Any User Comments on a Zeiss 35mm ZF?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snegron, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I know that there was a very detailed and informative article by Roger Hicks in Shutterbug Magazine (May, 2007) regarding the new line of manual focus Zeiss lenses in Nikon mounts (thank you Mr. Hicks!). I have been interested in the 35mm f/2.0 ever since I heard it was being produced in a Nikon mount.

    So, has anyone else used the Zeiss 35mm yet? What comments can you share about this lens? How does it compare to the manual focus Nikon 35mm 2.0 AIS?
     
  2. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    So, I'm guessing that since there have been no replies to this post in two days that either no one has really used this lens other than Roger Hicks, or no one is very interested in the new Zeiss line of lenses in Nikon mount. Sad. The lens looks good on paper. If there is no interest in this lens now that it is new, I doubt it will hold any significant resale value in the future.
     
  3. Brac

    Brac Member

    Messages:
    631
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The lens costs well over £500 (over US $1000) so that immediately limits the number of people who can afford to buy it. So the lack of response is probably not lack of interest but lack of money! I'm very interested in the lens but am in no position to be able to buy it.

    I would disagree with your opinion on resale value - Leica lenses are very expensive and made in fairly low numbers but hold their values well. The Zeiss lenses are likely to do the same. It's interesting too that secondhand Nikon own brand lenses are nowhere as cheap as equivalent Pentax and Minolta lenses (to name but two other brands). So I'm not holding my breath that I'll be able to pick up a secondhand Zeiss 35mm f2 lens in Nikon mount for £50 in two years time.
     
  4. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for the feedback. I just saw it new at B&H for $787.00. The difference is not that much in price compared to the manual focus Nikon 35mm 1.4 AIS they have listed new for $699.00. My reasoning for the resale value was probably worded wrong. My guess is that at the current rate these lenses don't seem to be selling to well, so there probably won't be any on the market in the future. Also, if Zeiss stops offering this lens line for Nikon anytime soon, many future photographers will forget they even existed to begin with and won't be out hunting on ebay for one as they do for old Leica or Nikon lenses now.

    In terms of money, the performance and quality of a good lens pays for itself in the long run. I still have old manual focus Nikon lenses that I use on both my manual focus film cameras, autofocus film cameras, and even my DSLR's as well. The results are still as amazing as when they were new. The flip side of that is that I have purchased lower priced optics both from Nikon (their series E and a couple of their AF lenses) and non-Nikon companies (Sigma) and I have been unhappy with their performance. While some lower priced optics were very good in terms of image quality, there were others that fel apart on me or were not sharp at all. If add how much I spent on those less exensive lenses, I could have saved up the money and purchased one good "expensive" optic instead of three lenses that had to be replaced.
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    History has shown (in photography, at least) that commercial failure often has the opposite effect on value.

    That is, when a camera or lens fails to sell well and is pulled from the lineup, years later the price will be much higher than similar offerings from competitors.

    This isn't always the case, but in general it seems to be true.

    And you should also factor in that it is a Carl Zeiss lens -- which automatically adds a premium to the bottom line.
     
  6. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

    Messages:
    861
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The biggest market for some of the new Zeiss lenses is not photographers. That market is machine vision, basically inspection cameras at fixed locations, sometimes factories or hazardous environments. Companies that need these F mount lenses will often order 20 to 100 (or more) at a time. Unfortunately, the most common need in machine vision is 50mm, less often 35mm, and rarely other focal lengths. I think this is a bigger reason why Zeiss started with their 50mm in F mount.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  7. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Fond du Lac,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ken Rockwell talks about the Zeiss lenses on his site.
     
  8. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm


    This is very interesting! I had no idea. I do wonder though if Zeiss makes lenses then for the ultimate purpose of high resolution images. If so, I wonder if all the lenses in their ZF line follow the same standards? Is their new line of ZF lenses marketed more for industrial use than for photographic purposes? I really would be curious to know.

