underwhelmed by new Zeiss offerings

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by claude_batmanghelidj, May 11, 2005.

  1. I was down at my local camera store this evening, and I asked to take
    a look at the new "Zeiss" lenses. They look very cheap and tacky, and
    there is a really cheezy blue plastic dot in the place where the Leica
    red dot usually is. The focusing was rough, and gritty. The paint
    looked plasticky. It was a universe of difference from any leica lens
    I have ever seen. Optically they may be very good, (if they are even
    in the same ballpark as the contax G lenses then they should be
    excellent) but I would be hard pressed to buy these over the real thing.

    At this point if you want Zeiss rangefinder lenses, for me the Contax
    gear is looking really good. Quite dissapointed. I wish they had kept
    the construction in Germany. I think Zeiss has been had by Kobayashi
    and Co.
     
  2. did you check out the camera?
     
  3. You know, they "gave away the goods too soon." Why does Zeiss have so much trouble getting it right? That new plastic Hasselblad was depressing enough, and now this? At least Kyocera made well finished equipment. Why did they jump in the sack with Cosina!? What is Cosina's track record?

    They make nice cheap lenses to put on a Leica. But I would be a bit leery of any company that needs to put "Voigtlander" on their gear to sell it.

    Man this sure is the night of the long knives for the German camera and optics manufacturers, what with Leica on the operating table, and Zeiss lenses being made by a second tier Japanese company...

    Sorry to come off as such a snob, but I am dissapointed. They should have kept the work in germany, Hell, why didn't they just buy Leica, and call it Zeica or something?
     
  4. Sorry, Paul, not yet. However, I never expected very much of this either. Any fool knows that a decent rangefinder has a cloth shutter, so they blew it when they put that metal clanky shutter in there.

    Jesus, I need to go to work as a consultant and make sure these fools talk to me before they go to work on one of their cockamamy projects.
     
  5. Cosina makes some pretty good products, but I would say not up to Leica or an original Ikon. Their optics are very good. Many smaller camera makers bought SLRs made by Cosina to sell as their own. The entry level Nikons (F10, FM, FE, etc) are all made by Cosina, so they must be pretty decent. I once had a Vivitar XC-E (I think)SLR which was made by Cosina (Surprise! Cosina made cameras and lenses under the Vivitar name) an an interm camera when my Nikon was stolen in Mexico and was very impressed with the over all build quality and the very high optical quality. That camera was stolen in Santo Domingo, The new Rollei RF is a Cosina camera ( Voight-Bessa R2), so now that Yashica is out of the SLR bussiness, Zeiss needed a new partner fast. The Zeiss lenses may be made by Cosina as well. Bid the barrel say Made in Japan or Germany?
     
  6. If all the Zeiss lenses had been made in Germany, then they would cost as much as the Leica lenses. We all know what Leica's financial situation is today! Do we want Zeiss to be in the same boat as Leica?
     
  7. "really cheezy blue plastic dot in the place where the Leica red dot usually is"

    You're kidding right? A blue dot is cheezy, but a red one is? What, a different color? How does paint look plasticky? Paint is paint.
    Leica fetishism has hit a new low (or high depending on your viewpoint).
     
  8. Let me be sure I understand, Claude. A blue dot is "cheezy" and a red dot is not? Blue happens to be Zeiss's corporate color.

    They should have kept the construction in Germany? They long ago decided to build their rangefinder lenses in Japan, i.e Contax G. Two of the lenses, by the way, are being built in Germany at the Zeiss' factory.

    "Any fool knows that a decent rangefinder has a cloth shutter." So, I guess that the Nikon SP isn't a decent rangefinder. And who might the "fool" be who knows . . . Nah, I won't go there.

    I'm sorry, Claude, but this is a new low when the lense are being critiqued because of dot colors & whether the paint looks good. I thought that the point was supposed to be whether the pictures look good.
     
  9. Re Cosina: The lenses they make today for Leica M/LTM cameras are remarkably good and very cheap, compared to the equivalent Leica offerings. Just because Cosina lenses are made in Japan does not make them inferior to Leica lenses made in Germany. Cosina's product offerings in recent years has created a resurgence of interest in rangefinder cameras.
     
  10. Forget Sean Reid's upcoming review on the Luminous Landscape, this is just
    what we need. All together now: "Red dot good! Blue dot bad!"<p>
    <p>
    I actually feel sorry for Leica. The Zeiss offerings look to be well-designed,
    particularly the camera - which will allow you to focus 85/2 and 28mm lenses
    using the built in VF, something impossible with any single MP or M7.
    Whereas Leica haven't delivered a ground-up design since the M5 - 30 years
    ago.
     
  11. whether the paint looks good.

    For the sort of money Cosina are asking i would expect the paint to be good! I've never looked or handled one so i can't really sit in judgement....I just hope we are not talking badge technology,again.

    Anyway best of luck to them more choice is only for the better.
     
  12. incremental changes yes. even Ferrari re-tools once in a while. how would Ferrari stand if they only ever changed the look of the headlights? eventually people would look to something else, yes, maybe? And why would we want 3 differnt mag cameras? I had enough trouble raising money for 1.

    as far as cheap VC lenses - I'm glad they make them. At least it offers some options. I don't want to pay schilling for a lens I hardly use, but with VC I have that option. It's called staying in business.......
     
  13. Claude,

    Could you be more specific - which Zeiss lens did you examine? The 35mm? The 28mm? The 50mm?

    A number of PN members have reported on the 50mm Planar and say that it's well made.

    Also, some of the highly regarded Canon RF bodies had metal shutter curtians. My Contax IIa has a metal shutter curtians. The Bessas have a metal curtian. How many of these have holes in them from the sun shining through a lens?
     
  14. "A number of PN members have reported on the 50mm Planar and say that it's well made."

    PN members say the same thing about C/V rangefinder lenses. I have one and I can say it is only well made when compared to plastic AF lenses, it is not well made by Leica standards. What they really mean is that it is well made for the price, which is probably true.

    Now the ZI lenses are priced (most of them) at about 1/3 less than the corresponding Leica lenses (except for the 85/2, which is priced higher than Leica's 90/2 APS-ASPH), and that doesn't include the fact that the lenshood is separate (another $ 127) and you don't get a passport.

