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Forums > Photography Talk > CARL ZEISS JENA Lens, anyone ! Search   Reply
Photographer
Gallery de Aphrodite
Posts: 341
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I love the CZ glasses but it's out of my price range. I was trying to get your opinion if you have used the Carl Zeiss M42 screw mount lens with an adapter with DSLRs.

Questions:
1.    How easy or hard is it to use the manual focus?
2.    What’s your experience with the adapters?
3.    How do you find the picture quality with the DSLR? (comparing to a good lens of your camera specific manufacturer)
4.    Any other thoughts?

Examples:
http://tinyurl.com/phlt794
http://tinyurl.com/pczx68b

Note that I did not mention any specific camera brand to keep the discussion focused on the lens specifically. Don't want to make it a Nikon vs Canon vs Rest of the world ... kinda discussion.

Thanks for your input in advance.
Jun 27 13 08:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,572
Glens Falls, New York, US


It works with Canon and Pentax, but you're going to want a mounting ring for each lens, and you should put a drop of thread lock on there.  If the adapter ring gets stuck in the camera, it is an absolute pain to get off.  Nikon and Sony don't have room in their camera mount for these adapter rings, and the ones with glass in them to refocus the image properly are bad news bears.

Also, I'd recommend Schneider lenses over the Jenas.  They go for about the same price, and I find them to be much better.  They're not as nice as top-spec Zeiss or Leica, but they're much nicer than the cheaper Zeiss and Leica lenses, and even better than some of the midrange versions Leica offers.

I'm pretty sure Zeiss only has top-end and Jena, so it's hard to compare them there smile

Oh, and I would say that the older German lenses are much more prone to flare because of their older coatings, and many have more CA wide open than newer lenses.  But they tend to be sharper, especially when stopped down, and rarely suffer from poor bokeh because of it.  Many of them only have a few blades in the aperture though, so out of focus highlights will often be sharp, even if bokeh is totally smooth.

Keep in mind that is a stereotype of affordable German lenses.  There are lots of exceptions.
Jun 27 13 10:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,239
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


manual focusing through the viewfinder can be tricky with fast lenses because modern focus screens will give a minimum dof equivalent to around f/2.8 even if the lens is at f/1.4. there are replacement focus screens available specifically for manual focus.

using live view will give you an accurate dof. focus peaking is a real help. if your camera doesn't have it, cranking up the sharpness will give you extra moire on the lcd in the focused areas of the image. using an lcd viewfinder helps too, especially outdoors.

i don't know about the canon adapter rings, but genuine pentax ones are great. DO NOT use any sort of thread lock on them because they can't be removed from the camera without first removing the lens. avoid the cheap knock-offs. they jam easily, lenses end up mounted wrong side up and they shed tiny bits of metal.
Jun 27 13 11:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,572
Glens Falls, New York, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
i don't know about the canon adapter rings, but genuine pentax ones are great. DO NOT use any sort of thread lock on them because they can't be removed from the camera without first removing the lens.

I'm not sure what you mean by this.  I know that removing a screwmount adapter that has been threadlocked means purposely jamming the adapter in the camera mount and then working it out, and cleaning all the threads with alcohol and a q-tip.  But isn't it better to only deal with that once, and on your own time(when you plan to sell the lens, or switch to a new camera brand) better than having it happen multiple times, and possibly during a shoot?