    I just did a Google search on machine vision. Fascinating technology! I can see now why they would require a lens with a very flat field and high resolution. That would explain the use of the 50mm focal length.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2007
  9. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Snegron
    It is very interesting question you made. I am looking a long time to figure out photo-value for that ZF lenses (especially macro 50 and standard 1.4/50), but no any luck.
    A lot of testings around. They are done with dig-cameras that does not utilize the lens made for film (say corners,…). Other look just to sharpness, but as I know all lenses on the market are sharp if they are made to be “sharp”. Than even and magazines do the same, not useful tests. Shortly all testings are based on beginners defending investment in the lens. No one need test to figure out that Zeiss knows how to make “sharp” lens. Even and Zeiss claim only resolution, what is not interesting to me.
    No where I could see test how the lenses handle, e.g., out of focus area, compared to Leica lenses. If this is the same as for Nikkors, I just would still buy Nikkor lens while they are still available (manual lenses).

    My the biggest concern is that new designed lenses cannot be made with Pb. To accomodate for this, new lenses are made with asperical element(s). However I never saw good aspherical lens, except from Leica (even and Schneider fail compared to old lenses). This particularly relate to out of focus area which appears as, more or less, as a double line which is distracting and signaling me avoid to use it.

    You can go to my site PORTRAIT and on the first page see a little girl in the Church floor. It is just stuning portrait largerly thanks to Leica lens which has very nice rendering out of focus area. That background is I am after. That backgrond is something no painter EVER can make, or also just ANY digital system, it is one point that make photography unique medium. So again it is I would like to see on ZF lenses.

    Might be the best solution at this very moment is to order one from B&H and test it. If it is the same as Nikkor just return it and get money back. I just do not see other solution.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2007
  10. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'm not a Nikon user so I'm not much interested in those Cosina/Zeiss ZF lenses, but I loved Zeiss glass for Y/C SLR and Hassy.
    But, If I were, I would wait for a while, maybe several years and see what user say about them. Then buy if liked.
    Because, they are Zeiss branded and should be optically good, but still are Cosina's anyway. I do not know how you(users outside Japan) think/feel about Cosina products, but I've seen for years and still see many craps from them.
    I can see and touch them at many shops here in Tokyo. They have cameras and lenses for in-store trial. Most of, you may not believe me but, most of them are broken. Cheap Voightlandar brands are of course, expensive Zeiss brand lenses are also. I know they are roughly handled and tend to have short life. But, I have never seen Canon, Nikon or other respected products which are also served as trial use fail that much often like Cosina's.
    I see many ZM lenses, such as ZM50/1.5, ZM35/2.0, in used camera shops lately. They are not old, they were launched not far from now of course, but I often see them labeled as "with problem" or something mostly on helicoids. I have once told my friends that and they agreed. I don't check ZF lenses(I'm not a Nikonian) so I don't know about them, but could guess the same.

    Many says Cosina products have become good, they can be highly ranked. I DO NOT believe that.
    Even in Japan, young users who don't know cosina before Cosina/Voigtlandar say they are nice, but many, especially my age and older still rate cosina as what cosina used to be.
    Cosina/Voigtladar lenses are fine, because they are inexpensive. I think they are as good as for its price. But I don't understand why one need to pay that much money for Cosina/Zeiss.

    I would like to belive that Cosina/Zeiss are as good as Nikon/Canon or such, but still can not.
    I believe that Cosina/Zeiss are optically good. They have Zeiss performance and tested in the Zeiss way. I see many test reports tell they are good.
    But how about endurance ? How robust are they ? Can they be compared with Nikons only by optics ? Who can tell how they are good only with bench marks and quick field tests ?
    Several years after now, how many of them are working fine ? I DO NOT know.
    Nikon products have been proven for years and years. That's will be why I buy Nikon(If I were Nikonian). I myself is a Canon MF user. I've been using Canon camera and lenses from 20-30 years ago. They are working just fine.
    Is there anyone using 30 years old Cosina camera or lense ?
     
  11. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Ahhh, I just realized that it's a shame to say "do not believe products made in Japan" :rolleyes:
     
  12. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There was a period of time that Japanese products sucked, known as cheap and poor quality. :smile: But anyway, I find your lenghty observation/opinion interesting and I tend to agree with you. It seems that the brand name sells far more than the actual quality of the products...
     