    All in all, you are entitled to get a product that is pretty close in construction quality and workmanship to Leica standards. Claude is saying the lens he saw is not. That's his opinion and just as valid as any of the Zeiss "guns" that cry in dismay when anyone dares to criticize the latest ZI products. I haven't seen one in person (only pics) so I can't comment for myself.

    But handling and a general impression of the quality of construction is just as big an issue when someone is selling a 50/2 lens (plus shade) at $ 850-900 as at $ 1200. You are entitled to think you should have an extremely well made product.
     
  15. <Any fool knows that a decent rangefinder has a cloth shutter.>


    My Konica AF is a rangefinder, albeit infrared electronic, and its shutter is
    leaf- and metal. Guess it must not be "decent." However, the photos I get from it are far, far better than decent, at least in technical quality.
     
  16. I have 4 CV lenses - 15, 21, 28 f/1.9, and 35 II. All are as well made as my Leica 90mm TE, 50 Summitar, and Canon 50mm f/1.2. I don't have an AF plastic lens but I do have a bund of OM Zuikos. The CV lenses IMHO have held up as well as any that I have used over the last 25 years. I've only had them since the end of 2001 (I got the 35 II last year) so I don't have 10 years of wear on the yet but so far they have been great.

    I would expect the Zeiss ofering to be as good if not better than the CV optics.

    We will just have to wait and see how they hold up.
     
  17. I have 4 CV lenses - 15, 21, 28 f/1.9, and 35 II. All are as well made as my Leica 90mm TE, 50 Summitar,..

    Anthony, with all due respect, I have many old and new Leica lenses and if you really believe that, you are not a discriminating consumer. There is a world of difference. Saying it doesn't make it true.
     
  18. CV lenses, excellent bits of kit, OK they are not quite as well made as Leica offerings but I bet only Al would ever wear one out. I am waiting for CV to bring out their version of the Icon, that long baseline would be a killer at R2/3 prices. What Zeiss have done is put a very high price on their name for what are in essence CV products, worth CV money but not Ziess.
     
  19. I guess no one will ever agree on the subjective quality of 'quality': after all, no one can agree on the maths:
    "the ZI lenses are priced (most of them) at about 1/3 less..." (Sam Shohan sells a Leica 28/2.8 for $1895, and a Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8 for $1042, and these are typical comparisons for the two ranges).
    You would have thought Leica diehards would appreciate the fact that Zeiss breathing down their necks might stimulate them to raise their game and lower their prices. These are the same people, of course, who were insistent that the ZI was a warmed-up Bessa 3a, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever - I wonder who it was who first cooked up that particular red herring?
     
  20. "that the ZI was a warmed-up Bessa 3a, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever" it is, same body, similar (if not the same) shutter, modified rangefinder just a longer baseline, same maker... er... no evidence?
     
  21. I madea new red dot for my 1960 90 'cron from an LED top, looks much better than the Leica one, might go for green next time.
     
  22. "It is, same body, similar (if not the same) shutter, modified rangefinder just a
    longer baseline..." <p>
    So Stephen Gandy, who looked at the VC production lines for both the Bessa
    and ZI, and reported there were no parts in common except, if memory serves,
    the shutter, was wrong?? Have you examined both cameras, Huw, or are you
    believing second-hand disinformation, too? <p>
    BTW, I've no particular affinity with Zeiss products, bar the fact that my Carl
    Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 is a terrific lens, and I think competition, and more choice,
    can only be good for users. Do you disagree?
     
  23. What's the point about the ZI vs Leica 28/2.8? You guys always conveniently forget to add in the lenshood $ 127. Leica provides it Zeiss doesn't. Neither does Zeiss provide a Passport warranty. So lets compare apples with apples. Zeiss is charging 2800+127 for the 85/2 = 2927, more expensive than Leica. Want to average the prices together and tell me how much the savings are?

    BTW Paul, are you aware that the Leica 28/2.8 Elmarit has been discontinued a number of years ago. Sam Shoshan just happens to have one new in box. And of course Leica will still homor the passport warranty, only if the lens needs to be replaced, the owner will receive a new 28/2 Summicron. I'd go with the Leica, but that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. :)
     
  24. >>Whereas Leica haven't delivered a ground-up design since the M5 - 30 years ago.<<

    Is that so, well how about the R8?
     
  25. ??? Aren't all of the current generation of APO and ASPH lenses from Leica all ground-up new designs? Why leave out lenses? What about the Tri-Elmar, isn't that a new concept? Seems to me that that one came up in the past 30 years. What about the 90/4 Macro-Elmar, not new.

    You might want to take a look at some of Nikon's designs in the same focal length range, like their 50/1.4, and tell us how old they are?

    What a bunch of crap is being spewed here.
     
  26. Re: "If all the Zeiss lenses had been made in Germany, then they would cost as much as the Leica lenses."

    So what you're saying is that Japanese workers work for peanuts compared with their German counterparts?
     
  27. Eliot, you are being deliberately rude, are you being deliberately dense, too?
    You know very well I'd alluded to the Zeiss Ikon camera, and that the context
    was camera designs. Kudos to Leica for those lens designs, and I hope they
    get the digital M out soon, and that it works. But why are you so anti the notion
    of competition? From products you dismiss, without having even seen them
    for yourself? And, as Huw illustrates, the Zeiss offering are being dismissed
    on the basis of completely inaccurate information. <p>
    Whatever, this debate is generating more heat than light. The market will
    decide in the end.
     
  28. I've shot with the 50/2 and taken good long looks at the others that my local shop has
    gotten in. They're weighty, well damped, solidly made lenses...the ones I've handled have
    all had butter smooth focus action. I was pleased with what I got from the 50; the aux
    finder for the 25/28mm is a jewel to look thru and look at. If I was in the market for a
    new lens, I'd give the new Zeiss products a long hard look.
     
  29. Paul, you may have been referring to camera designs, but I added in the observations about lenses. Rude, no rude are the people who dismiss Claude's observation on ZI quality or mischaracterize it as pertaining only to colored dots. And FYI, the ZI camera is a new camera introduction, there is precious little new in that design or specs (mainly the capability to focus SOME lenses to 0.5 m is about it). HUW got it right. Now new specs, and it is NOT a new design from the ground up, it is merely an improved Bessa that has been rebadged. Do you really believe Zeiss designed this one from scratch in Germany or did they just take advantage of what Cosina had already manufactured and change the parts and materials so that it would look and feel better?

