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08-12-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
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Would/Could a 35-70 Zoom be Useful to You?

I've recently noticed the 35-70 zoom range after ignoring it for years. On the low end of this range of zoom I've seen 24, 28 and 35 . . . while on the upper end 70, 75, and 80.

The 35-70 is obviously a conservative spread, and I wonder if it would work as one of only two zooms I want to rely on for "walking around" (the other being the DA55-300). I'd prefer a little more spread (like to 28-90, which I know exists), but then this zoom I'm looking at is a Zeiss, somewhat rare. What do you think, could you do well with a 35-70 zoom range as one of only two zooms in your kit?

08-12-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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Probably not- it's not wide enough, and it's not long enough for my taste. 50-85 or 20-55 would be better ranges for a short zoom like this on digital.

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08-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #3
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As one of only two zooms in my kit, no way. As a tool for specific situations, yes. I have the great little F35-70 which is agile, sharp, and cheap. It's not an always-carry-it lens -- those are my Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, sometimes DA10-17. But I have it for shooting peoples in small-to-medium gatherings, indoor crowds, arts-crafts fairs, etc. Good thing about short-range zooms (zoomlets?) is that fewer compromises with IQ are made. So in it's niche, it's nice.
08-12-2011, 05:40 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Probably not- it's not wide enough, and it's not long enough for my taste. 50-85 or 20-55 would be better ranges for a short zoom like this on digital.
Hmmm, or 16-45? I've thought about that one too, but then there's its CA "dark soul."

08-12-2011, 05:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
As one of only two zooms in my kit, no way. As a tool for specific situations, yes. I have the great little F35-70 which is agile, sharp, and cheap. It's not an always-carry-it lens -- those are my Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, sometimes DA10-17. But I have it for shooting peoples in small-to-medium gatherings, indoor crowds, arts-crafts fairs, etc. Good thing about short-range zooms (zoomlets?) is that fewer compromises with IQ are made. So in it's niche, it's nice.
It seems like you really like your 35-70 for what it is to you. This Zeiss Jena 35-70 Macro I am looking at has absolutely no info about it available on the internet, a mystery lens, but it comes in a PKA mount, which makes even more mysterious to me. There are great reviews about a Contax-Zeiss 35-70. Have you heard of either?
08-12-2011, 05:47 PM   #6
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I've got F 35-70 which I really like, and I've been trying to use it as my exclusive lens for a couple weeks.
That said, the range is rather limiting. A number of times I wanted something either wider or longer.
  • I have the 16-45 and the 55-300 (and add a fast 50). Together those are a good combination, but I'm looking for a single lens for those times when I need to go light.
  • I'm poking around to buy a cheap 28-80 or 28-105 to see how I like those ranges. I'd like to think that one of the 17-70 lens would work, but they seem a bit short. Partly, I'm trying to see if I can save some money and avoid buying the 18-125/135 or 18-200/250. Those seem like great ranges, but they also seem to have a lot of detractors.
08-12-2011, 06:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I've got F 35-70 which I really like, and I've been trying to use it as my exclusive lens for a couple weeks.
That said, the range is rather limiting. A number of times I wanted something either wider or longer.
  • I have the 16-45 and the 55-300 (and add a fast 50). Together those are a good combination, but I'm looking for a single lens for those times when I need to go light.
  • I'm poking around to buy a cheap 28-80 or 28-105 to see how I like those ranges. I'd like to think that one of the 17-70 lens would work, but they seem a bit short. Partly, I'm trying to see if I can save some money and avoid buying the 18-125/135 or 18-200/250. Those seem like great ranges, but they also seem to have a lot of detractors.
Sounds like my dilemma. The DA 17-70 was the second lens I bought after giving digital photography a try. I found it soft at all settings and so sold it. From what I've read, the Sigma 17-70 might be better, yet there's its bulk. If only the DA 18-55 were a better lens!

I mostly rely on primes, but I am pushing myself to try some street photography. I am thinking the 35-70 range might be good for that.
08-12-2011, 07:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
... If only the DA 18-55 were a better lens!
I'm not expecting prime quality, but... If only the DA 18-135 were a cheaper lens!

08-12-2011, 08:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Hmmm, or 16-45? I've thought about that one too, but then there's its CA "dark soul."
Got to love those "Photozone guys."

:sarcasm:
08-12-2011, 08:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Got to love those "Photozone guys."

