Yashica SLR lenses vs Zeiss

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by newindustar, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. The intent here is to determine the cheapest way to get into a Zeiss/Zeiss equivalent SLR system. Interstingly the first camera I bought was a Yashica FRII because of a dealer recommendation that it was a cheap way to get into Zeiss. I sold it.
    Now years later and after going the Pentax LX route and then very invloved in Nikon I am still wondering if I missed something lens wise; i.e. Zeiss. I've done a lot of reading but I am still not clear if Yashica lenses in C/Y are equivalent to any of the Zeiss in C/Y.
    It seems anything Zeiss in any mount is not dirt cheap due to adaptations to DSLR. Also Zeiss in C/Y mount works on Contax so I aasume values are still high.
    Dirt cheap is what I am looking for.
    I am wondering if there are hidden Zeiss jeweles branded Yashica or Yahinon? ML or MM etc. Can someone iterate the Yashica glass for me?
  2. I am not certain about this, but I don't think the "Zeiss" lenses made for the Contax 35mm SLR system were actually made in Germany. Some may have been but I believe most were made in Japan with the Zeiss name licensed. Whether or not that makes a difference depends upon how you feel about the Japanese made Zeiss lenses. They should be excellent for general photography.
  3. Well, Zeiss name is associated with good quality so I wonder if looking for dirt cheap Zeiss lenses is not a waste of time. Perhaps if you find defective ones and you are handy to restore and CLA them, but that is a different scenario... IMHO cheaper but not dirt cheap would be the M42 Zeiss screwmount lenses that go with the Spotmatics, Prakticas, Fuji screwmount bodies. There are also the Zeiss lenses in the Exakta mount that may be reasonably priced.
  4. Thanks - I think I need to clarify a bit. What I am refering to is lenses that are "Yashica" branded but are actually Zeiss equivalents.
    From my reading I am quite sure there are Japanese built Zeiss as well as the German however I made the assumption either would be overpriced (per my limitation) so I was trying to to dertermine if there were Yashica branded but Zeiss speced. Of course they would be Japanese built which is ok by me. Does that make more sense?
  5. Heres a reference:
    My question is in reference to the Yashica premium lenses referenced below. How good were they? Were thet equilvalent to the Contax or Zeiss?
    Yashica and Contax manual-focus lenses with a common bayonet mount were introduced in 1975 simultaneously on the Contax RTS and on the Yashica FX-1. The Yashica range of lenses included a premium range of lenses for the more serious photographer (termed 'ML' or 'MC' for multi-coating), while consumer SLR cameras were usually equipped with 'DSB' lenses, which had single-coated optics. The top of the line was the renowned Zeiss AE series of lenses, intended for the Contax SLR cameras, each of which displayed a T* for Zeiss' proprietary multi-coating. Some Carl Zeiss lenses were made in Germany and the rest in Japan under Zeiss license. But all of these lenses were interchangeable with any Yashica or Contax camera equipped with the C/Y bayonet lens mount.
  6. Yashica's lens plant (Tomioka, which originally was an independent company) had a high reputation. The plant also made or designed lenses for some other labels. Under Yashica, it made some of the Zeiss lenses under license.
    For various reasons, bloggers sometimes credit Tomioka with making certain lenses that were actually made elsewhere.
    See http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Tomioka
  7. I am all for our glorious German camera industry, but lenses are lenses. I don't think you will take better photos with either Zeiss or Yashica, especially if you stay in 35mm format. Get real, get out and shoot more instead of worrying about who built what lenses based on which design. As we say in German: We all cook only with water, too. (in the sense of: All put on their pants one leg at a time...)
  8. What I would be out to exceed is lenses like Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8 AI, 105 2.5 AI, Nikkor 35 F2 AI, Nikkor which I have and do shoot.
    I have a feeling Zeiss may not exceed these anyway and I am very happy with Nikon bodies, FE2, F100 etc.
    I shoot medium format as well.
    It is always enjoyable to try out new gear and bargain hunt on the cheap. I like Russian gear as well.
    On a more significant scale I could also consider selling out of Nikon and moving to RTS III or similar and Zeiss lenses if I felt there would be a real difference over the best of Nikon.
  9. Like Bueh, I am a great fan of Zeiss (in my case, Jena and Dresden), but I think all the Zeiss and Contax brand name C/Y-mount lenses were made in the same place (Japan). I don't think there was even any difference in quality-control measures, but there might have been.
  10. You should probably just consider the Yashica lenses on their own merits, rather than any supposed resemblance to Zeiss. Apparently there was a separate production line set aside for the Zeiss stuff in the Yashica factory, and only the Zeiss-branded lenses benefited from Zeiss's glass design, coating and QC. I have heard that Yashica designed (e.g.) barrels and electronics for some of the later Contax lenses, however. There were certainly some very nice lenses in the Yashica lineup - the ML wideangles had a good reputation, especially the 21, and I always had excellent results with the 50/2. This guy seems to like it too:
    You can read another guy's subjective take on the relative quality of various Yashica lenses here:
    This seems to be the place to discuss Yashica nowadays:
    If instead you want to try an actual Zeiss lens without spending too much, pick up a cheap Yashica or Contax body (make sure the electronics are in working order!) and the terrific Zeiss 50/1.7 in YC mount. Of course you can also now buy Nikon-fit Zeiss lenses made under license by Cosina, but they aren't cheap.
  11. I think you are going the wrong way on this. If you want Zeiss glass but cheap and that isn't being converted for digital use by everybody else then try the old Rollei 35mm SLRs. If you don't like that, try the older East German stuff from the '50s or '60s when they were still labeling things with the Zeiss logos.
  12. I would check the lenses on the site MFLenses where they provide pictures taken with each lens of a particular make, such as, Carl Zeiss, Carl Zeiss Jena, Yashica, NiKon, Canon, Pentax etc. IMHO each lens, even of the same manufacturer exhibits a different set of characteristics in regard to sharpness, tonal range and the like. So, one may have to examine these for each lens before exercising a preference. I am not sure if one make per se can be said to be any better than any other, in a sweeping way.
    For example, Meyer Domiplan had earned a bad reputation among a lot of people. But there are those who prefer it for its sharpness and crisp color rendering. Similarly, Meyer Oreston was thought to be an ordinary but decent lens for a long time, for more than a decade or two since 1965-66 when it was introduced. Today, people are raving about it and its successor Pentacon 50mm. The lens is rated by many on par with the CJZ Pancolar and the KMZ Helios [Biotar]. Then again the Oreston/Pentacon seems to emphasize tonal quality a bit more as against the Pancolar, which emphasizes sharpness a bit more. Again, each sample may also differ slightly from the norms set by the manufacturer. I would do some more research and exploration on each item before I buy rather than going wholesale to buy products of one company or another. Regards, sp.
  13. Everyone is offering a useful opinion on this. Here's mine.