    Give me a break. BTW, how new do you think any of those ZI lens DESIGNs are? Maybe the 15/2.8 and 85/2 are new, what about the others? Are they just minor modifications of existing Planars and Biogons or are they ground up new designs like most of the Leica lenses. Now I'M talking lenses. How rude of me. I bet if you look at the designs, you'll see that they are just minor modifications of existing DG or other designs, not anything substantively new. Want to spend $ 827 for a rebadged 50/2 Planar with an M-mount, go ahead.
     
  30. Why not stick go with a DIGITAL video camera with a Leica lens? It shoots both video and stills.
    00C9ry-23451384.JPG
     
  31. Dammit Claude!

    I love your brutal honesty. Even w/o seeing one yet, I do think the ZI
    will, in time, join the Rollei 35. So far, no one here that has a new Zeiss lens has had any complaints.

    Recall that the Contax G2 was a pricey buggar when it arrived.

    Les

    P.S. I really like the $0 Rokkor I got from you. Thanks again.
     
  32. What utter rubbish. I own the Zeiss 50mm, and focusing is as smooth as with any Leitz/Leica lens I've ever owned or used. Build quality is also very good. So you don't like blue dots. Your choice, but "cheesy?" Get over it. Optical quality is also first rate.

    "Universe of difference" my *ss. Red dot tinted glasses is more like it.

    -Dave-
     
  33. Huw, there are more differences!
    • Bottom rewind,
    • the meter is 0 to 19EV on the ZI and 1 to 19 on the Bessas,
    • the viewfinder is 0.74 instead 0.7 or 1 on the Bessas,
    • with certain lenses it focuses down to 0.5m instead of 0.7,
    • 138x78x32mm 500g instead of 135x81x43.5mm 520g.

    Pretty different IMHO.

    As far as I know, Carl Zeiss branded lenses with T* coating are made from glass Zeiss selects or produces. The T* coating is unavailable to most Zeiss licensees and even Sony can't put the Zeiss brand on any lens. Obviously Zeiss is not satisfied with the new image stabilized lens on Sonys bridge camera :)

    So I'm pretty sure we get our moneys worth from that body and lenses. At least I'm sure they won't be worse than the C/Y and Contax G lenses I have :)

    This does not mean, that Claude is wrong in his assessment, one can expect smooth focus at this price the rest may be personal taste but is nonetheless valid.
     
  34. Eliot, you are welcome to your opinion - the Leica offerings may be better than
    Zeiss, or better value for money, time will tell. But don't go grasping at
    straws.Stephen Gandy's quote about the Ikon is: <p>
    "It turns out that everything about the new Zeiss Ikon is indeed new, except
    the shutter." <p>
    He's seen them being produced. Are you saying you have better information
    than someone who's examined the production line? There is NO mention of
    shared component parts bar the shutter, and the camera is emphatically NOT
    based on the Bessa. The camera might be a heap of crap, we won't know until
    we try it, but your assertion that it's a warmed up Bessa is absolutely incorrect
    and has no evidence whatsoever to support it. <p>
    Go on then, I'll admit the Zeiss lenses aren't cheap, especially when you allow
    for the cost of a lens hood and the value of a Passport warranty. Why don't
    you have some dignity, and admit you're relying on disinformation re the Zeiss
    Ikon camera?
     
  35. Volker, with all due respect, those differences you cite are quite minor, certainly not evidence of a ground up new design or major improvements. The difference between a low light sensitivity of 0 EV vs 1 EV. BTW, the M7 has a low light sensitivity of -2 EV (FWIW).

    But to be fair, what kind of improvements could one really expect that would push it out of the league of minor changes? I don't know. Perhaps 1/250 sec shutter sync speed (I was really hoping Leica could do that rather than just giving us the HSS capability on the M7). Maybe a selection of central area metering plus a real spotmeter? Maybe really correcting the framelines for both parallax and the change in focal length with close-focusing? I don't know, those are some of the things I'd like to see.
     
  36. Paul, you misread. All I said was that the camera was not a new concept, just modifications of an existing design. The M7 wasn't a new concept either, although it did have one rather substantial improved feature. Not to say anything about the quality of construction or its utility. I don't know, haven't seen it. Haven't "fondled" it. But the "fondlability" is a big factor with us Leica users. The ZI will have a high standard to meet in that regard.
    My comments are based upon its specs and based upon the general shape and layout of the ZI, which really place it in the CV family more than anything else.

    But I'm not denying that it may be quite good or that it may fill a price niche between the Bessas and Leica M range. It may well work out that way. BTW, if Zeiss places its name on a camera that is made in Japan, I would hold it to the same standards as if Leica did that. I would expect Zeiss Germany and Leica Germany quality, not one bit less.
     
  37. Eliot I just wanted to show that the Bessa and ZI are not the same.
    I should have just mentioned the 11mm more depth on the Bessa. That alone means retooling.
     
  38. Volker, yes agreed. I was talking about the concept and general appearance and shape being similar, as are most specs, with the exceptions you mention. I am aware they are not making the same product, but they are making a similar one.
     
  39. Elliot,

    "Anthony, with all due respect, I have many old and new Leica lenses and if you really believe that, you are not a discriminating consumer. There is a world of difference. Saying it doesn't make it true"

    Not true. I am a discriminating consumer. That why I use a Hasselbald instead of a Pentacon 66. An OM-1 instead of an EOS Rebel. I don't care who's name is on it, I give them a fair evaluation by USING them. How many CV lenses do you own & use? Just having heavy brass doesn't make them better. If that were true we would all be using Russian glass packed in grease.

    My CV 35 PII is every bit as well made as my 90mm f/2.8 TE. I have them both. I use them both. Until you use them both then you are just passing geese farts saying that the Leica lenses are better.

    If you have stripped both lenses down and examined each with a micrometer and them compared them to the build specs you might have a vaild point. But I doubt that you have.

    Being a discriminating consumer doesn't mean always buying the most expensive. I discriminate by buying the best value and for me that is CV. You want Leica? Fine. Spend your money. But just because you have Leica lenses that cost a bundel doesn't mean that they are best. And that any one who dissagrees with you is not a "discriminating consumer". That is pure hogwash. You can't make them "better" just by saying so (that's your argument BTW).

    I haven't seen, let alone picked up a ZM lens yet. Having used Zeiss lenses for 30 years I am willing to try one out, specificly the 50mm Planar. Will I like it? I don't know. But I wopuld like to run some film behaind one and see what it can do.
     
