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Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

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14 126,286 Mon July 23, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $122.73 8.79
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

The "flek" is one of the best known "cult classics".
The original version was f/2.8, started production in 1950 as a bright-finish preset, then as a "diamond grip" automatic, and then as the "zebra" automatic (pic 4). Its production carried on for a while after the M42 version was replaced by the f/2.4 in the familiar style cosmetics but for Exakta with outrigger release.
Some online commentators suggest there are differences between the red "MC" and white "MC" on the nameplate versions.
Can be found in M42 (most common), Exakta and Praktica bayonet mounts.

The USSR made version is the Mir 1.

Optics: the schema on the later version pic 2 shows 6 elements in 6 groups (I think thats a spaced doublet not a triplet); the schema for the early silver version 6 elements in 5 groups. NB can't vouch for veracity.
Focal length: 35mm
Aperture range: 2.4 - 22
Nr. of aperture blades: 6
Filter size: 49mm
Min. focusing distance: 0.2 m
Special feature: MC (multicoated)
Focus: manual
Mount: M42 screw mount
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

Add Review of Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
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New Member

Registered: August, 2017
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: July 23, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ
Cons: none for this price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: K3II   

This is a typical Zeiss from east Germany: Best Quality with best know-how but limited means of production.
The optical quality ist really good. Very good IQ with nice colours and very good sharpness, especially in short distance shots. Its nearly a macro lens.

The handling is ok, but not to compare with modern zeiss lenses - typical for zeiss Jena. For the price - try and have fun!

New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: June 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, colour, build
Cons: Long focus throw (but that's a matter of taste)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Sony Alpha 7RII   

Absolutely stunning lens. The bokeh is really, really pleasing, and the colours come out perfectly 'real' and still gorgeous. Very Sharp (I gave it 'only' 9 as I also own the monstrous Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8 , which is an utterly unfair paragon but still... it exists). Great build, it feels heavy & super-solid. By my taste this lens has only 1 disadvantage: long focus throw. But that also gives you precision, especially at the short end. Totally recommended.

Junior Member

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 32

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 30, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Colors, sharpness, build.
Cons: Adapter...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-3   

My copy is ultra sharp, with good contrast and typically Zeiss color. I have a lots 28mm and 50mm but only TWO 35mm lenses. SMC-K 35mm f/3.5 and this lens.

Generally I don't know which lens I prefer. SMC-K 35mm f/3.5 is legendary lens but Flek too.

In real life in my bag I can "found" Flektogon more often than SMC-K. I don't know why... Oh wait. This reason is a Zeisses colors ? Hmm. OK SMC-K is better in neutral colors and sharpness but Flek is clear winner with this overall character.

At last this lens is a two Distagon's - 28mm f/2 (SMC-K 28mm f/2) and 35mm f/2.8. And have a ultra short minimal focusing distance - 19 cm.
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice colours, good bokeh, very good close up, distinctive
Cons: A bit of fringing, other lenses are sharper, not very contrasty
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Samsung GX20, Pentax K-x   

Mine is the 'electric' version. The extra contacts on the base don't affect its use with an M42-K adapter and a DSLR. I bought it from a Camera Shop for 15. My motivation was partly the speed (its quoted f2.4 being faster than my f2.5 Tokina-made Vivitar TX) and partly the price, since I have seen these go for around 100 on e-Bay.

The speed is honest; it is faster than the lenses I have compared it with:
  • Vivitar 35mm f2.5 TX
  • Cosina 35mm f2.8
  • Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 AF
roughly in line with the manufacturers' claims.

Wide open, the Flektogon is the least sharp, then the Tamron, the Cosina, the Vivitar TX being the sharpest. The Tamron and the Cosina show no CA, the Flektogon a little, which reduces as you stop down, and the Vivitar lots, though it is easily dealt with.

The Flektogon is really good close up, with beautifully smooth bokeh and lovely colours. There is a 3D quality to my flower images. At longer distances and stopped down to f8, the pictures are pleasing, with slightly muted yet attractive colours. Stopped down to f5.6, the Flektogon overtakes the Vivitar, and whilst the Cosina is always sharper, I prefer the Flektogon. However, stopped down the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 AF is in a different class; more detail, more contrast, more saturated colours. It's not to say that the Flektogon isn't good. But I always prefer the Tamron in pictures where the superior bokeh of the Flektogon is not apparent.

