Thread: Zeiss Jena

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  1. #11  
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great info guys. I'm starting to budget for a set of primes mainly for narrative stuff (my faithful zooms are still there for more run and gun kind of things). But I'm a bit undecided, as I'm not sure I should budget a lot more money to gather a great modern set such as the Slr Magic Hyperprimes or save money and go with the beautiful and vintage Jenas. I do love the character of older lenses, especially on these modern ultra sharp sensors.

    I know I'm diverting the topic a bit, but what would you guys say are the pros and cons of going with a modern set of primes such as the SLRmagic hypers or the vintage Jenas.

    Thanks
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  2. #12  
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    Well, the answer is up to you.

    It all depends on your style of narration (or that of the director). Modern primes give you a cleaner, but sometimes a bit too sterile look. You can take the edge of their sharpness with diffusion, but you can't really mimic the beauty of flares or specific bokeh of vintage lenses.

    If you can't decide, go for that middle ground: the Zeiss (West) C/Y lenses. Better coatings than Zeiss Jena, but still not as sterile as modern high-tech.
    Last edited by Nomad; 06-10-2018 at 09:11 PM.
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  3. #13  
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    Contax Zeiss lenses do represent a fair middle ground. Sharp & clean, decent contrast and modeling- yet expressive with solid character. Getting EF mounts on them will set you back an extra $75 per lens if you buy the Leitax and install them yourself. But I've found the installation can be kinda tricky depending on the lenses, so spending a couple hundred dollars per lens to have someone do them professionally like Duclos or something similar is the safest bet.

    Another option you could go with would be Zeiss ZE. They're not super modern but not true vintage. Very similar optics and such to the Contax Zeiss, just a bit newer. They have nice character and modeling and good micro contrast due to better costings. That and you could take advantage of the full capabilities of the smart EF mount on your camera. Of course that would represent a step up in cost over the Jenna's.
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  4. #14  
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    I use the Zeiss ZFs and like them, especially the Zeiss 28mm f/2.0!
    Cheers
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  5. #15  
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    I know there is a lot of love for the Zeiss 28mm. The Jenas sell for 200eur in mint condition. The ZF 28mm retails at 1300eur I think (probably 700eur used). Any idea if the price difference is true to their differences?

    I never tried a Jena but I'm guessing it's one of those lens that has a lot of that special character like the Tokina 28-70. I've seen screen tests of the Master and Phantom Thread and it has a warm and yellow glow. Of course, the lighting and set design on those films are superb and the lo-con filters also helped.
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  6. #16  
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    Some time ago I had a small set of Pentacon 6 Zeiss Jena lenses adapted for PL to use on my F35. They were decent, but I wasn't blown away by them. The biggest drawback was they are relatively slow lenses and on a native ISO 450 camera like the F35 that was pretty limiting. The Ursa Mini isn't *that* slow, but it's not a low light monster, either. I think you might feel a bit constrained by the slower f-stops of the wider medium format Jenas. The longer focal lengths open up to 2.8, but the mids and wides are pretty slow. I didn't think whatever vintage character they had on them was worth the light loss. And that character isn't the same (nor as appealing in my eyes) as the west German Zeiss, even though they share the same name. Of the truly old (affordable) vintage lenses I liked my Cooke and Angenieux zooms the best. I'd love to get my hands on a set of old B-speed Zeiss primes (the ones with the triangle bokeh), but this is a fancy hobby for me. I can't justify dropping $25k+ on a set of lenses that are as old as I am. I can barely justify what I've already spent. heh.
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  7. #17  
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    I got me a set of Zeiss Contax C/Y and a Sigma 18-35mm for the wide end (the 18mm Contax is slow and the 21mm too expensive). BTW, you don't need to go Leitax, there are very cheap adapters to EF. You may need to try a few, but in the end you'll get there.

    If money is more of a concern, the Yashica counterparts are not bad either, most of them share the optical formula, but not the T* coating.

    For something very vintage I got some old Russians from 37 to 90mm.

    With these two lines I feel like I'm covered very well.
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  8. #18  
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, Frank's article mentions the different Jenas that are worth buying and I seem to recall that the widest was a 50mm. Is there a cropping effect that I'm not accounting for that turns this into 28mm? If not, starting a set or primes at 50mm might be too restrictive...
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  9. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by david evans View Post
    Out of curiosity, Frank's article mentions the different Jenas that are worth buying and I seem to recall that the widest was a 50mm. Is there a cropping effect that I'm not accounting for that turns this into 28mm? If not, starting a set or primes at 50mm might be too restrictive...
    I think they are medium format lenses so they do indeed start at 50mm.
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  10. #20  
    Hey!

    I used to have a Zeiss Jena set in M42 mount (full frame). Really liked the 35mm F/2.4 , very versatile. Can focus very close, almost a macro effect. The 20mm Flektogon was a little soft wide open, but a very natural straight wide-angle lens. The Pancolar 50mm is also good. The Pancolar 80mm F/1.8 is supposed to be very good as well, but I never had it. The build quality was the worst part, I think, not at all like the Zeiss Contax lenses. But I enjoyed the vintage look from them.

    Some things I shot with them together with Blackmagic cameras:
    https://vimeo.com/157282465
    https://vimeo.com/101781216 (also Zeiss F-Distagon 16mm F/2.8 in Rollei mount)
    https://vimeo.com/74557297

    / Johan
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