New Carl Zeiss lenses for M

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by robert_clark, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. I have simply cut and pasted this leader to a thread from the Leica
    Customer Forum. (I hope this does not offend anyone's sense of
    protocol). Sounds interesting, especially since Rollei/Carl Zeiss are
    saying that more than the 40, 50 and 80 will follow (see later on the
    thread). They are to be available from Jan 03. It will be interesting
    to see the quality and any responses from Leica.

    < "Hello everyone, I just received confirmation via e-mail from
    Rollei USA about the three new lenses for the new Rollei 35 RF
    camera: Sonnar 40mm f/2.8, Planar 50mm f/1.8 and Planar 80mm f/2.8.
    They confirm that these (Leica M mount) lenses were designed by Carl
    Zeiss and will be made in Germany by Rollei of Braunschweig.

    E-mail from Rollei USA:

    Here are the answers to your questions:

    1) Will the three lenses announced for the Rollei 35 RF be made in
    Germany as is mentioned ("Rollei Germany") on the front of the lens ?

    2) Who was responsible for the design of these lenses ? Rollei of
    Germany, Zeiss or Cosina of Japan ?
    The lenses are designed in Germany by Carl Zeiss. The 40mm is based
    on the lens design of the Rollei 35 - a world-class lens. The 80mm is
    based on the design of the 2.8GX/FX TLR lens - again, an amazingly
    sharp, high performance lens. The 50mm f1.8 is based on an equally
    impressive formula used on earlier Rollei SLR lenses.

    3) Who will manufacture these lenses ? Again, Rollei of Germany,
    Zeiss or Cosina of Japan ?
    Rollei fototechnic in Braunsweig, Germany will be the manufacturer of
    the three lenses.

    We hope the above information will be helpful.
    Thank you

    Rollei USA
    1275 Bloomfield Avenue
    Bldg 7, Unit 38
    Fairfield, NJ 07004
    Fax 973-244-9818

    Some additional notes:
    The Rollei HFT Planar 50mm f/1.8 lens was first introduced for the
    Rolleiflex SL 35 (35mm SLR) back in 1970 (for more info, click on According to the Rollei
    Photographic Products catalog (1977), this lens was made of 7
    elements in 6 groups. Again, according to this same catalog, the
    Rollei HFT Sonnar 40mm f/2.8 was made of 5 elements (click on As for the Planar 80mm f/2.8, its
    lens design is traditionally given as 5 elements in 4 groups. For
    more info, click on and The optics.

    The first lenses are due for Jan 2003, and prices should be very
    competitive (half that of Leica). Think about it, a Zeiss lens on
    your Leica M ...

    Best regards,

    John F." >

    End of copy and thank you to John F.
  2. Why does Zeiss offer 40 mm and 80 mm Lenses? No M-Camera does have a viewfinder-window for that focal-length (Except CL(E) - who cares?). Do they want to sell their external viewfinders or is it thought to be used with Bessas?

    Gruss, Carsten
  3. No M camera has a set of viewfinder frames that's anywhere near accurate, as far as I know. We might find that the 40 is pretty useful with the 50 frames, and 80 is not far from 75. I wonder what frame lines the lenses will bring up.
  4. Robert:

    The concept of Rollei is an excellent, it only came A year after I found a mint CL w/40mm..

    Those lenses are the legendaries formula one found in the Rollei 35 mini camera. Indeed, the lens Sonnar 40mm/fé.! with HFT coating is a marvel.
    Plus theay are made to mount the BESSA R2 re-worked by Rollei for the frame 40mm I guess. This product won't sell like hot cakes but coupled to the excellent Voigtlander 15mm--> 28mm it will be a very interesting product.

  5. Sounds nice, esp. the term about the prices. But time will tell if they are finished better than the cosina products.
    The lens formulas are quite old, so I do not expect wonders from them. But it is a nice addition to the existing lenses. I just hope the 40 brings up the 35 frameline, this would make it really usable on a M body.
  6. The lenses are apparently screwmount - which means you can use them with the Leica LTMs.

    For the 40mm 2.8, you can also use a 35mm adapter to ensure the 35mm frameline comes up.

    I am disappointed that this is a F2.8 lens rather than a F2!
  7. "The lenses are apparently screwmount" - no, they're M bayonet. I have to say I have no particular uses for these lenses (I've got a 40, 50 and 90 already), but I think it's great. 40mm is a terrific focal length - in partnership with a 28 and a 90, perfect kit. OK, it's only an f2.8 - but it's a legendary lens, as is the 80 - the second-best 80mm TLR lens ever, and then only by a short head. What I really want to see is if they can come up with something even more interesting.
  8. let's see the price...if it's really competitive, then...*drool*
  9. Now we just need to see Schneider produce some of their wonderful glass for M mount. Maybe they could do the Xenotar 75 3.5 from the Rollei TLR. I think the reason for people who already have these focal lengths to be interested is the different look that Zeiss gives from Leica.
  10. Nick,

    AFAIK, they are screw mount lenses sold with an M-adapter.