  13. sbelyaev

    sbelyaev Member

    Messages:
    127
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Location:
    ABQ
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I had distagon 35/2 Zf. After several months of infrequent use I sold it. It is not worth the money.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Soeren

    Soeren Member

    Messages:
    2,456
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Naestved, DK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had the chance to try out the 25mm f2.8 dome time ago. I must say though I am very impressed Im not sure I can justify paying that amount of money. Should I win big time in lotto or something like that things may look different :smile:
    Kind regards Søren
     
  16. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thank you for your feedback and comments on Cosina. It is a very interesting point you bring up regarding the perception by others of products made in Japan. My experiences and perceptions have been that if it is made in Japan, then it must be good. I think the same holds true for many camera enthusiasts as well.

    For many years I purchased Nikon products without any hesitation because I knew I was buying a well built product capable of delivering outstanding optical performance under severe conditions. When Nikon announced that it was opening a manufacturing plant in Thailand, I was somewhat sceptical that the product (I believe it was an autofocus lens, the 35-80) would be made as good as the rest of their products. I purchased the lens anyway because it was what I needed at the time. Yes it was sharp, no it was not well built.

    Nikon has since manufactured equipment outside of Japan under "their strictist quality control standards". An interesting point though is that their more expensive items (and those coveted by collectors) are still being made in Japan. Same holds true with cars. Here in the U.S., automobiles made in Japan hold their resale value much better than American made cars. I must admit I was somewhat dissapointed when Toyota and Honda decided to establish production plants here in the U.S. I hope that the cars produced under the Honda and Toyota name here in the U.S. are as well built as the ones that were built in Japan (I have owned Hondas for years and also recently purchased a new Toyota minivan).

    As far as Cosina goes, all I know is that their products are lower priced. I have never owned anything made by Cosina, so I don't really now. There have been successful partnerships in the past (like Leica/Minolta for thier "R" series, and Panasonic/Leica for their Lumix series, Zeiss/Sony for their video camera market, etc.). Maybe Zeiss/Cosina might be a good combination? Nikon trusted Cosina, so did Rollei.
     
  17. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    looks to me I will get a standard Nikkor lens while they are still available in B&H.
    www.Leica-R.com
     
  18. lns

    lns Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi. It's July 4th. In that spirit, I just wanted to say, I'm sure you didn't mean that the way it sounds. We need those jobs in our country. And I have a very reliable six-year-old Toyota minivan that was built in North America. What has happened to the American auto industry is sad, but do we blame the workers, or the managements that put short-term profits over quality years ago? (Just my two cents, of course.)

    I too was intrigued by the Zeiss lenses for Nikon, so I'm glad you asked this question.

    -Laura
     
  19. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Manual focus or Autofocus? I noticed that they have the manual focus 50mm1.2 in stock. Very tempting!
     
  20. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There is a Japanese word "PIN-KIRI". PIN means the best of best, KIRI is on the opposite. Every genre of products has variety of grades, from PIN to KIRI. We say like "It's PIN-KIRI" or "Even Nikon products is PIN-KIRI too". PIN prime lens and KIRI consumer zoom lens for example.
    It doesn't mean that one should avoid KIRI products all the time. KIRI just should be priced as KIRI. If it's worth the price, it's just fine.

    And yes, Japanese maker tend to manufacture PIN products in Japan and KIRI outside. A part of the reason is quality control is easier in Japan, and expensive PIN products are profitable enough to justify the cost. We need jobs in Japan too.:smile:

    Japanese products and Japanese manufactures are also PIN-KIRI. Nikon is well respected PIN brand. Cosina....I don't think so. Even though Nikon FM10 is being made by Cosina, FM10 is KIRI and F6 is PIN in the Nikon camera line-up.
    I wouldn't say that Cosina is really KIRI by all mean, but somewhere around middle. The Cosina/Zeiss doesn't seem to be PIN/PIN combo for me.
    Since the Nikon prime lens is surely a PIN products, I just can't justify why Cosina/Zeiss can be more pricy than Nikon.:rolleyes:
     
  21. snegron

    snegron Member

    Messages:
    808
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    Hot, Muggy,
    Shooter:
    35mm

    I apologize, it didn't come out right! I believe that we have some of the best workers and some of the most brilliant minds in the world here in the U.S. For a nation so young it has proven to be a world leader by far. I am also saddened that many jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries, especially in the customer service industry. Big name companies like GE and others have reduced the national workforce by eliminating local jobs and outsourcing them to foreign countries.

