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06-11-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
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Carl Zeiss Jena MC Pancolour f1.8 50mm M42

Hi all

Wasn't really sure how to title this thread and its my first post bar my introduction so be gentle lol

I bought a Pentax SMC DA 50mm f1.8 lens about a year ago and overall I've been quite happy with it, not my most used lens but happy

I was GIVEN a Carl Zeiss Jena MC Pancolour f1.8 50mm m42 lens along with some other bits for NOTHING :-)

Now it had a stuck aperture and I had no adaptor, I got an m42 adaptor and noticed it performed rather better wide open than my Pentax 50mm but it was rather inconvenient without other apertures so didn't really use it

anyhow I bought a K5iis the other day and have been tinkering about with all my lenses and I thought I'd look at thw carl zeiss and to sum up I fixed the aperture, it just needed working a bit inside

And the results I seem to have found are that at any aperture it seems both sharper and has less fringing than my Pentax DA50mm

Is this typical?

I'm a bit gobsmacked that such an old bit of glass can out perform some new modern aps-c optimized glass at almost 300

Are these carl zeiss that good or is my copy of the DA50mm out of align or whatever?

please see pics attached crops taken wide open f1.8 as close to each other as possible

I dont know weather to be happy I have been given such a great lens that works now 100% OR sad that it is 'better' than a lens I paid a relatively high price for a f1.8 50mm (compared to canikon)

Any comments much appreciated

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06-11-2013, 03:23 PM   #2
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The Pancolar is a lovely lens, manual focus has got you now, there's no going back.
06-11-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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Carl Zeiss lenses are very good and great to tinker with. You will soon be wanting more!
06-11-2013, 04:40 PM   #4
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Yeh, you have discovered a terrible secret. Old primes can perform as well as new primes. Especially high-end designs. Back then, it was a value to make a lens work great and work long. These days, other values have taken over, like how much it costs, how much automation it has.
The only advantages that new lenses have is more automation (AF, automatic aperture, lens contacts, exif info - you will appreciate this if you use a lot of manual lenses) and modern coatings (better flare resistance, CA control, less ghosting). Sharpness not so much. And even the overall rendering style can be very special in old lenses, with smoother transitions.
So as long as you put a nice tight hood on that old lens, its gonna be great. Have fun with it.
In places where you need AF or have complicated light, use your DA 50mm. It still has its uses and its not a bad lens. Its design is, after all, the same as the A 50mm f1.7

Oh, and make use of CiF (catch in focus aka focus trapping)

Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-11-2013 at 04:52 PM.
06-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #5
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The CZJ lenses are generally very good. It is a shame that I didn't buy a bunch of them back in the early 70s when they were dirt cheap.


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