    Those exhibited during Photokina were like that anyway.
  11. I'd buy a screwmount 40 in a second. LTM or M42, or both.
  12. If they ARE screwmount, then the 40 or 50 would be on my list for my IIf - so fingers crossed! And apologies for being misleading
    And yes, a 75mm Xenotar would be bliss indeed - possibly my favourite lens of all (it's odd really, Zeiss is my first love, yet I prefer Schneider and Leica - why could that be?).
  13. Hmm, I find it curous, odd, and doubtful that a lens designer
    would use an 80/2.8 TLR lens formula to design a 35mm
    coverage lens. The angle of view being different, seems that
    formula would not be near optimum.

    But anyway, if it is a compact and light lens, I'd consider
    replacing my 90 Elmarit-M with one.
  14. Using the 80mm F2.8 Rollei TLR lens and a 35mm adapter yields great results. Or just using the center section of the 120 roll film negative. You are using the more on axis part of the lens; with a much height MTF and resolution. Many portraits have been shot with Rollei's; and the center area used. Did this for years when in school. The TLR gets alot of great people shots; it doesnt scare people as much as a SLR or to a lesser degree a rangefinder.
  15. Dan, The Planar 80mm f/2.8 is not really compact.
  16. pcg


    Has anybody actually seen published prices for these lens? Half Leica's
    prices seems awfully optimistic for a classic Zeiss lens...
  17. I had a Rollei 3.5E with the 75mm Xenotar. This was a very old camera. Pictures were usually razor sharp, but the lens was very flare prone. The Rollei 35S I had, had the f2.8 Sonnar. My 50mm Elmar-M is just as sharp as the 40mm Sonnar, but if I needed a lens in the 40-50mm range, I'd not hesitate to get the Sonnar. Great lens.
  18. They are sure going to a lot of trouble to make them look like Leica lanses, knurling, finish, etc. It makes you wonder if we'll be seeing a frameline kit for retro-fitting M bodies for 40,50,80? An M2.5?
  19. John,

    >>No M camera has a set of viewfinder frames that's anywhere near >>accurate, as far as I know.

    they are accurate if you know how to handle them. Please check for an explanation.

  20. Those are some slow lenses, and how can a 50 f/2-ish compete with the legendary 50 cron that everyone here owns and loves. Hmn...
  21. Hey Kelly, I have no doubt that you are right, I used to print the
    center section of the Mamiya 7 lenses and they were superlative
    35mm lenses indeed. I just don't see why Zeiss engineers
    would choose this path to a lens design, unless it is a marketing
    angle to leverage off the good reputation of the Rollieflex TLRs?
  22. I'm dying to see what the 80mm f2.8 Planar sells for.

    I've always thought that my 90mm Elmar-C was too darn slow, and this seems to be just the ticket for my CLE and Bessa-T.

    the news came out 2 months ago here in the UK. In Japan these are selling already AFAIK.
  24. I don't believe Leica users deserve Zeiss Lenses. Cosina lenses, okay..But the Zeiss name on a Leica?

    I saw pictures of the Rollei Rangefinder yesterday and was terribly disappointed. The Rollei name does not deserve a Cosina camera. Then again, neither did Voightlander.

    I am am avid user of mechanical cameras, including a TLR with a 2.8 Planar and Contax Pre and Postwar Rangefinders and shiver when I see the lack of cameras that take bold steps in any direction. The cosina RF was a good start, now give us some quality choices please! Great lenses for other makers RF systems does not make a great camera system!

    Otherwise I will keep using my Contax IIIa, for which Leica lenses were never made!

  25. How exciting, a few slow lenses by Zeiss in two focal lengths not covered by the Leica frames. And what framelines do they bring up on the M? Who knows and who cares.
  26. I care. And BTW, I would not be using the 80mm Planar on overpriced antquated Leicas, I'll be using them on innovative, excellent value cameras with LM mounts: a Bessa-T and a Minolta CLE. What you need to realize is that nowadays, the Leica cameras are NOT, by ANY MEANS, the most interesting and utilitarian cameras out there that use M-mount lenses. This is what happens when a camera company takes its customers for granted and does not keep up with the times. It gets superceded by the competition. I could care less what framelines come up on a Leica M. What I care about is what the lens does on my CLE, and I would assume that the 90mm frameline would get brought up by the 80mm lens, as there is very little other choice. As for my Bessa-T, it will use whatever viewfinder I choose to use it with, and it just so happens that the 90mm frames on most of the Russian 5-Turret finders run a bit wider than the actual field of view, so the 90mm turret might actually be MORE accurate on an 80mm lens than on a 90mm.

    I'm willing to bet that the 80mm Planar will be better than the 90mm Elmar-C, which is a REALLY slow lens. It would be a very interesting comparison to see which lens, between an 90mm Elmarit-M and an 80mm Zeiss Planar, is the better optic on either of these cameras. As for which is better on a GENUINE Leica, I agree, who really cares?
  27. I have to think I think that Rollei's email flim-flam is irrelevant - attempting to link these lenses with a great marque. I doubt there is any real link betweem the 80mm and the great TLR Planars. The 50mm HFT Planar for the SL35 was no great thing from what I remember. The 40mm is a good lens, but why so slow? At least the 50mm Elmar is collapsible. I am with Eliot here - what is all the fuss about? A 40mm f2 might have been more exciting - but even then we already have a superb albeit old Rokkors and Summicrons which are aknowledged to be excellent. The 80mm seems rather perverse for anyone who does not actually buy the Rollei r/f.

