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Archive 2006 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?

  
 
parasko
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Some newbie questions....

I'm seeking third party lenses in the 20, 24 and 35mm range for my 1Ds (Mk1).

Can anybody explain the differences between the AE and MM versions of the Zeiss lenses? Is it simply AE =made in Germany and MM=Japanese?

Is one version more compatible with the IDs over the other?

From reading posts, my impressions are my best choices are the 25mm f2.8 and 35mm f1.4. Any comments on these 2 lenses? Is the 35mm better than the Canon L?

Lastly, apart from the Distagon 21mm which I can't afford, any other choices between 19-21mm?

FWIW, I shoot landscapes, so ability to infinity focus and centre to edge sharpness is important. I usually shoot around f8-f11.

Any comments appreciated.



Feb 12, 2006 at 07:54 AM
Graham Mitchell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Many people seem to prefer the 28mm to the 25mm. The photodo data seems to back that up:

Grade: 3.4 35mm/MF Contax Distagon T* 25/2,8
Grade: 4.3 35mm/MF Contax Distagon T* 28/2,8

4.3 is very good. 3.4 is rather average.



Feb 12, 2006 at 08:05 AM
Lotusm50
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


The difference between "AE" lenses and "MM" lenses is the types of automation they allow with the Contax bodies. AE lenses were the first Contax (C/Y) lenses and they provided for aperture-preferred automatic exposure. Later, MM lenses were produced that had an additional linkage to the camera body to allow shutter priority and program auto exposure modes. I don't know when the swtich was made and some lenses were never made in the MM mount. AE doesn't necessarily imply German manufacture. Since more of the lenses were initially made in Germany, an AE lens may have a great chance of being made in germany. Production of some lenses when converted to MM mount was switched to Japan, some lenses made the switch later, some never made the switch and some were always made in Japan. To confuse things a bit, lens design changes were sometimes thrown into the mix as well. Details as to dates and and model and their production histories is, unfortunately, not something I cared to make note of. Optically, of course, there is no difference between a Contax AE lens and an MM lens (and should be no difference between a Contax lens made in Germany and the same lens made in Japan -- despite fanatic claims to the contrary).



Feb 12, 2006 at 08:24 AM
Andi Dietrich
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


I have tried a 25mm yesterday on my 5D, it seems to me a bit underrated, but the 28mm is certainly better.
As I know there is no difference in converting Zeiss MM or AE lenses to Canon, except the 18 Distagon, where only th AE version has a chance to clear mirror on a 5D. Don't know about the 1Ds.



Feb 12, 2006 at 09:19 AM
jjlphoto
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Examples: The 28/2.8 and 35/2.8 both AE and MM were always Japan made lenses. The 35/1.4 began as German AE, then went to German MM, then as a Japan MM.

The thing that is not clear is if the Japan made lenses use the same glass from the German Schott Glassworks as Zeiss in Oberkochen used.

Also, having sent quite a number of lenses to Zeiss in Oberkocken for inspection and adjustment, most of the German models seem to be in perfect shape needing no adjustments, (even for samples that are 25 years old,) where-as most of my Japan made samples were in need of serious and costly adjustments.

Since AE service is no longer available, that would tend to make a buyer look at the MMs instead, with the German made MMs being the prized choice. (Unfortunately, there were very few models available as such.)



Feb 12, 2006 at 09:24 AM
Planetwide
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


I just paid 500 and 300 Eu for service of a 15mm and a 28/2 respectively, all German.

Edited for early morning english by Andrew Gough on Feb 12, 2006 at 08:52 PM GMT

Edited by Andrew Gough on Feb 12, 2006 at 08:54 PM GMT



Feb 12, 2006 at 10:51 AM
Lotusm50
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


jjlphoto wrote:
The thing that is not clear is if the Japan made lenses use the same glass from the German Schott Glassworks as Zeiss in Oberkochen used.


Yes, they are. All Zeiss Contax lenses made in Japan use the same Schott glass specified by Zeiss that was used to make the lenses in Germany.



Feb 12, 2006 at 10:51 AM
bigreen505
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


This might be worthy of a FAQ. This question has been asked and answered at least a half-dozen times in the last few months. I've read every post and I still don't quite get it!


Feb 12, 2006 at 01:38 PM
jjlphoto
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Andrew Gough wrote:
I just paid 500 and 300 Eu for service of a 15mm and a 28/2 respectively, all German.


Andrew- I have also had AE's in need of servicing, but the ratio of Japan made lenses needing adjustment vs. German made lenses needing adjustment seems to be noticeably higher. Not a perfect study in statistics, as it reflests only my experiences. Thanks.



Feb 12, 2006 at 02:31 PM
jjlphoto
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


bigreen505 wrote:
This might be worthy of a FAQ. This question has been asked and answered at least a half-dozen times in the last few months. I've read every post and I still don't quite get it!


Bigreen- so what is your question? What specifically do you want to know? Lots of knowledgeable people here to help. The smallest aperture number on an AE is white, on an MM is green. The physical mount on an AE is black, and on an MM is silver. When using these lenses manually on EOS bodies, they both operate the same, the AE vs. MM mechanisms are not doing anything.



Feb 12, 2006 at 02:35 PM
Andi Dietrich
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


It is said that the 35L is better than the Zeiss 35 1,4, but probably the Zeiss is the better lens for its price. You can have it 3 times cheaper.


