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Archive 2015 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?

  
 
Phillip Reeve
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


hey folks,

i am in the process of writing a review of the C/Y 2.8/28 and I have a few question about the difference between the MM and AE version and about the lens in general.

From what I know a safe way to tell them apart is that the MM version has a green 22 on the aperture ring while the 22 is white on the AE version.

I found conflicting info on a few other aspects:
  • Do all C/Y 2.8/28 lenses have the same coatings or have they been improved over time?
  • Is there a difference between AE and MM when it comes to mirror clearance on Canon SLR cameras?
  • Leitax only lists the MM version as compatible with their Nikon mounts, it that correct?
  • I saw two or three people claim that the MM version has better corners but they didn't back this claim up with any data. Do you have any personal experience?

    thanks,
    Phillip


  • Dec 23, 2015 at 07:27 AM
    jcolwell
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    p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Hi Phillip,

    I owned both AE and MM versions of the Contax Distagon 28/2.8 C/Y, and did a comparison shoot-out with them. In most cases, the MM had slightly but noticeably better IQ; the only exceptions being extreme edges with near-infinity subject matter, using the same Halifax Harbour test image as shown in my recent 25/2 ZE shootout. One of my conclusions was that my MM version might not quite reach infinity focus, although I never had any problems with it in the field. Soon after, I sold the AE and more recently I replaced the MM with a SMCP 28/2 (which has now morphed into a 25/2 ZE).

    I used a Leitax C/Y to EOS mount on the MM lens and a Fotodiox Pro adapter on the AE lens. I never had any mirror clearance issues with either lens on 5D, 5DII, or 1DsIII.

    I don't know about coatings, but the MM had slightly better behaviour in a flare comparison test, which is shown below. The second image shows 100% centre crops of the first image, where the MM (left) has less CA on the horizontal cross bar of the lampost and slightly higher apparent resolution than the AE (right).





    jcolwell 2015


    Flare comparison Distagon 28/2.8 MM (left) and AE (right), 1DsIII





    jcolwell 2015


    Flare comparison, 100% centre crops




    Dec 23, 2015 at 07:47 AM
    Phillip Reeve
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    p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    jcolwell wrote:
    Hi Phillip,

    I owned both AE and MM versions of the Contax Distagon 28/2.8 C/Y, and did a comparison shoot-out with them. In most cases, the MM had slightly but noticeably better IQ;

    Thanks a lot, very helpful



    Dec 23, 2015 at 07:49 AM
    WhyFi
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    p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    I don't think that I've heard of clearance issues on any Canons. If there are, though, it would be on 5D/6D bodies and really only on a case-by-case basis; the speculation that I've seen is that the 5D/6D have slightly looser tolerances than the 1-series, so with some lens/body combinations, you'll never really know until you try (like with my 5D and C/Y 50/1.7 - the mirror hangs up at infinity hard stop but clears just in front of it).

    Also, I forget - do the AE versions have the ninja star-shaped aperture when slightly stopped down? MM don't.



    Dec 23, 2015 at 08:41 AM
    Lee Saxon
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    p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Ninja-star would be the main reason to get one or the other. For some people its presence in the AE is a reason to get that lens and for others it's a reason to get the MM, but most people have a strong opinion one way or the other.


    Dec 23, 2015 at 08:47 AM
    Olaf G
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    p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    My reason to get the MM D28 was because I wanted to "Leitax" it to Nikon mount as I did before with the P50 and the S85.
    AFAIK, this is only possible with the MM Version (-> "yes" to your third question).



    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:28 AM
    freaklikeme
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    p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    I don't believe that's only limited to Nikon. My 28, 85, and 135 that I converted to Sony/Minolta required the MM as well.

    Coating changes are a tough call, since Zeiss didn't appear to advertise it when they made changes. Hassy did, when the performance of the "C" lenses in backlit scenarios (big loss of contrast in the center of the image) was compromised by the coatings, so when the CF's rolled out with updated coatings, they let everyone know. I've never heard of them doing that for any other line. And the minor performance differences Jim's noting could just as easily be attributed to sample variation, both "from factory spec" and also in the framing differences of the sample shots.



    Dec 23, 2015 at 01:03 PM
    Tariq Gibran
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    p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    freaklikeme wrote:
    I don't believe that's only limited to Nikon. My 28, 85, and 135 that I converted to Sony/Minolta required the MM as well.


    Generally, MM are the only Contax lenses supported. That appears to be the case for Nikon and most of the others except for Pentax K mount. Both the AE 50/1.7 and AE 85/2.8 Sonnar can be adapted using a special version of the Leitax-Pentax K mount but even then it has to be the AE version made in Japan vs Germany.




    Dec 23, 2015 at 02:14 PM
    Phillip Reeve
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    p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Thanks for the input guys :-)

    One more question: Can you recommend a good replacement hood?