  40. Anthony, I own and use a 15/4.5 Heliar. Iam impressed by its low cost and specs not by its construction. It is insubstantial. Worth the price yes, but in the category of Leica build - no way.

    I don't need to take it apart to know that. BTW, what about all of the people on this forum who have noticed that the black paint on the CV lenses comes off almost every time you use them.

    If you are trying to say CV and Leica build quality are the same, you are way off, irrespective of the how geese expel their gaseous accumulations. It is a case that just cannot be made.
     
  41. Volker,

    I have just measured my Bessa R2 body thickness, circa 32mm, so I stick with 'the same body' (assuming 138x78x32mm 500g is the Ziess instead of 135x81x43.5mm 520g the Bessa). What did they do with all the space left after 27.8mm back focus, a (much) thicker back? 4mm is enough for a back and pressure plate.

    And...

    Bottom rewind, easy still, same body.

    the meter is 0 to 19EV on the ZI and 1 to 19 on the Bessas, a small tweak.

    the viewfinder is 0.74 instead 0.7 or 1 on the Bessas, another tweak.

    with certain lenses it focuses down to 0.5m instead of 0.7, about time too, the redesigned RF sounds better than Leicas!
     
  42. Sorry, Eliot, your assertions would be more convincing if you admitted you
    have been misled. <p>
    You said earlier: " [the Zeiss Ikon] is merely an improved Bessa that has been
    rebadged"
    <p>
    This is demonstrably and utterly wrong, even though now you've toned it
    down to say "the concept and general appearance... are similar". <p>
    There are no common parts bar the shutter. The VF is completely different.
    The rangefinder base is different. The rewind is different. The focusing is
    different. The construction is different. The design was done independently of
    Cosina. All the evidence for this is from people who've seen the camera and
    its production line, while your evidence is a general belief that the dimensions
    are similar (which they aren't). <p> You're sounding an awful lot like the guy
    who said "..well, apart from aqueducts, roads, law and order, wine, public
    baths ? apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us?" <p>
    Of course, I'll admit that the Romans do overprice their lens hoods.
     
  43. Huw, I got the thickness from the german Voigtlaender side.

    Sorry for that, so the ZI is probably just overpriced crap, I think I better go and buy Canon 1D MkII then :)
     
  44. a new level of propaganda. Law of the sword and order from all the butchery.
     
  45. Paul, now you are playing with words. I stand by what I said. "an improved Bessa" is a good description of what it is. I never meant to say it is the same camera made with the same tooling. BTW, I would read what HUW wrote, he knows more about the insides of cameras than any of your so-called experts.

    "The design was done independently of Cosina. All the evidence for this is from people who've seen the camera and its production line, while your evidence is a general belief that the dimensions are similar (which they aren't)."

    The dimensions aren't similar?? Sure they are, read the above posts. BTW, who all are these people that "know" the design was done independently of Cosina"? You can tell this by seeing the production line? Stephen Gandy is a camera salesman with a vested interest in selling both ZI and C/V products, with this one he hit the jackpot. Was he there when they came up with the design for the ZI. I like Stephen, I use his website frequently, but he is the person who is out there hawking C/V (and now ZI/C/V products) - he is not exactly a disinterested party.
     
  46. OK yous guys! To settle the never-ending Leica vs. Zeiss (aka C/V) battle, someone or two please send me a new Leica MP with 50mm f2 Summicron and a new Zeiss Ikon ZI with 50mm f2 Planar. I will use them till the cows come home; minutely examine all paint and coatings with our electron microscope; get out my micrometer and measure anything and everything; shoot slides, prints and B&W; compare/contrast bokehs and of course fondle them too. Then, I'll post a completely objective, comprehensive, data-filled report with my own MTF graphs herein for all to flame...I mean comment on.
     
  47. Thanks S, but I'll wait for Erwin to make the comparison of ZI vs Leica lenses and post it on his website. :)
     
  48. Eliot, I am Erwin in e-disguise.
     
  49. You needn't really wait. It'll be along these lines:

    "The Zeiss lenses aren't bad. A bit of decentering, a bit of play in the mount such that I had to press them together to do my tests, lower contrast in the field -- close, but not quite there yet. For the price, CV lenses offer much better value for money. Or for a bit more, Leica lenses will provide performance that are still the best in the market -- no decentering, high contrast wide open, faithful colours, and much more robustly built. Using a Leica lens is like getting a b**wj*b -- you feel like you're the emperor of the world."
     
  50. (Alright, maybe not the last sentence, but you get the idea.)
     
  51. When all of the hoarders start croaking in the next decade, there will be enough Mandler-era Summicrons for everyone, probably at knock-down prices. Prices for used Voigtlanders have yet to establish a market; they seem to be passed from hand to hand like cabalic amulets.
     
  52. Jeremy, ROTFLMAO.
     
  53. Well, I thinked we've reached that point:
    Equus moribundum flagellatum et interrum. :)
     
  54. From Sean Reid's just-posted article at the Luminous Landscape site concerning fast lenses (f/2 & up) on the Epson R-D1:

    "Zeiss 35/2.0 Biogon -- Overall build quality seemed excellent. The aperture ring has click stops in 1/3 f/stop increments and each stop felt distinct and precise. The focus action was smooth and the ratio was perfect."

    My impression & experience exactly, both with my 50mm and my friend's 35mm.

    -Dave-
     
  55. Dammit Claude!
    I love your brutal honesty. Even w/o seeing one yet, I do think the ZI camera will, in time, join the Rollei 35.

    So far, no one here that has a new Zeiss lens has had any complaints.

    Recall that the Contax G2 was a pricey buggar when it arrived.

    Les

    P.S. I really like the 40 Rokkor I got from you. Thanks again.

    Edited by me.
     
  56. <Equus moribundum flagellatum et interrum.>


    Shouldn't that read "Leicauus moribundum flagellatum et interrum"?
     