Jun 27 13 11:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,239
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Zack Zoll wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by this.  I know that removing a screwmount adapter that has been threadlocked means purposely jamming the adapter in the camera mount and then working it out, and cleaning all the threads with alcohol and a q-tip.  But isn't it better to only deal with that once, and on your own time(when you plan to sell the lens, or switch to a new camera brand) better than having it happen multiple times, and possibly during a shoot?

m42 adapter rings for pentax cameras are designed to lock in place inside the lens mount. you have to remove the lens to get at the locking mechanism.
http://www.vn-trip.com/blogtest/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/K10D_M42_Genuine_Adapter_On.jpg

Jun 27 13 11:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fotopfw
Posts: 792
Kerkrade, Limburg, Netherlands


I wear CZ glass (minus 6) in my spectacles and nothing is better. I do agree with your remark about the price these things sell for: top of the bill.
Jun 27 13 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Moon Pix Photography
Posts: 3,892
Syracuse, New York, US


Gallery de Aphrodite wrote:
I love the CZ glasses but it's out of my price range. I was trying to get your opinion if you have used the Carl Zeiss M42 screw mount lens with an adapter with DSLRs.

Questions:
1.    How easy or hard is it to use the manual focus?
2.    What’s your experience with the adapters?
3.    How do you find the picture quality with the DSLR? (comparing to a good lens of your camera specific manufacturer)
4.    Any other thoughts?

Examples:
http://tinyurl.com/phlt794
http://tinyurl.com/pczx68b

Note that I did not mention any specific camera brand to keep the discussion focused on the lens specifically. Don't want to make it a Nikon vs Canon vs Rest of the world ... kinda discussion.

Thanks for your input in advance.

I don't own any CZ MF lenses, but I do own a couple Helios and Meyer MF lenses with adapters.  I find it is more challenging to focus than film camera's so I wouldn't use it for fast action but for a more controlled environment (portraits, etc.. ) I LOVE using them. 

I compared the Helios 85mm 1.5 with the MUCH more expensive Canon 85mm 1.2 II. 
The Helios (Cyclop) held its own against the Canon.
Here are the results.

http://johncarnessali.com/camera-lens-tests/2439

Jun 27 13 12:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lumatic
Posts: 13,750
Brooklyn, New York, US


I have 3 Zeiss lenses with EF adapters - 1 Jena M42 mount, and a Tessar and a Vario-Sonnar with C/Y mounts.  I just changed my old C/Y adapters to ones that have an AF confirm chip, and the confirm is nice to have, but they mostly only work well enough at f8 or faster.  But I grew up with manual focus so I'm used to it in any case.  You might miss AF for a while if you're not used to MF, but I don't imagine it would be too much of a problem with a little practice as long as your eyesight is good.  Plus, it can certainly help your shooting skills in the long run, in my opinion.

IQ is excellent for all three of my lenses, film and digital both.  No complaints whatsoever, at least with my copies.

I don't know if this is true for all M42 adapters, but mine only works on my full-frame bodies.  The back of the mount blocks the mirror on my Rebel, can't use it.  The C/Ys are fine.
Jun 27 13 12:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Learn zone focusing. It's not that hard to focus manually without looking through the viewfinder or the LCD.
Jun 27 13 12:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,572
Glens Falls, New York, US


Michael Broughton wrote:
m42 adapter rings for pentax cameras are designed to lock in place inside the lens mount. you have to remove the lens to get at the locking mechanism.
http://www.vn-trip.com/blogtest/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/K10D_M42_Genuine_Adapter_On.jpg

Huh.  I've never used those.  I've only used the generics that have a thread on one end, and unlock with the lens release button on the other.  I always threadlock those (or screw them down really tightly, if they're build with screws), so that I can just pop them on an off like regular bayonet lenses.

That does make extra work when you want to sell the lens, but I think the ease of ownership and use is worth the tradeoff.

Jun 27 13 04:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,239
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Zack Zoll wrote:
Huh.  I've never used those.  I've only used the generics that have a thread on one end, and unlock with the lens release button on the other.  I always threadlock those (or screw them down really tightly, if they're build with screws), so that I can just pop them on an off like regular bayonet lenses.

That does make extra work when you want to sell the lens, but I think the ease of ownership and use is worth the tradeoff.

my bad. didn't even occur to me that you might be using the even-cheaper-than-the-knock-offs flanged adapters. yeah, it's safe to glue those to the lens. you lose infinity focus with them though and the distance and dof scales will be wrong.

