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06-14-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Chinon 55mm 1:1.4 is Zeiss?

I'm about 3/4 certain that the lens that's on the Chinon I snagged the other day is the Chinon 55mm 1:1.4 and I was just reading up on it a bit. Ran across this statement on a site talking about Chinon lenses and I blinked a bit. "For example the Carl Zeiss Jenna Plannar is often thought to be the same lens as Chinon 55mm 1:1.4 inflating prices for this particular Chinon in the used lens market." Is this true? Anybody know? If so I think I might be lucky if I actually snagged that one. Next best thing to a Zeiss? That's pretty good, right? I'm looking at it on auction and it's looking like people are willing to pay some nice sums for it. There was one the other day that went for near $100.

06-14-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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Most fast 50s share the Planar's design, but no, the Chinon is not Carl Zeiss Jena. While there were some cheapo Japanese and Korean lenses that were branded CZJ for sale in Britain (long story that has nothing to do with German lenses or design) and while some of those may have been made by Chinon; no Chinon, to the best of my knowledge has ever been made by the Jena entity.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-14-2012 at 10:25 PM.
06-14-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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Hi, There is a difference between Carl Zeiss AG and Carl Zeiss Jena but people often convince themselves otherwise and try to make the former East German Zeiss to be the same level as the former West German Zeiss. It`s hard to go wrong with just about any 50-55mm lens from any lens maker and I`m sure the rebadged CZJ 55mm F1.4 lens will be a top performer. I would rather pay less and get a non rebadged lens than get a CZJ lens.
06-14-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by radium Quote
Hi, There is a difference between Carl Zeiss AG and Carl Zeiss Jena but people often convince themselves otherwise and try to make the former East German Zeiss to be the same level as the former West German Zeiss. It`s hard to go wrong with just about any 50-55mm lens from any lens maker and I`m sure the rebadged CZJ 55mm F1.4 lens will be a top performer. I would rather pay less and get a non rebadged lens than get a CZJ lens.
Ummm...it ain't a rebadged CZJ. The supposed relationship worked the other way around. Chinon lenses (or lenses sourced from the same maker used by Chinon) were rebadged as CZJ by a British distributor who had rights to the Carl Zeiss Jena name in Britain. They were never Zeiss. About twice a year we field questions about these lenses on this forum. The big giveaway is the Made in Japan label. No CJZ lenses were made outside of the DDR.

As for CZJ being inferior to Chinon...have you ever handled or shot with either? The CZJ lenses are quality optics and hardly inexpensive or cheap. A little bit of Google work will shed some light on Zeiss history. CZJ is every bit as legitimate as the various West German entities. We looked down on them, back-in-the-day because they were being made by our enemies and were less expensive than a comparable Super-Tak. But truth be told, if I had a chance to buy a CZJ Pancolar 80/1.8 at a reasonable price, I would jump at it. Unfortunately, their reputation (and price) exceeds that of the similar SMC Takumar 85/1.8. Ditto for any of the Flektogon wide-angles.

Oh, and there are inferior 50mm lenses out there. I have owned a few. Two specifically come to mind. The first, a Rexatar 50/1.8 was attached to my first SLR. Adequate, but nasty, none-the-less. The second was a Chinon that came attached to a Pentax P3N. I liked the body, but the lens was very cheaply made and not that great.

Mind you, I am a fan of off-brand stuff (I started the Off-Brand Club thread), but CZJ is hardly junk box goods. Given the choice of a 50mm Pancolar or a 50mm Chinon and I would go for the CZJ, though the Pancolar would probably cost about 5x what a 50mm Chinon is worth.



Steve

P.S. To the OP...I am not saying that your Chinon lens is a turkey. Chinon made some decent product but also some cheap stuff as the 80s progressed. The proof is in the photos. Go out and have fun.


Last edited by stevebrot; 06-14-2012 at 10:34 PM.
06-14-2012, 11:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Ummm...it ain't a rebadged CZJ. The supposed relationship worked the other way around. Chinon lenses (or lenses sourced from the same maker used by Chinon) were rebadged as CZJ by a British distributor who had rights to the Carl Zeiss Jena name in Britain. They were never Zeiss. About twice a year we field questions about these lenses on this forum. The big giveaway is the Made in Japan label. No CJZ lenses were made outside of the DDR.

