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05-30-2008, 10:26 AM   #1
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Carl Zeiss

I just wanted to ask you whether you knew how the Carl Zeiss lenses are comparing to the Pentax lenses e.g. Distagon T* 35mm f/2 to the fa 31mm ltd., Planar T* 50mm f/1,4 to the fa 43mm ltd. and the Planar T* 85mm f/1,4 to the fa 77mm ltd/fa* 85mm?

05-30-2008, 10:48 AM   #2
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Though the datas are not directly comparable, many of these lenses are scientifically measured and demonstrated at Welcome to Photozone!. At the very least, it will give you some idea of what to expect between them.

Barring that, I'm always up for direct comparisons if there are any users in posession of similarly suited lenses of differing brands, though it does seems the SLR ZK lenses are in low distribution out there.

FWIW, I made a thread a while back comparing the T*25/2.8 to the FA 31.
05-30-2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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Which one of these two do you like better?
05-30-2008, 11:04 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Effi Quote
Which one of these two do you like better?
Well, my copy did exhibit a lack of ability to hit infinity properly, as did a second copy tested in the shop. Mine has been sent back to Zeiss for a focus adjustment so I reserve final judgement, but it is up against an epic adversary in the FA31.

Here were my tests - Zeiss Distagon T*25/2,8 - a set on Flickr

One thing I can say authoritively, the T*25 has a unique persona. Its non-'floating element' close focusing has won and lost it much in reviews. I'm a fan. This lens will surprise and intrigue when shooting right up to the front element.

05-31-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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I don't have a way of comparing it to the FA 31 Ltd, but my Zeiss 35/2.0 is extremely sharp with great color and contrast. My Voigtlander Nokton 58/1.4 seems every bit as good as the Zeiss, and was less than half the price, but it is a bit tricky to focus. I have a Katz Eye arriving Tuesday that should resolve that.
05-31-2008, 07:11 PM   #6
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I concur that the Nokton specifically is an interesting case when it comes to focusing. The more I use it, the more I love it - though its definately a Jekyl & Hyde. From f1.4-2.0, it is a soft, bokeh master. Everything looks like a painting, and even the infocus area has a diffusion glow coming off it. After 2.8, it becomes perfectly sharp with a different (normal?)pleasant bokeh and is much easier to focus. The line is so distinct, it like two completely different lenses. It seems tricky to hit the focus right on f1.4 for sure though, usually takes me a few attempts to hit, but for me, this is where the lens derives its magik powers.

With relation to the Zeiss I've used, the VLs are every bit an equal for what they do. They even look and feel the same, both being made at the same Cosina factory in Japan. Stephen Gandy at camera quest when asked why the ZKs were so much more than the Voigtlanders responded "Because Zeiss love the money". Made me laugh.

It is interesting to note however how much the Voigtlanders start to fetch once the supplies dry up. On par with Zeiss. Makes one feel that perhaps they were a good bargain at original pricing, rather than over priced now.
05-31-2008, 08:00 PM   #7
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You may want to keep in mind that you'll lose AF although you'd gain what I expect would be superb manual focusing similar to Pentax M lenses.

The DA21/FA*24, FA31/35, FA43/50 are all excellent and favourably priced compared to the Zeiss equivalents which makes it that much harder.
06-01-2008, 04:36 AM   #8
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If you're a tinkerer (crowd walks away:-),

you can put Zeiss C/Y-mount glass (from the 1980ies/90ies) on your Pentax DSLR.

Some are infinity, some are not, but quite easily fixed (see the forum.manualfocus.org). Anyway, you can just take any C/Y lens and handhold it into your Pentax and snap some shots. It sits right on the bayonet but does not snap in unmodified. Make sure you have the protuding parts of the lensback on the bottom of the camera cause the mirror can collide when swinging through. This only happens when you get way deep into the camera and it does not destroy the mirror or anything (tested on a K100D - not valid for Canon5D).

I have already converted a C/Y Planar 1.7/50 (approx. 100,-US-$ in good condition). This is one of the most flare resistent lenses I know of. It's not a slouch in the resolution department either.

Still waiting in the queue is a C/Y Planar 1.4/50 (said to have more copy variation, top5 all-time standard lens, around 150,-US-$) and a C/Y Distagon 2.8/28 (said to have very little variation, one of the very best in this class, around 150,-US-$).

These lenses have T*-coating, which is as good as it gets (Pentax coating is very close to it though) and quite important for 'digital use'. Like Pentax, Zeiss went for macro-contrast. It's kind of unsharp mask within the lens. Zeiss mutes blues and reds to a more snappy color :-)

Leitz and Minolta however went for micro-contrast and a 3D-ish look as well as coatings adjusted to color fidelity. There's horses for courses, plenty to choose and the Pentax lenses are right there,
Georg




And she can do that: CZ Planar 1.7/50 + polarizer on K100D, substantially shaded in PP.
You won't get many lenses to resolve the edges of the sun like that on a DSLR.
In fact for most this would be 'white-out' time.

06-02-2008, 01:03 PM   #9
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I was going to convert to C/Y/OM but have given up I've had orders canceled on me, orders not being filled, and sellers sending me faulty lenses. Screw it...I'll take my chances with the 35/2,4's aperture. I'm on the hunt for a nice 20/4 as well, but both of those are quite expensive...
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