Pricing on Zeiss lenses ?

MaxBerlin

Well-Known Member
New to photography and a few questions on Zeiss lenses.

1. Why does a Distagon 35mm 1.4 cost 4x the Planar 50mm 1.4 ?

2. All other factors being equal would these two lenses allow the same amount of light in at the same ISO, f-stop and shutter speed ?

3. Why does the 85mm 1.2 cost 4x the 85mm 1.4 ?

4. Is a vario-sonnar a good choice vs primes - especially when traveling ?



Thank you
 

nickdando

Well-Known Member
The fast lenses were always made in Germany, rather than in Japan. The labour costs were higher and the actual lenses were more complicated to design and make, with exotic glasses being used to allow the speed.

A lot of people found, I believe, that the 50mm f1.7 Planar was a better lens than the f1.4 as it was a less complicated design.

As to the light transmission, they should be as nearly alike as makes no difference. There is a system for measuring the actual light transmission of a lens which, instead of an f number, uses a t number to denote the precise aperture. But for general use in 35mm work that is nit-picking as the click stops are usually consistent - it tends to be used for large format lenses that don't have click stops which can lead to more serious errors in light intensity at the very smallest apertures, such as f64 and f90, when one is trying to set the aperture accurately. I stick to the Ansel Adams recommendation to set the aperture from wide-open and stop down to the aperture mark I wish to use. If I overshoot, then I go back to wide-open and try again. Most of the large format lenses I have are getting on a bit so the apertures will fluctuate dependent on which way the lever is moved.

I use the 35-70mm f3.4 Vario-Sonnar and find it a very flexible lens for general use. It's not too slow, allows remarkably close-focusing in macro mode and isn't inconveniently large or heavy. It's my most used lens.

Nick
 

MaxBerlin

Well-Known Member
Nick - thanks . Are you aware of any reliability data on AE vs MM lenses ?

I would tend to think the MMs are more complicated and thus more prone to failure/repairs.

Thanks
 

nickdando

Well-Known Member
I'd think it was only a minor change. And remember that the AE lenses will be older than the MM versions.

Nick
 

MaxBerlin

Well-Known Member
Nick,

I already bought a 1.7 and am considering a 35-70 as opposed to my 28-85.

I think the 80-200 does a good job considering it's price and weight.

Max
 

Old_Contax_User

Active Member
The fast lenses were always made in Germany, rather than in Japan. The labour costs were higher and the actual lenses were more complicated to design and make, with exotic glasses being used to allow the speed.

A lot of people found, I believe, that the 50mm f1.7 Planar was a better lens than the f1.4 as it was a less complicated design.

As to the light transmission, they should be as nearly alike as makes no difference. There is a system for measuring the actual light transmission of a lens which, instead of an f number, uses a t number to denote the precise aperture. But for general use in 35mm work that is nit-picking as the click stops are usually consistent - it tends to be used for large format lenses that don't have click stops which can lead to more serious errors in light intensity at the very smallest apertures, such as f64 and f90, when one is trying to set the aperture accurately. I stick to the Ansel Adams recommendation to set the aperture from wide-open and stop down to the aperture mark I wish to use. If I overshoot, then I go back to wide-open and try again. Most of the large format lenses I have are getting on a bit so the apertures will fluctuate dependent on which way the lever is moved.

I use the 35-70mm f3.4 Vario-Sonnar and find it a very flexible lens for general use. It's not too slow, allows remarkably close-focusing in macro mode and isn't inconveniently large or heavy. It's my most used lens.

Nick
Nick,

I don't like disagreeing with you, but it would be more correct to say normal (50mm) lenses were always produced in Japan with prototypes made in Germany. So pricing difference was not due to country of origin for the Planar 50 mm's.

The Planar 50mm 1.4 was the,original lens for Contax RTS cameras with the Planar 50mm 1.7 coming later when the Contax 139 was introduced as a less expensive (entry level) Contax with a less expensive lens. Both of these lenses are 7 element Planar (1-1-1-2-1-1) designs and are similar in manufacturing complexity as well as performance. I believe the pricing difference was purely a marketing ploy. The maximum f-stop is 1/2 stop different, which really is not very significant, especially from an era when the 2nd tier normal lens was a full stop slower than the 1.4.

It may interest you to know Blake Ziegler (Contax USA Tech Rep at the time), wrote an article in their news letter saying he believed the 1.7 may be sharper than the 1.4, but films of that era could not resolve high enough to do a test. Both lenses out-performed the films.

Bill
 

MaxBerlin

Well-Known Member
Nick - I've purchased both a 1.7 and the 35-70 as you suggested. I really like both of them but having a little weirdness with the vario. I just posted about it.
 
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