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Zeiss lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by bdbits, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    400
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    This past year I've picked up the Contax G 90mm and 45mm, and really like the impact I see in my photos. I do realize equipment does not a photo make, but I am interested in possibly spending (a little) more to get similar improvements in other focal lengths. Not going to go all out with $1000+ lenses - could not afford it honestly - but there is a lot of legacy glass I might be able to afford like the Contax G glass (esp if I sell the replaced glass).

    Based on my recent Contax G experiences, I was thinking additional Zeiss glass would be a good choice. But there are a lot of brands/mounts people refer to as "Zeiss glass". I am under the impression if it actually has the Zeiss name, they did the lens optics, with the partner building and selling the lens. I would think the lens design, as well as the quality of glass and coatings used, would largely determine the image quality. Then there are lenses using a "Zeiss design", e.g. the Russian lenses. I am also not clear on Voigtlander; I know they were part of Zeiss at one time, so do they also use Zeiss designs?

    So, obviously, I am a bit confused. I guess the main question is that if it is Zeiss glass or a Zeiss design, is it going to have a similar rendering (for lack of a better word)?
     
  2. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    143
    Dec 13, 2013
    I do really like my Voigtlander 35/1.2 M mount, but it does not have the same 'look' as my Zeiss lenses. And not all Zeiss glass is the same. Cosina makes a lot of lenses for a variety of manfacturers, including Zeiss and Voigtlander (or did in the very recent past, at least), but that does not mean the glass or designs are the same. I really enjoy my old Contax/Zeiss 50/1.4 and 35/2.8, which are not super expensive, very nicely made, and probably the 'classic' zeiss SLR lenses. You've also got The M-mount glass, which is significantly more expensive (but more compact, with worse close focusing ability).

    What focal lengths are you interested in? That might be more helpful to help find good alternative options. The best ones are going to be the Loxia or Batis lenses, but they're not exactly cheap...
     
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  3. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    If you want to know what lenses truly are Zeiss, basically everything listed here: Download Center | ZEISS United States

    Russian lenses (Zeiss Jena, mostly) have old Zeiss designs from the mid-20th c., but the build quality is much, much lower. They're never going be as good and they certainly don't have Zeiss T or T* coatings.

    The Voigtlander name was owned by Zeiss at one point decades ago (sold in 1973 to Rollei), but currently the Voigtlander name is owned by Cosina, which is the optical company that Zeiss contracts out for lens production. So modern Voigtlander lenses may have a similar production origin as modern Zeiss lenses, but they don't have either Zeiss coatings or Zeiss optical designs.
     
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  4. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    You can find the Zeiss history and the lenses at wikipedia link:
    Carl Zeiss AG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Usually latest lenses have better coatings and improved designs... I like the Contarex lenses, butter smooth mechanically with min mfd's but the coatings are not as good as Contax c/y versions. Contax production moved from Germany to Japan (Yashica) with later productions. After Yashica end their production, Cosina took over. Cosina also designs & produces the Voigtlander lenses which were originally German also and the name was bought. Original Zeiss factory was in East Germany so you have the East German Zeiss Jena lenses. Soviet Union carried some of the equipment and materials to create their copies of these designs... So there is lots of Zeiss glass out there:)

    Zeiss also owns glass manufacturers Schott AG and Jenaer Glas...
     
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  5. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    heres the thing: how many lenses do you want? you like the contax g, well theyre REAL zeiss. you already have the 45 and 90, but they also have a 28 and a 21 ( and a 35 and 35-70) both outstanding. perhaps thats all you need, and you dont need to clutter your thoughts about other zeiss when you e found a collection you like and that has more offerings for you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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  6. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Unfortunately, neither the 21mm nor the 28mm play well with digital. Brilliant lenses on film, but even with the Kolari thin sensor stack mod, they're only really useable stopped down to f/11. It's really sad; they're simply beautiful lenses, too.
     
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  7. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    i think saying they 'dont play well with digital' is a pretty large generalization. what you say may, or in the case of the biogon 28, may not be true with the FF A7x. my understanding is it isnt true with apsc, and also not true with the A7S. ive used the 28 to very good effect on apsc and m4/3, both digital. i am also presently using the 21mm leica elmarit--also awful on the A7X, but awesome on my nex6. i believe OP is using an a6000, so i dont think there will be a problem. they are certainly worth a try, especially the 28, as there is always a market for them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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  8. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sure. I believe that. But for me there isn't anything other than the A7x series--though I do use them both on my G1 (green label). But I see above that the OP has an A6000, so maybe they're fine for him. Still, you don't get the full benefit of the 21mm on a APS-C. It looses a lot of it's value as an ultra-wide, I'd say.

    But to each their own!
     
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  9. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    400
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Wow...

    I'm mainly looking into wider primes, maybe as low as 12 to around 35mm. I am sure the Loxia and Batis lenses are great, but that would be stretching a little too far for me. I have considered picking up some additional Contax glass, as I have found the G lenses very nice for me.

    Thank you for all that info, Mike. That link is especially useful, being from the source and all.

    Interesting. Thanks for the info. I never think of Wikipedia for camera stuff, oddly enough.

    Just a few on the wider end, mainly. I haven't been particularly unhappy with my Minolta or Sony lenses, but I'd like to see how Zeiss glass performs for me in those ranges and would prefer using primes. I have heard mixed reviews on the Contax G 35mm, have not yet done much reading on the others.

    I do currently use an A6000, but am hoping to pick up FF as the prices fall on used bodies. The problems with the 21/28 are one reason I have been eyeing the Voigtlander wides instead. The sample images I have seen posted here look pretty good.

