"F" Mount Zeiss lenses for Nikons - Anybody Tried/Seen them?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by airgunr, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. airgunr

    airgunr Subscriber

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    I just read in Shutterbug about the newer Zeiss lenses for the Nikon "F" Mount. Anybody tried them out, seen them?

    I'm kind of intrigued by the 100mm Macro lens but I'm sure it's pretty expensive. I'm curious if it is really much better then the Nikkors.
     
  2. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    You might want to check this site for other threads about the "phantom ZF glass". There have been several over the past year and a half of waiting for "zfGodot"! And alternative would be to try and fathom the Zeiss website (good luck there).

    FYI of the five announced f/l's - three are to be made (under "strict" German observation - whatever than means) by Cosina in Japan (or maybe China?) and two are supposed to made in "Valhalla" by the Gotts!

    If you ever find this glass, much like searching for Das Rhiengold, please report back to us mortals.

    Oh, as to quality, I'd much prefer the originals Nikkors if NIB to whatever comes in ZF. But, alas, Nikon is moving away from manual focus lenses and only has a couple of f/l's remaining in production. :sad:
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They were on display at PMA, but I didn't actually have a camera to attach one to and test. If you email Richard Schleuning (rschleuning@zeiss.com), National Sales Manager for Zeiss in the Americas, he'll send you a very slick brochure about them. The most interesting lenses they had on display were Hasselblad lenses in Tilt/Shift ZS mounts made by Hartblei.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Well, yes.... Look who wrote the review. What wasn't in there that you want to know?

    Alas, the 100 Macro wasn't available at the time. I'm angling for it.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Are the lenses not available to the public yet? BTW, great article Roger! I just wish there would have been a bigger image of the actual 35mm lens ( I need it to post it on my fridge so I can remind myself every day what I'm saving up money for)! :smile:
     
  6. airgunr

    airgunr Subscriber

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    I did log into the Zeiss web site and am downloading the specs for the 100mm as I type this. It is just that I find it better to hear from someone who actually owns and uses a product vers someone who reports or product liturature.

    It looks like you can order them online direct from Zeiss but since I haven't done that I really don't know if they are actually in stock or you would be "Back Ordered" if you actually submitted one.

    I did a dealer lookup for the states and there seem to be quite a few but again I haven't actually asked any if they had them in stock much less what they would charge.
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Well, I wan't lying when I said that if I still used SLRs, I'd be VERY tempted to buy these lenses. As I did with the 75/2 Summicron for the Leicas.

    Bear in mind also: someone has bought something is often impelled to justify his purchase to himself, never mind anyone else. An honest reviewer -- and I try to be honest -- doesn't have to do this.

    My wife and I had the lenses, and used them, for two or three months. I doubt you will get a lot more information out of someone who has bought them. Of course you'll know more after two or three years but no-one has yet had them this long.

    Finally, magazines have two policies on 'road tests'. Either they are always slavishly admiring, or they are honest. If I do not like a product, I do not praise it just to get published. In other words, if I say something is good, it's my honest opinion.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Let us all know - we wait with bated breath - what you learn of availability.

    Maybe then we can get an idea whether the protracted intro has produced anything more than a "ho hum".

    If I sound a bit "jaded" well, Zeiss started this gambit back in December 2005 with all kinds of "teasers" on their website. By my calendar all I can fathom is that they've created some prototypes lenses for the reviewers and have yet to provide actual retail production.

    Kind of typically European these days.
     
  9. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Doesn't our own bigcameraworkshops.com sell these lenses? He's in Ontario, Canada so might be able to provide stock to you.
     
  10. snegron

    snegron Member

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    Conspiracy Theory #2: Maybe they are really manual focus Nikkors with the names changed. After all, what has Nikon done with all its manual focus lens making equipment now that it specializes in plastic autofocus lenses? Look at the clues: Zeiss has 5 letters as well as Nikon. If you flip the "Z" sideways, you get an "N" (for Nikon). "Zeiss" has 2 vowels as does "Nikon". Both words have identical consonants (Nn and Ss). "N" is the 15th letter of the alphabet, ""S" is the 19th. Flip them around and you have 1915, or two years before Nikon started as a company. Magic number 2. Two lenses, two "companies", Zeiss and Nikon? I think we should look deeper into this mystery... :smile:
     
  11. airgunr

    airgunr Subscriber

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    I appologize if you thought I was disparaging your remarks and report on these lenses in Shutterbug. I did not intend it to come across that way.

