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Author Topic: Zeiss Rangefinder Pair  (Read 2365 times)
Rob C
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« on: August 21, 2010, 11:53:14 AM »
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Whilst one reads a great deal about the Leica M system, not quite as much user experience seems available here about the current Zeiss alternatives, the rangefinder-fitted one or the non-rangefinder wide-angle one.

This seems a little strange to me, and I wondered if anyone here has any experiences with the above equipment that they might like to pass along, particularly regarding the use of either camera with the 28mm and wider lenses.

As many people already own good dedicated film scanners, possibly also have a stock of film as well as GePe mounts and Diane Wyllie archival wallets (okay, I do) and seeing that film isn't really looking to be dead within the next few years, it could be that the call of a non-slr or non-digital camera might not have as much to do with sirens as some think.

http://www.zeiss.com

The above link is quite interesting, and another one, dslr.com has a review of the rangfinder model but it's in Spanish, so possibly not as useful here.

Love to learn what your experiences are with this gear.

Rob C

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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2010, 12:21:48 PM »
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The Zeiss Ikon is on my wishlist and I believe its an awesome camera along with the lenses.
I wish they also had a an M9 equivalent.
And I'm very excited what will happen, once Kyocera has not the rights to use the Contax brand name anymore and what Zeiss, who own it will do then.
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Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2010, 01:37:12 PM »
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Well, Chris, if they are going to do anything about a digital RF camera, they have no need to await the use of the name Contax. I don't know if it was sold outright, or if under a time licence, but there is nothing wrong with the Zeiss brand as it is, and if it is fine for the cameras they do make, then it would be just as acceptable for digital.

However, I wonder if they have the resources/will to go into a narrow genre like that (RF 35mm) and perhaps Leica did because of the dependency on the M history and reputation and the existing M lens lines. Zeiss cameras do accept Leica glass - as far as I can make out from the site - and their prices are far more realistic to the lesser mortal than the Leica ones. Interesting; hope they do make a digi version but if they do, I expect they will be obliged to put it as far out of my reach as is the M9!

Rob C
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2010, 01:50:55 PM »
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The Contax brand license to Kyocera is a timed one that expires.
Thats written in one of their FAQs at the Zeiss website.

Concering M system and Leica compatibility - they can't dot-code their lenses, but apart from that its all fully interchangeable.
You could even put Zeiss lenses on an M9.
Or paint a red dot on the new Zeiss Ikon - its all interchangeable.
And they have crazy lenses, like the 15 mm .... which actually is a Distagon and not a Biogon ...
* Christoph C. Feldhaim craves ....
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 06:53:22 PM »
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Whilst one reads a great deal about the Leica M system, not quite as much user experience seems available here about the current Zeiss alternatives, the rangefinder-fitted one or the non-rangefinder wide-angle one.

This seems a little strange to me, and I wondered if anyone here has any experiences with the above equipment that they might like to pass along, particularly regarding the use of either camera with the 28mm and wider lenses.

As many people already own good dedicated film scanners, possibly also have a stock of film as well as GePe mounts and Diane Wyllie archival wallets (okay, I do) and seeing that film isn't really looking to be dead within the next few years, it could be that the call of a non-slr or non-digital camera might not have as much to do with sirens as some think.

http://www.zeiss.com

The above link is quite interesting, and another one, dslr.com has a review of the rangfinder model but it's in Spanish, so possibly not as useful here.

Love to learn what your experiences are with this gear.

Rob C




Rob

I use the RF Ikon extensively and it has become my favourite camera to use (I have a 1Ds3 and recently sold a 5D). I've actually got two bodies and the 25, 35 and 50 (sonnar) lenses. Also a Voigtlander 15 and M-Rokkor 90.

If you can live with the rf limitations and film I think it has some advantages over the leica M7 - price, better viewfinder and great service - but there is an internet viewthat it is less robust, though the only problem I've had with mine was knocking a rangefiner out of alignment when I dropped the (unpadded and full) bag on the floor. Zeiss fixed it quickly and eficiently. Of course there is no red dot:)

The viewfinder is both bigger and brighter than M6 or M7, but see comment below about focus patch. The shutter is less lovely than the M6, but not loud (then a nikon D40 is also quiet...).

If you don't wear glasses I think the 28 would be fine with the rf finder, but I struggle with that set of framelines with my (-8) shortsight and glasses. Contact lenses are fine. It's actually the perfect 35mm camera, with a very big bright vf and clear lines. The rf effective length is long (~75mm) and so focussing is easy. Sometimes the patch is difficult to see if you don't centre your eye properly, but in practice you learn to do that in a few time use. I can focus on an edge in lower light than the 1Ds3 can autofocus, but the slr af is quicker in good light.

Zeiss commented some years ago that they could envisage a digital Ikon, but wanted the tech to mature first. I could imagine it happening at some time in the not distant future.

Mike
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 06:55:10 PM by sojournerphoto » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 10:30:00 AM »
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Thanks for your experiences with the Zeiss alternative to the M, Mike.

