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01-08-2009, 09:08 PM   #1
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m42 Zeiss Jena lenses

Someone recently gave me a 135 f/3.5 Zeiss Jena m42 lens.

It's branded as a Zeiss, but seeing as how its like $100 on ebay, I figured it would suck. But, after using it, I am completely blown away.

I accidentally deleted some other shots I had with the lens, but here are some examples of the amazing colors this lens provides; although they were fairly heavily post processed. I'll see if I can take some more normal shots (without pp) and post them tomorrow.




In the meantime, does anyone else have any experiences with other such Zeiss lenses?

I don't think I've seen a thread on these lenses before, so either no one uses them, or else everyone is being very secretive.

If they are all as good quality *and cheap* as this one, I will consider using them exclusively.


P.S. I'm looking to offload a lot of my lenses that I don't use (I'll try the market place, so keep your eyes open :P)

01-08-2009, 10:30 PM   #2
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There is a Zeiss M42 club thread here

But a quick search of the forums with the search word Zeiss reveals a lot of not so secretive happy users.
01-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #3
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The Carl Zeiss Jena (CZJ for short) are generally really good performers. Some are quite excellent. The Jena lenses were made by the East Germany Carl Zeiss company and represent the lineage of the pre-WWII Zeiss designs. The West German Zeiss company was a completely separate entity whose lenses are all of post-WWII design.

While many of the CZJ lenses were fairly inexpensive new (Commie lenses from behind the Iron Curtain were a hard-sell in the 50s, 60s, and 70s), they are generally well made and offer better than average performance. In today's market, the prices are all over the spectrum. Some, such as the Flektogon 20/2.8 and Pancolar 80/1.8 have cult status and go for outrageous prices when you can find them. Others are sell for amounts more typical for quality M42 glass (about the same or less than that of a Super-Takumar).

In any case, it looks like you have a keeper. Great photos!

Steve
01-08-2009, 11:18 PM   #4
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The Sonnars are reputed to be very good. Where are all these people giving away free stuff? Spotmatics, and Zeisses, and all sorts of things...

So far, I think I want:
Flektogon 35/2.4 ~$200 (or maybe the cheaper single-coated f/2.8)
and
Flektogon 20/4 ~$300

01-08-2009, 11:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
The Sonnars are reputed to be very good. Where are all these people giving away free stuff? Spotmatics, and Zeisses, and all sorts of things...

So far, I think I want:
Flektogon 35/2.4 ~$200 (or maybe the cheaper single-coated f/2.8)
and
Flektogon 20/4 ~$300
Yikes! The CZJ prices have taken another jump! About a year ago the zebra Flek 20/4 was under $200...

Steve
01-09-2009, 06:12 AM   #6
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Beautiful pictures, my friend. I love the color!

I have few Zeiss glass on 35mm, 135mm and 180mm. They can be spectacular. My 135mm may be the same as yours. I sold it to my good friends. I know I sold it too quickly and too cheap. I sold my Czj 135mm f/3.5 in about 2 months ago.

But I hang on to this baby


Carl Zeiss Jena Sonna 180mm f/2.8 (m42)
Hin's Zebra Football Lens





01-09-2009, 06:12 AM   #7
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The Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50/1.8 is quite a nice piece of glass. Here's some shots with it:









01-09-2009, 08:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by solaris Quote
Someone recently gave me a 135 f/3.5 Zeiss Jena m42 lens.

It's branded as a Zeiss, but seeing as how its like $100 on ebay, I figured it would suck. But, after using it, I am completely blown away.
The current Zeiss lenses have a good reputation. The Jena means East German, of course, but that does not necessarily mean that the lens sucks. There are two notable and common East German Zeiss lenses, CZJ 135/3.5 Sonnar and CZJ 35/2.4 Flektogon. In my experience the Sonnar is sharper, gives better colours and has much more pleasing bokeh than the Pentax M 135/3.5. This lens was my favourite lens for a long while. You were lucky to get it for free since it is a good lens. Recenly I got a S-M-C Takumar 135/3.5 and I think it beats the Sonnar by a small amount, I am not quite sure what it is, but I just prefer the pictures. One thing that is noticeably better about the S-M-C Takumar is the build quality - it is better built than the Sonnar. Both the Takumar and the Pentax M lens focus down to 1.5m, but the Sonnar focuses down to 1m which makes it useful for close up work. With extension tubes you can get some good macros with that lens.