    As you pointed out, who is to blame? Companies ultimately need to do whatever it takes to stay in business. Companies that continue to make an excellent product, like Nikon, have to outsource their production sometimes in order to continue to provide excellent products to their companies. I would love to see a camera produced by Nikon today equivalant to their old Nikon F which was hand made on a production line by real people. Of course such a camera today would probably cost a small fortune.

    The automobile industry in the U.S. has had a less than favorable reputation in terms of reliability and resale value since the early 1970's. Be it management or workers, the fact remains that American automobiles do not mantain their value when used and many suffer from mechanical problems. In other industries it is the exact oposite. Harley Davidson motorcycles command high prices even when used. Same thing with old American furniture. If the U.S. produced a camera I am sure that it would command a high price and have great resale value as well.
     
  22. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Snegron
    Manual Nikkor 1.2/50 is not worth money. Not so good lens by many. Manual 1.4/50 should be much better choice. Unfortunately no more 1.8/50 manual. The only problem is not nice rendering out of focus areas, but I never saw just any good standard lens, except Leica. 2.8/40 Nikon Tessar is very good lens but is very slow. If F2.8 is not a problem to you I think you will be the better off with 2.8/55 Nikkor Micro manual lens. It is good at short and long distance, I think ZF 2/50 is nothing better (Nikkor has better glass at least).

    Ins
    be happy with your Japanese car. I know many thinks what is going on in American car industry, and stupid is one to say it. People will just not beleive it for it is unbeleivable things. (management firing high paid enginners and getting crap people with mind that software will solve all problems, quality conrtol is up to customers to discover and report the problem, companies cutt health benefits to show share holders increase in profit,...., and this is just something someone can beleive, while other things are much worst).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2007
  23. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If NASA took Cosina-made products to the space to play around, we probably wouldn't have this kind of argument. Or if US Navy used them, I would tend to think the quality is a top notch...
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The build quality of the items I saw at the Zeiss booth at PMA in March didn't seem too bad, but I only handled them briefly. The most interesting lenses perhaps were Hassy lenses in Hartblei tilt-shift mounts for F-mount cameras. The representative from Schneider also seemed confident in the ability of the Asian companies to make high-quality optics, even in reference to the products of competitors.

    I don't shoot Nikon, so I'll be interested to see what comes out in M42 mount.
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

    Messages:
    6,070
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Charlottesvi
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Judging by the test at photozone, the ZF 35/2 is a very fine lens, certainly better than the Nikon options. I don't know how helpful it is to discuss the ZF lenses based on their price point- in my opinion, these lenses (especially the shorter ones) definitely address a longstanding gap in the performance of the semiwide Nikkors, so.. take it or leave it.

    After going through various disappointing 35mm lens options on my F100 I must say that $700 on a ZF doesnt seem quite so outrageous. I haven't made the jump yet, I keep expecting a little price nudge! Which may never come.

    Daniel, I actually do kinda like the Nikon 50/1.2; sure it's not up to par at f/8 with the other fast fifties or the slightly longer Nikkors, but the thing is extremely easy to focus in just about any light which is sometimes a priceless quality. It has also found a second life on my little d*****l body, for that it is expecially fun for grabs. Whether it's worth the price, well of course that always depends...!
     
  26. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    keithwms
    I never used Nikkor 1.2/50 so all I know is what I saw on internet. But I know exactly what I want from the lens. It is not "sharpness" for all lenses are more or less sharp if they are made to be "sharp". What is intersting to me this moment is how the lens handle out of focus areas. This is where all standards fails (from picts I saw on internet) except Leica lenses, and for photography it is far more important feature than "sharpness". When you once start to deal with it you will see why it is so important. If you have any pic from 1.2/50 with emphased first plane, at around F1.4, I would like to see it.