Manual focus is O.K., but nothing special. The Flektogon is better than the Cosina, which is kind-of sticky, but the Vivitar TX feels much nicer than either. The A/M switch on the Flektogon makes Aperture Priority possible on a DSLR. Flare hasn't been a problem; I always use a hood.

For family snapping indoors in available light, I prefer the Kiron-made Vivitar 28mm f2; it is sharper wide open, faster, and has a bit of extra width.
For 15, the lens is good value, and I find f2.4 versus f2.8 a useful boost in speed. But 100 plus? For that you should be able to get the Pentax DA35 f2.4, brand new. The Flektogon will produce images with a distinctive feel, but for me, 100 is too much to pay for its quirkiness.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2014
Posts: 43
Lens Review Date: November 7, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 9 

Cons: Chrome Abbr and coma abbr
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

non functioning links removed on Flickr
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $240.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: super sharp, close focusing, good flare resistance, smooth bokegh and great colours
Cons: expensive and sought after :), focsuing not as smooth as takumars, 6 apreture blades
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Pentax K-01   

After I created a thread for a club for this lens I though I might add some short remarks and summarize somehow my 2 years of using this lens with this short review.

My copy is *very* sharp - I had seen another, white lettering copy and that was exactly the same sharp.
I also checked the f2.8 version - after I already had my f2.4 I found there was another version - they both are basically similar - one is faster, f2.8 is focusing closer - both are sharp at the same apertures. I like my MC version for its coating - but if the money were a concern and I new about the f2.8 version = I would save few pounds and went with it as it often is cheaper than f2.4 .

Flare resistance is excellent - on par with my SM K mount lenses, but not as good as modern Pentax SMC coatings.
Rendering is superb, bokeh is usually very smooth across the range and apertures - something 6 aperture blades might mess up with it a bit. Sharpness is great from wide open , and in contrary to some other reviewers my copy is both sharp in close focus and at infinity distances.

Close focusing is a fantastic addition, if I was to have only one lens - that would be my Flektogon on APC-S camera ( and some macro 50mm on film camera ) - as it gives really nice field of view.

From disadvantages I mainly dislike the focusing - it is smooth - don't get me wrong , I can fine tune anything with it - it's absolutely smooth BUT it is not as smooth and silky easy to turn as my pentax K/ Takumar lenses.

And yeah, you got me right here : that is my main and only concern for this lens ! Here is how my lovely Zeiss looks like mounted on my K-01 - my usual manual combo. I use it with a large metal lens hood which was designed for a 50mm lens - with APCS crop factor it matches the Zeiss' FOV perfectly :

Check some shots below - for more - follow this link and check all the samples from this outstanding lens : Zeiss Flektogon 35mm lens club

Below shot at f2.4 - shot in purpose with this aperture to see the bokeh and to achieve shallow DOF. ISO 100, 1/4000 s. ( yes, that is correct, 1/4000 s! - it was super sunny ).

Below Shot in f8.0 for good sharpness across the frame, ISO 100, 1/100 s.

Below Shot in f2.4 - wide open because it is a night shot and I had to use ISO 800 anyway. - the shutter speed was 1/30 s.

' >' manntax
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Berlin
Posts: 33

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Close focus, colours, relatively fast
Cons: Not that sharp (my copy), expensive
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 6    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

There are two reasons why you'd want this lens: the colours and the minimun focussing distance. Apart from that it's not bad, but nothing too special either. The colours are great: very saturated, at times the images look slightly surreal which I like. I just wish it was as good at infinity as it is for close objects. My copy seems to be very sharp at close range, but loses resolution at a distance. In comparison to my 28mm 3,5 Super Takumar it does not have the crispness and fine detail for landscape shots. But like I said it's very good for close-ups. Portraits are surprisingly good too. Overall a good lens with an interesting character but not quite the general-purpose-thing I was looking for.

IMGP9844.jpg von serpentine-photo auf Flickr

IMGP9247.jpg von serpentine-photo auf Flickr
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: very good sharpness, nearly a macro lens
Cons: but CA's visible, more expected
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: spotmatic   

I'am irritated that nobody has discovered visible terrible CA's in the edges, reducing value of this lens,unfortunately. Only mines?