  57. Frank; NICE self portrait!
     
  58. Here's that table that compares the Zeiss Ikon, the Bessa R3A and the M7. The Zeiss Ikon and Bessa share the same shutter, but the body shell is of a different dimension, vanquishing the notion that Cosina has simply recovered its Bessa.
    Well, yeah, I guess you could say they are similar. Aren't all cameras similar? My gosh -- they put a viewfinder in the top deck. And the lens mounts on the front! Outrageous. And it has a back with a hinge -- some kind of patent infringement, I'm sure. And how about that wind lever -- the nerve of Zeiss to put it on the right side of the camera. What's next -- dogs living with cats?
    Seriously though, they share the same shutter but little else. I think the film advance lever, the back hinge and cap are definitely Bessa.
    Zeiss Ikon
    Bessa R2A/R3A
    Leica M7
    Dimensions
    138mm x 78mm x 32mm ​
    135.5 x 81 x 33.5 ​
    138 x 79.5 x 38​
    Weight
    500 grams ​
    430​
    610​
    Batteries
    Two LR44 or SR44 ​
    2 lithium type DL 1/3 N​
    Rangefinder
    baselength
    75mm
    (effective 55.9mm) ​
    37mm
    (effective 37mm) ​

    0.58=40.2mm
    0.72=49.9mm
    0.85=58.9mm​
    Viewfinder
    0.74x ​
    1.0x ​
    (see above)​
    Framelines
    28/85, 35, 50 ​
    75, 40/90, 50 ​
    28, 90 (90 by itself for 0.85)
    35, 135 mm (35 mm by itself for 0.58)
    plus 50, 75​
    Exposure compensation
    +/- 2 f/stops in 1/3-stop increments ​
    +/- 2 f/stops in 1/2-stop increments ​
    +/- 2 f/stops in 1/3-stop increments ​
    Speeds
    1 sec-1/2,000 plus B (manual)
    8 sec-1/2,000 (autoexposure)
    flash synch: 1/125 (no TTL flash)​
    4 sec-1,1000 (manual)
    32 sec-1,100 (auto)
    flash synch: 1/50 with TTL
    higher speeds up to 1,000 with dedicated units​
    Viewfinder
    indicators
    Shutter speeds displayed on left side of viewfinder. ​
    Shutter speeds displayed at bottom of viewfinder ​
    Shutter speed in auto
    LED arrows in manual
    (other indicators / get the brochure)​
    Rewind crank
    Bottom of camera ​
    Top of camera ​
    Top of camera​
    Film winder
    No ​
    Yes ​
    Yes​
    Cost
    approx. $1,600​
    $600 ​
    $2,800 (B&H)​
    [​IMG]
    Top: Zeiss Ikon, bottom: Bessa-R3A
     
  59. The price of the M7 is now roughly $2,900 at B&H.
     
  60. They look completely different, to me. Will on be able to use LTM CV lenses on the Ikon with adaptors? It's not clear with the given body dimensions.
     
  61. Well Mike, if it's such an original new product as you say it is, why are they using an M bayonet mount? Why not have their own mount that is unique to the ZI lenses? Could it be that Zeiss doesn't think this system offers enough unique features to attract customers without offering interchangeability with Leica?

    mayhaps? :)
     
  62. I suppose because Leica makes lenses that "Zeiss" do not. The Ikon is a "low" cost version of an M that uses used M and LTM (presumably) lenses and may not have the issues that the Konica RF had/has.
     
  63. Some of those "issues" with the Konica Hexar RF were way overblown. Most users have been very satisfied with it, and a a much lower price than either the ZI or the M7. You certainly don't need to buy the ZI to get AE and an M mount. I guess the great thing about the market is that you the consumer will get to pass judgment on the ZI and its lenses. We'll see who is right. I have to admit, I am tempted by one of their offerings, the 15/2.8 Distagon. But at $ 3800 (I hope for that price the lenshood would be included), I won't be running to the store to buy one. :)
     
  64. Pretty amusing conversation today/tonight. A laugh a minute.

    This stuff isn't rocket science. The significance of the ZI is real simple: combination of 55.9 effective base length & a viewfinder with 28 mm frame lines. I wish that Leica had made one.

    Every industry has its challenges. When eyeglass wearers like me complained that they had a hard time seeing the frame lines on a standard Leica M6, Leica responded with the M6 .58. When telephoto users complained that the frame lines for longer lenses were too small, Leica responded with M6 .85, dropping 28 mm frame lines in the process. Three different versions of the same camera. Some people own 2 or even all 3 versions to use for different purposes.

    Zeiss looked at the same industry challenge & came up with a different solution. Enlarge both the viewfinder & the eyepiece so that 28 mm frame lines can be seen even with an effective base length even longer than the standard M7 .72.

    In the process, Zeiss tweaked a few other things, such as close focus rangefinder coupling with parallax correction and a brighter viewfinder in addition to the other features which were mentioned above.. But this is an innovative camera design because it addressed an issue within the industry in a new way.

    For the disinformation buffs, a couple of corrections:

    Stephen Gandy does NOT sell the Zeiss Ikon, so it is inaccurate to discredit his report from the Cosina factory as an attempt to pump up his sales. His comment about the fact that there are shared parts between the ZI & the Bessa series was independently reported in "Shutterbug."

    "Rebadging" means taking the same product & producing it with a different brand name imprinted on it - such as the Hasselblad & Fuji versions of the X-pan. Any other use of the term is inaccurate & misleading. This term certainly cannot be honestly applied to the ZI, a camera that was not developed by Cosina & which is not offered in any version other than the one that says Zeiss Ikon.

    Bessa standard viewfinder has a magnification of .68, not .7 - so the .74 magnification of the ZI is a little more significant "tweak" - 50% more significant than stated.
     
  65. I had an RF. It never focused my M lenses, except by chance and/or DOF. The RF would go out from the vibrations of a bike ride, carrying it the same way I carry an M. It was sent to Konica NJ for an alignment + a request for a Leica lens calibration. I even sent them a Leica lens. "We don't do that" was their response. I paid for the first RF alignment, but they paid for the five subsequent RF alignments that went off during shipping, quite pathetic. I finally sold it, and it arrived with an error code out of the box. I paid half of the "repair" for the new owner. Why do you think they discontinued it? Because it was such a great camera? I will look forward to used Ikons when new buyers find they don't like RF type cameras. I am set lenswise.
     
  66. Innovative? you must have pretty low standards in that regard. A lot of people criticize Leica for thier incremental approach to changes in the M camera design. True, but ZI is if anything an incremental improvement over existing designs. Harly anything there to call "innovative". In the real world, a few tweeks here and there do not constitute "innovation".

