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  1. #1

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    carl zeiss lenses

    Hello.
    I am trying--very hard I might add--not to be a gear head, but I have to request a reality check here. Having been impressed (to say the least) by what my pictures looked like when I shot my newly acquired Hasselblad, I found I was lugging the thing aroung with me all the time. I have to admit that the quality of the Zeiss lenses, when shot wide open, is simply amazing. I like to shoot wide open; I like pictures with a sharp foreground and a blurred, though somewhat recognizable background. Although I'd been able to obtain this with other lenses by other makers, there seems to be something special about the way these lenses communicate with film.

    To the point (sounding more and more like a gear head, no doubt), I got tired of lugging the Blad around, and wanted a more portable system, with an on board meter. Long story short--I am looking at prints I just made with my new Contax G kit. I shot a roll of HP5 at f8, just to see how sharpe these lenses were. Am I imagining things, or are they REALLY as sharp as they appear to be? I have owned several 35mm cameras in the past, but these lenses seem to produce image quality that is beyond what I ever expected possible with 35mm. Have I succumbed to the power of suggestion? I suddendly feel the urge to find a 35mm capable enlarger...

  2. #2

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    Your impression of the 35mm format lenses' sharpness could be due to image contrast, lack of flare provided by better coatings of later lenses.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjstafford
    Your impression of the 35mm format lenses' sharpness could be due to image contrast, lack of flare provided by better coatings of later lenses.
    Ok...but I have, in the past, used professional level optics. Why do these seem to be so different? I often wonder if it is my imagination, but, when I show people recent photos, I often get the same (or similar) remark: this is crystal clear, clear as a bell, etc. Please note, I am not one to hype one brand over another. I am just surprised that the difference I see in my images is so noticable. Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    Helen B's Avatar
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    How were the prints made? Were the 35 mm ones made via a digital intermediate? They can look frighteningly sharp.

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
    How were the prints made? Were the 35 mm ones made via a digital intermediate? They can look frighteningly sharp.

    Best,
    Helen
    Actually, they were. How did you know that? I scanned them, then printed. I also printed some images traditionally.

  6. #6

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    I am not a gearhead. I am interested in nice negatives. It is extremely unusual for me to work with any film faster than 100 speed. Almost always this equipment is mounted on a very substantial tripod...a Majestic 2501. I do not own a Hasselblad. I do not own a Contax G. I have in the past owned a Hasselblad as well as Rolleiflex camera(s). I own and am completely satisfied with the camera and lenses that I do own. What I own is a Contax RTSIII. I have the following lenses. 21mm Distagon, 28mm f2.8 Distagon, 35mm 2.8 Distagon, 35mm PC Distagon, 50 mm 1.4 Planar, 60mm Mackro Planar..1:1 version, 100mm Planar, 200mm Apo Sonnar, and a Mutar II. Additionally, I have a Leica R 28mm PC Super Angulon that has been adapted to the Contax/Yashica mount. I have not used my camera in any digital means whatever.

    I make no claims that the Zeiss lenses are superior to any other brand.

    I have not in any way at all found reason to be dissatisfied with this equipment since it has exceeded my every expectation..
    Last edited by Claire Senft; 07-11-2005 at 11:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    Zeiss, it's the reason to buy Contax. The lenses are amazing. I know that lens tests don't tell the whole story, but they cannot be ignored either. Zeiss lenses test better than all others. It is great glass.

  8. #8

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    The g2 lenses really are outstanding. I bought mine and used it on a trip my wife and I took. I shot mostly hp5 in the G2, and they were very good negatives, but not a whole lot better than any of my other 35's. But, I shot a few rolls of kodak UC through it and was blown away. My wife was shooting our old pentax that has very good lenses. Same film, same places, very similar shots. Anyway, you can easily spot the difference with the contax negatives. They were much sharper , and they had an almost 3d quality to them.Really impressive. To be honest, it made me wonder if it is worth hauling my beloved rollei around anymore.
    I think that the reason I did not see that much difference with hp5 must be that the film is the limiting factor, not the lenses. I need to try some slower b&w and see what happens.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    They are fine lenses. In my own experience, I've found that the 135/3.5 Planar for 4x5" has cured any interest in smaller format Zeiss lenses.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10

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    T think the 38mm Biogon is a fine lens JJ but I believe David would prefer the 75mm. Of course David can speak for himself.

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