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Question On Carle Zeiss 28-70/F3.5-4.5 Vario Sonnar Macro

gunteach

Well-Known Member
Hello to all!

Does anyone here have any experience with the CZ 28-70mm F3.5-4.5 VS Macro Multi-Mode lens? I sort of have my eye on one on e-bay, thinking to use it as a "normal" lens for street scenes and general shooting with my 167MT.

I actually already own a CZ 28/2.8 and the 50/1.7, then I jump to an 80-200/4 VS which seems a little bulky most of the time. Does anyone have any thoughts about the general usefulness of this focal length range in a zoom? Is the high end too short do you think? I've used a 28-85 Yashica zoom for this purpose and found it to be pretty useful, but would prefer a CZ lens. Is there a better choice I should be looking for instead?

Any ideas on what I should be paying for this item? I've got about 4 days left on the auction. Thanks for any input.
 

thedruid

Well-Known Member
For some reason it gets a bad rap, but very few people who comment have actually used the lens. I've read it does suffer form pretty visable distortion at 28mm but as you already have the 28mm prime I'm sure you'd use that for any images with straight lines, like buildings in a city scene. Only downside for street shooting is it's a pretty slow lens, most of the best street work is done working quickly hand held. These zooms normally improve when you stop down to f5.6/8 range so using 100ASA film is difficult in less than bright light. There is someone here shooting with it Vincent Di Pietro I think, maybe he'll jump in and give you the lowdown. Price range varies form $300-400 for a like new used model.
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
> Thanks Dermott..useful information. By the way, I ended up on an extended overseas trip. Did you sell your 85mm lens already? >
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
Dermot, guess I lost out on that one by not being quick enough to buy it from you!

As a follow-up question on this thread, what about the 28-85mm F3-3.4 CZ Vari-Sonnar? Anyone had any experience with this one? Would you prefer this to the 28-70 for what I have in mind? Any idea of what I'd have to pay for one in clean used condition?
 

stan_parry

Well-Known Member
The 28-85 Zoom is one of the very best zooms ever made. Great range and very sharp. The 35-70 is comparable but for architecture the 28-85 is a great focal length. With the 80-200 or the 135 2.8 you have it covered.
 

wang

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't agree 28-85 is the very best, it has significant astigmatism. 35-70 has a very good 35 at f5.6, in fact, the 35 of 35-70 is even better than the prime 35 2.8 which also suffers from astigmatism. For the range 50-85 I recommend 35-135, which is the one I believe to be the very best.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
I agree with Chi. The 28-85 isn't the best but still provides that Zeiss look ... and the 35-135 may well be one of the best zooms from any one ... but it is huge.

I have and use both lenses. The 28-85 provides a nice balance on cameras like the Contax ST or even RX (both of which I use) ... and is my favorite walk around lens on a Canon 20D.

The 35-135, while big and heavy, balances quite nicely on a Canon 1DMKII or 1Ds/1DsMKII and has that remarkable macro ability making it a lens that can cover 90% of my general shooting needs (pop a tiny 25/3.8 in my pocket and then 95% of the needs are covered ; -)

Balance and practicality of use sometimes cancels out some other less desirable traits. If a lens is easy to use and can be held and operated well, it can lead to making better photos ... just because you will use it ... it's just human nature.

28-85 is a great general range beat out only by a N camera with a 24-85/3.4 IMO ... which is my favorite general use zoom of all time (so far ; -)

Here's a grab shot of a friend's little boy taken in a dark restaurant using bad overhead available light ... 35-135 in macro mode on a Canon 1DsMKII with the ISO cranked up to overcome the darkness.

 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
I went off the 28-85 when it gave me noticeable barrel distortion at the 28 end on the walls of a castle in Wales. I expect that you can correct it in Photoshop but still... If I can find the picture, I will post it.
 

thedruid

Well-Known Member
The 28-85 is indeed a great lens but I found it suffered badly from flare...for my use, strictly landscape at the time it was tripod mounted and I used the old velveeta 50. The lens hood is not avery good design and the front elenemt rotates which makes using polarizers very frustrating.

I found it better than the more recently vaunted (by digital shooters) 35-70mm but then that's me I shoot real world siutations not test charts.

I had an image published this year to poster size taken with the 28-85mm back in '97. I had submitted a 70mm dupe of the image to a publisihing house ages ago and forgot about it. I usually send my medium format images in to this particular company so I was a little worried the image would not hold up. I was suprised it looks pretty good...unless it's viewed side by side with a MF shot.
Again these were outdoor shots no straight lines, well some trees.....
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
Dermot, Marc and others:

Thanks for the information so far. Would those of you with experience help me make a decision here? As I've said, I have the CZ 28/2.8, the CZ 50/1.7, and then jump to the CZ 80-200/4. I also have a Yashica ML 28-85/3.5-4.5 that I used overseas recently and made some pretty satisfying images with, but not sure how it would compare to the CZ zoom of the same range.

I have a line on CZ 28-70 (under 300 USD), a CZ 28-85 (around $500) and a CZ 85mm prime (again under $300). If you guys were making your next CZ acquisition in my position, which would it be or which combination, or would you pursue another CZ lens instead? Again, I like street scenes and the occasional informal portrait. I have very little use for anything over 200mm. Thanks for the input, and I hope this question isn't too elementary for the group.
 

thedruid

Well-Known Member
Tom only you can make the final decision here, looks to me like you have a wide range covered. You already have a 28-85 zoom and you are happy with the results. most of the slight differences here in lens quality cannot be seen by a lot of people.

So if you can afford the best then go for it, but going back to your original question, you talk about street shooting (what does this mean to you) it's easier with fast primes, thats why we have lenses like the 35mm 1.4. If you are set on the zoom then at under $300 I doubt you can go wrong with the 28-70, some people are paying that for a lens hood and a polarizing filter.
 

deshojo

Well-Known Member
I have the CZ 28-85mm and it's a great lens, but I would tend to agree with Tom, the 28-85mm lens you have produces satisfying photos already. The improvement with the CZ equivalent would be marginal, and probably not worth $500 to you.

I think a fast prime, either 35mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4 would be a more useful addition to your quiver.
 
D

djg

Gee, Dermot, so if we really like the 35-70 we shoot test charts and not real life subjects? C'mon, dude, cut us a little slack
! Maybe we appreciate the beautiful contrast and color, sharpness, flare control and very nice macro to boot in a nice compact package.
 
P

pham_minh_son

Tom,
I tested the CZ 28-70mm and I have to say it has slight CA from 28mm to 50mm and once you are at 70mm the CA goes away. It is a nice small compact lens but I would recommend the CZ vario-sonnar 35-70mm macro. This Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm F3.4 macro has very well control CA and it is very sharp lens. There are two zoom lens from Contax that I love and they are very unique that to me it is not a question wheather it is worthy to get and have to manually focus and they are:
1) Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm F3.4 Macro
2) Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 70-210mm F3.5 Macro.

These zoom lens are simply unique in the own ways that I have to get them despite being a prime lens person.

-Son
 
D

djg

I realize that, Dermot, hence the smiley. Just being a tad obnoxious
. Everybody's got their favorites! Tomorrow I have to go out to my favorite wildlife preserve. Now to decide what to take - what a chore! The bag has gotten real heavy!
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
Dermot,

I was swayed by your regard for the CZ 85mm/2.8 prime, and was the successful bidder on one from Australia at what I thought was a really good price last night. Can't wait for it to get here. Did not get a MM type, which is a little disappointing since I use 167's, but I don't really think its a big deal. Should have grabbed yours while you were in a selling mood.


I looked at shots again from my Yashica 28-85 and thought about what you and others said. I'm not sure for the kind of shots I'd take with it that its worth $500 plus to upgrade that lens to the CZ unit, and the last two on e-bay have gone off at close to $600.

I've never owned an 85mm prime lens before and I think it will be fun to see how much I use it. As you said, its small enough to travel with and it should be good for the informal portrait shots I like to take.

Thanks to everyone for their advice.

Tom
 
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