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Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

Sharpness 
 9.0
Aberrations 
 8.2
Bokeh 
 9.1
Handling 
 8.3
Value 
 8.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
17 133,912 Fri June 12, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $143.21 8.71
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC

Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
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Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
supersize
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
supersize
Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC
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Description:
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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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 17
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: June 12, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $140.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great image quality
Cons: Plastic feel and plastic parts inside
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 6    Camera Used: Film   

One of the seriously hyped-up 35mm lenses of all time, but what a beautiful picture it takes. Sadly, because it is so hyped-up you have to pay a lot for this. What made me realise how good this lens is was that mine was as fine as a Pentacon 30mm, but the Pentacon only cost me $30.

Note how many secondhand ones for sale state that the aperture is faulty in the more recent versions from "DDR". That failure is often because there are some plastic moving parts in the mechanism and they fail. Just be careful not to believe the seller when they state "easy fix" but still want over $120 for a broken one.

The focus turning circle is large and slow to turn for precision so it's a fiddle to shift quickly. And it is a big lens with it being bigger than most 50mm or 55mm lenses for the same years of manufacture.

But putting all the shortcomings to one side, it does take a beautiful picture. But so do many Takumar 28mm and 35mm lenses and the Pentacon 30mm - and they are cheaper.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2020
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: April 4, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Colour, sharpness, bokeh, macro
Cons: Manual
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Sony APS-C   

_DSC3664 by nada publicidad, en Flickr

_DSC3514 by nada publicidad, en Flickr

Snail by nada publicidad, en Flickr
   
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 19,687
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $265.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: clarity, bokeh, color rendition, sharpness
Cons: build quality just is not there...
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

end of the month review: Carl Zeiss Jena MC Flektogon 35mm f2.4

there's a reason this lens has a cult following - it's good, really good...

in every category except one, this lens is simply outstanding - color, clarity, bokeh, short MFD, pretty much anything you throw at it, this lens can handle it...

the only letdown is the build quality - it just isn't very inspiring to use - it's loose, the focus ring isn't damped very well, the tolerances between pieces seem large...

but get past that and let the lens' optics remind you what you are there for:

cicada husk by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

Laney by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

arcade lights by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

at the library by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

chrysanthemums by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

I bought two M42 35mm lenses within a week of each other; this lens and a Super Takumar 35mm f2..... and I'm selling the Super Tak..

that's how good this one is....

and the rest of my album for this lens:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperberryfarm/albums/72157711611563161/with/49001773208/
   
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.

UPDATE: Well, I bought the DA35 f2.4, and confess to being very disappointed in it. The autofocus preferred to focus on the background than figures in the foreground, and I just like the images from the Flektogon better. And so do the people being photographed. Having slipped on a Scottish rock and decapitated my Tamron 17-50mm, this is now my go-to lens for taking pictures at weddings in churches.

1.0.0.20
   
Junior Member

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

 
Pros:
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: 8
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: very good sharpness, nearly a macro lens
Cons: but CA's visible, more expected
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: k-x k200d k-s1   

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 still 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 5.6-11. 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: unusual colour accuracy; quite sharp; fairly good contrast; close focus;
Cons: prone to flare; soft wide open; tricky focus for distant objects, price
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: Samsung GX20 Pentax K200D   

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 adequate contrast, the latter 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 and a lens hood is advisable . 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. Judging focus on a DSLR viewfinder with a 35mm lens is not easy and the Flektogon's focus throw does not make it easier.



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

The lens is recommendable but, In my view, the high prices Flektogons command nowadays are 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:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/50110-bukaj/albums/5946-lens-samp...cture51769.jpg
   
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:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simbon4o/sets/72157626665011696/with/5687551630/

Resolution test on K200D:
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 181
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.
Add Review of Carl Zeiss 35mm F2.4 Flektogon MC



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