    CZ lenses made in Japan weren't just made under licence, they were made under Zeiss quality control standards and specification. I have CZ lenses made in Germany, and others made in Japan. They are all built to the same high standard, and the same high optical standard. Zeiss lenses are individually tested and supplied with individual performance certification - not batch sampling. Choosing one made in Germany over one made in Japan is for someone whose priorities are not photographic and not optical.

    The Yashica ML lenses are very good indeed. I have most of the primes (except the elusive 15mm and the 55mm, and the mirrors), and most of the zooms. Many of them are good examples of the Pareto principle applied to their Zeiss cousins. I love the wides, especially the 24 and the 35. I have two copies of the ML 50/1.4, and they approach my Planars as near as dammit. So did their cost, so it's a toss-up which you'd go for, and you're likely to add the small extra and go for the CZ 50/1.7. The ML 50/1.7 is excellent. So is the 28-85 ML zoom.

    I'm not convinced that the way in which Zeiss lenses hold their values is because of digital conversion possibilities, though there's an element of that. The telephotos hold their values rather well, and Zeiss has never been strong on telephotos ; there are plenty of alternatives for digital users at the longer end too. In any case, CZ glass is now available in mounts that don't need conversion rings any more. I think the reason Zeiss glass holds its price it the obvious one, and the same reason Leica and other top glass holds its price.

    I too bought my first Yashica because of a dealer recommendation that it was a cheap way to get in to Zeiss. There isn't a cheap way to get in to Zeiss. It was merely a cheap way to get an SLR with a Contax mount that would accept Zeiss CY lenses. I made a terrible error by being put off CZ glass when I discovered the prices. I spent far too much on half a dozen examples of third-party mediocrity when I should have spent it all on just one 50mm Planar. But then, everyone has a PhD in Hindsight. I also made the mistake of thinking that ML lenses were just DSB lenses with extra coating.

    Yashica is under-rated, and probably always will be. The good folks here can do their bit by helping keep it that way and not spilling the beans, so that the rest of us Yashica enthusiasts can keep our collections ticking over at modest cost.
  14. Assuming you stay in the same format, a significant improvement to image quality will come from a good tripod, not a change in the brand name being held in your hands.
  15. So much helpful information here.
    "There are also the Zeiss lenses in the Exakta mount that may be reasonably priced."
    I do have an Exacta Varex IIa with a Tessar which is very soft for some reason. I am keeping an eye in that direction.
    "I don't think you will take better photos with either Zeiss or Yashica"

    I understand your meaning espicially in 35mm but my various lenses do give various results and there may be a somewhat higher level than I have experienced. It seems fairly often that a Zeiss convert claims so anyway. I agree content, even blurred content can be more important than anything else yet special glass can add to an image. Also some of us occasionally like to experiment with a new to us camera even if it's just for the enjoyment.
    "You should probably just consider the Yashica lenses on their own merits, rather than any supposed resemblance to Zeiss. Apparently there was a separate production line set aside for the Zeiss stuff in the Yashica factory, and only the Zeiss-branded lenses benefited from Zeiss's glass design, coating and QC"
    That makes sense I just thought some of the Yashica might be the same lens with different cosmetics. If they are not actually Zeiss under the hood it would be nice to know which might be and which not. If none of them are then as you say they should be considered on their own merits. It seemed reasonable some might be the same. I still wonder if some essentially are or not.
    "I think you are going the wrong way on this. If you want Zeiss glass but cheap and that isn't being converted for digital use by everybody else then try the old Rollei 35mm SLRs. If you don't like that, try the older East German stuff from the '50s or '60s when they were still labeling things with the Zeiss logos."
    I haven't looked at the Rolleis but I do have a few CZ Jena glass in Pentacon 6 and also a Jupiter 12 and Industar 61. I have thought of going after a Helios 44.
    "I would check the lenses on the site MFLenses where they provide pictures taken with each lens of a particular make, such as, Carl Zeiss, Carl Zeiss Jena, Yashica, NiKon, Canon, Pentax etc. IMHO each lens, even of the same manufacturer exhibits a different set of characteristics in regard to sharpness, tonal range and the like."
    I try but it is hard on the web. I guess that is why one looks for a concensus; difficult to do.
    "Choosing one made in Germany over one made in Japan is for someone whose priorities are not photographic and not optical"
    That's good news as well if it keeps the price down, I do not have Zeiss envy per se.
    "I too bought my first Yashica because of a dealer recommendation that it was a cheap way to get in to Zeiss. There isn't a cheap way to get in to Zeiss"
    Maybe the thing would have been to get into Yashica.
    That is good news for me as is "The Yashica ML lenses are very good indeed."
    This might be worth looking into. However if there is nothing standout vs some of the better recognized Nikkors I mentioned, Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8 AI, 105 2.5 AI, Nikkor 35 F2 AI, Nikkor which I shoot it may be a wasted effort. The Yashica 55mm 2.8 macro looks suspiciously like the Micro Nikkor 55. Probably the better lenses of any ake are all good as said above and it would be hard to slot the brand as a whole into a top slot.
  16. I too bought into C/Y mainly for the Zeiss lenses, yet for a long time, the 50/1.7 "kit" lens that came with my 159 was the only Zeiss I owned. I have, however, begun acquiring more of them as my resources converge with their prices. In the meantime Yashica lenses served me very well indeed. From what I know, similar to the info reported above, Yashica lenses are not Zeiss lenses in design, coating, QC, or anything else. They are just real good lenses. Well worth using until you can afford a Zeiss, or permanently if there are focal lengths you don't use enough to justify a Zeiss.
    I'll disagree with Alex on digital conversion not being the reason they've held their value, and with his statement that "The telephotos hold their values rather well." The current going rate for a near-mint 300/4 Tele-Tessar is about $300. That is obscenely cheap. Whereas the wide Distagons go for a couple thousand. Digital is driving all this. EOS users spurn the 300 because Canon makes fine long lenses; they spoon out the big bucks for the wides because it is so tough to get a decent wide for digital.
    Some folks have mentioned older Zeisses from the 50s and 60s. But really, those lenses have less in common with modern CZ lenses than modern CZs do with Yashicas. The glass and coatings of German lenses of that period produced a distinctive look, and the Zeisses were among the highest quality of that era. But if you want a high quality lens that produces the Japanese look that we are all used to today, you are better off with a Yashica ML with its more modern design and coating technology.
  17. I have far too high a regard for August's experience and views to disagree with him lightly (or often, for that matter). My experience however - and it's anecdotal, being limited to my experience and observation - is a little different. Here in the UK at least, the 300/4 TT retails new at around GBP 750, and second-hand (top condition) at around GBP 450. I paid about GBP 400 for my 300 TT, in well used cosmetic but optically and mechanically perfect condition. The 300/4 is a good optic, but it is closer to average than the rest of the CZ range (average for CZ that is). The new price for the 180/2.8 Sonnar here is about GBP 650, the S/H is about GBP 350 - 400, which is what I paid. These are the ratios I'd expect. The only wide that's really stratospheric is the D21, which when I last saw it new (about two months ago) retailed at a few pounds short of GBP 3000. I've not seen any S/H for a long time, and the only one I see currently is a buy-it-now on eBay at around $1900 (GBP 1300). The 21 wasn't a cheap glass new. I can't remember exactly the new price of a D28, but I think it was just over GBP 300, and my S/H 28 was about GBP 200. I don't doubt that there's an element of market forces in pricing in a lens range like CZ where the register of the lens is pretty darned ideal for connecting to an EOS body, as it is for CY, I simply don't think it explains all the current market prices for CZ/CY. Quality, as August himself remarks, is a considerable component. The widest range I've seen is for the D18, which has gone for anywhere between GBP 320 and 600.

