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04-14-2008, 01:46 PM   #1
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Zeiss Jena Flektogon 2.4/35 vs DA 35 Macro Limited ?

Now that the latter of the two lenses named above has been available for a few days, can anybody who's handled both comment on their relative merits? The DA has the obvious advantages of coupling with the camera and a closer minimum focus distance, but the Flektogon is still reputed to get you pretty close, is somewhat more affordable, has a reputation as a classic, is marginally faster, and is known to works with film/hypothetical full frame. The lenses are of similar weight and will both provide a normal-ish perspective with a DX sensor, so if one wants a general purpose "normal" lens which lets one get close they're the most obvious contenders. Of course, just reading the specs I can't compare the various measures of image quality or the subjective experience of working with them, so I'm hoping somebody else who's tried them both can comment. Any thoughts?

04-14-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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Hi, i've been looking for a flektogon, but they are going for around 200$ this days

I don't know if they're better or worst then the DA35, but there's a seller on eBay selling the DA for 359$, for an 159$ difference i think the DA35 is the way to go, unless you really want to use it on film, don't if the DA35 is FF compatible or not.
04-14-2008, 02:55 PM   #3
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The DA is FF IIRC
04-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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I had a Flek 35. It's such a fine lens. At wide open, its center resolution is a touch softer than the 31TLD at 2.4. Of course that's not a fair comparison, but it shows how impressive this lens is. However, it doesn't perform as well at the edges. Stopping down from 5.6 to 8, I couldn't tell them apart. I sold it recently, and regret my decision. I'll probably get one back in the future.

I'll have the DA 35 macro soon, so I might be able to give some thoughts after I do my own comparison between the DA and the FA.

04-14-2008, 03:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
The DA is FF IIRC
do you have a reference for this? i've seen a lot of sepculation about this but haven't found anybody actualy saying "i put it on my film body and it worked". i'd really love to see some serious tests, but right now i'm very in the dark on what's been tried and what's just speculation, so anything you could point to would be helpful.

even in thsi case, the ZJ would still have some obvious advantages (especially the price, but also the aperture ring, which is an interface feature i really like that's missing from the DA series), and of course none of this would speak to image aesthetics or sharpness.
04-14-2008, 08:05 PM   #6
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Factual evidence, no, but I am to believe that all of the DA Limiteds will work on a FF camera.
04-14-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
Factual evidence, no, but I am to believe that all of the DA Limiteds will work on a FF camera.
thanks. the last i'd heard there was still considerable uncertainty about which ones would and wouldn't work ... quickly slipping my DA 40mm limited onto my k1000 at least makes the entire viewfinder frame visible, but without aperture control it's a little hard to run a formal test, and i don't have any other DA lenses handy to play with - the 40mm in particular is apparently based on an older design so its being full frame doesn't necessarily mean the whole series is. in any case, official pentax literature refers to them all as being digital-only, which is enough to make one nervous.
04-14-2008, 10:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by q10 Quote
thanks. the last i'd heard there was still considerable uncertainty about which ones would and wouldn't work ... quickly slipping my DA 40mm limited onto my k1000 at least makes the entire viewfinder frame visible, but without aperture control it's a little hard to run a formal test, and i don't have any other DA lenses handy to play with - the 40mm in particular is apparently based on an older design so its being full frame doesn't necessarily mean the whole series is. in any case, official pentax literature refers to them all as being digital-only, which is enough to make one nervous.
i just read a post on dpreview by Jim King who said he tried it on his DA40 on film and said no vignetting, and then he commented on why this kept on being brought up :P

04-14-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
Factual evidence, no, but I am to believe that all of the DA Limiteds will work on a FF camera.
probably not the DA21
04-14-2008, 10:36 PM   #10
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I've had the Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4, it's an excellent w/ good sharpness and color rendering, plus very close minimum focus distance (1:2 macro) too. But that thing isn't cheap nowadays, easily cost over $200 for a decent copy. It is a screw mount lens, means you can only shoot w/ stop down metering. And the viewfinder gets pretty dark when you set the aperture to F5.6 or slower. The other problem w/ CZJ lenses is that they kinda get sticky aperture blades quite easily (I've seen this problem on CZJ 20/2.8, 135/3.5 and 35/2.4 as well), especially if you leave there w/o using them for a long time. The only pro I can see for the CZJ35 is its cheaper price (but not super cheap though).