    A 55.9 mm baseline with a 28 mm VF frame, whooptydo. How long of a baselength do you think you need to focus a 28 mm lens? .74 vs .68 instead of vs .70. Get a grip. That's "innovation"? Let's make a .75 VF and get a patent. :)

    See if it were really innovative, they wouldn't need to capitalize on the Leica mount. It would stand on its own.
     
  67. >Eliot said: ". . . why are they using an M bayonet mount?"

    Is this a trick question? You can accuse Carl Zeiss of a lot of things, but stupidity isn't one of them. Not only are there Leica, Cosina, & Konica M-mount cameras out there, but the Epson R-D1 is also an M-mount camera.

    You could ask Leica the same question. Better yet, ask Leica why they are building RF film cameras at all. No one is buying them. These are tricky times for the rangefinder market for any company willing to attempt a RF camera. Zeiss is floating a trial balloon & will see how it works. it also gives them a "system" identity. obviously they think its worth it.

    The good news is that a consumer can buy with confidence that Carl Zeiss will be around for a long time to come. I wonder how much that Leica passport is going to be worth when Leica folds. Or do you know of some secret group of investors who want to throw their money away on a sinking ship. It certainly doesn't appea to be a "growth" stock offering.
     
  68. And, the RF's RF was "fuzzy" when practicing judging distances and fine tuning, focusing on my cable box's LED. Nice concept, that's why I bought one, but poor execution, IMHO.
     
  69. I'll tell you what, Eliot, you go out & buy 2 Leicas so you can have 28 mm frame lines on one & can have sufficient magnification for longer & faster lenses on the other. That'll cost you . . . let me get my calculator . . . $6600 at the new Leica prices. My $1400 ZI will do both. And neither of your 2 Leicas will close focus my ZI wide angles. No one is claiming innovation on the scale of stem cell technology. simply a different solution to an industry challenge.

    Now, come on & throw up another post to show how difficult it is for you to grasp this concept. You've been doing nothing else all day.
     
  70. Is this a trick question? You can accuse Carl Zeiss of a lot of things, but stupidity isn't one of them. Not only are there Leica, Cosina, & Konica M-mount cameras out there, but the Epson R-D1 is also an M-mount camera.

    I believe the subject was innovation. The R-D1 is certainly innovative, the first digital camera that could take M lenses. Cosina has offered a number of innovative cameras distinctly different from Leica's and various innovative lenses different from Leica in specs (eg., 15/4.5, 12/5.6, 35/1.2). Also their ability to supply reasonably good products at MUCH lower than Leica prices is innovative. Konica offered a much cheaper camera with Leica M mount and 1/4000 sec shutter plus 1/125 sec sync, innovative for an RF when it was introduced.

    Zeiss chose a different route trying to make a profit by piggy-backing onto Leica, without offering any substantive level of innovation but lowering the price enough so that Leica users would notice the difference. Sorry but my reaction is still whooptydo. But be my guest, buy their products. I hope you like them.
     
  71. Eliot why would you think that the subject I was writing about was "innovation" when I directly quoted your reply to Mike Elek about Zeiss's use of an M bayonet mount? Get with the program.
     
  72. Bill, we're not going to settle this issue. We just have different reactions to the ZI offerings. I just can't get excited about them. "underwhelmed" is the best word to describe it. I'm also put off by the fact that the only lens they offer that I can really get excited about (15/2.8) is so expensive. That is where the innovation is. Everyone will have his own reaction. Truth is, I hope they do well, although I have some doubts mainly based on the lack of very much that is really unique.

    But lest you think I am judging Zeiss too harshly, I had the same underwhelming reaction to the leica MP. It was a clear case of "back to the future" or "deja vu all over again". A sort of de-innovation. My critique of Leica, however, is tempered by the fact that they have shown real innovation in the design of the new generation of APO/ASPH lenses, an amazing accomplishment for such a small company.
     
  73. I have no idea why they chose the M mount. I wasn't privy to those discussions. I can only surmise that in introducing a new camera and lenses, it made sense to try to capture a portion of an existing market (the Leica M market) rather than try to create a new niche product in the face of dwindling film sales.

    It's very possible that people want more than a Bessa but aren't willing to buy a Leica M. It's also possible that people want a new camera -- not someone's "mint" camera.

    It's also possible that this camera is simply a precursor to a digital full-frame body.

    So to answer your question, I have no idea, as Carl Zeiss AG didn't ask me to sit in on their strategy sessions.
     
  74. > " Well Mike, if it's such an original new product as you say it is, why are they using an M bayonet mount? ... blah, blah, blah."

    I don't recall saying it was an "original new product." I said it's not a rebadged Bessa, which is brought up repeatedly in this and previous discussions as fact.

    Listen here, boy, this thread has now reached the stage of being pointless. Both sides are quite fixed in their respective positions regarding this camera. There's little hope of one side convincing the other. Discussion over.
     
  75. Just to respond a little. Sorry, but the thread has become so humungous, I could not read all the posts, but I get the general flavor. Frist off, I am a very right brain person, so I am not so good at presenting a logical argument. It's not that I can't, I just can't be bothered. Anyway I will try and make my point for all of your left brain logical types that get all worked up:

    1. Zeiss should have been built in Germany

    a. Every camera on earth almost is now built in Japan or another Asian subsidiary. It dissapoints me to see a local industry being outsourced. Germans are losing valuable experience in producing well crafted consumer durables.

    b. There does appear to be a difference in the quality of this lens's construction compared to any german made kit I have ever seen.

    2. Cloth shutter.

    a. The cloth shutter of the M is very quiet. Anyone who has clicked a Cosina lately knows they are very noisy compared to a leica. This was a huge design compromise.

    b. I have yet to handle one, but I doubt I will change my feeling about it. The R3A is very nice but it is no Leica, so I expect the same from the Ikon.

    3. Lens construction quality

    Well, the blue dot could have been really well executed at least. It looks like the plastic from one of those buble gum toy dispensers. The focus was rough, and the whole flavor of the lens, was, well, it just felt cheap. Not in the same league as the Zeiss lenses made by Kyocera, which were superbly constructed, whether AF or Manual, SLR or RF.

    Sorry to ruffle any feathers, but I do really wish they had checked with me first before going ahead!
     
  76. Hmmm. Intriguing that some people will argue and argue on the basis of their own suppositions, yet ignore a thread with Sean Reid's comprehensive review of a Zeiss lens.
    Perhaps it's time for a more reasoned debate.
     