The CZJ 35/2.4 Flektogon fetches about 80 in the UK, but I got a battered version for 30. Again, the colours and bokeh are great, and it is sharp even wide open. I have a Pentax M 35/2.8 which simply does not match the Flektogon. The flektogon focuses down to 20cm which makes it a good macro lens.

QuoteQuote:
If they are all as good quality *and cheap* as this one, I will consider using them exclusively.
The Flektogon 35/2.4 is definitely worth getting. The 20/2.8 Flektogon seems to sell for over 100, so some people think it is worth some money.

Richard

01-09-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
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Peter/Asahiflex,
those Pancolar shots look very good. I'm not sold on the full open bokeh of the Pancolar,
but I like stopping down a bit anyway. Nice shots!

QuoteQuote:
Hin spoke:
"But I hang on to this baby"
Hin, that's good news, I thought you had given it away to a friend. Anyway, I'll try to use this lens more often.
Not easy cause I am a bike-/metro- and rucksack-guy but we'll see.


CZJ 1Q Zebra Sonnar 180/2.8, f5.6 probably, M42 adapter on K100D

"Sonne" means sun in german and that's were "Sonnar" comes from. It likes the sunlight, definitely.
Best, Georg (the other)
01-09-2009, 03:42 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the information!

Asahiflex, were the last two flower shots you posted shot wide open? I absolutely love that bokeh. It's so soft and it looks like it has some radial curvature in it as well. I thought lenses had to be a lot faster to get that.

georgweb, any pp on that shot? Also, it has a great blur in the water. How does does that lens look wide open?

Here are some more shots I just took, no PP on the first, some on the last two. It seems I barely wake up before the sun is up this time of year, so there really isn't much else I can think of shooting.



01-09-2009, 03:52 PM   #11
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Damn I hate seeing good pictures for a lens that I sold already to good friend of mine. In hindsight, I am glad that I sold the gear to one of my best pal for LBA who appreciated Zeiss glass as much as I do.

I am odd ball who love to sell at a loss to good friends in and outside of the forum. I gave good discounts, and sometime a free gear to really special friends what share to unload my LBA good buy.

And I sent package out my Czj Flecktogon 35mm f/2.4 with 1:2 close up for $120.00. Normally that lens cost in the range of $150 to $220. I got an excellent one from Chemaxj for $135.00.


Thank you for a lot of share info in this thread. I am about to join the club in Zeiss but I hate to open up any of the Club threads, I always end up lusting for lens bought by Jay and many other excellent photographers and salesman here in PF.

Warmest,
Hin
01-09-2009, 04:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by solaris Quote
Asahiflex, were the last two flower shots you posted shot wide open? I absolutely love that bokeh. It's so soft and it looks like it has some radial curvature in it as well. I thought lenses had to be a lot faster to get that.
To answer your question: in fact, all shots I posted are wide open. I had to because the diaphragm was defective Just let me warn you that I have five Zeiss Jena lenses and although they are a dream optically, mechanically there's a lot to be desired. In fact, all of those lenses had something wrong with them, loose focusing, stiff focusing or inoperative diaphragms. On the plus side: the lenses are easy to repair.
01-19-2009, 07:01 AM   #13
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This topic is a little silent... Let's stir things up a bit.

Even though I think Takumars are the best mechanically I have just bought another CZJ lens: the 80mm f/1.8 Pancolar. Rare as a hen's teeth but really nice. It's said to be sharper than the SMC 85/1.8, something I'm going to test for myself. I've yet to receive it though.

It's a pretty rare lens. Just notice the low serial number, 1500! A Limited lens avant la lettre.

01-19-2009, 08:02 AM   #14
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Congratulations,
what a beauty :-)

Don't know if it's sharper, but the bokeh should be interesting (for me).
I've yet to convert this lens from Praktica B-mount (if ever possible).

Looking forward to your photos with it,
Georg (the other)
PS: Flickr: Search Pancolar 80
01-19-2009, 08:13 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
This topic is a little silent... Let's stir things up a bit.

Even though I think Takumars are the best mechanically I have just bought another CZJ lens: the 80mm f/1.8 Pancolar. Rare as a hen's teeth but really nice. It's said to be sharper than the SMC 85/1.8, something I'm going to test for myself. I've yet to receive it though.

It's a pretty rare lens. Just notice the low serial number, 1500! A Limited lens avant la lettre.

Oh yes...the Holy Grail of CZJ lenses! Two years ago they were relatively common, but suddenly were completely unavailable. Congratulations on the good find!

Steve
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