Jan 12 2013

Tryin’ the Tri Elmar again.

Category: Daily Drivel,Zeiss CheezeRandall Kelley @ 19:54

Took a walk to Anthony’s for lunch after Rita got off work. I wanted to see if she is “stuck” using the Leica M9-P as her camera for a while, would the Medium Angle Tri Elmar (MATE) be an acceptable lens for her. I recently gave a try at selling this lens, but couldn’t get what I felt was a below what it’s worth price for it. After the test I did with the Sony RX1 resulting in the feeling that it was not going to be a good replacement for her Sony NEX7 (unless later firmware improves it), I was willing to give this lens another chance.

The results are questionable, because we pulled a rookie mistake and all her shots were 800 ISO, and on the M9 800 is grainier than I like. However, as a first test I can make a few observations. First, the 50mm setting if excellent, the 35 is very good, and it is just a few weak areas in the 28mm that keep this lens from being ideal for Rita. At 28mm, this lens behaves like I found the 35mm on the Sony RX1 did. Soft at the distance (when shooting at infinity) at lower apertures. I will have to test more to see if it improves much when stopped down. But as wide is NOT Rita’s thang, I don’t think this is a killer on use of the lens. I’ll wait for more test to decide, but for now, I’m more impressed with the lens than when I tested it the first time.

I think this is a case where when compared directly against one of my other lenses, I favor the other lenses because as a self confessed pixel peeper, it is not as clinically sharp. But I think it is actually not so much “less sharp” as it is “old school rendering” that makes the difference. When I just look at the results from this lens for themselves, as opposed to back to back with one of the other lenses, I really like the feel of the images. It renders colors and depth of field much more akin to a much older lens, even though this is new enough to be an ASPH lens. My guess is that in order to accommodate the changing from one focal length to another, the lens design is a simpler one overall. That’s just a layman’s guess. I do know this was an expensive lens to produce, and that compared to a traditional “zoom” that functioned between 28mm and 50mm it’s amazingly better. The softness at distance at 28mm is no where near how soft objects at infinity appear on a zoom when zoom in. And when this lens is at it’s max (50mm) setting, it is really, really good.

Let’s just say I am glad it did not sell. The results of today’s shots are posted now. Granted they are from 800 ISO so not super, they are still nice. There are two set posted as I like to keep the black and white separate. And I did shoot a few, though only Rita shot on the trip down to Anthony’s as I was calling out for request test shots. Her shots, in color, are POSTED HERE.

And the black and white stuff from the Monochrom (with the Zeiss 35mm f/2, btw) are POSTED HERE.

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