In the top left corner – still at f5.6 where both lenses are stunning – there is again little in it, although the Zeiss does retain better contrast in fine detail. At 50% and on print, you’re not going to see anything worth noting between them here once contrast is adjusted. However, look at the far distance and see how the Zeiss, for some reason, is just a bit tighter.
So I picked a spot from the far distance on the right hand edge of the frame. Here you can see how the Zeiss is again faring a bit better.
And another example. Look how both lenses are generating moire! Its a bit crisper and clearer on the Zeiss.
I then decided to see how the two most different frames (worst from Canon relative to the Zeiss) and down sampled 1600 pixel wide crops to 800 pixels to equate to a 50% view and a typical print i.e. roughly what you would perceive on a 30″ print in my view.
Not much in it, is there? Now for the left edge, downsampled as above. Naff all to be seen here apart from a touch more colour pop and contrast from the Sony Zeiss.
Conclusion? I am sure you have made you own, but this is mine: At wider apertures, the native lens does have a bit of an edge. This is most notable towards the edges where the Canon still shows some aberration and glow. The Zeiss is already conducting laser surgery of the scene. On centre, you really have nothing to choose between them at 24MP. Any differences are insignificant and contrast adjustment would bring them all but equal. By f5.6, where both lenses have hit their peak, there is nothing in it aside from contrast and look really. Sure, if you hunt around the frame you come to the conclusion that the Sony Zeiss is a bit more perfect. It just delivers exceptional resolution and contrast absolutely everywhere. The reality, however, is that none of this is going to make much difference to your prints and if you prefer a slightly gentler rendering, the Canon may even be preferable. If you don’t need AF, the other native benefits and care only for raw optical performance, if you own a Sony A7, you now know how to easily save $700+ and lose nothing 🙂
To hep you draw your own conclusions, there are links below that will take you to 80% quality Jpegs at full resolution. Enjoy!
….but this is at 24 megapixels. 36 mp is a different story and really does tend to show up any weakness in a lens with merciless clarity and let’s face it, there is no point in shooting 36mp if it cannot offer ‘more’ than 24mp. Next I will be looking at bokeh and rendering and what happens when both are mounted on the A7R! Stay tuned.