Pros for the DA35:
. a digital lens (optimized for digital camera)
. auto focus
. auto metering w/ all three metering methods
. 1:1 macro
. very sharp even wide open
. built-in hood
. a new lens
. being a Pentax
...

I'd go w/ the DA35 even it costs double or three times of the CZJ35/2.5
.
04-14-2008, 10:39 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buddha Jones Quote
Factual evidence, no, but I am to believe that all of the DA Limiteds will work on a FF camera.
I think the DA21 would have dark circles if mounted on a FF 135mm film camera The other DA Limiteds might not have vignetting on FF, but we don't know if their edge sharpness/resolution is up to the requirement for FF sensors. The only ones we probably can confirm to be able to work on FF sensors are the DA*200 and DA*300.
04-14-2008, 10:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
It is a screw mount lens, means you can only shoot w/ stop down metering. And the viewfinder gets pretty dark when you set the aperture to F5.6 or slower.
yeah, my routine with my Macro-Takumar involves focusing open and stopping down to shoot (sometimes stopping down to meter before i focus, depending on the situation). this is a bit of a pain handheld but it's close to what i used to put up with with my old spotmatic, so in some ways it'd be a fun exercise in nostalgia.

the sticky blades thing is more worrisome.

thank you for your advice and for your wonderful DA 35 sample pics elsewhere.
04-14-2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Pros for the DA35:
(snip)
. auto focus
(snip)
. very sharp even wide open
re autofocus - i have a strong personal MF bias. i don't have anything against autofocus in principle, and i use it when i have to, but i'm not very comfortable with it, so i don't think i'd miss it too much (no offense intended to those with other tastes).

re sharpness - how's the DA at the corners? your 100% crops are really awe-insipring, but from them it's hard to tell whether the lens is reliably sharp, or just has a really good sweet spot near the center (it'd be a cool lense either way, but the difference would matter).
04-14-2008, 11:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by q10 Quote
re autofocus - i have a strong personal MF bias. i don't have anything against autofocus in principle, and i use it when i have to, but i'm not very comfortable with it, so i don't think i'd miss it too much (no offense intended to those with other tastes).

re sharpness - how's the DA at the corners? your 100% crops are really awe-insipring, but from them it's hard to tell whether the lens is reliably sharp, or just has a really good sweet spot near the center (it'd be a cool lense either way, but the difference would matter).
As of AF vs MF, I'd choose AF lens anytime, but that's just me

Center sharpness of the DA35 is very good, but I haven't checked its corners at wide open. From a couple of testing shots I can see the center is indeed sharper than the corners. I don't really care too much about the corners w/ my shooting style, that's why I never check corners w/ any of my lenses, even the DA*1650 I can test it on a brick wall or testing chart if you like to see...
04-14-2008, 11:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
As of AF vs MF, I'd choose AF lens anytime, but that's just me

Center sharpness of the DA35 is very good, but I haven't checked its corners at wide open. From a couple of testing shots I can see the center is indeed sharper than the corners. I don't really care too much about the corners w/ my shooting style, that's why I never check corners w/ any of my lenses, even the DA*1650 I can test it on a brick wall or testing chart if you like to see...
it'd be interesting to see some corner or edge results on a testing chart or brick wall, if you have time to run the tests.

(as for the other thing, a lens with AF support is, all other things being equal, almost always a little preferable, since i can use MF on an AF lens but not the other way around. still, even with fast AF, it feels like i'm waiting for the camera when i'd rather not be - with an MF setup you decide when you're ready to shoot and then the camera just does its thing prettymuch instantaneously. when i first started borrowing friends' P&S digital cameras, it took me some time to get used to the camera not just exposing as soon as i pressed ... i'd press and it'd make some noise and i'd assume it had done it's thing and they'd yell at me that no it was just focusing - i got used to it but it was disorienting coming from my focus-then-shoot MF habits. if one is less a creature of habit, or one has a different background, then it's probably a nonissue, although i suspect MF would still appeal to my control freak nature.)
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