Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?

Started Dec 20, 2011 | Discussions
Kaikeong
New MemberPosts: 2
Like?
Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
Dec 20, 2011

These shots are taken with Carl Zeiss 35mm F2 lens on a Leica M9. I find CZ lenses are very good in quality as compared to Leica lenses. They are a lot cheaper too. Much value for money.

Godfrey
Forum ProPosts: 27,485
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 20, 2011

Nice work!

There's no question that CZ lenses are superb, just like the fact that at least several of the Voigtländer lenses are too. Casting aside price as a discriminator, with lenses at thequality level of the best of Leica, Zeiss and Voigtländer, the distinctions become more an exercise in which you like more for their individual rendering qualities rather than which "performs better".
--
Godfrey
http://godfreydigiorgi.posterous.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Irakly Shanidze
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,029Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 20, 2011

Actually, CZ lenses are not that cheap. I mean, price wise they are, but it comes at the expense of speed. The only true bargain in the Zeis ZM line-up is 2/35 (and somewhat 2/50). The rest are all f/2.8, and you don't want to know how much 1.4/24 would cost

I am purposefully leaving out 1.5/50 Sonnar, as this one stands in its own category: an excellent lens, which is very difficult to use.
--
Irakly Shanidze
http://www.shanidze.com/en

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bpalme
Senior MemberPosts: 1,063Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Irakly Shanidze, Dec 21, 2011

From my research the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 trumps the Leica. And the size of the Voigt. 21mm is quite impressive(130 ish grams). Some lenses though just have a certain character worth paying for... 28 cron, 35lux, Noctilux, 50 summilux... and many older lenses. I may buy the 21mm 2.8 zeiss.

When the prices of new lenses jump a couple/few hundred every year then so does the used value so that's something to consider.
--
M9/50Cron/28Cron/50 Noctilux 0.95

 bpalme's gear list:bpalme's gear list
Leica M9 Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Artichoke
Forum ProPosts: 11,802Gear list
Like?
too many great choices for the M mount
In reply to bpalme, Dec 21, 2011

both CZ & CV make many superb lenses

let me put in a word for two lenses, neither cheap, that have no peer among the offerings from Leica

1. CZ 15 mm Distagon ...not only is it wider than any Leica offering, but it is also much faster ...Zeiss went all out with this one's design and it shows both in its optical quality & in its price
it is a big lens, but comfortable mounted on the M9
2. the CV 35 f1.2 Nokton, now in its second iteration

the first was changed, so I have read, due to lack of a special glass needed for its manufacture
I bought one just before the newer version was made available

it is an amazing good lens & every bit the match for any Leica 35 though a bit faster & a good deal larger
works great on the M9
--
--
pbase & dpreview supporter
DPR forum member since 5/2001
http://www.pbase.com/artichoke

"Avoid making a commotion, just as you wouldn’t stir up the water before fishing. Don’t use a flash out of respect for the natural lighting, even when there isn’t any. If these rules aren’t followed, the photographer becomes unbearably obtrusive" -- attributed to HCB

 Artichoke's gear list:Artichoke's gear list
Agfa ePhoto 1680 Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Leica M8 Nikon D3X Leica M9 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
efix
Senior MemberPosts: 2,026Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 21, 2011

As others said, I guess in the end it is either a question of personal preference, or of money. For me, it's a mix of both. I could afford one Leica lens, but then I would have to restrict myself to one focal length. Tried it once, didn't work for me. So for the same money, I got two Zeiss lenses plus one Voigtländer lens - the CV 15/4.5, the CZ 28/2.8 and the CZ 50/2. All three are excellent lenses.