I do need glasses for reading, and had wondered how I'd get on with diopter correction lenses on the camera - I assume it takes these! I still have an F3 Nikon that's hardly been used and I use a diopter lens with that, but I bought the things some years ago and have no idea where my eyesight lives right now - since nobody here seems to carry any stock of anything beyond the occasional body, it would be a shot in the dark trying to opt for such a correction lens.

My digi Nikons are a D200 and a D700 and I have manual lenses except for a 180mm which is af; I would be expecting an rf camera to be focussed a lot via the depth of field band at whatever aperture; at least Zeiss still uses proper markings on the lens barrels and so that should help somewhat with focus, at least for the sort of stuff I have in mind.

The principle reason I'm looking towards film rangefinder is weight and bulk. Both of my digis are too heavy for me to cart around for a morning or whatever and the F3 ain't that much better; I have umpteen camera bags and they all fail me: they become part of the problem rather than of the solution. My dream is an M6 with a 2/35 Summicron or, alternatively, a 28mm lens of some sort, but I still await the right sequence of numbers every week. Of course, the really, real dream is an M9, but I don't want the Fates to think me greedy so I keep that one close to my chest. But, something else that seems to be a bonus with Leica is the silence of the shutter on the film cameras, at least up to the M6, I think. The electrical ones are vertical, I believe, and faster, which probably causes the noise problem...

Any idea if the Voigtlander variations are any use as cameras? Did you consider them in your pre-purchase moments?

Rob C
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 10:33:51 AM by Rob C » Logged

sojournerphoto
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 05:13:28 PM »
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Hi Rob

I bought a Zorki 4K about 3 years ago that got me back playing with rf's. Since then I've used (for various reasons) both Voigtlanders - an R2m and an R4m and the Ikons. I've also played with the inevitable M6 and 2/35 in a shop. It very nearly got me:)

The Voigt's are brilliant little cameras, but don't feel as sophisticated as the Ikon. The viewfinder is good, but again not in the Ikon's league. They've also got manual frame selection. The Rxm models are fully manual with a battery powered meter. The shutter is still a metal shutter so sounds like the Rxa (aperture priority/manual and electronic shutter models). The R4 is a wide angle special with a viewfinder framelines out to 21mm - I used it with my 25, but found that the lens protruded into the vf too much for my likiing. I believe it works very well with the voigtlander 4/21 and 4/25 lenses as they are much shorter than the Zeiss. The R2 models are equivalent to the standard Leica/Ikon in frameline and finder magnification and there is also the R3x with a 1x viewfinder that is good for 50s. The effective base length is much shorter than Zeiss or Leica, so in theory (I didn't have any issues in practice) focus is harder on fast lenses, and the body is quite different, but I could very happily live with these as my only camera if I didn't have the Ikons - it wouldn't be any hardship and I was sorry to sell them on really as they were quite comfortable little things.

The Ikons are superb cameras in use. They will take dioptres - Zeiss or Voigt ones fit and the Nikon probably do too. I don't use them as then I couldn't see to walk around, though Contact lenses serve me well on occasion. Mike Johnston did a review here  http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/zeiss-.html

The M6 feels and sounds very special - beautifully made and the cloth shutter is lovely. There again, I'd likely burn a hole in it through inattentive pointing at the sun or something.

You can, of course, use Zeiss , Leica or Voigtlander and other lenses on any of the bodies and all are much lighter and easier to carry than a 5D or Nikon equivalent. An M9 would be a dream, and one dealer keeps offering me one, but I'm holding out at the moment.

Scanning is a bit of a pain.

Mike


« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 05:17:14 PM by sojournerphoto » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 08:57:49 AM »
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Hello, Mike

Thanks for your reply - you certainly haven't held back from tasting and trying and buying!

I have had another peek into the depths of the freezer at all that film sitting there. It's quite sobering, really, and a reminder that some modern ideas, such as just-in-time purchasing are not that bad! I did a very rough mental multiplication of what it could represent in terms of developing costs at my last-known quotation which was €8 a pop... it makes me think that the best option is to think of the stuff as frozen assets: not to be added to without deep thought and overriding reason!

It occurred to me that Nikon used to make rangefinder cameras and that as they already do a lot of their own sensor development, could be that they might take a glance at Leica's M9 and start to think... now that would put a large cat amongst those pesky pigeons. A rangefinder S4D has a certain ring or zing to it, methinks?

I certainly don't want to go down to the point-and-shoot market for salvation, but something contructive has got to happen soon: I was determined to go and do some stuff this morning, so I put a lens on the D700 and got ready to face the world. I put the thing on my shoulder, got to the front door and stopped. I asked myself what the hell I thought I was going to be doing, and so just replaced the thing in the cupboard and went to eat. The problem isn't simply weight, though that's bad enough, it's the whole 'sticking out like a sore thumb' thing that these large cameras produce in me that turns me off. When there is nothing official to do, it just feels like a poseur doing the rounds of the town squares etc... that's not something I fancy much.

Scanning is indeed a bit of a bore, but it does imply that one has the easy edit facilty of a lightbox, which I find far better than monitor alternatives.

Rob C
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