Being at a conference 8—7 does mean that there is typically not much time to take a lot of photos. I took photos from inside the venue, for work, but I wanted to photograph around the "Austria Center Vienna" itself. Luckily, the weather was fantastic, and each lunchtime I ventured outside with my camera to take a snap of something new.
Zeiss lenses are characterised by a few key attributes; flare control, global contrast, sharpness, and micro contrast. The flare control is mostly attributed to the T* coating adorning modern Zeiss glass. Internal reflections are minimised, and though flares are possible, they are few and far between, and usually easy to control. Just ten minutes with a Tamron lens in the same conditions will make you appreciate that Zeiss.
Global contrast is such that skies have fantastic colours, and colours in general are very punchy and vivid. Yes, one can boost/alter colours in post-processing, but Zeiss lenses have a notably different rendering than, say, my Voigtländer lenses. Which do I prefer? I'm not sure... how about you?
Sharpness? Well, this needs little explanation. Out of all of my lenses, the Zeiss lenses (or FE Zeiss-branded) are all towards the sharper end of my collection. Even the ones older than myself. The lenses tend to be sharp even wide open, with decent control of chromatic aberrations, which degrade perceived sharpness if corrected for in post processing. I could discuss this in detail at great length (perhaps I will do some time), but the combination of sharpness and micro contrast are what, to me, make these lenses stand out amongst their peers.
Micro contrast is fine-level contrast, or fine tonal range contrast. It is explained nicely in this article over at the Luminous Landscape. Forums throughout the internet are littered with arguments over sharpness and micro contrast, especially as to whether the latter even exists. It does exist, it is measurable and quantifiable. It's not easy to see with the naked eye, but will help render an image in a certain way. There are two images in this post which I believe show high levels of micro contrast quite nicely—can you guess which those are? They are commonly attributed to images which provide a feeling of "3D", or exhibit "3D-pop". I don't really like such phrases, but I'll try to remain jovial.
As always, I am interested to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions down below.
Tip: you might do well to expand the images to full-screen (click them) in order to stand a better chance. There are no prizes; don't phone in, it's just for fun.