Personally, I find the rendering of Zeiss lenses very pleasing. They have strong contrast, bold, warm colours, extraordinary micro contrast and that legendary "3D pop" that is caused by the way the lens renders the transition from in-focus areas to out-of-focus areas. This was the other reason for me to get Zeiss glass. And I'm very happy with the decision
--
blog: http://photography.efixmedia.de
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/efixphotography
flickr!: http://www.flickr.com/photos/efixphoto/

 efix's gear list:efix's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus PEN E-P1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kaikeong
New MemberPosts: 2
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to efix, Dec 21, 2011

Well said.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mskuma
Forum MemberPosts: 93
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 21, 2011

I agree the Zeiss 21 2.8 ZM is great. The Planar 50 is also very good. Though I sold off the Zeiss 50 to help fund a Summilux, I think I'll never sell the 21mm.

One relatively minor thing I've personally noted (and admired) that I don't see written is the starburst-like diffractive effect on the Zeiss is a very nice effect that generally is not seen as much when using Leica lenses (though I guess this is just personal taste). For night shots, this effect give a nice 'sparkle' that is unquely Zeiss.

Michael.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Michael Everett
Senior MemberPosts: 1,739
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to efix, Dec 21, 2011

efix wrote:

I got two Zeiss lenses plus one Voigtländer lens - the CV 15/4.5, the CZ 28/2.8 and the CZ 50/2. All three are excellent lenses.

How good is the Voigtländer CV 15. I shoot with a lot of Zeiss on my Nex 5n and am considering it. How does it compare with Zeiss lenses?

Thanks,

Michael

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Irakly Shanidze
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,029Gear list
Like?
Re: too many great choices for the M mount
In reply to Artichoke, Dec 21, 2011

I actually found that Nokton's widest T-stop is lesser than of the Leica 1.4/35 pre-asph. I mean, whide open Summilux transmits 1/3 of a stop more light than Nokton, even though it is slower by numbers. Nothing amazing about it if you count reflective surfaces in the optical formula
--
Irakly Shanidze
http://www.shanidze.com/en

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Anadrol
Regular MemberPosts: 354
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 21, 2011

I hesitate between buying the Zeiss 18mm f4 Distagon and the CV 15mm,
is the Zeiss much better ?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
efix
Senior MemberPosts: 2,026Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Michael Everett, Dec 22, 2011

Michael Everett wrote:

How good is the Voigtländer CV 15. I shoot with a lot of Zeiss on my Nex 5n and am considering it. How does it compare with Zeiss lenses?

Michael, you can find a lot of information on the CV 15/4.5 in various forums and websites. Pretty much everybody who ever used it has nothing but praise for it. For starters, I recommend Stephen Gandy's paragraph on the 15/4.5 on his Voigtländer lens page: http://cameraquest.com/voigtlen.htm

The 15/4.5 is a rectilinear lens with as good as no distortion. It is pretty sharp in the center at all apertures, whereas the corners are slightly soft at f/4.5. The angle is, of course, very wide. I find it has good contrast and neutral colour reproduction, if slightly on the cool side compared to Zeiss lenses.

I have no experience with Zeiss' wide angle offerings. The 18/4 looks to be a very nice lens with typical Zeiss rendering. The 15/2.8 is a beast, insanely expensive and not rf coupled. I'd take the Heliar over either of these any time: It's relatively cheap, insanely small and a very good performer. If you're looking for a super wide, the Heliar really is a no-brainer.

 efix's gear list:efix's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus PEN E-P1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Irakly Shanidze
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,029Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Anadrol, Dec 22, 2011

better in what way?
--
Irakly Shanidze
http://www.shanidze.com/en

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Anadrol
Regular MemberPosts: 354
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Irakly Shanidze, Dec 23, 2011

Well contrast and general rendering.

Thanks

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Irakly Shanidze
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,029Gear list
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Anadrol, Dec 23, 2011

in that case, "much better" is an understatement
--
Irakly Shanidze
http://www.shanidze.com/en

 Irakly Shanidze's gear list:Irakly Shanidze's gear list
Leica M9
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
chipgreenberg
Junior MemberPosts: 34
Like?
Re: Leica or Carl Zeiss Lenses?
In reply to Kaikeong, Dec 23, 2011

I get a great kick out of this thread. The same discussion was going on in early fifties when my dad was deciding between a Leica and a Contax.

