We are here today comparing David and Goliath! We have the Canon 70-200mm lens that is a staple on for many photo and video shoots and we have the new candidate here, the Zeiss 70-200mm. Thanks to our Lezl Gonzales @lezlkoe for helping us out with this comparison!
Photo lenses are designed to be lightweight, easy to carry, compact, and auto-focus friendly.
The Zeiss cinema zoom lens is parfocal, which means the lens stays in focus when zooming in and out. So to be clear about what cinema style lens are it has a de-clicked aperture, it has mechanical gears, parfocal, and heavier duty construction. We are going to be testing these lenses on the Red Helium S35 camera, so we are using a cinema camera with a cinema lens.
The Canon, on the other hand, is a great competitor. The 70-200 version 2 lens is one of the sharpest Canon lenses out there and it’s definitely a great bang for your buck. It has a great look to it as well. So if the picture is the issue and sharpness and cleanness is what you are looking for then stick around to see what we shot!
In terms of price range, the Zeiss is more expensive by far, at a price point of $15,000 whereas the Canon lens is only $1800. So let’s compare and see how the picture quality of both turns out to be. Keep in mind that one is a cinema lens and the other is normally for stills and everyday usage.
We wanted to test the lenses are various focal lengths and various apertures.
Test #1 – f2.8 (Wide Open)
The first aperture we tested was at f2.8. So when we look at the two pictures next to each other, they look pretty similar from first glance. The Zeiss lens has a little bit less contrast in the picture, and the picture is redder in the Canon image. When we blow it up to 200% you can definitely see that the Zeiss is sharper.
Test #2 – f5.6 (Optimum Aperture)
This is two stops down from wide open, so this should be the optimum aperture for getting the sharpest picture quality from both of the lenses. Let’s take a look. When you blow it up to 200% they both look equally sharp.
Test #3 – f22 (Small Aperture)
Shooting with f22 isn’t amazing for either of the lenses. You can see that the Zeiss has a bit of green cast to it, while the Canon has a more magenta, cooler tone to the picture.
We shot some flat signage to look at the corner performance and resolving power. From the looks of the footage, both of the lenses did very well in f2.9 and f5.6. The detail on the lines of the wood is really fine for both pictures. I’m looking at the corners and I don’t see any corner softness in any of these.
Just for kicks, we tested out on the Tamron 70-200 on a different camera to see how it matched up with its other counterparts and it performed equally smooth in comparison to Canon. Unfortunately, the Tamron isn’t made to be used with the Red Camera, so we couldn’t really control the aperture, so we were just wide open. However, the picture quality was equally sharp in comparison to the Canon.
So really when we matched these two lenses against each other, they really stacked up nicely. I think if you are just looking for good image quality that the Canon is really the best, most affordable option. If you really need the cinema features that the Zeiss offers then renting it for a day or two would be your best choice.
Share your film photos with us online @theslantedlens. We’d love to see what kind of shots you are taking and how you are pushing the limits of your creativity!
Check out the video for this article here.
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Red Helium S35