    I can't find any new prices on the new CZ dedicated mount lenses for EOS, but the 21/2.8 Distagon in Nikon fit is retailing new here at around GBP 1300, and the EOS should be the same. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on the C/Y mount prices.

    As an aside, although I don't have a CZ 21/2.8, I do have its lesser-spec'd cousin, the 21/3.5 ML. I paid about GBP 180 for it. My Flek 20/2.8 was GBP 86, though I've seen the Flek occasionally go for twice that. It would be interesting to hear a view from any digital users who've adapted these for EOS.

    As to ML lenses in general, I can only repeat what August says : their are great lenses in their own right, and should be bought and used for that reason, and not because of the pedigree of their cousins.
  18. Hi,
    Just to say, I have been using, buying & selling most of the Yashica and Contax C/Y lenses for the last 8 years or so. There are some posts with incorrect info here, so to correct...
    When the Contax RTS system first appeared, almost all the first range of lenses were made in West Germany...only slightly later did Zeiss start out sourcing SOME of the Zeiss lenses to the Yashica factory in Japan. After a fairly short time, most of the lesser Contax lenses were made solely in Japan, with the more exotic lenses still made in Germany. But there are lenses which 'buck the trend' so to speak.
    Some people seem to think all the earlier AE lenses were made in Germany and all the later MM lenses made in Japan...this is also incorrect. Many AE ones were also made in Japan and also many of the later MM lenses made in Germany.
    50/1.4: very early AE ones were German made, slightly later AE and all MM were Japan made.
    25/2.8: early AE were German, later MM were both Japan & German.
    18/4: early AE were German whilst later MM were both Japan & German.
    28/2: All AE & MM only made in Germany.
    28/2.8: Small run of very early AE German, almost all AE & all MM Japan only.
    35/2.8: All AE & MM seem to be Japan only...I am not aware of any German ones.
    45/2.8: Some very early AE German, almost all AE & all MM are Japan.
    85/1.4: Early AE German, later MM both Germany & Japan.
    85/2.8: AE are both German & Japan, MM are German only..never come across a Japan MM one.
    135/2.8: All AE and MM seem to be Japan only.
    15/3.5: Only ever made in Germany and only in AE.
    21/2.8: Only ever made in MM and all were Japan made.
    So, there is no real pattern...I have a complete list of all the Contax AE & MM lenses and where they were made...from much research.
    Of the Yashica lenses, I would say they are excellent and often superb and are possibly one of the all time over looked lens makers. If you want DIRT CHEAP and excellent, try ML 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/1.7, 50/2, 135/2.8C, 200/4C. Slightly more expensive but also well worth buying are 21/3.5, 24/2.8, 55/2.8 macro, 100/3.5 macro (superb lens).
    cheers Steve.M. (UK)
  19. Here is the whole Contax lens list for those interested:
  20. Useful listing from Steve, and my CZ lenses conform to it. I'd just add the S100/3.5, my MM is Japan, and the S180/2.8, my MM is Germany.
  21. Alex, here in the USA we generally use KEH as the benchmark for pricing used gear, so just to take a few prices from that site (grades "BGN" and above), with most of the variation accounted for by condition and whether it is MM:
    Distagon 18/4, $484-800
    Distagon 21/2.8, $1950
    Distagon 25/2.8, $310-400
    Distagon 28/2.8, $235-265
    Distagon 35/2.8, $235-339
    Tessar 45/2.8, $189-215
    Planar 50/1.4, $179
    Planar 85/1.4, $449-499
    Makro Planar 100/2.8, $616-819
    Sonnar 135/2.8, $119-189
    Sonnar 180/2.5, $310
    Tele Tessar 200/3.5, $179-245
    Tele Tessar 200/4, $205-339
    Tele Tessar 300/4, $449
    Mirotar 500/8, $889
    I don't know if there's a pattern there or not. The 300/4 price is up considerably from six months ago when I bought one from KEH at around $300. I can't remember the condition grade but there was not a mark on it except for the scratch that I put on the telescoping hood when opening the package too enthusiastically (@#$%&!!). I guess really that all of these prices except for the 21 and maybe the 500 are super bargains compared to the prices we remember when new. I sometimes wish that I had kept a price list from the late 1980s, when as a college student I pored over Contax catalogs like porn, because even with my limited funds I'm sure I would have spooned out for a 200 or 300 if they were anywhere near those prices, especially the equivalent in 1987 dollars. I used teles a lot at airshows then and my primary lens was a Yashica 200/4, usually with a 3rd-party telextender, which I got used for $99 around 1983 I think. Never had any reason to regret the purchase, even with the doubler it gave me good results and I am still using it.
  22. Fascinating. Some of these prices are pretty good, even allowing for exchange rate shifts in recent months. There are a few dealers here of some repute, such as ffordes in Scotland and Aperture Photographic in London. Aperture's pricings seem a little on the higher side to me, and they can be a trifle optimistic on gradings, but I've never had a dud or something I didn't think worth the price paid. I've had a look at ffordes, whom I've dealt with a lot, and marked their current prices (rounding up to the nearest sensible pound) against your KEH list for comparison. I think a notional exchange rate would be around 1.45 $ to GBP for quick calculation purposes. Some of the prices show dollar-pound parity.
    Distagon 18/4, $484-800 ffordes GBP 600
    Distagon 21/2.8, $1950 ffordes new was GBP 3000
    Distagon 25/2.8, $310-400 ffordes GBP 350
    Distagon 28/2.8, $235-265 ffordes GBP 240
    Distagon 35/2.8, $235-339 ffordes GBP 130
    Tessar 45/2.8, $189-215 ffordes GBP 150
    Planar 50/1.4, $179
    Planar 85/1.4, $449-499 ffordes GBP 350 Aperture Photo 450-550
    Makro Planar 100/2.8, $616-819
    Sonnar 135/2.8, $119-189 ffordes GBP 100-150
    Sonnar 180/2.5, $310 ffordes GBP 330-500, 650 new
    Tele Tessar 200/3.5, $179-245 ffordes GBP 170-245
    Tele Tessar 200/4, $205-339 ffordes GBP 200
    Tele Tessar 300/4, $449 ffordes GBP 380(AE)-450(MM), 750 new
    Mirotar 500/8, $889 ffordes GBP 650 new