Nevertheless it is - stopped down to f 8 - 11 a very good lens with high contrast and good sharpness

very near objects can be shooted. So you'll have much fun with it.

totally a good lens, but Pentax 2.4/35 is much more better

The older 2.8/35 zebra version of CZJ Flektogon with a big front lens has much flare against the sun light, but it is really sharper and has no CA's in the edges, stopped down at f 5.6-8. This is due to the achromatic lens in the older version !
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: The Cow Belt
Posts: 162
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $145.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: accurate colours; quite sharp; contrast; close focus;
Cons: prone to flare; soft wide open;

I use a Flektogon with the front ring engraving including MC in white. Some believe that lens performance varies with the style of lettering and serial number; I do not. The lens has accurate colour rendition and very good contrast, but in an understated way. It is quite sharp in the centre but needs to be stopped down to f11-f16 to exhibit this quality. It is prone to flare. A comparison with the SMCP-M 35/2 in a strongly side-lit interior setting showed flaring in the multicoated Flektogon but none in the supermulticoated Pentax of about the same age. The Pentax, though hardly renowned for sharpness, is slightly sharper at all f-stops than the Flektogon.

However, the Flektogon is almost as effective as a dedicated macro lens for closeups; the SMCP-M 35/2, though it focuses close, is not quite there.

Focusing is not easy to judge. After the 3 metre mark on the focussing ring, the distance needed to be turned to reach infinity is very short. At the long end, a very slight turn of the focussing ring may bring it just short of infinity in landscapes, leaving backgrounds out of focus.

I would give the Flektogon 8.5 points if the scale allowed it.

The lens is recommendable but, In my view, the high price Flektogons command nowadays is not justifiable.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: November 14, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: good IQ and usable focal lenght on digital
Cons: suffers from mechanical issues, soft wide open, prone to flare... the usual things with old lenses

Nice and sharp lens, but (at least the copy I have used) suffers from lazy aperture blades (can't close beyond cca F11) and a little bit stiff focus ring. IQ is nice and close focussing abilities are a welcomed bonus. But since I have the DA 35 2.4 I don't use it for digital any more...

Picture made on K10D, stopped down a bit:
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 258

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 26, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Great contrast and color, great bokeh, macro
Cons: Absolutely nothing important for the price!

This is my favourite walk around lens! It can shoot almost everything. Great alternative to the plastic and not exciting DA 35mm 2.4! I call mine FLEKTOGON Limited .
So the cons are the same as in all other CZJ lens from it's time. Problems with mechanics and more specific - lubrication. But if it is re lubed - it is perfect. It doesn't feel like M lens but the feeling is quite nice.
The greatness is the soft rendering, CZ bokeh and it is very sharp from 2.4 in the center. The corners needs 5.6 or more to get perfect, nut they are not unusable even at 2.4. Other strange thing - I found that this and my other CZJ lens(pancolar 50 1.8 MC) is not getting that soft closed down to it's maximum like my other lenses. It almost looks like that diffraction is not a problem of this lens.
CZJ lenses are one of the big reasons to like pentax!

Some examples:

actually everybody can visit this link:

Resolution test on K200D:
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 143
Lens Review Date: August 8, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Optical quality, close focusing range, sharp
Cons: Aperture tends to stick with time, some built quality issues

I really like this lens. During the years I had some, but usually traded it over for something else. About a year ago I came across one in mint condition with caps and case that I finally kept and use it since occassionally.
There is nothing much to say that it is a great piece of metal and glass. East German optical industry had some weak point concerning quality control which is reflected in this lens as well, but the optical performance compensates us. The problems often occure with this lens are parts that stuck from grease (focusing becomes tough, aperture do not move etc.). Cleaning and lubrication usually help.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 1,421
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Shockingly sharp
Cons: Price - very sought after

Borrowed this lens from a friend for a little while, its amazingly sharp, colours are great, its just a general joy to use. Great feel, comfortable to hold and use.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2008
Location: Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1,381

7 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 8, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatility, colors, bokeh, macro
Cons: aperture issues