Jun 27 13 06:33 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,572
Glens Falls, New York, US


Michael Broughton wrote:

my bad. didn't even occur to me that you might be using the even-cheaper-than-the-knock-offs flanged adapters. yeah, it's safe to glue those to the lens. you lose infinity focus with them though and the distance and dof scales will be wrong.

I've only used those guys with a Canon, and a Pentax Super-Takumar 105 f/2.8, so I don't want to speak in generalities.  But with that combination, I got infinity focus just fine.  I'm afraid to say that I'd forgotten the brand, so I can't make any recommendations.  But I can say that it did not include any lenses.

Perhaps a wider angle lens, with a closer focusing distance, would be more of a problem.  Or lenses that do not focus beyond infinity.  Or maybe I just got super lucky, and had an adapter that was incorrectly made in just the right way.  Maybe the guy milling mine had a fight with his wife that morning, and he got distracted and shaved it just a little bit thinner ... I don't know.  Like I said, I haven't enough experience with M42 to SLR adapters to speak in generalities.

Most of my M42 "testing" was done with a Sony NEX, so flange distance was a non-issue.  And by "testing", I mean "buying a crap-ton of lenses from a bunch of different brands, playing with them, and then cherry-picking my favourites, and selling the rest."

Personally, I think the M42 mount is THE way to go to get the best-quality lenses for the minimum amount of money, assuming that your camera supports them.  If I had to pick, I'd say that I would shop for them somewhat like this:

- Standard Zeiss or Schneider(the Schneider has a cyan cast that I think is absolutely gorgeous, and often a smoother bokeh - but Zeiss is generally sharper edge-to-edge, and would be much better for landscapes)
- Bleached Pentax Super Takumar(many lenses have turned yellow, and will need UV bleaching)
- Zeiss Jena(sharp with good bokeh, but the simple design makes flare and low contrast a huge issue under a lot of shooting conditions.  Also, not great edge-to-edge.)
- Misc. Cold War Brands(Helios, etc.)
- Unbleached Super Takumars
- Other Pentax
- Everybody else.  Probably not worth your time.

There are a lot of really good lenses I didn't mention, and don't deserve to be lumped into 'everybody else.'  But the M42 mount was so ubiquitous that you really can't cover it all and still have a life smile  You didn't mention what camera this lens was for ... if it was a mirrorless, I'd also put the German-made Leica f/1.4s and f/2s at the top, and then the Canadian Leicas and f/2.8 and f/4s above the Super Takumars.  Compared to other German brands, I really don't think Leica brought their A game with the 35mm and 50mm f/2.8 lenses.  And the 39mm Leica screwmount lenses are a lot like the Zeiss Jenas ... sharp, amazing bokeh from the 8-11 blade rounded diaphragms, but awful prone to contrast and flare issues.  The round diaphragm means nicer out of focus highlights, but non-highlight parts of the photo look great on both.

I hope that rant was helpful!

Jun 27 13 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Michael Broughton
Posts: 2,239
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Zack Zoll wrote:
I've only used those guys with a Canon, and a Pentax Super-Takumar 105 f/2.8, so I don't want to speak in generalities.  But with that combination, I got infinity focus just fine.  I'm afraid to say that I'd forgotten the brand, so I can't make any recommendations.  But I can say that it did not include any lenses.

Perhaps a wider angle lens, with a closer focusing distance, would be more of a problem.  Or lenses that do not focus beyond infinity.  Or maybe I just got super lucky, and had an adapter that was incorrectly made in just the right way.  Maybe the guy milling mine had a fight with his wife that morning, and he got distracted and shaved it just a little bit thinner ... I don't know.  Like I said, I haven't enough experience with M42 to SLR adapters to speak in generalities.

i was talking specifically about the adapters for pentax cameras. the ones for canon are completely different, so you can ignore pretty much everything i've said so far. ;P

Jun 27 13 08:46 pm  Link  Quote 
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