    Your reveiw was good and pretty extensive, some of the photos didn't reproduce too well in my copy of the magazine so it was hard to see the true quality from them. As you pointed out in the article, some things are easier to "recognize than to quantify". :smile:

    I think that I, like many others, when considering parting with that kind of cash want as many opinions as they can get and I've found the people on this forum to be pretty straight in their comments vers some other forums I've participated in.

    Again, I did not mean to cause offence in my remarks.

    Bill Slater
     
  12. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    An actual Zeiss ZF experience

    I posted this short example on my site. The text, when translated from German, reads:
    "I noticed on my ZF f/1,4 50 mm that it produces bad coma at medium distance from center at f/1.4 that suddenly diappears at f/2.0. That would have been a case for an asphere! Example pictures: night view of an industrial estate, camera on a tripod, of course, 2/3 from center exactly downwards, Nikon D200 body, RAW converter Capture One, sharpening 40."
    That said, I still enjoy using this lens and find myself using it's fault, e.g. in portraits wide open and softened, airy.

    A blessed Easter to all!
    Christoph
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Bill,

    No apology needed. But if I can help more, let me know how. These are REALLY IMPRESSIVE lenses. If I used SLRs instead of RFs, I'd buy them.

    As for the repro.... Yes, well... That's the way it is.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
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  15. airgunr

    airgunr Subscriber

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    Roger,

    I am glad you didn't take it the wrong way. I appreciate the offer of futher help. Now if you could just get them to give me one of the 100mm Macros to test for a couple of years or so..... :wink:

    I will just have to find the right time to try and get one past the wife. Maybe after she comes home with that big bag of shoes she just bought! LOL

    I will probably check out prices and availability here in the states as I really am very interested in one. Not having dealt with Zeiss before I really do not know what their track record is for products. It sounds like they my not be available for quite some time yet from others who have posted on this.

    I am still a film shooter using my Nikon F5, FM2n and FE2 cameras so the full manual lenses are something I am quite comfortable with. The wife has a P&S digital that I do use to take quick shots of something I want to e-mail but that is about it. I use a Coolscan to digitize the few good shots I take that I may want to work on.

    Again, thanks for the response and offer of help!

    Bill

    PS - Christoph, thanks for the response and link. I'll log into it now. Happy Easter to all!
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Bill,

    Stand in line for that one.

    As I understand it, Zeiss is going for 'viral marketing.'

    I'm infected.

    If I get one, I'll write a test report. Sorry I can't do more!

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I must admit falling victim of that infection too.
    My first thought after reading Frances review in B&W was
    "Why arent they CPU'ed?" Then I reread and it came to me. The buyers are purists who want the best image quality and they are probaly using tripods and perhaps the spotmeter (if using an AF body) as I do when shooting closeups and macro on 35mm so they (I) wouldnt care about loosing matrix metering and the aperture info in the viewfinder.
    My next thought which is now a question.
    If you only see the absolute quality of these lenses when using a tripod where is the reason to buy them instead of going MF for e.g. landscapes?
    I would like 25mm, 50mm and 100mm for macro work though.
    Kind regards
    Søren
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Soeren,

    Smaller size, lighter weight, lower running costs -- the usual 35mm advantages, really...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I don't think having a CPU on these lenses would offend the purists... it would give them more options.

    Adding autofocus might offend them because the silky-smooth focus feel of manual lenses would have to be abandoned.

    Adding a "CPU" (that term annoys me; it's technically wrong :smile: ) would let the lens support all metering modes and exposure modes on all modern Nikons, and would let it be more easily used on some of the lower-end bodies (probably not terribly important, but not a bad thing either).

    It would add complexity and cost though... given the audience to whom these lenses are directed, I don't think that would matter, however.

    In any event, I'm glad they were released. I'm tempted to buy one, but I already have too much gear...!
     
  20. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Dear Roger

    Smaller size and lighter weight is possible if using a rangefinder like Mamiya 6 - 7II or the Bronica RF 645 and these Zeiss lenses arent exactly lightweight either. Regarding running costs, I'm not to sure about that. Sometimes I feel I get more good shots from less film spend in MF but then again I havn't done the math. Othervise point taken.

    Kind regards
    Søren
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think another reason that these aren't chipped for Nikon is that the original concept was to produce manual focus Zeiss lenses in a range of mounts, and what they've settled on is to produce them first in Nikon F mount, and then spin some of them off in M42 mount, since many different cameras can use an M42 adapter.
     
