Why do I love Zeiss prime lenses so much?


Why do I love my Contax Zeiss primes so much? I prefer them over Canon zooms just about any day. At least, any day I have time to change lenses between setups. Consider the following two frame grabs of my coffee mug…

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 @ f/2

Contax Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 @ f/2

Canon EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 2.8

Canon EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 2.8

Besides being faster (enabling me to shoot the first frame at ISO 1000 and requiring the second one to be shot at ISO 1600), the Zeiss has a dreaminess to it. And that bokeh with it’s hooked aperture blades? Pure magic. The Canon has a little higher contrast both in color and luma. But I would call that “clinical sharpness.”

Nevertheless, if you see me rolling handheld you’ll probably see me rocking a Canon zoom, for one reason: the ability to keep shooting without having to change lenses all the time is priceless for documentary work. Not to mention that you can do with a single zoom what you’d need a whole Pelican case full of fixed lens glass to do.

But if I’ve got the time, don’t get between me and my primes!


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