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Carl Zeiss Flektogon MC 35mm F2.4 Review RSS Feed

Carl Zeiss Flektogon MC 35mm F2.4

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18 184,277 Sun December 26, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $143.33 8.72
Carl Zeiss Flektogon MC 35mm F2.4

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

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:

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Senior Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Great Plain, Hungary
Posts: 204
Review Date: August 8, 2009 Recommended | 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
Review Date: August 6, 2009 Recommended | 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: 1,386

7 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 8, 2009 Recommended | 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)
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