    When I bought my 135/2.8 about ten years ago, it cost me (S/H) about GBP 180, and the D28/2.8 was GBP 200, about six years ago. The D35/2.8, at GBP 80, was sheer luck. My pancake Tessar was GBP 100.
    I had to grin at the description of "Contax porn'. I do remember seeing, several years ago, the 300mm Apo-Tessar listed at GBP 14,000. That's more than my first house cost. My wife would have said 'no', with a breadknife.
  23. Zeiss lenses made in Japan are surpervised by German optical engineers, and according to Zeiss, are supposed to be of the same quality as those made in Germany. For the greater number of lenses for certain cameras made in Japan, local manufacture is benefitial in not only reducing costs to the end consumer, but even higher quality of lenses since they are manufactured near the site of their final assembly (in the case of non-removable lenses) or site of where they are to be attached to their respective camera (in the case of removable lenses).
    Disclaimer: At this time, I have no connections to Zeiss, except for the several lenses that I own manufactured by them. The above information was given to me by Zeiss in the form of a letter from an inquiry that I had several years ago.
  24. Hi,
    Since we are off topic...I have bought many, many items from all the main UK dealers across the last 8 years and would make the following observations:
    1. Ffordes: I use these as my price guide since they have the largest UK choice (because most of their items are commision sales) They used to be the most reasonable price wise, but this changed from about 18 months ago. Their prices are often now slightly on the high side and the more exotic lenses like 21/2.8, 55/1.2 etc are over-priced IMO. They do have good service; however they do send out duds from time to time, not properly inspected. I have had to send about 3 lenses back.
    2. Aperture: They are expensive usually...simply because they are in London and have London rent prices to pay. They have the occasional bargain. You can also pop in the back of the shop for some nice noodles and some internet use. They are now stocking much more Contax than they used to.
    3. Caplans (London): Also usually expensive (London prices), but also the odd bargain to be had. Very old fashioned one to one service and Mr Caplan is old school and very helpful.
    4. LCE: Not much Contax. but they do miss price sometimes when they get some, so I found it worth while watching their website. I got a CZ 70-210/3.5 from them for 279 GBP in mint cond. Sold it to a yank for 980 GBP.
    5. Mifsuds (Devon): Well worth trying. Always some Contax and ok prices and service.
    6. Nicholas (Camden London): Avoid like the plague....
    7. Jacobs (London): Very high prices and items stored in poor conditions. Did often have a box of accessories though behind the counter and last time I was there they had a BRAND new RX boxed...old un-sold stock.
    8. MXV: My most used along with Ffordes. Most of their items are also commision sales (like Ffordes)Often lower prices and good service...but also sometimes misses marks on lenses..so get to check over the phone first.
    9. Jonathan Harris: Used to have quite a lot of Contax but seems to not anymore. Good prices, exc service from a one man band operation.
    10. Peter Walnes: Very good indeed to deal with. Prices vary from ok to quite cheap. Another one man band well worth checking out.
    11. The ebay place: My most used and with careful choices many bargains.
    12. R G Lewis (London): Another old school dealer. Although London, often has cheaper prices on both Contax & Leica than other London shops. When I went about two years ago they had a very rare Brand new 55/1.2.
    cheers to all Steve.M.
  25. It is wonderful to have the above listings, very helpful.
    I found this on camerapedia.org;
    While not to Zeiss standards, Yashica ML and MC multi-coated lenses for the C/Y bayonet mount have also earned a reputation for high quality. Yashica already had a reputation for fine optics dating from the early 1960s with its optics supplier (later subsidiary), Tomioka Optical, and is also believed to have benefited from its licensing and manufacturing relationship with Carl Zeiss.
    Ok so we have an independent line of Yashica ML lenses from mostly referenced to as "great". What about the DSB versions and Yashinons? Apparently Yashinon is not just old rangefinder or TLR but there were Yashinon C/Y mounts concurrent with ML. Are there more hidden jewles in Yashinon and are DSBs really inferior? Going foward I am have a few questions. First are Contax lenses just marked Zeiss and never Contax? Second is regarding the AE or MM types. Are these just Zeiss/Contax or did Yashica make a AE or MM version? Would AE, MM and T be equal optically or does the buck stop at T for superior coating?
  26. Newindustar,
    The lenses on the old Yashica rangefinders were badged Yashinon and everyone raves about them, but I don't know whether they were made concurrently with the ML series.
    I don't think Zeiss lenses for Contax were ever marked Contax.
    MM has nothing to do with optical quality, it just denotes the presence of a little lug and possibly a lightened aperture mechanism to work with programmed exposure modes in Contax 159MM and later cameras. If you don't have such a camera, MM is irrelevant except that it indicates the lens was made in 1985 or later, for whatever that's worth. I don't think Yashica ever made an MM lens or that they used the AE/MM designations. For optical purposes the only thing that matters is T* and all the modern Zeiss lenses have that.
  27. The rangefinders in the Electro series started life in the mid-sixties and ran till the early seventies. The RTS came out in 1975, so I think that puts the ML line later than the Yashinons. I don't think the Yashinon was a particular design, and I'm sure some fairly elementary and low-end snappers had Yashinons that were not a match for those on the Electros.