As for CZJ being inferior to Chinon...have you ever handled or shot with either? The CZJ lenses are quality optics and hardly inexpensive or cheap. A little bit of Google work will shed some light on Zeiss history. CZJ is every bit as legitimate as the various West German entities. We looked down on them, back-in-the-day because they were being made by our enemies and were less expensive than a comparable Super-Tak. But truth be told, if I had a chance to buy a CZJ Pancolar 80/1.8 at a reasonable price, I would jump at it. Unfortunately, their reputation (and price) exceeds that of the similar SMC Takumar 85/1.8. Ditto for any of the Flektogon wide-angles.

Oh, and there are inferior 50mm lenses out there. I have owned a few. Two specifically come to mind. The first, a Rexatar 50/1.8 was attached to my first SLR. Adequate, but nasty, none-the-less. The second was a Chinon that came attached to a Pentax P3N. I liked the body, but the lens was very cheaply made and not that great.

Mind you, I am a fan of off-brand stuff (I started the Off-Brand Club thread), but CZJ is hardly junk box goods. Given the choice of a 50mm Pancolar or a 50mm Chinon and I would go for the CZJ, though the Pancolar would probably cost about 5x what a 50mm Chinon is worth.



Steve

P.S. To the OP...I am not saying that your Chinon lens is a turkey. Chinon made some decent product but also some cheap stuff as the 80s progressed. The proof is in the photos. Go out and have fun.
Hi Steve,
If I understand you correctly I did not imply that Chinon lenses are rebadged by CZJ. I was saying that the 55mm F1.4 CZJ lens was rebadged when the original poster said both Chinon and CZJ 55mm f1.4 lens share the same platform. Probably Chinon lenses were made by Cosina? I also believe Sigma made some lenses for CZJ as rebadges too?

Yes I have handled and photographed both Chinon and CZJ lenses. I can`t say I have a lot of former east German lenses but they are known for greater batch to batch variations, oily sticky iris, flaking paint off the lens barrel, bubbles in the glass and despite their claimed MC it handles like a single coating Japanese counter part. I have various M42 and PB CZJ lenses. I can confidently say the CZ of west Germany is leagues apart from the former CZJ. Oh yes I do have some knowledge of the history of Zeiss and how they split up during the cold war. The CZJ was heavily subsidized by their government like any communist product and therefore was sold cheaply to the west for hard currency. That 80mm F1.8 Pancolor lens sold new for around $50.00 USD to the western market back in the early 90`s. Too bad you didn`t fetch them up 20 so years ago. The prices of these east German lenses in the last few years have gone crazy up and I guess thanks to the 4/3 system and more lenses mount adapters for more lenses. Also these eastern European lenses have become trendy cult items now especially when production has long ago been stopped.
I love using off beat brand of lenses as well but I have never found any bad 50mm lenses but maybe it is a ymmv thing between us or you had the true misfortune of having a dreadful 50mm lens?

Last edited by radium; 06-14-2012 at 11:31 PM.
06-15-2012, 04:24 AM   #6
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I didn't say they were. I was quoting someone else and ASKING if they were. That's the first time I've run across that statement. It surprised me and I simply wanted to know if it was true or not. If I had a really nice lens coming. Thanks, to all who replied.
06-15-2012, 06:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I didn't say they were. I was quoting someone else and ASKING if they were. That's the first time I've run across that statement. It surprised me and I simply wanted to know if it was true or not. If I had a really nice lens coming. Thanks, to all who replied.
...and I responded because these things have a way of becoming Internet "truth". To be succinct:
  • Chinon, like most smaller makers, contracted for their lenses
  • Lenses similar to the Chinon normals are found with other labeling
  • Chinon lenses are generally not bad and can be quite good
  • Carl Zeiss Jena did not rebrand as other makes, nor did they make generic lenses for other entities
  • Carl Zeiss Jena did not rebrand other makes as Carl Zeiss Jena
  • Carl Zeiss Jena lenses were made in DDR (East Germany) and never Asia
  • Carl Zeiss Jena never made a Planar (see original post). Its normal lens line was Pancolar, Biotar, and Tessar. All are superb.
  • There are CZJ-labeled brand-x lenses in circulation that were labeled as such without the knowledge of or collaboration from Carl Zeiss Jena. These were sold in Britain and were made in Japan or Korea.

The OP has a Chinon 55/1.4 and it is probably a decent lens. It was not made by CZJ nor does it share its design with any CZJ product. The seller referenced was trying to talk up his item to enhance the possibility of sale at a higher price, nothing more.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-15-2012 at 07:53 PM.
06-15-2012, 03:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The OP has a Chinon 50/1.4 and it is probably a decent lens.
If it is a K-mount then probably so, but a Chinon 55mm f1.4 in a M42 mount does exist.

