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08-17-2011, 09:44 PM   #46
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This is probably a left-of-field comment but since Leica was mentioned, I did compare Leica 35/1.4 to the 31ltd and one interesting difference was that the leica seemed to have higher dynamic range, ie resolve more detail in highlights and shadows. It was also sharper in the corners wide-open and more prone to flare.

08-17-2011, 11:52 PM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
This is probably a left-of-field comment but since Leica was mentioned, I did compare Leica 35/1.4 to the 31ltd and one interesting difference was that the leica seemed to have higher dynamic range, ie resolve more detail in highlights and shadows. It was also sharper in the corners wide-open and more prone to flare.
Hi Danny,
I remember that test....Leica indeed seemed better, but it's price is a horror
Also I had two Contax Zeiss lenses - 50/1.7 and 85/2.8 and both proved to be at least equal in IQ to FA43 and FA77, maybe even better. But take my opinion with some reservations though, as it comes from guy who thinks that DA70 is better than FA77.

btw. I'm not surprised that Contax Zeiss 28 is equal to FA31 , those little 28mm/2.8 lenses form Zeiss were very highly regarded among film shooters.
08-18-2011, 02:04 AM   #48
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Yes, it is! But not as bad as the latest Summilux-R 50mm which usually sells for well over $2000. And you'd think the 50mm would be a much easier lens to make.

Last edited by DanielT74; 08-18-2011 at 02:30 AM.
08-18-2011, 08:57 PM - 2 Likes   #49
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I was really happy and excited when Les suggested this thread. In my mind the overall purpose of this, was not really what lens was the best - they are both great pieces of glass (that was my original thinking here). I was extremely interested in Les' opinion and observations, hoping that I was not too far off base. To me this is all the more pleasing, since Les experience and love of his VL glass, so I knew that with this appreciation, he would have an extremely discerning and critical eye on the results. Wonderful validation.

Also, I need to add, Les' pictures have been very therapeutic in surviving this Aridzona summer - as it was 111 today. I really miss the summer coastal fog. Additionally, to me they also told a story, as he walked his way through the two lenses.

The main results I see from this - along with the excellent questions and posting of the Forum here are....
  • There are somewhat affordable alternatives available - be it with a tad more work to acquire.
  • That the same level of image quality, sharpness and character are available.
  • Also, that because of Pentax's registration distance and mount, there are wonderful other brands of glass to augment our kits with.
Also, and this line of thinking is aimed at Zeiss. The new Zeiss glass is wonderful, and deserves its reputation. However, realistically thinking - how many of us are really going to spend a $1K, $1.5K or $2K in today's economic environment.

With these 25 year old Contax Carl Zeiss lenses, most of which are in amazing shape, we are able to pick up at pretty reasonable prices, convert and use for many years to come. They are every bit as good as the new glass, maybe a tad slower (f2.8 - but does that matter with today's high ISO bodies), or not all automatic - but the same Zeiss quality and character. This is a way to experience this difference - without bankrupting the checkbook.

The 28mm lens is the most affordable, and probably the most plentiful next to the 50mm. The 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm are also still reasonable. The wider glass the 18mm and 21mm are well out of reach in the thousands of dollars, along with the faster f2 glass.




Last edited by interested_observer; 05-10-2012 at 07:54 PM.
08-18-2011, 11:11 PM   #50
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I guess there are lots of reasonably priced lenses that are capable of rendering very nicely, not least the old Super-Taks. Contax may be better in some ways though.

There are also some great new lenses and if you wanted to shoot wide, Samyang 14/2.8 is sharp as sharp can be with no CA to speak of. I think I paid $260 for mine.

East German Zeiss was made in huge quantities and is very very good, like the MC 35/2.4 or the Sonnar 200/2.8. There are many options really and people produce stunning images with budget lenses all the time. There may be some issues in rendering but most people wouldn't notice them anyway. Other things are more important.
08-19-2011, 05:06 AM   #51
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interested_observer and DanielT74: Very well said.
08-19-2011, 05:29 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by DanielT74 Quote
There are also some great new lenses and if you wanted to shoot wide, Samyang 14/2.8 is sharp as sharp can be with no CA to speak of. I think I paid $260 for mine.
Samyang is an interesting brand .... they slowly build up their reputation with some very good MF lenses....should they figure out how to make autofocus lenses with the same quality, then lot of big brand lensmakers including Pentax might get in serious trouble
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