    Dec 23, 2015 at 02:44 PM
    edwardkaraa
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    p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Zeiss is known to improve the coatings and sometimes refine the designs silently over the years, in order to not affect the value of its lenses. Even within the MM version, more recent serial numbers have better coatings. However there have been no reports whatsoever about any modifications to the lens design so I would attribute any differences in performance to sample variations.


    Dec 23, 2015 at 03:57 PM
    Olaf G
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    p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    I love to use rectangular hoods on my wide to normal lenses.
    Konica made very nice ones with 57mm-clamp-on size.
    As the outer diameter of the D28 is a bit too thick I use a 55mm filter with removed glass to mount the hood. The filter ring also protects the lens against bumps.

    Sorry for not cleaning the hood.
    And yes, the D28 is a heavily used one. But it was cheap.












    Dec 23, 2015 at 04:00 PM
    Sam_W
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    p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    As has been mentioned, there's quite a few factors and differences between the AE and MM, with a bunch being non-design and non-coating related. (Though the coatings have been updated; you can find similar threads/posts/commentary on other lenses like the C/Y D25 being considerably better in its MM incarnation, et al.)

    Other things to consider:

    * AE lenses would have been manufactured between the 60s and 80s. MM would be 80s to 00s. (I'm slightly estimating, I don't have my Zeiss books any more.) That means any AE you can get your hands on has been sitting around, or been used, for, oh, 30+ years. Compare that to an MM manufactured in the mid-00s.

    * While lens design may not have changed, how they're assembled (e.g. mechanical casing, especially for floating element-based design) may be different between Zeiss Oberkochen and Kyocera Japan.

    * Depending on the lens, there's also four different variations: AEG (earliest, German-made), AEJ (early, transitioned to Japanese-made), MMG (all over the place, German-made [not just the special anniversary lenses and the "manufacturing transitioning range", but also mid-00s made ones, like my Sonnar 2,8/85 that's got a high 8-mil serial number, yet is Made in Germany]), and finally MMJ, where all of the Kyocera-made lenses fit in.



    Dec 23, 2015 at 08:38 PM
    Tariq Gibran
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    p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Sam_W wrote:
    * AE lenses would have been manufactured between the 60s and 80s. MM would be 80s to 00s. (I'm slightly estimating, I don't have my Zeiss books any more.) That means any AE you can get your hands on has been sitting around, or been used, for, oh, 30+ years. Compare that to an MM manufactured in the mid-00s.


    The earliest Zeiss Contax AE lenses would have been from the mid 70's when the RTS was introduced by Yashica (later bought by Kyocera), not 60's. These have Zeiss T* Multi-coating.

    http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Yashica_/_Contax_lenses



    Dec 23, 2015 at 09:37 PM
    Sam_W
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    p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Tariq Gibran wrote:
    The earliest Zeiss Contax AE lenses would have been from the mid 70's when the RTS was introduced by Yashica (later bought by Kyocera), not 60's. These have Zeiss T* Multi-coating.

    http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Yashica_/_Contax_lenses


    Thank you for the correction!



    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:13 PM
    Tariq Gibran
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    p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Sam_W wrote:
    Thank you for the correction!


    You're welcome. I did not know the exact date but knew it was sometime in the 70's, only significant as multi-coating was already becoming wide spread by then vs the mostly single coating of the 60's.




    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:17 PM
    Phillip Reeve
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    p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    That Konica hood looks nice, I will keep my eyes open for one.

    Is there a way to tell the age of a lens by the serial number? 1984 to 2005 is a very long time.



    Dec 24, 2015 at 03:30 AM
    edwardkaraa
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    p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?



    Phillip Reeve wrote:
    That Konica hood looks nice, I will keep my eyes open for one.

    Is there a way to tell the age of a lens by the serial number? 1984 to 2005 is a very long time.


    There is no system to calculate the age but as a general rule, Contax lenses with serial numbers in the 8 millions have been manufactured after 1996 and they're the most desirable.



    Dec 24, 2015 at 03:53 AM
    timballic
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    p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Surprised that no one has mentioned it (though I may have missed it ;o), Zeiss no longer services AE lenses, but will service MMs.


    Dec 24, 2015 at 05:49 AM
    Phillip Reeve
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    p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    Thanks for all the input guys! I found it interesting to learn more about the C/Y lineup. I like the 2.8/28 a lot and look forward to reviewing other Zeiss C/Y lenses.

    I just finished the review, you can find a password protected version here
    The password is: FM

    If you see anything I could improve please tell me
    It is my most extensive review yet and I want it to be as good as possible.



    Dec 25, 2015 at 03:28 AM
    timballic
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    p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Difference between AE and MM version of the Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 C/Y ?


    I concur with all your findings Phillip. Great review. Looks like you have a mint example of the lens too.
    Interesting that the Pentax 28/3.5 pipped the OM.



    Dec 25, 2015 at 06:25 AM
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