    You're right, only Contax lenses were available with the MM lug ; the Yashicas were effectively AE only. There were some third party lenses that had the MM lug, such as the Sigma 400mm Apo in C/Y mount, which also has the characteristic green colour for the smallest aperture. There were Yashica C/Y mount cameras that would operate in Program mode with any lens, AE or MM, these being the ill-starred 107/108/109 models. I haven't fully understood why the MM lug was needed.
  28. Right -
    So it would appear the best combination of lowest price and best optics remain with the Yashica ML lenses unless I missed something.
    If so one would need a body to hang them on. Unlike to many people, 4000 and 8000 shutter speeds are important to me in 35mm; well in terms of buying into a new system anyway. This is why I would want to look at Contax bodies not Yashica.
    As an example I am happy to shoot my Zorki III with Jupiter 12 except skys are not always even from side to side but don't want to invset more in fundamentally limited systems.
    My customer requirement now seems to be 4000 and 250 sync, i.e. Contax equivalent to Nikon FE2.
    The three reasons I got involved with Nikon were regarding manual cameras were
    1. Flash sync of 250
    2. Shutter speeds. I would prefer 8000 which is where the F100 comes in but it is a battery hog. I also think N2000 and N2020 are some of the most undervalued cameras out there, (2000 shutter) and I have both. I use them to protect my FE2 and F100 when not needing their advanced features.
    3. Lens compatibility with Digital SLR. I just have a D2H but it often does not excite me image wise. I would be willing to not worry about digital compatibility with Contax.
    4. Auto focus. I could forget this as well
    I hate having to shoot fast glass stopped down all the way in good light which is my beef with medium format as well espicially modern faster films. It would be ok with iso 25 film but that is not practical. Shooting everything at F11 or F16 is tedious in daytime and I don't care to go the netural density route as the number of them required for all my old cameras would be absurd. I like to shoot telephoto at wide apeture in daytime for maximum lack of depth of field and it is very easy to hit 4 or 8 thousand.
    This is why I staved away from Canon FD and why I sold the FRII, including the typically broken film counter, also I prefer A priority.
    So Yashica cameras are out topping out at 2000 so I would need to go Contax.
    What would be the best or cheapest way to get into a Contax, ML Yashica compatible, 4000 and 250 sync? Nice to have one A mode but no more features required of course MLU or DOP would be nice.
    Maybe some of the older Contax lenses are not that mush more than the Yashica, I haven't tried to compare but it would be nice to have the Yashica ML or Zeiss options.
    Can anyone help me with Contax bodies 4000 or 8000 shutter speed in C/Y mount?
  29. The Contax models you will be looking at are the 159MM, the S2/S2b, or the RTS III.
    The S2 is a fully mechanical camera with top speed 4000 and sync at 250. The S2 holds its price really well, so it's not in the scope of your "cheapest way", and it's rather rare on the S/H market, though you could get lucky. The 159 has top speed 4000 and flash sync at 250. There is an ST model, which syncs at 200. The RTS III will give you 8000 and 250, and you would shell out around GBP 500 for this body.

