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  1. #1

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

    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!
    Last edited by PerA; 11-30-2012 at 05:19 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    I've decided to buy a zeiss ikon. Now what lens?

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

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
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  3. #3
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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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.
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
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    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.

  4. #4
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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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. #5
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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. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    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.
    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/photo...nnar%2050.html
    http://lavidaleica.com/content/zeiss-c-sonnar-t-1550-zm
    Last edited by PerA; 12-01-2012 at 03:59 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    MDR
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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. #8
    thomasw_'s Avatar
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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.
    "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." W. Durant

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  9. #9

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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. #10

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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."

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