Fight of the 35's: Takumar 35 f2.3 vs. Zeiss Jena 35 f2.4

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by bryaneberly, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. I have a question concerning these two lenses, but first will give some background:

    I have a habit of occasionally scouring antique shops/malls for older camera equipment. I do it mainly for the thrill of finding something rare, fun, and useful, yet priced low. Almost two months back I found a Takumar 35mm f2.3 - with case and original box - on a shelf for $18. An added bonus was the original (chrome) Takumar 135mm f3.5 for the same price. They were both in superb exterior and interior condition. I happily took them with me for use with my Pentax MX and ME Super and M42 adapter. Because winter is cold and construction job hours are long, I have yet to take them out for a "test drive." But spring in PA is finally here.

    Fast forward to this weekend. I found the following kit for $80:
    Fujica ST-801
    Fujinon 55mm f1.8
    Telesar 135mm f2.8
    Carl Zeiss Jena 20mm f2.8
    Carl Zeiss Jena 35mm f2.8

    The body and lenses are all in excellent, working condition. The Zeiss 20mm is staying in my collection. I will be parting with the ST801, 55mm, and 135mm.

    This brings me to the dilemma of which 35mm: Takumar or Carl Zeiss Jena? I understand that the Takumar is not multi-coated, making finding a lens hood critical. Past that, the reviews I've found tend to give both lenses favorable grades. Physically, the Takumar has a physically vintage-looking charm to it. But, I cannot keep both and, therefore, must make a choice. So, my question is this: which lens is worth keeping based on optical performance? Does anyone have experience with both lenses? Maybe this should be posted this in the Pentax forum, but I am afraid of the Takumar police being unhelpful and only bashing the Zeiss :)

    Also, can we not turn this thread into a Carl Zeiss east vs. west? Those arguments have been long played out and are largely unuseful. Thank you to anyone with wisdom to share.
  2. Your best bet could be doing a test with both lenses, because individual variation is important and a lot of time has passed since your lenses left the factory.

    The closest I come to your request is the 35/2.8 Zeiss Flektogon for Exakta mount, which is an outstanding lens. I am sure the Takumar is in the same league. My Takumar 35mm in M42 is the f/2 version, so cannot compare.
    bryaneberly likes this.
  3. SCL


    Best advice. Try them out yourself for a direct comparison and see which you like best, which feels ergonomically better, which exhibits less flare and better sharpness wide open. Do some test charts if that's your thing but at least try both in real life shooting environment of the things you shoot most and under conditions you shoot most. Which has firmer click stops, focuses more smoothly, which has a longer or shorter focusing throw (depending on your preference). Reviews only point you in a direction which is colored by the experience of the reviewer. I'd never never keep a lens based principally on the opinions of others.
    m42dave and bryaneberly like this.
  4. Excellent, simple advice. I do plan to split a roll of film between them and see what I get.
  5. I've tried two samples of Takumar (not-so-Super) 35mm lens on my Sony a6000. Sadly, they were both rubbish! Showing dreadful coma, CA and corner blurring even on the APS format. OTOH a Praktica CZ Jena 35mm f/2.4 performed well above expectations - almost perfect.

    A great pity, because I was looking for something small and neat to match the small size of the camera. The bulky and heavy Praktica 35mm isn't that lens.
  6. I would agree on the size appeal. I like the smaller SLRs (Olympus OM2, Pentax MX and ME Super), which makes small lenses more appealing. However, I believe you may be speaking of the Takumar 35 f2/f3.5. I have the f2.3 version which isn’t, at least to me, small. The top 1/4 of the lens spreads to fit the top element, looking similar to the smokestack on an old wood-burning locomotive.
  7. PA aey..... Where are you located? Im from York County , My son lives in Williamsport area and another friend on this site is from Harrisburg. I spent weekends near Gettysburg.
  8. Ah, someone else in the area! I'm near Lancaster, also known as the better side of the Susquehanna :D
    wadeschields likes this.
  9. A meet up this summer maybe ?
  10. Springtime in PA..perked up my ears too!! Although I reside in Düsseldorf , Germany I call from the Maryland side of Gettysburg. Closer to Lancaster than Harrisburg I lived just over the Mason Dixon line in Carroll County, nr Westminster.
    A 35mmm Takumar sounds like something I would like. Which is the more modern glass? I'm curious what lens formula the Zeiss is using. I have the Flektogon in Exakta and Werra mounts. I like it !
    But find the one that works for you.....
    Keep them both... ;)

Share This Page