Monday, October 13, 2008

What's about Zeiss lenses?...

What's about Carl Zeiss lenses that makes them so special - to some people, at least?
I'm not experienced enough to be able to respond in an objective manner. The contrast, sharpness and color accuracy of my Zeiss lenses satisfies me completely. This way I don't have to waste time and patience "pixel peeping" my photos, looking for chromatic aberrations, vignetting or peripheral softness. Of course, I still have to make the right "technical" decisions when taking the photo, like choosing an appropriate aperture. No lens in the world can compensate for a careless photographer. (As was the case in the second photo below, where insufficient depth of field caused lack of sharpness in some areas of the image. I think it would have been a really pleasant photo otherwise...)

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

Probably I would get also very good results with Pentax prime lenses, some of which are said to be truly excellent. But still, once you feel a Zeiss in your hands, I don't think you would want to change it for anything else...

I've converted old Zeiss lenses from the Contax/Yashica mount to the Pentax K mount. Except for some special collector's items, the Zeiss-Contax lenses can be purchased for reasonable prices in the used market. But if you want to buy new and take advantage of an automatic diaphragm, Zeiss is now releasing slightly redesigned models for Pentax mount ("ZK" models), as well as for Nikon F and M42 screw mounts. Focusing is still manual, though.


Dan said...

I have a Yaschica Contax 137 MA and two Zeiss lenses a f1.4 50mm and a f2.8 28 and want to find out how to convert them for a digital camera. I love these lenses and have never found anything better.
Any help you can offer me is greatly appreciated.
I'm ready to buy a DSLR or a 4/3 (If I have to) that will accept these lenses.

thanks for any help you can offer,


Frank M. said...

There are a couple of ways to convert Y/C Zeiss lenses to digital cameras. One is by converting the lens bayonet to a particular camera mount, using the kits from, for instance. This demands some assembly work, but it is not difficult. I've done it with 4 lenses, converting them to Pentax mount. Remember that since the lenses were designed for 35 mm film format, you will get a 1.5x crop factor when using on an APS-C sized sensor.

An alternative is to buy a micro 4/3 mirrorless camera (Olympus or Panasonic) and an adapter ring from, for instance. This will not imply changing anything in the lens, but you will have a 2x crop factor due to the sensor's smaller size.
Hope this helps.