I've decided to buy a zeiss ikon. Now what lens?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by PerA, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I started out with my fathers Retina IIc in 1972. Two years later I've saved to buy my first camera, an SLR. Used SLRs since then. I shoot b&w, make my own prints and love it.

    Now I'm curious to try a rangefinder again, have decided for a Zeiss Ikon Zm (seems to be a great camera, I use glasses, acceptable price, etc etc).

    I want a 50 mm to start with. I'll get the ZI with the Sonnar ZM 1,5 for a really good price, 200+ euros cheaper than with the ZM Planar 2,0.

    I've read the zillion threads written on the internet since 2007 about the focus shift in the Sonnar lens.

    I know the Planar is a great lens.

    I'm not obsessed about resolution or sharpness, I'd love the artistic look the Sonnar is supposed to give. And I certainly appreciate the (almost) extra stop.

    BUT I wan't to know exactly where focus in the picture is, without having to lean back or forth. Otherwise I choose the Planar instead.

    It's between these two lenses, the Planar or the Sonnar.

    Can't make up my mind.


    I know that other people have started similar threads earlier, elsewhere, but PLEASE help to decide! :wink:
     
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  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Consider an older 50/2 Summicron. I love my 50/2 DR. Wonderful sharpness but moderate contrast. Wonderful classic B&W personality IMHO.
     
  3. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I have a Summicron 50/2 Dual Range that I love as well. It's also very difficult to go wrong with the Voigtlander 50mm lenses.

    I've heard nothing but good things about the ZM 50/1.5 and 50/2 as well though. As long as you have the money for any of them, I don't really see how you can be disappointed.
     
  4. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    If you cant decide , it is no longer problem for you. To select , to able to select your lens is number one thing in photography. If you cant see a difference between Planar, Summicron and Sonnar , whatever people says , it does not be meaningful for you. Do you ask when selecting your wife ?
     
  5. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I use the Zeiss Ikon, a fine camera to be sure. I like my Carl Zeiss 50/2 Planar but I don't use it nearly as much as I thought I would when I bought it. I actually use my MS Optical 50/3.5 collapsible a lot because I really have come to appreciate how portable it makes the Zeiss Ikon. If I want really low light capability then I use my Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.1. It is certainly a bigger lens than either the Planar or Sonnar, and it is softer wide open than either of them, but if you are accustomed to packing SLRs around, then it won't seem very big at all.

    There are many excellent options in the 50mm field for the M mount. I wouldn't be in such a hurry to lock yourself into a specific lens. You may find it worthwhile to contact Lens Rental to see what options you can rent and try before you make your decision. I know that for myself, the lenses I thought were so important when I started, turned out to be not nearly as important as I thought they were.
     
  6. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    Thanks all,
    The thing is that there is a special price on the ZI with the C Sonnar 1,5, I get them together for 200+ euros less than if I buy the ZI and the Planar 2,0 separately. But the Sonnar is a much more expensive lens, so if I wait to buy that I have to pay much more still.
    The choice is not as easy as it may sound however: the zM C Sonnar 1,5 has been called "the lens everyone loves to hate" because of the issues with the focus shift. This is covered in several reviews; some advice you not to get the lens, others are very positive. Some people, including Roger and Francis Hicks (see below), seem to mean that all except the very first few lenses are factory adjusted to focus at full aperture (which seems the only logical to me), other's (see second link below) seem to mean it is factory adjusted at 2,8, which would cause problems at short distances when working at apertures 1,5-2. Zeiss has a link to the latter review on their home page.

    http://www.rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps firstlook sonnar 50.html
    http://lavidaleica.com/content/zeiss-c-sonnar-t-1550-zm
     
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  7. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Easy answer do you want a lens for it's signature look that doesn't suit all subjects (sonnar) or do you want a more neutral lens that can be used for most subjects (planar). I would personally go for the Sonnar I like it's look, the planar produces sharp images that lack something imo. According to Roger Hicks and many others the newer Sonnars are adjusted to 1.5. from 2.8 on the dof makes up for the focus shift.

    Good luck
     
  8. thomasw_

    thomasw_ Member

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    Hey it is only a small backward 2-3 inch lean....and only when shooting at f2-4 at a close distance. It doesn't take much practice to master the technique. But, of course, YMMV....I'm referring here to my copy which is optimized for wide open f1,5 use.​
     
  9. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    thomasw,
    Did you know for what aperture your lens was optimized before getting it? Because there is no such information where I've been looking, and conflicting info from the different reviews about new lenses being optimized at 1,5 or 2,8 (se reviews above, and Zeiss home page). I'm not particularly keen on sending the lens to Zeiss for adjustment first thing.
     
  10. BellM

    BellM Member

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    The following from Hannes Wahry of the Leica Shop in Wien, Austria appears to suggest there should be no noticable focus shift issues with current f1.5 50mm Sonnar lenses, unlike those with lenses adjusted to correct focus at f1.5 or f2.8

    "Dear Mr. Bell,
    the Zeiss info means (know it after a long call): The lens is adjusted at F 2.0 so it works to 99% perfect without front or backfocus. If there is any problem with your lens we have to send it together with your camera to Zeiss for adjustment."
     
  11. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    Thanks, that's helpful
     
  12. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    I have ordered a ZI with the 1,5 Sonnar.
     
  13. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I just read over on rff that the ZI is now officially discontinued =[
     
  14. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    That's almost funny - just after I ordered it. Well, as long it's possible to have it serviced it doesn't matter to me.
     
  15. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    The ZI I had for almost three years was very happily mated to a Voigtlander Heliar Black 50mm, f2 M mount version. It never let me down. But good luck finding one.
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    The optics are the same in the nickel version, right? CameraQuest still lists those available---they aren't especially cheap, but in the context of the price of a ZI body, what's a couple of hundred extra bucks for a really good lens?

    -NT
     
  17. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I think it's out of production. There probably are still a number of new cameras in the supply channel and at some stores. I've been toying with the idea of picking up a second body. Perhaps a black one this time around.
     
  18. barzune

    barzune Member

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    Mustafa, can I use this line? It is SO perfect! :D How many times do we see, on these forums (fora) threads asking "What camera should I use?", or which film, lens, developer, etc.

    That line should be embedded as the standard first reply to all such queries.

    Made my day!

    Dan
     
  19. PerA

    PerA Subscriber

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    ...except that in this case the question was about whether there was an issue with focus shift of one of the lenses or not.:smile:
     
  20. davela

    davela Subscriber

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    There are really no bad choices in 50mm class M mount lenses, they are all good, although some really are spectacular. As a rule you can never go wrong with Zeiss or Leica (in my opinion at least). If you need to save money all the Voigtlander choices are fine as are the Konica M's. Leica set the bar pretty high in M mount lens field, and the few companies that have ventured into that market must (of necessity) have a good product.
     
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