  77. Claude, IMHO your arguments are valid. If it doesn't feel right to you nothing will fix it. No logic needed :)

    For me the ZI body is best described as sexy, I just like it from its looks alone.

    Actualy I'd like it much better with a Contax G shutter but we can't have all.

    And I wait for a digital version :)
     
  78. 1) Eliot says of the ZI and Bessa 3A: ?The dimensions aren't similar?? Sure they are,? ?My comments are based upon its specs and based upon the general shape and layout of the ZI, which really place it in the CV family more than anything else.?

    Mike?s pictures completely squash that argument! I cannot honestly see how you can take the Bessa?s VF and put it in the ZI. Well, Eliot, you should be better informed.

    2) No innovation: What? Flash sync is 1/125s vs 1/50s

    3) CV?s build quality: OK you own the 15mm Heliar. I would be the first to admit that there?s a definite difference in quality between that lens and the typical Leica lenses. I am also a discriminating user. However, there is also a major improvement in build quality in the latest CV offerings. The latest lenses do rival the Leicas when it comes to build quality. My 35mm Summilux ASPH does not impress me. So get an up-to-date, informed opinion.

    4) And finally, Eliot says of the 50/2 Planar: ?I bet if you look at the designs, you'll see that they are just minor modifications of existing DG or other designs, not anything substantively new. Want to spend $ 827 for a rebadged 50/2 Planar with an M-mount, go ahead.?

    And pray, Eliot, how much are you going to pay for a 50 Summicron which is a minor modification of a 50-year old design?


    I am not a Zeiss supporter. I may not even buy any ZI products. They may suck.

    However, I hate to see people championing ignorant, false views on innovative products.
     
  79. June, is that when they'll be available? Why not wait 'til they're out and then judge the Ikon and lenses?
     
  80. I had the oppurtuanity to handle the Zeiss Ikon camera at a trade show in Sweden in April (Elmia 2005). The swedish Hasselblad distributor, Profoto, received the Zeiss Ikon just a couple of days before the trade show. I do not have much experience with Leica M cameras so I can not really do a comparision. I was very impressed with the Zeiss Ikon, it is well built and has a very nice rangefinder. All new Zeiss lenses were at the trade show and I think they were very well built. The lenses have a good manual focusing feel. The only Leica lenses I have used is for the R system so I can not compare. But I assume that the Leica lenses maybe are a little bit more solid. But still the Zeiss lenses are also very well built. I had a chance to handle the 15mm/2.8 very quick and it was a nice piece of glass.
     
  81. Oh dear, I didn't mean to open a can of worms here. I as much as anyone was hoping for a Leica beater here. I am merely reporting my touchy feely impressions of handling one of the new Zeiss lenses. I am sure anyone with any interest at all will spend some time fondling this gear when they get a chance.

    Having said that, the lenses were a fraction of the cost of the equivalent in Leica. The lens I saw was the black 50mm planar, which was around 600 bucks in Japanese currency. I would much sooner spring for a G2 and a 45 planar which would cost the same.
     
  82. "Every camera on earth almost is now built in Japan or another Asian subsidiary. It dissapoints me to see a local industry being outsourced. Germans are losing valuable experience in producing well crafted consumer durables. "

    You either build it better, and enough so that people will pay for it, or someone else will build it cheaper and close to as well. If you cannot do something well (and by well I mean less expensive and quality) then you won't be making it. It is the way of the world these days.
     
  83. I very well understand when people come on to a forum like this to tell the world how bad a product is after they have bought one, used it, & been disppointed or have found it defective. I can't for the life of me understand the energy that has gone into bashing a new product over the past 6 months by people who have never even used it, much less owned one.

    In the course of this bashing, the critics have continuously spouted misinformation & idle speculation, which they have then treated as fact. This is unfortunate for the readers who actually come here to acquire some understanding of a new product to help them make a purchasing decision.

    Claude, I have no problem with your opinion of any new product. If you don't like it, don't buy it. It's your money.

    You are the only person I've ever heard who described the focusing of these lenses as "rough & gritty." You must have handled a bad sample. I too have handled these lenses & there was nothing "rough & gritty" about the focusing or damping on any of them. I also own a several CV & Leica lenses & none of my Cosina-built lenses are close to what you describe. I have both an early & a couple of later built CV lenses & build quality has definitely improved, although focusing isn't a problem on any. It's equally clear that Leica doesn't build 'em like they used to. Glue has replaced screws on the front elements. The Leica website alone is full of complaints from disappointed buyers. And you're going to be a lot more disappointed after you've dropped a couple of grand on a lens than a few hundred dollars.

    Lack of a cloth shutter represents a huge design compromise? Are you kidding me? Top shutter speed of 1/1000 & flash sync of 1/50 represent huge compromises. Every piece of equipment you buy represents compromises. Zeiss just decided to offer a different compromise, so now you have a choice in an RF body with a long base line. You didn't before.

    Quiet Leica? That's the biggest myth going. For me, in any situation that matters, it's not quiet enough & there are better alternatives. For anything else, it doesn't matter, so it's no asset. But that's just me. I don't pretend that my opinion represents a fair critique of the camera, it's just my preference. But the notion that the cloth shutter & its sound are sacrosanct, come on.

    What's your hang-up with the idea that any of this stuff should be built in Germany. Leica has built in Canada & Portugal. So? Maybe the memo hasn't reached your desk, but the camera companies that build in Germany, including Leica, are going out of business. How does "build in Germany" represent any kind of sound business approach. If you prefer the discontinued, built-in-Japan Contax G, fine. But it's not an alternative if you're looking for a manual rangefinder camera.

    So, you didn't like the shade of blue on the dot . . . I'm outta here.
     
  84. Well, I will make sure before I post next time, to ask the store to let me run a roll of film through a body with each of the lenses that are available, then I will make prints and give my report!

    Still, what I offered was a report, and I am not making it up. Let's call it my initial contact with the new Zeiss toys. As they say...first impressions...
     
  85. Claude, forget it. These doofusses don't even bother to read what you wrote, take it out of context, argue against a straw man they created, and then insult you for giving your opinion, calling you uniformed or comparing what you say to goose emissions.