The contax 11a ended up being my first camera, so I guess I ended up a Zeiss fan by default

Chip

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Bo W
Regular MemberPosts: 168
Like?
Zeiss not suitable for M8/M9 without adjustment
In reply to chipgreenberg, Dec 25, 2011

A similar thread some time ago, please read the last posts in
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1038&message=39629295

and directly at the authorative source Mario.B
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1038&message=39775518

Zeiss lenses are excellent, BUT they do not match M9! M9 does NOT have the same distance btw lens and sensor, as the older Leicas btw lens and film.

Zeiss lenses are calibrated according to the [older] film standard. Leica has to modify older Leica lenses to "M8/M9" standard to focus exactly on M9.

Don't take my word for it. Please read the posts above, Sean Reid, and numerous other serious tester, who allways seem to comment that the Zeisses are peers to Leicas optically, but they all seem a "bit off" in focus.

A Leica EVIL will probably solve the problem..

Best / Bo

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Peter Wais
New MemberPosts: 6
Like?
Re: Zeiss not suitable for M8/M9 without adjustment
In reply to Bo W, Dec 25, 2011

I am honestly very surprised by this post! I have used my Zeiss ZM 15/2.8 and 85/2 on my M6, RD-1, M8 and M9.... All produce superb results, just as Leica lenses do on these bodies.

Another way of putting this is if the Leica M mount was somehow changed between the M6 and M8, as your comment suggests, then why does my 1995 35 SX ASPH work so well on all of the bodies I listed?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mauro.B
Senior MemberPosts: 2,356Gear list
Like?
Re: Zeiss not suitable for M8/M9 without adjustment
In reply to Peter Wais, Dec 26, 2011

Peter Wais wrote:

I am honestly very surprised by this post! I have used my Zeiss ZM 15/2.8 and 85/2 on my M6, RD-1, M8 and M9.... All produce superb results, just as Leica lenses do on these bodies.

Another way of putting this is if the Leica M mount was somehow changed between the M6 and M8, as your comment suggests, then why does my 1995 35 SX ASPH work so well on all of the bodies I listed?

M8 is able to better compensate due to its relative larger dof. This distance issue is highly debatable also because Leica is not taking any position on that. Zeiss did, btw.

My personal experience on Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses is that after the tighter rangefinder calibration made by Leica on in 2011, my M9 is laser sharp with "new" and "old recalibrated" Leica lenses and mostly front focuses with any other. Below 35 mm front focus is very difficult to detect, whereas lack of collimation is easy (patch is misaligned at infinity).

Lastly, I cannot judge what you consider "superb". I use the M9 to shoot carefully set up landscapes which I print in A3 / A2 sizes, which require superb performance, and documentary reportage work, in which absolute sharpness is not needed.

If you still have access to an M9, ask the owner if it was bought in late 2010 or 2011, or if it was sent to rangefinder service recently. Then review your lenses performance on that body under late Leica standards: enthusiasm might be dampened.

Best regards,

M

 Mauro.B's gear list:Mauro.B's gear list
Sony RX100 Ricoh GR Nikon D800E Leica M Typ 240 Fujifilm X-T1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
efix
Senior MemberPosts: 2,026Gear list
Like?
Re: Zeiss not suitable for M8/M9 without adjustment
In reply to Bo W, Dec 26, 2011

While I have no doubts that some people experience focussing issues under certain conditions (lenses faster than f/2 and longer than 35mm, wide open, close focused) with certain combinations of lenses and cameras, I find it hard to believe that one can assess a general incompatibility of modern ZM lenses with modern M bodies.

If you look for a certain kind of problem, chances are you'll find it. I never had any issues with my CV or ZM lenses (except for those with inherent focus shift) on my M8. I don't think this is something that should keep you from buying a certain lens.
--
blog: http://photography.efixmedia.de
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/efixphotography
flickr!: http://www.flickr.com/photos/efixphoto/

 efix's gear list:efix's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus PEN E-P1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads