Zeiss Distagon 18 - should I buy

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Guest

Hi Folks,

I have read numerous reviews that claims that this lenses is not up to the standards of other CZ lenses. Much in the same way that the 2.8 25mm Distagon doesn't get highly rated, yet people that use it seem very happy with it. Is this the case with 18/4.0? Any user want to comment on their own experience with the lense?

Thanks for any information.

Mark -%)
 
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Guest

>Hello, Mark, I own this lens since short time - my tests indicate excellent performance until now (resolution and contrast)! Not any softness in the corners full open! esp. there ist nearly now vignetting at full aperture! German testers approve highest ratings (best lens ever tested in this focal length! Highly recommendable! Herbert
 
G

Guest

Hi Mark
I've owned two of the 18/4. I sold the first one in a period of no-photo-interest. Lately I got my photographic interest back and had to buy the lens again. I think it's a great lens and often use it as my standard lens. Color-balance and contrast are a lot like the other Zeiss that I own. I have a lot of pictures published, taken with the lens on
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, you can use the search function to find the 18/4 pictures.
 
G

Guest

Hi Mark,

if you can afford the D18 buy it.
There are some third party lenses in the 17mm range, Tokina and Tamron. Tokina is the better of both. I use Tokina SL 17 and had the chance to test a D18 and compare both lenses. D18 is better build with less mechanical tolerances and is more solid. Optically the difference is not so big, D18 is somewhat sharper and has slightly better colours and less distortion in corners. The only reason I kept the Tokina is that I use super wides not very often and because the Tokina lens takes 67mm filter while D18 has no filter thread and I paid 125 Euros for the Tokina while D18 is not available under 500.

Dieter
 
G

Guest

Hi Folks,

I have had my SL17 for many years. Color reproduction is very bad indeed. The distortion is so serious to an unacceptable level. Vignetting is very obvious. When I use this lens, I alwasys stop down 1/2 to 1 stop to get the correct exposure in the middle. I am quite sure that D18 will be much better than the SL17 though I never tried a D18.

I bought it because it was cheap relatively. I do not have this range in my lenses. When the lens is being used few times a year, this is okay. But I still want to have either D18 or D21 because I am a CZ fans.

Francis.
 
G

Guest

Hi Francis!

The D18 is a real must for a CZ fan, I can recommend this lens indeed: it is a dream: some years ago I shot a greek cathedral inside, mirror up (RTSII), at f8 with Velvia - I could not believe: extreme sharp, wonderful contrast (bright windows, dark inside) and hardly any distortion. BTW it ist small and compact but does not accept filters without a special adaptor. At full aperture You might see some little vignetting in critical pictures - snow, sky, but not in average situations. There is no problem shooting agaist sun, hardly any "doubles". You will really love this lens.

Regards
Wolfgang
 
G

Guest

Hi Wolfgang,

Your words make me want to buy D18 now. I heard from other forum and reviews. The D21 is an extreme good lens. Someone would say that D21 is an best lens in this range all over other brands.

However, it is relately expansive. So I hesitate to decide to buy D21. I also struggle to decide to buy either D18 and D21.

Francis.
 
G

Guest

i dont think zeiss has changed the quality of this lens from the starting in the seventies until now. it has significant vignetting until you stop down to 8! its impossible getting a wideangle of such power to get without vignetting. just shoot against sky.
 
G

Guest

buy d21 if you can afford. its better if you need top-quality. its a much newer construction.
 
G

Guest

Francis,

The D21 was my first Contax lens, and the reason I started a Contax system. I believe this is the best ultra-wide in the history of the world. Unlike most C/Y lenses, it is a modern design and uses low-dispersion glass. The result is an image with no chromatic aberration, even in the corner. CZ sister lenses with this technology cost $6500 (200/2 Aposonnar) and $13000 (300/2.8 Tele-Apotessar). At $1500, I consider the D21 the best CZ value around town and no-one, except Leica, can touch its performance.

Because it looks like a telephoto, people don't realize I took their picture. Good for street work!

Here is a s&le scan for technical evaluation. Warning! It's a huge 23 MB JPEG, 5800x3900...

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The image was scanned on a Canon FS4000, with no digital dust removal, sharpening, or smoothing. The scanner delivers single-pixel detail (inspect scratches on the film), while the image detail reaches about 2 pixels. I need another test using fine-grain film and a tripod.
 
G

Guest

Michael,

as I was the original poster of this thread, I would ask you to show some respect! I looked through the archives on C/Y Lenses and did not find any topic that addressed the merit of the 18/4 lense.

So your statement of "must this discussion be repeated every second month" is inappropriate. If you do not want to read about this topic then just delete the message.

Cheers,

Mark -%)
 
G

Guest

Hi Rico, Michael and Wolfgang,

Thanks all your advice. Having read Rico's s&le picture, D21 is unexpected sharp.

I need to think deeply to see If I really need a D18 or D21. I cannot resist the charming of D21 but I need to justify whether I can afford, and whether I will use the ultra wide angle frequently.

Anyway, I have already got clues on those lens.

Francis.
 
G

Guest

I tried them both and the 18mm doesn't even come close to the 21mm. Check out the MTF charts. The 21mm is a marvel, with its only knock being the huge 82mm filter size. Rico is probably correct in saying it's the best ultr-wide lens there is.
 
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Guest

Do you think that it's better than the G system 21mm which I expect is cheaper if you already have a G body -or even if you have to buy one?! I don't own a 21mm but it is on my wish list for my G2.
John
 
G

Guest

The G system's Biogon 21 is an amazingly good lens--many, myself included, think it's the best of all the G lenses. Note that Hasselblad thinks enough of the Biogon to build a camera around one.

I read a technical article once which explained that the Biogon design is inherently subject to light falloff towards the edges. This may be so, but I've not found it to be a problem with my images. (The 16mm Hologon, by comparison, comes with a graduated ND filter to compensate for its falloff characteristics.) Biogon pluses include no noticeable rectilinear distortion, excellent contrast and sharpness even wide open, very compact design (nearly a third of the Distagon's weight). The auxiliary viewfinder is very bright and generally a pleasure to use.

For me, learning to use a super wide angle lens on a rangefinder was a challenge. I miss an SLR's accurate framing and DOF preview. I certainly don't miss the weight.

--Rick
 
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Guest

I recently purchased an 18mm Contax lenses on Ebay at a good price but paying for a good quality polarizer will be another big investment. Any recommendations? Since I may eventually get an autofocus camera I am leaning toward a circular polarizer for the 18mm and RTSII so that it is useful for the future or has possibly better re-sale value. I understand that vignetting is a challenge with this lenses. If I do not pay for a slim line polarizer how serious is the vignetting likely to be? Will problem only be at wide open, if I stop down a stop or more is it likely that I can get away with a non-slimline design? Since the most likely photo uses will be when I want alot of depth of field I expect that typically I'd be shooting at F8 or so when the polarizer is in use. Aside from Heliopan that makes a slim line 86mm are there others? I do not have the 18mm in my hands yet but understand that it uses a 70/86 step ring and requires an 86mm filter. The 70/86 seems like a very strange size but that is what the specs says. Are there any other options like stepping up to something smaller? Paying about $200 USA for a filter is a big investment. Thanks for your experience/advice. -- Edward
 
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Guest

I purchased the 70/86 step ring used, mint $30.00 and a 86mm BH polarizer used, mint $105.00 (BH photo NYC) Work great with the 18mm lens . Tried it out with Agfa's new Ultra 100 film during a late fall photo trip. "What colors"!
 
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Guest

I would like to protect the frontlens of the distagon 18/4 with an UV filter.

Is it possible to use a screw on heliopan slim UV filter (72mm) without vignetting? Or should I buy the 72-86 ring with 86mm UV filter? (such a big filter is not very handy in the outdoors.<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">•<font color="ff0000">• for your advice,

Melvin
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G

Guest

Posted by Melvin on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 9:56 pm:


I would like to protect the frontlens of the distagon 18/4 with an UV
filter.

Is it possible to use a screw on heliopan slim UV filter (72mm)
without vignetting? Or should I buy the 72-86 ring with 86mm UV
filter? (such a big filter is not very handy in the outdoors. for your
advice,

Melvin

Melvin,
you have to use a clip-on filter diameter 70mm or
70-86 ring and 86mm UV Filter.
Eugenio.
 
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