06-15-2012, 04:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
If it is a K-mount then probably so, but a Chinon 55mm f1.4 in a M42 mount does exist.
I have a couple of Chinon 55/f1.4 m42 lens which are rumored to be designed/made by Tomioka.
06-15-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I have a couple of Chinon 55/f1.4 m42 lens which are rumored to be designed/made by Tomioka.
Do you like them? Have you found them worth using? I'm curious. I've not had anything Chinon before. I have a 28MM Chinar lens. But I'm not quite sure if it's related or not. Someone told me they thought it was another name for Chinon but they weren't positive. That is a good lens though. I was glad it came my way actually. It was a fixer upper, but it's not bad at all. Nice little semi-wide that one.
06-15-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
If it is a K-mount then probably so, but a Chinon 55mm f1.4 in a M42 mount does exist.
Oops! wrote 50 and meant 55!!!

Google Auto-Chinon 55 f/1.4...


Steve
06-16-2012, 01:08 AM   #12
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I have the K-mount 50mm f1.4. Nice lens past about f2, but don't pay through the nose for it.

I don't know if the M42 55mm f1.4 is so much better to be worth the hassle of having to use an adaptor. If you do get the 55mm, post some shots and a review !
06-18-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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I got myself a Chinon CE-5 with a Auto Chinon MC 50 / 1.7 ( and other lenses ) a few weeks ago and it's moved well up my list of favorites. The Googlerati seem to think it's a Tomioka, as are many of Chinon's lenses, mine is a very well built, smooth operating lens that delivers sharpness and very little fall off at the edges, and virtually no CA.
For the price it's a damn good lens. Chinon's reputation suffered because they sold more or less exclusively in big discount stores, so the 'photogaphers' didn't take them seriously, but they were a company selling their products under their name and not just suppliers of equipment that was re branded.
The CE-5 camera is a revelation, it's PK mount and is a real sleeper bargain for someone after a very good film camera. I'd say that a lot of their lenses probably fall into the same bracket, it's not a 'cool brand' to be seen with.
06-18-2012, 09:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
The CE-5 camera is a revelation, it's PK mount and is a real sleeper bargain for someone after a very good film camera. I'd say that a lot of their lenses probably fall into the same bracket, it's not a 'cool brand' to be seen with.
One of my great purchases included an Argus CR-3E (made by Chinon, also sold as Chinon CE-2 and GAF LES-2) with a Argus Auto Cintar 55/1.7. This was reputedly about the most advanced M42 body ever made, and it's a tank -- and body+lens cost me US$6 shipped. But if Chinon ain't kewl (despite my great PK-M tessar pancake Chinon Auto 45/2.8) then Argus is positively antediluvian. I get weird looks when using my Argoflex-E TLR also. But I digress.

The M42 Argus Cintar 55/1.7 living on the CR-3E is VERY sharp, renders beautifully, has a serial number starting with 10 -- I wonder who made it? I rank it with my M42 Rikenon, SuperTak, Petri CC, and Mamiya 55/1.8's.

I had PK-M Chinar 135/2.8 and 80-205/4.5 lenses, with serial numbers starting with 40, all decent enough. I sold them because I just didn't need more glass in those focal lengths. I have kept an N/AI (modded for PK) Chinon 28/2.8. I wonder who made these?

I also have an M42 Auto-Alpa 500/5.6, MIJ, from an era when Alpa cams were made by Chinon. This beauty is another of my favorites. From its build, and because I read than Chinon contracted lenses and didn't build their own, I'll suspect that it's by Cosina. Serial number starts with 25. NOTE1: Old Alpas were Swiss masterpieces; both bodies and lenses are extremely valuable now. This lens ain't in that rank but it's still damn good. NOTE2: Alpa is not Alpo.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-20-2012 at 07:33 AM.
06-20-2012, 05:42 AM   #15
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I was reading a bit more about it and I ran across someone who was talking about the Chinon lenses and how it messed with her mirror when she focused past infinity? Anyone know anything about that? That's the first I've ever heard of such a thing. She had it on a Canon DSLR apparently but I'm really hoping that was just her and her Canon and whatever adapter she was using. Anyone used Chinon's on a Pentax DSLR? Any problems? I'd really like to know before I attempt to go there. I do have the official M42 adapter. Is there a flange or pin type situation here that I need to be aware of? I know the Sears lens will likely need a pin removed and that I have to remove a plastic plate on the Vivitar, but is there anything I should do before mounting a Chinon on my K-x? Thanks!
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