Carl Zeiss Jena MC Flektogon 2.4/35 on K100D (all settings neutral) no crop, no postprocess, f/2.4 :
Used on cameras: Pentax K100D (APS-C 6MPix); Prakticar B200 (36x24 mm film SLR)

Similar lenses used: S-M-C Takumar 3.5/35, mass production M42 2.8/35 like Seimar, Vivitar(Tokina), Exakta. Too briefly used: Nikon AIS 2/35, Contax Distagon 2.8/35

This lens is quite compact and will deliver good colors and resolution right from full open. It has good bokeh and can focus real close. In other words, an allround lens, especially on APS-C format, with a distinct character. The 49mm filter thread on the front still leaves some spare room inside for the lens. This is to say, you will have no problem putting filters plus a decent lens hood on it with APS-C. My fave hood is the tapering metal hood originally for Pentacon 50mm. The lens seems to work quite well with a polarizer, too.

This lens has been produced in M42 in the earlier version with the higher (more digits) serial numbers and then in the lower (less digits) serial numbers on the later M42 versions. Both of these have been delivered in the 'electric' version as well, which makes them usable on aperture metering M42 Praktica bodies (other than that no diff. to the non-electric). The same design was also used in the Praktica B-mount version. The predecessor M42 Flektogon 2.8/35 is a different lens design.

Mechanics: A common problem with those lenses is the aperture getting stuck or slow. Check this out carefully before you buy. For the tinkerer it is not so bad, you can clean it and get a free aperture again, medium difficulty level I think. I've put a disassembly set on my flickr, for what looks exactly like the same aperture housing on the M42 CZJ Sonnar MC 3.5/135. It is probably enough to open the lens from the back and try to get the aperture going again with zipper fluid. For 'digital use' it would be enough to get the blades going and then just use the lens. Every sample of this lens (except the PB-mount versions) has an A-M switch, so it is easy to use on a DSLR. In terms of copy variations I have found that there is quite little of it. Never have seen a bad sample of this lens and they seem to perform quite consistently.

Optics: Looks 'very multicoated' and I never had or heard about issues with the coating or separation of elements. Someone mentioned rattling/loose elements, which I never encountered but it's probably wise to do the shake-check if you can before buying.

Handling: The focus throw is a little more than 3/4 of the whole turn, which makes you turn more on the close-focus side (or move your feet) but is a fine compromise to have enough throw on the long end imo. The original focus action is smooth but can be rougher when a CLA is on the horizon (never found a stuck focus though). Focus is an easily grabbable/feelable metal ring with pointed knurls while the metal aperture ring is striped, so easier to distinguish. Aperture clicks are rather soft and you have half stops all through the range, feeling right to me. This lens is small (like a small M42 standard lens) but well built.

Performance: I've heard some complaining about this lens being not so good in the corners on 36x24mm format (be it film or digital). This might be true in the lower f-stops. I've only shot some landscape slides closed down and there the corners were allright (crappy slides though). Some recent pics from a Canon 5D user look good in the corners, but then again this is stopped down.
For me this lens has much in common with the M42 CZJ MC Sonnar 3.5/135. Both are color bombs and can focus way closer than the pack. Full open performance is already very good and the bokeh is smooth.

Exposure variations: This lens behaves like so many other M42 lenses. It is anodized on the back and will want around 1.3+ EV on a K100D to get good exposures (drifting from less +EV full open to more +EV stopped down). The aluminium foil trick will push this up to around 0.0 EV, like with most other M42 lens.

Rating/score: I'd give this lens a 9.0 rating for optical performance. Almost anything you could ask for except a wider aperture and autofocus. Some negatives I did not weigh in to the ranking score is a steadily climbing market price for this lens and the common mechanical issues with the aperture.

Conclusion: I do not use this lens as much as I should cause I am a 50-60mm guy (on K100D) but it is in the top three and probably #1 as a choice for a manual lens in this FL/aperture range. The all-metal build (except name ring and A-M switch) and excellent optical quality assures you that even with a CLA overhaul this lens will represent a sustainable value for a long time to come. As a manual APS-C standard lens, I can hardly think of something this lens can't do well except real low light stuff.

Pictures from this lens:

Lens schemes, infos, reviews, tests:

Disassembly links:

All the best, Georg (the other)
Add Review of Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

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