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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    Any User Comments on a Zeiss 35mm ZF?

    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. #2
    snegron's Avatar
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    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. #3
    Brac's Avatar
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    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. #4
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brac View Post
    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.
    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. #5

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    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. #6

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    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. #7

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    Ken Rockwell talks about the Zeiss lenses on his site.

  8. #8
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrBremerhaven View Post
    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


    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 snegron; 07-01-2007 at 06:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
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    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 Daniel_OB; 07-03-2007 at 08:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    kunihiko's Avatar
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    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 ?
    kunihiko kario

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