  22. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    Airgunr
    I have the same problem with Zeiss lenses as you have. Are their prices reflects “quality” 3 times more expensive as Nikkors. If they are 50% “better” I would buy one. However I never saw on internet that anyone say ZF are far ahead of Nikkors. Even 1.4/85 is rather far behind Nikkor 1.4/85D. I have some doubt even and with 1.4/50 that is better than Nikkor. My interest was Macro and recently I saw some test on Nikonians.org 3rd party lenses section. Nikkor 45P shows better “sharpness” at F2.8 than ZF Macro 50mm at 1.5 meter distance. However that test is done with dig. Camera so might be is not true to what I want to know.
    Anyway as you are interested in Macro too my doubt is so great that it is (50 macro) any better than Nikkor 2.8/55 micro which I have and can say that is top class lens. The only I wish more is Leica bokeh and is the reason I still look around. If you can accept average bokeh you will be far more happy (print quality sake) with Nikkor 2.8/55 micro. I am just afraid to invest $1600cdn in ZF Macro just to test it. Actually I need for average distance (1-2 meter) and just sometimes for very close.
    I just would like that someone say and show what is it better with ZF 2/50 macro over Nikkor 2.8/55 micro. What is it?

    ZF 2/100 is full stop faster than Apo-Macro Elmarit 2.8/100 Leica. Also Leica is produced with much better glass than ZF and cost around 2 times more, but Leica does not claim so much as Zeiss does. What is true about ZF lenses I also would like to discover, but looks it is all big secret. Only resolution which photographers does not need. No one publish the truth with evidences. Always some talking around.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
  23. airgunr

    airgunr Subscriber

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    Thanks for the response Daniel. You pretty much are looking at it the same as I am.

    I have all the Nikkor Micro lenses in my pile as well as the PB-6 & PB-6E Bellows system and have been very happy with them. My most recent addition was the 55mm, great lens!

    I guess it's kind of the old adage, "the grass is alway greener..." and Roger's review of the Zeiss lenses and mention of the 100mm macro piqued my interest and created a bit of "ZAS" (an offshoot of NAS!). :smile:
     
  24. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I had the chance to handle the 25mm f/2.8 and the 50mm f/2.0 on a F100 yesterday. whats written is true, they are very easy to focus even on an AF body and despite the long throw. Ill rate their mechanical quality higher than the AIS Nikors I have handled (55micro, 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 and 180mm) I was offered to try them out in near future and Í think I will. I find them very tempting from what I have seen until now and depending on my decision on the future of my 35mm shooting I might go for the 25mm 50mm f/2.0 and the 100mm if money ever allows :wink:
    Cheers
    Søren
     
  25. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    Soeren
    "they are very easy to focus even on an AF body ..."

    I do not get meaning of that. What is a difference with manual lens focusing on non- and autofocus camera. Might be I am missing someting? Do you mean turning barrel rotation amount? A long ago I compared Nikkor 2.8/55 and ZF 2/50 (from picture) turning angle of the focusing barrel but no noticable difference (Nikkor is better and here, if longer turning is better for you, but not so noticable). BUT nikkor is 55 mm and ZF is 50 mm so the turning barrel after the math is the same.

    "what is writen is true..."
    what is writen, and where?
    Again, can you be more elaborate...

    www.Leica-R.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2007
  26. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Whoops not clear enough :smile:
    I meant whats written by Frances Schultz in Black & White photography (april issue) especially about focussing.
    Some find it difficult to focus manually (or with MF lenses) on AF bodies, I don't. The Zeiss lenses I found even easier to focus than the Nikors I own or have owned due to the way they seem to snap into focus. Hard to explain but I feel its easier to see it on the screen than with the nikors but thats subjective and maybe just me. Yes I meant turning barrel rotation amount. My 75mm on Pentax 6X7 I find hard to focus precisely because of this because the change is subtle and the screen is dark so its difficult for me to see when its spot on. This is my worst case lens and its a very slow lens I know. The same does not aply to the 25mm Zeiss lens partly due to its higher speed and the better finder of the nikons but whats important to me is that I found the zeiss lenses easier to focus because of the way the image just jumped into sharpness (or whatever) really no need to check with the electronic rangefinder like I use to when doing the same with a 20mm, 24mm or 28mm nikor.
    Kind regards Søren