when I can actually see the trail. Those lights have got it going on. Dear Santa....

DIGLLOYD: Your next lens: the Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar. Or the 21mm f/2.8 Distagon or 25/2 Distagon.

Too often lenses are measured on resolution charts and boring flat studio shots, so most photographers never really understand the differences. The Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar is one lens that never fails to reward with its unique combination of optical qualities, and having an f/2 macro lens simply adds to its versatility.

One goal with my Zeiss Guide is to show some of the magic with the Zeiss lenses, as I think too few photographers appreciate the visual impact a lens can impart— there is a lot more going on with the way a lens “draws” than it sharpness. One might fall in love with a particular style of rendering, and this is why more than one lens of the same focal length is not redundant at all.

That said, I shoot most of my studio-style cycling photos with an autofocus lens because I am usually racing against time (dusk).

As for the Lupine Betty, it is a spectacular lighting system that I have used for years, and it only keeps getting better. I use it for biking and for night-time photography.

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