How does a Rollei 50mm Planar HFT lens compare with a Zeiss 50mm Planar

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by starvy, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. The question is how the Rollei 50mm 1.8 compare with the Zeiss 50mm 1.7
    I have been reading about both lenses and understand that the Rollei HFT coating is similar to the Zeiss T coating. I also know that early Rollei lenses were made in Germany but since 1975 they were made in Singapore. The Rollei costs almost half as much as the Zeiss. In optical performance, would a good sample from both be equal?
    I have the adapter for the Rollei to use is on a Canon 5D and keeping an eye on the prices.
  2. Also, the Mamiya made Rolleinar lenses, I have looked at the 55 1.4. Is it worth getting the Rolleinar 55/1.4 for the same price of a Planar 50mm 1.8?
  3. I cannot reply directly to your question, but I believe that the Contax/Yashica mount Rollei 50mm f1.7 was not made in Germany but in Japan by Kyocera or a supplier. If that is the lens you are referring to it was not overly expensive, much like the 50mm f1.4 which was also made in Japan. My f1.4 was a decent performer closed down a bit and perhaps the 1.7 was similar. I don't know about the quality of the Singapore Rollei optics in question, but for what it's worth my little Rollei 35TE from Singapore has a very fine Tessar lens, probably as good as the original German version. Sometimes the specific lens design and glass materials choice are the more important factors than where the company had its plant.
    john_sevigny|2 likes this.
  4. SCL


    I think part of the response is dependent on the aperture you shoot, as well as whether or not you use a lens hood to reduce flare. If you are stopping down to around f5.6 or so, and using a hood, the differences are probably negligible, excepting perhaps in their renderings in the far corners of the negatives. I occasionally use a 50 Zeiss Planar and find its renderings quite sharp across the plane...but most of my shooting is around f5.6. Like my predecessor, I can't comment directly on the Rollei.
    john_sevigny|2 likes this.
  5. I was hoping to shoot more around f2.8 and wondered if both Planars were the same.
  6. I have read, in other sources, that f/1.4 is outside the Planar envelope. There are some Sonnar lenses at or near f/1.4, but that design adds its own baggage to the mix in terms of bokeh. I would not be overly concerned about Zeiss lenses made in Japan. Zeiss has a long relationship with its Japanese partners, and their standards are very high.
    There are many variations on the Planar theme, but it is a solid performer..
  7. I cannot reply directly to your question, but I believe that the Contax/Yashica mount Rollei 50mm f1.7 was not made in Germany but in Japan by Kyocera or a supplier.​
    The C/Y mount 50/1.7 had Carl Zeiss rather than Rollei branding. It's an excellent lens. Most (but not all) Zeiss C/Y lenses, including the 50/1.7, were made in the Tomioka factory in Japan, owned by Yashica and later by Kyocera. Apparently they had a separate production line for Zeiss products, using the German company's designs and QC; a few C/Y lenses were actually made directly by Zeiss in Germany. I have no direct experience of the Rollei 50, which was made in M42 and later in Rollei's own QBM mount, at first in Germany and later in Singapore (contemporary with the Japanese Zeiss C/Y lenses). I don't know if anyone has directly tested these lenses against each other - both came from Zeiss designs and it seems that CZ recognises the coatings as essentially equivalent:
    There's some more background on the Rollei lenses here:
    john_sevigny|2 likes this.
  8. The difference I found on my canon cameras is that the Rollei Qbm mount (WG) Carl Zeiss 50 1.8 is sharper and has more vivid colour. The rollei is good wide open and my copy of the C/Y (1968) zeiss 50 1.7 would flare easier and loose contrast
  9. Planar is the west German name for the Biotar. These Double Gauss lenses are still superior to many newer designs, and have often been tweaked in recent years (Summicron, anyone?), and newer lens coatings have helped too.

    Since I already have a bunch of them in different lens mounts, I can tell you that the ex-Soviet version of the Biotar, the Helios lenses, are incredible bargains and really superior.
  11. I Also owned a 1.7 Planar and a Helios 44.2, Tested thm agaist each other and found the Helios was every bit as good as the Planar, kept the Hlios, sold the Planar for a nice little sum.
  12. As I recall, Steve Gandy at Cameraquest has an article on the Rollei and it runs through the German made and the later variations and also opines on the various lens itinerations.
  13. The Japo-German Zeiss Contax lenses are excellent and Rollei didn't make a lot of junk either. Pretty much all the Yashica 50s from the "C/Y era" are as good as anything else (I have both here in front of me) As a general rule, the sweet spot for a lens is about two shots from wide open. A lot of people buy 1.4 and other fast lenses so they can shoot at 2.8 without horrible vignetting, etc.

    I would only add that 50mm lenses have been in production for so long, and were popular for such a long time, that you rarely find a bad one. And the character of a lens, which can't be quantified, will impact whether you like it or not far more than anything anyone here can tell you. Maybe find a way to try both? I tend to look at flickr and see what other people have done with lenses I'm thinking about buying.

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