    At least VC have a good set of intelligent focal lengths that complement rather nicely the M lenses. I guess the Rollei lenses are more exciting for LSM users, but still I am not exactly gripped by the whole Rollei deal here.
  28. Rollei did make a 35mm adapter for the TLR (Rolleikin?). I think I still have one, minus the frame counter that some dealer swiped at a camera show.Wouldn't that be using the center part of the lens for the exposure?If I had a CL body and no lens, this might prove interesting...but I don't. I don't use a 50 much, and if I get one it will probably be an Elmar (nostalgia) and I have a 90. What interests me is what's to come?A 24 (I hope) or 28? A 105 (with parallex compensating viewfinder)? A MCL body????
  29. leo


    Re: the rolleikin adaptor. I have shot about two rolls of film using the adaptor on a rolleiflex E. The results were pretty good, but the inconvenience of using it cancels out any advantage :< .
  30. I'm kinda interested in the 80 F2.8 as an alternative to a 75 F1.4, but hey, these will be great for the LTMs.

    As for the 40F2.8, i haven't used the Rollei 35's, but I find the 40mm Summicron/Rokkor to be good, but not great lenses, esp you compared this to the latest summicrons. The flaw though, could be lens coating, not the optical design. However, I really like the tonal rendition of the 40mm F2.4 Summarit in the Minilux.

    Come to think about this, is it possible for Leica to produce the 40mm F2.4 in the L-mount, at a very low price? This will definitely compete with the Rollei offering, at the same time, give something state-of-the-art back to the loyal LTM fans without jeopardizing the existing M-sales.

    I think the LTM scene is very different from that of 4 years ago when Leica introduced the LTM summicrons and luxes. First, the user base is much much larger, thanks to the promotion by C/V, Konica and now Rollei, which produces reasonably priced, metered LTM-compatible cameras. There are even some users which have LTM mount only cameras. Second, even these LTM Summicrons are now selling at a huge premium to the M-mount versions. Third, there are now cheap finders (courtesy of C/V) and even new cameras with built in 40 frame-lines (the Rollei RF). Fourth, a reasonably priced 40 LTM could be an effective substitute to compete against all the 35mm Classics, Pancakes and Ultrons, while Leica can maintain the 35mm Summicron as a higher-priced alternative.

  31. I'm sure that Minolta could easily put their 40/2 CLE Rokkor back in production, and the 75/3.5 from the old Autocord is more than sharp enough for 35mm. Leica could re-introduce the rare and fabled 40/2.8 Elmarit. If the first 500 didn't sell well they could anounce that only 1,000 total were being made, specially marked "30th Anniversary of the CL" edition, and the collectors would buy them up.
  32. Robin, the Planar from the 2.8 Rolleiflex had (and still has) a 5 element 4 group construction, likewise the coming LTM lens. See
  33. > I'm willing to bet that the 80mm Planar will be better than the 90mm Elmar-C


    I'm not so sure, the Elmar-c 90mm is really an excellent lens.
  34. Lucien, the 80mm lenses are photographed with metal lens hoods attached.
  35. Because the M6 frameline tend to under-represent the area covered, I imagine that the 75mm framelines might ahow close to 100% of the 80mm lenses' coverage. It might be a good choice for some of us who would like a lens that allows selective composition, but not so long as a 90.

    The lens is not optimized for 35mm, though. As it was designed for 6x6, it will be very uniform from center to edge on the 135 format; but probably doesn't reach the central definition of Leica lenses. The 90mm Elmarit is a hard act to follow.
  36. Because the M6 frameline tend to under-represent the area covered, I imagine that the 75mm framelines might ahow close to 100% of the 80mm lenses' coverage.

    I think it's the other way around. You will get less accurate framing than with the 75mm.
  37. Sorry Rob, I've just thought about it again and I think you're right.
  38. So the 90mm frame might be about right!
  39. Why is the 40mm Sonnar so "slow"? It could be to do with the basic lens design, which is triplet-based (though with more elements) and not gauss-based (like the Planar). I would think that F2 at 4omm might be stretching it a bit. Consider also that the lens was designed for a small camera (the Rollei 35).

    It is true that Sonnar lenses were super-speed lenses in the thirties, but that was because nobody had yet overcome the problems inherent in the Planar (that was done post-war - triplet-based lenses were the optics of choice from 1900 on, when they exhibited superior performance, in line with what was achievable with the technology of the time). So the Sonnar is what was used, and it did have some edge definition problems in tests I have seen. Still, f1.5 was quite an achievement (and uncoated too).

    Really, f2.8 isn't too bad, and it does well from reasonably wide open.

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