    The 159 is a peach of a camera, and I like mine a lot. It has a regular AE (Av) mode, and three Program modes (though not fully Tv), so it will work with MM lenses in Program modes. 'P' is Program AE, HP is high-speed Program (linked to shutter priority at 1/1000) and LP is low-speed Program (shutter priority at 1/60). It has DOF preview, but not mirror lock-up. I can't remember if the mirror flips up at the start of a self-timer exposure.
    The 159 is not expensive on the used market, and a body should not set you back more than GBP 100 (or its equivalent). I have heard some people say theirs had unreliable electronics, but mine has worked flawlessly for years, and the only unreliability stories I know of have been anecdotal 'net stories. It takes the W-7 Winder, which when added gives it a lovely made-for-the-hands feel. It's probably the one that satisfies most of your criteria in performance and price.
  30. I must agree the 159 seems like a fit and is good looking.
    I am coming from Nikon so could you verify if AE(AV) means apeture priority and TV is shutter priority?
    Assuming AE is apeture priority can I retain that if I do not have MM lenses? I don't care if I lose program but would like to retain A auto. I guess it MM makes no difference to the S2. Where do the AE lenses fit in around here?
    The RTS III apperas to be heavy and a battery hog. I would be looking for more of a travel camera like FE2. How is the 159 on batteries?
    A bad thing about the FE2 is it is not possible to see the meter needle at night, The N2000 has leds in the finder so I use them at night. A good thing about the FE2 era is that the meter will sit there and meter for minuets if necesary even though that is not an advertised design, newer Nikons stop at 30 seconds.
    How is the 159 at night in these regards?
    I have been trying to find the metering sensitivity spec for the 159 but have not as yet.
  31. AE (=Auto) is aperture priority in the usual way. On some cameras, it's labelled Av (Aperture value). Shutter priority is also known as Tv (Time value). You only get Program or Tv on MM type bodies and with MM lenses mounted. If you put a Yashica lens on an MM enabled body, like the 159, it will still work in AE mode. The Contax Program modes only work when there's an MM lens attached, otherwise, you'll just have standard AE (unless of course you're using fully manual mode). So you'll get what you expect and want here.
    An AE lens is just an ordinary lens with the usual auto diaphragm mechanism. All the Yashica lenses are AE style, and all will mount on a Contax body and give you Auto/AE exposure mode. Contax lenses are AE or MM ; AE is the older type, MM the newer. Optically, they're indistinguishable, so if you find an AE at a low price, take it. You tell an MM lens because the smallest aperture is engraved in green, and all the others in white.If you have a 50mm Planar and the f/16 value is in white, it's an AE style lens ; if the f/16 is engraved in green, it's MM.
    When you set the camera to an MM/Program mode, you also set the aperture on the lens to the green value, say, f/22. The camera then chooses the aperture to use according to its rules, anywhere from the widest the lens has to the one you've set the lens to as minimum. That's it.
    The 159 uses LEDs in the viewfinder. The aperture is displayed in red figures at the bottom centre of the viewfinder. On either side are indicators that tell you if you've a Program mode enabled, or exposure compensation dialled in. On the vertical right of the viewfinder is a stack of LEDs and numbers showing the chosen speed. If you are in manual mode, the speed you've set will flash and the speed the meter reckons on will glow steady, if they differ. If the aperture value is flashing, it means you have set the AE-lock to On. Metering display stays on for 15 seconds.
    Metering range is 0 - 20 EV, film speed range is ISO 12 - 3200.
  32. Contax 159MM Specifications
    (I haven't bothered to make a perfect scan here!)
  33. Contax 159MM Specifications (cont'd)
  34. Thanks so much for the effort Alex
    The 159 really seems to have the best blend compared to the 167 and RTS III.
    The 159 is the only one with 60 second slow speed. The 167 is only 16 sec. and 125 th sync so that is out
    The 0 ev metering is typical, I wonder why Pentax LX was the only one who could do -6 ev?
    Based on the battery type it must be thrifty on batteries. Have you found your batteries last quite long like manual Nikons? I imagine based on the battery type the camera weight is not too bad compared to say RTS III.
    I am working on the AX and ST, I know they are more expensive but only a couple hundred more. I have not found their full specs or pros and cons yet.
  35. I have three 159MMs and love them. I also have two 167s; they're more capable cameras but not as enjoyable as the 159s.
    Alex: I haven't fully understood why the MM lug was needed.
    Here's a little secret: It isn't needed! All it does is tell the camera's electronics that there is a MM lens attached. You can see that it nudges a little lever on the mount when you mount your lens. Allegedly, MM lenses had lighter diaphragms so that the camera could manipulate them more quickly and with less stress when making program exposures. Maybe they really did, maybe they didn't; and maybe such changes were needed, maybe they weren't; that was just what we users were told. But you can fool your camera into thinking that any lens is an MM lens simply by making a little slug and jamming it next to that lever that the MM lug engages, so that the lever is in the position that it would be with an MM lens attached. The camera will then operate in program (and Tv) mode with any C/Y mount lens. I used mine in this way with Yashica lenses and third-party C/Y mount lenses of all kinds; the program modes always worked perfectly and I never had any problems with slow diaphragms or overstressed cameras.
    Newindustar, my batteries typically lasted me 2 to 3 years in the 159MM.
  36. It is a shame you seem to 'need' the flash sync at 1/250..why? because you will be losing out on the best and biggest bargains in the Contax SLR range.
    I have owned most of them and used tham all. The best IMO for travel (by far) are the RTS2, which is a real bargain these days...better built than all except the other RTS's. Ideal size & weight for travel and can be easily had on ebay for 80-130 GBP. The REAL travel Contax though is the Aria. This is my favourite of all the Contax range. The smallest & lightest with superb handing and build, even though it is not metal, it feels great. It is basically a smaller ST with almost identical style & ergonomics.
    The Aria & RTS2 also have larger (higher magnification) viewfinders than some of the range, such as RX, ST and others which while remain super cameras do have slightly smaller and tunnel-like viewfinders. The older and now very cheap 137MA is also lovely, as is the 167MT.
    The RTS3 is very heavy and bulky...pointless buying one unless you really need its specs. The S2 (spot meter only) and the S2B (centre weighted meter) are super manual SLR's, but now the highest priced of all the cameras here by far due to them now being cult cameras.
    ...cheers Steve.
  37. Steven the 2000 shutter speed is more a limiter for me. My $35.00 N2000s are 1/2000 and I often run out of room at the top.
    I was looking at KEH; excellent 167 and 159 are under 200.00, There is an Ex AX for 400. A bargain RTSII is 180.
    Actually the cost of the bodies under discussion is not much of an issue,; if I sold my FE2 it would cover the cost of a Contax body.
    The issue would come back to lenses. The KEH Zeiss prices August enumerated above are still expensive compared to Nikon gear. Actually the Zeisis teles and zooms are doable for the not very fast ones anyway.
    The issue is on the wides. For example my fairly well regarded 18-35 f3.5-f4.5 AF zoom used is about 350 new about 500. I could not get into ultrawide with Zeiss.
    I could do the Planar 50mm, a bit more than the Nikkor or the Sonnar.
    I don't see a replacement for my 35mm f2. My f2 bargain at Key was 88.00 and is very sharp. It was well used, worst condition I ever saw a bargain from KEH, I actually had to repair the apeture ring, clean and lube, and I would have returned it if it was not so good optically. Probably that is why it was heavily used.
    Fast glass is a goal here as this would be an existing light system. Zeiss no doubt has the faster than 2.8 versions but it must be very high. I am not seeing it.
    I guess I would be back to my original idea or to depend on finding the more exotic of the Yashica glass; I have not seen it on Ebay yet so it hard to know the values.
    KEH has 24mm 2.8 Yashica at almost 200, double the price of the Nikkor equivalent. I am getting a sneaky feeling the common ML glass is cheap but the rarer stuff hard to find and not cheap unless compared to Zeiss.
    There is one key item I would like to ask you experts here. If you adapt lenses, specifically Mamiya 645, possibly Nikon, to likely the 159 body do you retain AV metering?
    I saw an adapter that was Pentacon 6 to Contax/Yashica mount and they claimed metering retention.
    "DVDTechnik. With this adapter you can use all Pentacon 6, Kiev-60, 88CM lenses on any Contax/Yashica SLR cameras Contax SLR: RTS, RTS 2, RTS 3, RX, S2, S2b, ST, 137 MA, 137 MD Quartz, 139 Quartz, 159 MM Quartz, 159 MT Quartz - Yashica SLR: FR, FR-1, FR-2, FX-1, FX-2, FX-3, FX-7, FX-3 Super 2000, FX-D Quartz, FX-70, FX-103 Program, 108 Multi Program, 200AF, 230AF, 230AF Super, 300 Auto Focus etc. Metering through the lens is possible in Av (aperture priority) or in Manual mode. Retains lens ability to focus to infinity, but transmits no functions between body and lens. The operation of the adapter is very simple. There is no difference in the order of lens-adapter-camera junction.""
    If C/Y has this ability to meter like Canon digital does Contax bodies would become much more compelling to me as a platform to hang various lenses from.
    I would be very happy with that as with Nikon you end up with stop down metering. I actuall have the M645 to Nikon adapter. I have not been able to locate an M645 to C/Y version yet.
    Would Contax bodies be forced into stop down metering? How about the auto diaphram aspect?
  38. I tried the tip about 'forcing' the MM lug to engage with a Yashica lens, and it works! I haven't tried it with film yet, but a dry run certainly works, so I'm going to give it a go. I do remember on another forum, posting an explanation that the diaphragm had to be lighter in the MM lenses in order for the lens to stop down quick enough in Tv mode (repeating what I'd seen elsewhere), and someone pointed out that the diaphragm had to stop down in time anyway for AE mode, and I couldn't think of a reason why that shouldn't be true in Tv mode in that case.
    Incidentally, my silver oxide batteries last from two to three years in my 159, though I don't let them go longer than that anyway. This compares well with my FX-D, whose batteries don't see out six months.
    I've no idea, unfortunately, about a Mamiya 645 to CY adapter, and how it would function. Nikon to Contax won't work ; at least, you would not preserve infinity focus as the Nikon's lens to film registration distance is a good millimetre longer than the Contax's. So you'd need a correcting lens element in the adapter, which would rather dent the rationale for having Zeiss glass in the first place.
    I use Zeiss lenses on a Canon, and whilst the Av metering mode works, metering takes place at the taking aperture, as there's no way for the adapter to transmit the diaphragm actuation from the EOS mount to the CY lens. In practice, this means focussing at the widest aperture, then changing to the taking aperture and shooting. I'm guessing a similar situation is likely to obtain with other adapted mount combinations.
  39. I've only just noticed Steve's listing on UK dealers (how on earth did I miss that?). I haven't dealt with all of them, but those I have, I'd echo his comments. I still use ffordes a lot, but as Steve says, their prices on some items have crept up. My brother lives close enough to shop over the counter, and he says the service quality is high, and the place is an Aladdin's Cave for photographers. That's where I got my RX, which had been advertised as 'slight signs of use'. Blowed if I could see any at all, it was immaculate. The only slight disappointment was a TLA30 flash that had some gouges to the bodywork, from what seemed to have been plastic labelling tape that had been removed with a screwdriver, but it worked perfectly and still does.

    Whilst Aperture were on the high price side, they also had what I was looking for at the price I was willing to pay. A fair bit of my CV stuff (Bessa R3A and several lenses) came from there. Very good over the phone. The R3A was advertised as 'mint', but showed a fair bit of rubbing wear on the baseplate corners, and that to me counts as 'obvious signs of use', not mint at all ; nevertheless, it was still worth the price to me, and I'd still have bought it had the description been more appropriately restrained.