Feb 12, 2006 at 03:06 PM
parasko
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


bathman wrote:
It is said that the 35L is better than the Zeiss 35 1,4, but probably the Zeiss is the better lens for its price. You can have it 3 times cheaper.


3 times cheaper but no autofocus. I guess you always have to compromise somewhere, either financially or optically.

Do these lenses perform well though at f8-f11 or are they optimised mainly for wide aperture use?



Feb 12, 2006 at 09:42 PM
jjlphoto
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Contax Zeiss lenses typically are at their best at 5.6.


Feb 12, 2006 at 09:50 PM
Andi Dietrich
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


35mm Zeiss
With a normal adapter you must close at f8 or 11. With a very fine adapter this lens might go to inifity. I always believed the glass would hit the mirror. But some had good results on a 5D.

The zeiss is wide open good, at 2 and 2,8 very and at 4 and 8 excellent. You can shot it at all apertures with good results between f2 and f11.

With a very fine adapter you should bring it to inifnity at f1,4 on a 1ds

Edited by bathman on Feb 13, 2006 at 08:45 AM GMT (Reason: english)



Feb 12, 2006 at 11:03 PM
parasko
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


...back to one of my original questions...

Are there any quality lens options at the 19-21mm range for the 1Ds? Is the Contax 18mm worth pursuing or should I be seeking to purchase a Leica lens in that range?



Feb 13, 2006 at 03:01 AM
mark1958
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


THe contax zeiss 21mm is the best lens in the focal range. It is sharp corner to corner even very good wide open at f2.8 but there is some minor pincushion distortion that can be observed shooting buildings but not noticeable (at least not to me) in landscapes.

Some people use the leica 19mm that requires modification. From what i have heard the center is very good-- while the very corners a bit soft but you are 2mm wider. I had two contax 18mm lenses and was not too happy with them. I thought the edge sharpness was unacceptable or not up to my expectations.

The other two lenses that are commonly not considered are the olympus zuiko 21mm and 18mm. Wide open the corners and edges are unacceptable but at f8-11, the edges are outstanding and sharp very close to the zeiss 21mm. Furthermore, there is almost no distortion with the zuiko lenses. Best i have seen. Nonetheless, the colors and contrast are not as good as the leica or zeiss lenses but this can be adjusted in PS. They are small and light.. Well those are my experiences. Mark


parasko wrote:
...back to one of my original questions...

Are there any quality lens options at the 19-21mm range for the 1Ds? Is the Contax 18mm worth pursuing or should I be seeking to purchase a Leica lens in that range?




Feb 13, 2006 at 03:18 AM
parasko
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


Mark, thanks for the info. on the Zuiko lenses. I know they have 2 versions at 21mm, both f2 and 3.5, but I'm assuming the f2 is the sharper of the two.

This seems like my only affordable option at this length (I have a 17-40 Canon but it is optically unacceptable on my 1Ds).

I note Zuiko also make 3 versions at the 24mm length, f2, 2.8 and 3.5PC which would round up the focal lengths I'm seeking. Perhaps this should be a different post, but if anyone wishes to make any final comments on either of these 3, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again.



Feb 13, 2006 at 07:37 AM
Don Clary
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


I have the Zuiko 21mm f3.5. I have heard that the f2 is sharper close-up, but is identical to f3.5 at distance.


Feb 13, 2006 at 11:44 AM
James Allen
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


As an OMZ on Canon user: there are many old FM posts looking at the Zuikos from before this board existed, even predating the Guy Mancuso megathread, you may be able to find them in the FM archive (or not).

The 21f2 if I recall did have a slight edge over the 21f3.5 in side-by-side tests published here. Neither gets near the Zeiss 21mm until f8 (and they still lose, but are significantly cheaper). I believe Guy M owned a 21mm f3.5 at one point, just before his Leica conversion (Google finds it in his sig),.

The 24mm f2.8 is cheap, relatively common - can be found on ebay, and preferred by some to the more expensive 24 f2.

I have the 21mm f3.5 and the 24mm f2 and I like them both on a 300D.
The 21 f3.5 is truly tiny, like a 50mm lens.

Mixed reports may indicate some sample to sample variation. The f2s have floating elements and might be more susceptible to miscalibration.



Feb 13, 2006 at 02:28 PM
Planetwide
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · AE and MM Zeiss differences?


jjlphoto wrote:
Andrew- I have also had AE's in need of servicing, but the ratio of Japan made lenses needing adjustment vs. German made lenses needing adjustment seems to be noticeably higher. Not a perfect study in statistics, as it reflests only my experiences. Thanks.


Hi John,

I just got back from Oberkochen today with both lenses. First, I must say that the people at Carl Zeiss are very helpful and very professional to deal with. My lenses were serviced in just a few days, and are today far better than they ever were.

The 15mm feels like a new lens, it is noticeably sharper. I had my 28/2 serviced and what a change... they replaced the rear element as it was scratched (I could not see the scratch myself) and serviced the lens and it is stellar.

These are the only two lenses that I have had serviced, so I think that your experience is probably more well rounded than mine. I was just illustrating that the older German lenses may require servicing as well, it certainly made a difference for me.

Andy



Feb 17, 2006 at 07:51 PM
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