:sarcasm:
Given your sarcasm warning should I reconsider?
08-12-2011, 08:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Given your sarcasm warning should I reconsider?
I think so. Take a look through the reviews here at PF and then go over to the pentax photo gallery (PPG) and select the Image data tab and lens and click on DA 16-45 to see some sample images. It will tell the body used as you scroll through the pics. The only complaints I have about the lens is it is fully extended when at the 16mm setting but that is a quirk of mine and its not IF. However, it is good optically and the f4 constant aperture is nice.

Edit: The F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens is a nice compact little lens that is actually good optically and the FA 28-70mm f4 is also a decent lens. If you can get a good copy of either of these, I think you would like them as well. Plus, they are very nice on af film bodies.
08-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #12
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The cheapest way to see if the range works is the F35-70. Figure out the current price, buy one, and if you don't like it, sell. You might break even or be out $20, which can be consuidered a rental fee. The Zeiss might be way better but if you can't find out much information on it, buying for a fair price is hard (what should you pay?) and selling for within $20 of that price will also be hard because the buyer will not know much about it either.

I think starting at 35mm on APS-C would be challenging. There's the SMC Pentax-F 24-50mm f4 that sounds good but is somewhat rare.
08-12-2011, 08:54 PM   #13
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I know of the Contax Zeiss 35-70/3.4 macro MM (over here used ca. US$470-550) and also the Leica R 35-70/3.5 macro (over here used ca. US$400-800) but the newer Leica R 35-70/Rom f4 macro (over here used ca. US$1,000-1,300) is universally considered a much better lens as the price reflects !

Both the MM and R are convertible to PK mount and both are supposed to be special lenses. The Tamron 28-75 is a very popular wedding photographer's lense so it gives you an idea of where that range might fit in use-wise.
08-12-2011, 09:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The Zeiss might be way better but if you can't find out much information on it, buying for a fair price is hard (what should you pay?) and selling for within $20 of that price will also be hard because the buyer will not know much about it either.
Okay, I finally found some info on the Zeiss "Jenazoom" species (which the 35-70 is). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to come to a definite conclusion about the quality. Possibly someone more experienced with vintage lenses can decipher it. Excerpted from this discussion:

"Here is some history of the Carl Zeiss Jenazoom. In the late eighties and early nineties the whole East German Zeiss camera and optical industry was consolidated in one company. Carl Zeiss of East Geramany and Japan designed a new line of lenses, the lens brand was called "Carl Zeiss Jenazoom Lenses" a full blown production line and they were licensed to most likely the Sigma factory of Japan. These were CZJ manual focus zooms and primes available of every focal length imaginable (too many to list) from the Carl Zeiss Jenazoom family of lenses (see brochure/instruction manual picture above) and these manual lenses are actually fairly common."

A couple of posts later:

"The copy I own is a Carl Zeiss Jena 35 - 70mm 1:3.5 - 4.5 with Minolta AF mount.
It works perfectly on a new Sony Alpha. I found some evidence about at least tow other Carl Zeiss Jena Minolta AF- mount lenses with different zoom- range.
I heard, that these lenses were made in a join- venture- project between VEB Carl Zeiss Jena and Sigma in the period 1989-90. This project was probably ended when Carl Zeiss (West) was taking over Carl Zeiss Jena in 1990/91.
As far as I concern, a very few number of pre- production copies were made.
It seems as they where aimed as a premium line for Sigma.
On my personal tests IQ and build quality is on an equivalent level as the Minolta 35-70mm F4 (in other words very good) but with a minimum focus distance of 500mm (Minolta 1000mm in AF- mode)
I would not try to over- appreciate itís IQ (on digital) but for a 20 year old lens that was designed for film it is very good."

There's quite a bit more that seems to swing between approval and not so impressed.
08-12-2011, 09:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
I know of the Contax Zeiss 35-70/3.4 macro MM (over here used ca. US$470-550) and also the Leica R 35-70/3.5 macro (over here used ca. US$400-800) but the newer Leica R 35-70/Rom f4 macro (over here used ca. US$1,000-1,300) is universally considered a much better lens as the price reflects !

Both the MM and R are convertible to PK mount and both are supposed to be special lenses. The Tamron 28-75 is a very popular wedding photographer's lense so it gives you an idea of where that range might fit in use-wise.
Hey Kevin, one variety of the Zeiss "Jenazoom" was made specifically for the PKA mount. Have you heard of it?

Last edited by les3547; 08-12-2011 at 09:19 PM.
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