    Hey idiots (you know who you are), read my lips. In my opinion, these are not innovative products, they are incremental improvements, they may be very good, I never said anything bad about them, I just didn't say anything good. It's not the same thing. That's my opinion, you are entitled to yours, you're not entitled to trash someone just because he doesn't share your admiration for a particular product.

    You guys sound like thought police. Well people do think differently from you. Oh never mind, I give up...
     
  86. Eliot, at least when you were under the honest misapprehension that the
    Zeiss was a rebadged Bessa, you had some grace. I guess the gratuitous
    insults, at least, are an admission you were wrong, as became more and
    more obvious when you made insulting - and again, totally deluded - remarks
    about Stephen Gandy. I'm glad you've found an ally, though.
     
  87. you insult him and treat him like CR_ AP and then you blame him for your insults!? Whats that all about? Classic "beat-wife syndrom".
    Lighten up and go shoot some pictures with your Bessa.
     
  88. Let's look at the bottom line folks.

    Unless you are a real true rangefinder fan....The Contax G2 does it all.

    Mint G2 with 45mm lens 500 gbp. Now i'm not a Zeiss glass fan; leica to my eye does it so much better;tonality,quality of build, etc,etc.

    However, i've just purchased a second hand mint G2...value for money or what. With trannies,Zeiss Super Contrast Lenses...eat your heart out digital!
     
  89. Hello, Paul? Has anyone called Eliot an idiot? Or a doofus? Or accused him of lying for commercial gain, as he did Stephen Gandy?
    If you want to find out what someone thinks about Leica and Zeiss lenses, your time is better spent here, with someone who's actually tried the things (his favourite is the Leica).
    Again, for a more mature debate than this one, go here. You'll find much more convincing arguments about why the Zeiss sucks.
    Oh, and Paul, the Romans might not have been fair re Law'n'order but they made a good subject for humor.
     
  90. "However, I hate to see people championing ignorant, false views on innovative products."

    "when you made insulting - and again, totally deluded"

    "I can't for the life of me understand the energy that has gone into bashing a new product over the past 6 months"

    "You're kidding right? A blue dot is cheezy, but a red one is? What, a different color? How does paint look plasticky? Paint is paint. Leica fetishism has hit a new low (or high depending on your viewpoint)."

    "My CV 35 PII is every bit as well made as my 90mm f/2.8 TE. I have them both. I use them both. Until you use them both then you are just passing geese farts saying that the Leica lenses are better."

    "For the disinformation buffs, a couple of corrections:"

    "Now, come on & throw up another post to show how difficult it is for you to grasp this concept."

    "Well Mike, if it's such an original new product as you say it is, why are they using an M bayonet mount? ... blah, blah, blah."

    "the critics have continuously spouted misinformation & idle speculation, which they have then treated as fact. This is unfortunate for the readers who actually come here to acquire some understanding of a new product to help them make a purchasing decision."

    "I'm sorry, Claude, but this is a new low when the lense are being critiqued because of dot colors & whether the paint looks good. I thought that the point was supposed to be whether the pictures look good."

    These are a few examples (in no particular order) of the disreptful and insulting responses to myself and Claude for expression our reactions to the new Zeiss offerings. In my case, the only criticism was that I felt the products were not innovation - and I stated the reasons. I never said anything bad about them, just that they don't ring the bell for me. Didn't bash any of them, in fact said one was of particular interest, the 15/2.8.

    Why these intolerant responses because someone isn't thrilled with Zeiss products. Well you won't change anyones mind with those kind of responses: like these products or else... we'll call you a person who "spouts misinformation", dispenses "disinformation", champions "ignorant and false views on innovation", "passes geese farts" (one of the more colorful ones) and fails to "grasp [a simple] concept". You people are something else.
     
  91. Paul, read the above if you want to see what prompted me to call you "idiots" and "doofuses". It was a response to your own comments. BTW, I said NO SUCH THING about Stephen Gandy. DONT' YOU DARE PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH. I WOULD NEVER CALL HIM A LIAR. You... well that's another matter.
     
  92. and Jeff Spirer moderates by means of a chainsaw grafted to his right arm.

    Okay, i'm not going to argue with him.
     
  93. Stephen Gandy is a camera salesman with a vested interest in selling both ZI
    and C/V products...he is not exactly a disinterested party." <p>
    Ok, so you won't even acknowledge yet more of your own disinformation.
    Gandy is not selling ZI products. He has no vested interests. He is the only
    independent observer of the ZI v the Bessa. But then again, pointing out the
    disinformation you're peddling (which is the only accusation I've made
    towards you, and I've tried to believe you were misinformed, rather than
    mischievous), will doubtless be taken as another insult. <p>
    This is only a camera, and I doubt I'll be buying one. I'm happy with my M4.
    This has truly been a waste of time. Good night.
     
  94. "Has anyone called Eliot an idiot? Or a doofus? Or accused him of lying for commercial gain, as he did Stephen Gandy?"

    I believe I said that I like Stephen Gandy ... but that he was not exactly a disinterested party. He's a major distributor for C/V which does make the ZI and lenses. How you have the nerve to say I accused him of "lying for commercial gain" is astonishing. BTW, I was wrong about him being a ZI distributor, he is not. That was my mistake.
     
  95. Allen sorry I missed your comment. I actually bought a Contax G2 with the 35 mm lens. I took it home and played with it over the weekend. And then returned it to the dealer on Monday. Nothing wrong with it, I guess I was so used to the handling and feel of Leica that I decided I couldn't get used to the differences. Now don't go saying I'm bashing Contax or anything, I really thought the construction was admirably solid and well executed, and I'm sure, from what I read, the lens would be great too. But it was a matter of handling, the VF, the shutter noise, subjective things.

    That's my point about equipment, it suits different people in different ways. Handling is a very subjective issue.
     
  96. Time for a photo...
    00CAgJ-23474984.jpg
     
  97. Zeiss even..oops.
     
  98. Sometimes I think that getting rid of that IIIf before I turned into a Leica fan was a good idea :)<br>
    <img src="http://www.hett.org/web/files/0001/zamf-5.61-2000_s-280400.jpg">
     
  99. gib

    gib

    Volker, right on. right on.
     
  100. "That new plastic Hasselblad was depressing enough"....I have not read everything here. Zeiss was not involved in the new Hasselblad (H1)....so why blame them?
     
  101. Is the purple fringing on the door frame of the boat shed Chromatic Aberration from that nice Zeiss lens Allen?
     

Share This Page