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35/1.4 vs 35/2.8



is it really worth the money to go for the 351.4 over the 35 2.8. it is about 4 times tthe increase in cost. putting the gain of speed aside,is it really worthwhile?
in fact, i read this book which says that the 35 2.8 by ziess is suppose to be one of two unique ziess lens with some magic which means exceptional lens. the other is of course the 100 macrko.
any idea guys how true is this?


I use the rolleiflex SL35 Zeiss Distagon 35/2.8 (same lens, different mount)

It is indeed special. Even by MTF examination. (check the pdf links at the contaxinfo site.) outstanding resolution in the centre, very little distortion.

Actually I dislike the focal length. 35mm is too wide to be normal, and not wide enough for an interesting perspective. Dispite this I try and use it when I can. It has the Zeiss luminesense.

BTW I'd add the 50/1.4 85/1.4 100/2 and 25/2.8 to the list of "soulfull" Zeiss lenses.



Active Member
Hi George!

My dad used to have the Rollei Distagon 352,8 and it was not as good as the Contax one. as far as I know the Rollei has only 5 lenses instead of 6. I love my 35 and would not change to a 1,4.

Hi Brian!
I totally agree, but You did not mention the fabolous 180 Sonnar which is my personal favorite.



Gentlemen, I have the 35mm f2.8 in Contax mount and the 35mm f1.4 in Rollei mount. If you really need f1.4 then there is no discussion. Even if it is not terribly sharp or contrasty wide open, in the light conditions that require f1.4, you'll not notice. If top-flight contrast and sharpness (and small size) are more important, then the f2.8 is a better choice.


Well-Known Member
There has been a lens comparison test of 35mmlenses in german ColorFoto, including AF and MF lenses.
The 2.8 was the best (excluding the leica M lens which has a different characteristic) sharpest lens wide open - and I almost never use such a lens stopped down to 8/11 (shorter exposure times prefered).
Perhaps you can get this test from them (
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Well-Known Member
Apart from 21 2.8's price which has reached the roof, 35 1.4 is going up as well. For a mint version in the expensive shop described by Dirk in Nathan road shopping complex called Miramar (actually Tung Ying), the price now is USD 1.9k. Recently in ebay, the transaction price is USD1.1k.

So I brought two of these. One got a mark on the rear glass, another one has a loose focusing barrel. I added some thick oil to the second one, didn't work. I unscrew the screws in the barrel to add oil. Bad idea, the lens disintegrated. It is a very complicated lens, at least very complicated to me. It has floating elements. It took me three days to sort it out. But after all the effort, I managed to get it together again.Now I am competent in servicing this lens. I know how to adjust the infinity.

As I spent three hard working days on it, I am not selling it.


Well-Known Member
I just missed out on a 1.4 advertised for $475 last week, I thought it had to be a mistake, hey you snooze you......


Well-Known Member
What is so special about this 35 1.4, its price goes higher than 100 2 and is more than 1.2k in ebay ?

I tried my 35 1.4. It is Zeiss and you can't go much wrong with that. The corner sharpness of this lens is just no good. I find this lens is not as good as 35 2.8 and the 35 of 35-70 at the corresponding f-nos.

Perhaps, the Canon counterpart is so poor that people is rushing to get the Zeiss one for the digital bodies. It is now a good time for me to sell my one.


I think above 5.6 the 2.8 is somewhat superior, and below the 1.4 is better. I find focusing wide angles at 1.4 quicker and more precise, a big factor with fully manual procedures.

Decisions, decisions ...