    I'm a tad sorry Steve mentioned MXV. I rather felt they were my own special discovery, and now he's let the cat out of the bag. No online ordering system, so you have to ring up, and occasionally things are gone by the time you do. Very friendly over the phone, and will fetch the item your interested in and give a good description of it. Many prices on the good side of average, though shipping charges can be high. The first time I saw a 20/2.8 Flektogon there, it had gone by the time I got to the phone, but a few months perseverance netted another, and this time I was lucky. And moreso because the price was significantly less than the eBay average.

    Never used Nicholas of Camden. I avoided them like the proverbial plague after reading this Photo.net thread http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?topic_id=23&msg_id=003Wuw

    Jonathan Harris's Contax does indeed seem to have dried up. That's where I got my 180mm Sonnar. He telephoned me at my office on receiving my order, to tell me that there were two models made of the S180, one slightly heavier than the other, and asked if I knew as he didn't want me to get something different from what I expected. I thought that very customer-oriented. It was the heavier model, but I still love it. No hesitations at all in recommending.

    R G Lewis is a 'proper' photo dealer. Got my Distagon 28 there, and the price was good. More of a Leica place, but I wouldn't hold that against them. Helpful, knowledgeable, and quietly enthusiastic, that was my experience there.

    I've bought new from Robert White (and it was a good experience) but not second-hand, as RW charge full VAT on second-hand goods, which makes them more expensive than they need be.

