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12-06-2010, 05:21 AM   #1
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Calr Zeiss lenses ZK mount

Does anyone have experience with Carl Zeiss lenses using ZK mount or with rebuilt mount/adapters for Pentax. I believe there's no Third Party Lens Reviews for Carl Zeiss lenses.

I am thinking of getting a Carl Zeiss T* 50mm lens for portraits. I'm not quite satisfied with my FA 1.4 50mm and want a sharper alternative in this focal range.

Regards
Jens

12-06-2010, 08:47 AM   #2
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I've rebuilt a Contax/Yashica AE Planar 50/1.4 to K-mount with a mount from Zeiss Contax lens for Pentax cameras
This was a hell of a job and I would not recommend it unless you know what you are doing and have the tools and experience to tap new holes into your Carl Zeiss lens barrel.

I can only compare the results to my 16-45/4 so my evaluation might not be worth that much to you. It is (stopped down) sharper than my 16-45 but it is less resistant to flare and the colors are less saturated than with my 16-45

Carl Zeiss PLanar 1.4/50 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
All sizes | Smooth bokeh | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Smooth Bokeh | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Kind regards,
Bart
12-06-2010, 09:35 AM   #3
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I'd also have a look at the Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4. Less expensive, just as fast and has a few more mm to help with isolating the subject.

It's great for portraits and has great colour and rendering, plus the build quality is almost as good as the ZK series. (I used to own the ZK 25 and ZK 85)

I've never used the ZK 50/1.4, but I've heard its bokeh can be considered harsh, especially below f/2, where the Nokton's is beautiful.
12-06-2010, 01:22 PM   #4
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You didn't say specifically that you were looking at the 50/1.4 as there is also a 50/2. There is a guy over at ZeissImages (can't remember his name) that uses this lens (the f2) exclusively for portraits and he's quite good. You can find reviews of both versions here: diglloyd: Mini review of Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar

12-07-2010, 12:31 AM   #5
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photozone also has reviews of the CZ lenses in Nikon or Canon mount. You can't make a direct comparison with Pentax lenses, but you can get a general idea. I recommend the Nokton too.

But why exactly are you dissatisfied with the FA50/1.4? The Nokton is sharper and it has less LoCA, but in many shots it would be hard to distinguish between them.
12-07-2010, 12:48 AM   #6
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Wide open, the Zeiss should be sharper, but the FA 50 f1.4 is quite sharp by f5.6. What aperture to you use? The Pentax 50mm f2.8 macro is quite sharp wide open.
12-07-2010, 02:54 AM   #7
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Carl Zeiss 50mm/2 my favorite lens. I like walk round with it.
Also I have Carl Zeiss 28mm/2 and 100mm/2 lens.
I use K20D.






Last edited by Mr. A.S.; 12-07-2010 at 03:05 AM.
12-07-2010, 01:29 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your aanswers - and very nice photographs.
I was athinking of using a 50mm for portraits. I like to be able to count the eye lashes )
I did some portraits with my old K 1.8 85mm. Actually this lens is sharper than the 77mm Limited. The 85mm is better than the FA 1:1.4 50mm. However, the 50mm is a better focal lengt for portraits (on APS size sensors). But I want a 50mm that's as sharp as the K 1.8 85m - I guess I want the ultimate 50mm for portraits. I've been looking for a FA 1.7 or an old F 50mm 1.7 or 1.4, but these seem to be quite rare and expensive. I might give my old M 1.7 50mm a try next time I'm in the studio, though. What do you think. Which 50mm is the best (sharpest) portrait lens for Pentax?
Regards
Jens

12-07-2010, 01:53 PM   #9
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Why not the DA*55mm 1.4 it is build for portraits.
The sharpest 50mm from pentax are the F and FA 50mm Macros.

The Planar is sharper then the Nokton, but the Nokton has better bokeh. If your budget is limited (<100$), then the K 50mm 1.4 or the s-m-c Tak 50mm 1.4 is the best fifty.
12-07-2010, 03:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photodana Quote
Which 50mm is the best (sharpest) portrait lens for Pentax?
Hard to say since no one has tested all of them, so all you're going to get are subjective opinions. Even if you look on photozone, you'll get results from tests done on one lens - sample variation and testing accuracy means that small differences are probably irrelevant. Either Zeiss lens or the Voigtlander will be about as sharp as you can get.

Do you have any samples of what you're getting from your 85/1.8 that you're looking to get from a 50? Post some shots and then challenge people to show you output from 50s that matches the resolution of your 85 shots. That's the only way to get some objective information.
12-07-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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Even though I am a Zeiss fan and have seen first-hand how wonderful the 50/2 can be for portraits, I would second the recommendation for the DA*55. It really does seem to be made for portraits. I'm sure that there are other 50's out there that can be said to be sharper, but they would be hard-pressed to do better portraits than this gem. Plus, of course, the bonus of AF when you want/need it.
12-08-2010, 10:28 PM   #12
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I have 3 ZKs and they are all awesome but I do not have the 50 but if I was to get one I would get the 2.0 from what I've read and seen it is great and if it's anything like the ZK 35 2.0 you will love it. I do have the DA* 55 1.4 but I am not a portrait kind of guy or at least not right now.
12-09-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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Thanks
It seems the Da 55mm is a clever choice. In Europe it's appr. 650 Euros. Which is appr. 50 % more than a Zeiss 5omm 1.4 ZK (manual focus) (same price, but in USD).
I am currently trying too get af FA 50mm 1.7, which is said to be better than the 1.4 version I already have (and might sell). And I'm looking for a 165mm LS for my 67 :-)
Regards
Jens
12-09-2010, 02:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photodana Quote
Thanks
It seems the Da 55mm is a clever choice. In Europe it's appr. 650 Euros. Which is appr. 50 % more than a Zeiss 5omm 1.4 ZK (manual focus) (same price, but in USD).
I am currently trying too get af FA 50mm 1.7, which is said to be better than the 1.4 version I already have (and might sell). And I'm looking for a 165mm LS for my 67 :-)
Regards
Jens
The FA 50 1.7 is indeed reported to be sharper than the FA 50 1.4, but it would also be identical optically to your M 50 1.7, so I'd try that first.

I had the FA 50/1.7 and still have my M version, but didn't like the bokeh for portraits, either wide open (too many rings) or stopped down (hexagonal). Sharp though!

The DA*55--I didn't mention that one because you were talking about ZK lenses--but if you like to count eyelashes, it's a wicked sharp lens with excellent rendering and Zeiss-like contrast, especially stopped down to f/1.8 and beyond. (wide open there are too many harsh circles IMO).
12-09-2010, 02:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
The FA 50 1.7 is indeed reported to be sharper than the FA 50 1.4, but it would also be identical optically to your M 50 1.7, so I'd try that first.

I had the FA 50/1.7 and still have my M version, but didn't like the bokeh for portraits, either wide open (too many rings) or stopped down (hexagonal). Sharp though!

The DA*55--I didn't mention that one because you were talking about ZK lenses--but if you like to count eyelashes, it's a wicked sharp lens with excellent rendering and Zeiss-like contrast, especially stopped down to f/1.8 and beyond. (wide open there are too many harsh circles IMO).
Agreed. I usually shoot with it at f2.
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