A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Leica and Rangefinders > Leica M > Zeiss Opton/Sonnar 50

Featured Equipment Deals

Creating a Lightroom Preset (Video Tutorial) Read More

Creating a Lightroom Preset (Video Tutorial)

Learn to create your own preset in Lightroom in this video tutorial so you can save specific combinations of edits to use again and again.

Latest Learning Articles

Featured Member: Katarzyna Gritzmann Read More

Featured Member: Katarzyna Gritzmann

Photo.net featured member Katarzyna Gritzmann talks about photography and portfolio of images.

Zeiss Opton/Sonnar 50

Dan Chang , Apr 13, 2005; 06:12 a.m.

I have recently seen Zeiss Opton and Sonnar 50/1.5 (both T* coated and West German)for Contax IIa in the shop, and am wondering any experienced user found whether one is superior to the other? I know Opton is the ealier make but does it have higher regard or value than the later Sonnar even if the optics are the same? how about the 50/2 sonnars, are they as good as their 50/1.5 siblings? I am having a hard time choosing between the two and need some advise, thanks in advance.


Christopher Chen , Apr 13, 2005; 07:35 a.m.

(1) Zeiss-Opton v. Carl Zeiss 50/1.5 Sonnar: I have both & they're of equivalent optical quality. Some prefer the later Carl Zeiss because they're supposed to have been made w/better quality control, as the Zeiss-Opton were manufactured when the assembly line in Oberkochen was new. On the other side, some prefer the earlier Zeiss-Opton because the Carl Zeiss are more susceptible to separation (I believe they switched to an "improved" adhesive that has proven to be less durable).

(2) 50/1.5 v. 50/2: Both are excellent lenses. IME, the 50/2 is just as good as the 50/1.5 @ f/2, even though the 50/1.5 should theoretically be a bit better. The 50/1.5 is easier to find, @ least in the U.S., so I would lean to the 50/1.5 for that reason alone & get the extra speed (there is no significant size/weight penalty).

I recommend posting your query on the Zeiss Ikon Collectors Group on Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ZICG/), where many of the hardcore Zeiss Ikon collectors & users gather.

Christopher Chen , Apr 13, 2005; 07:37 a.m.

BTW, these lenses are all "T" single-coated, not "T*" multi-coated.

Mike Kovacs , Apr 13, 2005; 10:06 a.m.

I don't own a postwar 50/2 but the prewar 50/2 collapsible I have is every bit as good as my West German "Carl Zeiss" 50/1.5, coating aside.

If I had to own one Sonnar, it would be any of the West German 50/1.5 lenses. According to one noted Contax repairman, the Opton Sonnars often have an improperly assembled lens group. Give it a shake and listen for any rattles. My "Carl Zeiss" was indeed separated and I posted about a clever way to repair it suggested by a veteran repairman.

Look closely at the oil tank for me - Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5, Ilford HP5+, HC110 Dil. D.

huw finney , Apr 13, 2005; 12:06 p.m.

Mike, what is the repair??

Aren't Hondas all wet sump?

Mike Kovacs , Apr 13, 2005; 01:03 p.m.

Fill in the edge separation with the lightest, clearest oil you can find. Capillary action keeps it there...5 months and counting. Always nice to put a $20 paperweight back into service :)

Back to top

Notify me of Responses