    I'm going to bookmark the others mentioned by Steve.
  40. PS: Ignore what I said about Nikon/CY adapter registration distances, I was talking out of my hat, and had something entirely different in mind!
  41. Hi,
    This is the PN thread with the longest posts I can ever remember seeing.
    Newindustar: You seem confused about exactly what you do want....you first said bargain price Yashica lenses...but now you are talking about 'fast glass' which is exactly at the other end of the price scale.....to illustrate:
    Your opening line: "The intent here is to determine the cheapest way to get into a Zeiss/Zeiss equivalent SLR system"
    Then later: "Fast glass is a goal here as this would be an existing light system"
    If you can really work out what you do want then we may be able to help you better. The two statements by you above contradict each other.
    Zeiss has some fast lenses (check my Zeiss lens list) but the fast Zeiss C/Y lenses are expensive and VERY heavy & bulky...which is not really wanted for travel photography. I often find many people say they 'need' fast glass, but the reality is that very few users do need fast lenses.
    If you do indeed 'need' or 'want' fast Zeiss glass then this is hardly a cheap way into a Zeiss system.....
    The slower lenses in almost any lens range are not only much cheaper, lighter & smaller, but also often have better IQ, due to simpler optics. I used to have the Zeiss 35/1.4, 85/1.4, 100/2 and others, but got very fed up of my shoulders aching. I then changed to 18/4, 25/2.8, 35/2.8, 85/2.8 & 100/3.5 and was far happier.
    Alex....sorry about letting MXV out of the bag...although I think many people already know...it is also interesting you found that old thread about Uk dealers and in particular Nicholas in Camden, London....you missed my thread about them though.....
    cheers Steve.M.
  42. If you google 'nicholas camera' you will find some horror stories on other forum threads...some are rather funny...
  43. Yes is quite impressively long thanks to all the folks with expertise in the system.
    Of course I should have realized ALL adaptations result in stop-down metering, even the Canon EF. Thinking about it adapting MF lanses is more about telephotos which are relatively not that expensive in Yashica or Zeiss and it does not solve the very wide end costs.
    Realize I have been learning as I go; the goals were to see if I could get into a higher level of lenses realtive to Nikkor via the C/Y mount and at an equivalent to Nikkor cost.
    The first discovery was that Yashica had some very good lenses which is not what I expected.
    Next came the realization that Contax bodies were one of the best and could rival or perhaps exceed Nikons for a given era.
    I then discovered despite the C/Y mount Zeiss would still be be costlier than Nikkor on the wide endand would force me into slower glass due to cost of faster Zeiss glass.
    After that I looked again at Yashica lenses but could not find the more desirable ones on ebay or KEH so I could also not price them. The few I did find seemed costlier than Nikkor as well. In terms of quality; Yashica vs Nikkor vs Zeiss I have to admit I am not quite sure which may be superior as a line. Likely it is not possible to say espicailly compared to the best of the Nikkors. For all I know Nikkors share designs with Zeiss or Yashica for that era. Likely none of the best of them are all that superior. Nobody seems fully able to make that claim.
    The entire point was to get some additional optical quality for not more money thanmy my manual focus Nikons. I considered keeping all my AF Nikkon system bodies and lenses and switching to Contax plus a few excellent primes fo rmanual focus. I would give up a lot of interoperability, for example I can throw any of my manual Nikkors on my D2H or F100 and shoot away, no stop down metering necessary. Conversly I can use my AF lenses on my manual bodies. I would lose flash compatibility between manual and AF bodies as well. There are numerous other sacrifices I would make as well. Apparently lens speed is likely to be one of them unless I could find the fastest yashicas at a reasonable price.
    The juncture I am a now if if I would be happier with a seperate Contax based manual system. Body wise it may be a toss up. The big question for me is if I would find more satisfying optical results with a few chosen C/Y primes vs Nikkor. If not it probably does not make sense.
    It would help to know what the more desirable Yashica primes and their costs as I have not been able to determines that. However I would require at least the 50mm to be a 1.4., likely an 85mm as well. I could consider the Planars or Sonnars in Zeiss costwise, would they be a better value over the same in Yashica?
    I found this Yashica list
    Someone here was referencing the hard to find Yashica 55 2.8 macro so I took as shot with the Nikkor AI version shot wide open on a D2H digital for you comparison.
  44. Newindustar: It's always tricky with prices, not least since eBay can register enormous swings. None of the ML wides (15/21/24/28/35) is faster than f/2.8. I have all except the 15mm, and they are excellent.
    The 24/2.8 is a favourite, and when I bought mine three years ago from ffordes, it cost GBP 65, which I snapped up as a bargain. I've seen it once or twice on eBay go for similar amounts.
    I've seen the 28/2.8 go for as little as GBP 10, though more commonly GBP 25-40. The 35mm seems a little rarer, and mine cost GBP 26 on eBay, and it's worth more than that. The 21mm is on the slower side at f/3.5, and is one of the hardest to find, pricing at around GBP 180-200 when it does turn up. Its high reputation is merited.
    The fastest 'normal' ML I have is the 50/1.4, and it's a stonking piece of glass, excellent. When it does turn up, it tends to be at prices close to the Zeiss Planar f/1.7, though still about half the price of the Planar 50/1.4.
    The ML 50/1.7 is very good indeed, and can usually be had for a song - I've seen it go for GBP 15, about a third of the Planar 50/1.7. Choose the 1.4 or 1.7 from the ML 50mm.
    There isn't an 85mm ML prime. If that's your F/L, then it's Zeiss for the Sonnar in the f/1.4 or f/2.8 configurations, otherwise, you have the ML 100mm. As I have the Zeiss 100/3.5 Sonnar, I haven't bothered tracking the ML one down.
    The fastest normal ML is the 55/1.2, but this is one I don't have. I do have the 55/2.8 Macro (for which I paid GBP 52), but haven't yet had a chance to test it other than casually, though its reputation is very high indeed.
    I'm not the best person to comment on Nikon vs Zeiss, that really needs someone with wider Nikon experience than I have. My Nikon is an FG/EM set with some Series E primes and zooms, including the lovely 100/2.8. My RTS with Planar 50/1.4 came later, and the first roll through it proved to be my encounter on the road to Damascus. The Nikons haven't been used since. But I bear in mind that the Series E, good as so much of it is, was aimed at a cost-conscious amateur consumer base. Zeiss was a revelation to me, and Yashica/Contax/Zeiss is where I'm staying.
  45. Well I am really thinking of giving it a try. It is not so terrible buying and reselling this old film gear; often one can recoup all of one's investment and get nearly free use of the gear in the meantime. What a deal!
    By the way I was in no way "trolling", if that is the term, for Nikon, that is my personal dilema. I've got to breakdown and confess, I am lusting after a new body to possess and fondle, a new experience. One can't turn over life partners so causually but cameras can feel unmet needs, right? Seriously I am searching for something extra special in the glass.
    As a none pro no I don't even need it. How many classic camera lovers need this vintage professionally these days anyway?
    In the mean time I am enjoying myself immensly in my new pursuit.
    I am going to muse a bit here a bit and assemble a potential system.
    25mm 2.8 Zeiss $350. Would have to find a 24mm Yashica.
    28mm Zeiss 2.8 $250 Better find Yashica?
    35mm 2.8 Zeiss 250, better to go Yashica?
    50mm 1.4 A nice Yashica version for 100-150.00 . Is it better to just go Zeiss for 200.00?
    Theres a new 55mm 1:1.2 on ebay buy now for 1162.00 Outrageous! Nikkors are 350.
    85mm Zeiss 1.4 $500.00 to high.
    85mm 2.8 Zeiss $300.00, Quite high for me now, Better to go Yashica 100mm 3.5? Is it good?
    135mm 2.8 Zeiss $300, Yashica dirt cheap, is Yashica good here? I could save a lot here.
    180 and 200 2.8 Zeiss 250 to 300 better to go Yashica? Yashiica only has 200/4 slow
    Are Yashica tele zooms like 80-200/4 any good? Would that be a better way to cover the missing 85 to 100 range in Yashica?
    That should cover me.
    Thanks again
  46. If there's any question about Japanese Zeiss glass, have a look at a Contax G1 or G2 camera some time!
  47. AFAIK, Yashica ML (like M42 Yashinons) are just quality lenses, not Zeiss imitations. Maybe not stellar but high quality. 50/2, 50/1.9 and 24/2.8 are very capable lenses. If you find the Sonnar 80-200/4 expensive (I got mine for 175 Euros from this very forum) check the MLs 80-200/4 and 70-210/4.5.
    Are DSBs really inferior?
    Yes they are. At least my 28/2.8 and 135/2.8 are. Sharpness could be so-so or OK, but lots of CA.
    Finally, I you didn't know it, take a look at yashicaforum dot com.
  48. Newindustar: Hope you didn't misconstrue my Nikon comments as suggesting trolling of any kind. Far from it. I simply don't have enough Nikon experience to comment, and I'm far too long in the tooth not to realise that, although my preference is for Zeiss over everything else I've tried, there is fantastic quality to be had from the likes of Nikon, whose reputation is high for a reason. I just like people to be assured that I know my enthusiasm is limited to my experience.
    If I were to choose between those lenses I have that I have in both Zeiss and Yashica examples, I'd choose Zeiss, but that rather goes without saying, and as I often do have both, it's not that helpful.
    I didn't bother when the opportunity came along to buy a 25mm Distagon, however, as I already had the 24mm ML, and I love it. I picked up the 35 ML for a song, even though I had the Distagon 35. The D35 is possibly my favourite lens. The ML may be slightly cooler, but it's razor sharp. People may make voodoo dolls of me and stick pins in it for confessing it, but I got both for a song, and less than half or a third the market price, so I got 'em both.
    The 28mm ML is really good. You won't regret it, even if you pick up the CZ later on.
    The 50/1.4 seems to attract a higher price. If you want an f/1.4, go for it. If the choice is between that and the CZ f/1.7, I'd go for the CZ, because in my neck of the woods, the CZ tends to be only a little more above what I've seen the 50/1.4 ML go for.
    Can't say about the Yashica 100mm, as I don't have it, but the CZ 85mm is fantastic (I could only afford the f/2.8, but love it still). The CZ 100mm is, I think, the sharpest CZ lens I've encountered. (I know, sharpness isn't everything, so you might not want it for a portrait lens without a Softar to hand...)
    I really like the CZ 135/2.8. It was the second CZ lens I bought after the Planar 50/1.4. I have the Yashica 135/2.8, but have not yet got round to any comparative testing.
    The Yashica tele zooms are good. I have no CZ zooms, so can't comment, but I think folks like August probably can. I do have the Yashica 70-210, and that's a peach, though at f/4.5 you might find it limiting in speed. I like it a lot, a very lot. The earlier 80-200/4 is just as good. I've also had good results from the 75-150. My grab-in-a-fire Yashica zoom has to be the 28-85.
    These are all judgement calls, and my judgements, of course, come with the caveat that my photo priorities will not be the same as yours. Your priority on lens speed is probably greater than mine, so the fact that most of the ML range outside the 50mm's are two point something or smaller doesn't bother me. And my wife, delightfully indulgent as she is in letting me spend money on my hobby, would have her patience (and my neck) stretched by ultra-fast Zeiss.
    You can acquire a very admirable Yashica core system for a price that is close to theft. All that I doubt is that you'd ever regret it. You can slot in the Zeiss components as time, and opportunity, permit. I don't think you'd ever regret that, either. But if I'm biassed, at least it's public, and based on my experience.
    As Alberto suggests, forget the DSB/YUS lenses. They are very good, however, for throwing at small boys and yapping dogs.
  49. I am pleased you discussed those various lens. I do intend to give them a try. Apparently you can't adapt them Nikon bodies. heck maybe I just get a Yashica ML with a cheap Yashica body hanging of it to see how Yashica glass is before I worry about the Contax body.
    I heard so much good about the Nikon D700, how it out performs medium format etc. to the extent I was wondering if film still made sense. Well I stopped in a dealer with my CF card and shoot the D700 with a new Pro Nikkor zoom and took the raw files home. I was underwhelmed both againt my old 4.1 MPX D2H and film. The noise improvement though better was not as much better as touted nor was the sharpness very impressive. The color was good tho. The files did not sharpening either. Dammned if it didn't still that unpleasant fake digital look and smeary distant tree detail. Think I keep my 3000 for some nice old film gear, as if I need more.

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