    I don't know; maybe it is not the lenses and it is just me not taking full advantage of what I have. But I would like to have a go with at least one or two wide primes.

    Thanks for all the feedback.
     
  10. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    I have a fair amount of Contax CY mount Zeiss. Tend to like it. Problem though is less with the glass than with the fact that it's now quite old and most to be fairly assessed needs real clean and inspection. Apparently, there's a lot of detioration that can happen that the eye does NOT see (according to one of Zeiss's recommended 3rd party service resource). I'm on board with that. Most have NOT been serviced, and service isn't cheap. But - and this has yet to be seen - a cleaned lens is reputedly "better" than the new manufacture (same source). I'm less certain of that, and some of the Zeiss Loxia line-up of lenses is actually cheaper than the old Contax CY equivalent, newer, and engineered for digital. I'm looking forward to a couple of side-by-side shots in the coming months. Will keep you posted!
     
  11. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    400
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Thanks Roscoe. Good point on the older lenses. The G series is not real old so until now I have not considered that very much.

    I'll keep an eye out for your side-by-sides, thanks. :)
     
  12. ArendV

    ArendV TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Nov 27, 2015
    The Netherlands
    I also have the Contax G 45mm and 90mm which I like a lot on my A7. Indeed you should not go for shorter Contax G focal lenghts on a digital body (unless you have your sensor filter modified).
    Instead I have a few affordable (all around 200 Euro) Contax Zeiss lenses in C/Y mount: 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/1.7 and 135/2.8. I am happy with all of them, even tough they probably have not been serviced for quite some time.
     
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  13. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I've used the 45 and 90mm Contax G lenses extensively on the NEX-7 but will probably sell the rest of my Zeissies since they've been just gathering dust for some years and that's not exactly what they've been built for. However nice these old lenses may be, on your camera you'd probably get better results from some modern (second-hand) alternatives that don't necessarily cost that much more than the current going rates for legacy Zeiss stuff, e.g. the 12mm Samyang/Rokinon, SEL28f20, SEL35f18 and SEL50f18 or even less like the Sigma trio.
    It all depends :)
     
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  14. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    wow, tbh, i certainly understand why you like FF, but that 'there isnt ANYTHING other than the A7x', wow, that seems a very limiting life philosophy and probably precludes you giving advice to huge segments of the community, including the majority of professional and amateur photogs. opinion is opinion and fact is fact. after your post another person repeated that 'other wider contax g offerings' shouldnt be used on digital. so we need to be careful in our 'advice' to not end up spreading inaccuracies which limit peoples choices simply because we have chosen to limit our own.

    also, while it is true that using apsc or m4/3 'limits' the use of the 21 as an 'ultrawide'--which by definition is more of a niche lens--it opens it up for use as an everyday or street lens. mine is used 75% of the time, where as an ultrawide it would be used maybe 10%, or not at all. one window closes, another opens up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  15. Roscoe

    Roscoe TalkEmount Regular

    71
    Aug 19, 2016
    JWMersereau
    Bob: My 85/1.4 is out for CLA. No idea how long this takes... but before I have a fair pairing to test... it could be a while. The 35mm and 50mm will be the best candidates I suspect. What I'm saying is that this could take a while...
     
  16. ArendV

    ArendV TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Nov 27, 2015
    The Netherlands
    @rbelyell@rbelyell, I am that "another person" and to me it is pretty bad advice to "give it a try" with the Contax G 21mm and 28mm, even on APS-C. There is consistent experience that these lenses don't work well on digital bodies, both FF and APS-C with colour shift and poor sharpness in the corners. To that there are more affordable & better WA legacy glass options.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  17. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount Veteran

    400
    Sep 10, 2015
    Bob
    Roscoe: I am not in a hurry, and do not mean to put expectations on you. Just that it will be interesting to me, whenever it happens. :)

    rbelyell: I took Mike to mean that he prefers full frame, not that everything else is inferior.

    I have seen quite a lot of recommendations against using the Contax G 21/28, which is actually what started me looking into options. I am leaning toward giving C/Y a shot, but I find the Voigtlanders appealing, too, even if they are not Zeiss. :)

    The thread has certainly generated more discussion than I was expecting. Lots to think about.
     
  18. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Did this post just actually happen???

    Come on, man. Seriously? Don't be that guy.

    "FOR ME" That's what began the quote that you jumped on (without the capitalized "anything").

    I don't give advice based on my personal preferences. I give advice based on my technical knowledge, which is (of course) limited in some areas, but is also always growing because I'm committed to learning as much technical information as I can. Or, I should say, committed to learn as much as I can in general. None of my advice to the OP was based on anything other than that. No expectation of anyone using gear in the same way I do. That'd be silly.
     
  19. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    actually, that is simply not true. the issues you cite are present overwhelmingly with the original A7 cameras, and are still there, though i understand less so, with the A7ii class. i do not believe they are present at all in the A7S, though if you have specific contrary information, i'd be happy to take a look. the 21 presents some issue on fuji, but i do not believe so on other cameras. and i havent seen--nor have i personally experienced--a problem on sony or m4/3 with the 28. i again caution against over-generalization.
     
  20. ArendV

    ArendV TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Nov 27, 2015
    The Netherlands
    For the benefit of the topicstarter here is a threat from fredmiranda.com with some example pictures with the G21 and G28 (amongst other lenses) on the A6000 for his own judgement (and will leave it at for this discussion to try to keep it objective and productive).
    a6000 with difficult lenses ** WARNING 24mpx images
     
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