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Zeiss Lenses for Nikon FE2 ?

Harry Joseph , Mar 21, 2011; 09:07 p.m.

I sent my Nikon FE2 for a CLA'. The camera is generally in good condition except that I think there is a problem with the electrical system, or the light meter, or both. This is my second FE2, my first one was purchased used back in 1989 as a gift to myself. I find it incredible that back then I use to think the camera was a bit large, now it seems just the opposite. It feels incredibly small and light in my hands compared to my DSLR's.
Once in a while I like to forget about all the fancy buttons and high-tech stuff and just go out, take my time and simply shoot with what is available. I know Carl Zeiss makes some lenses for the newer Nikon and Canons, but did they make any lenses for those cameras back in the film days. Or why bother, why not stick with some good old Nikkor primes. So far I have the 50mm f1.4, the 55 f2.8(micro), the 105 f2.5, the 35mm f2.8( E series), the 135mm f2.8 (E series) and the 300mm f4. Does anybody have any suggestions. Oh yeah, the 35mm f1.4 is still selling for over $700 on eBay.


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Bob Sunley , Mar 21, 2011; 09:25 p.m.

Well the current ones on BHPhoto have AI type aperture rings. :) The ones listed as discontinued even show a pre AI meter coupling prong.

Dave Lee , Mar 21, 2011; 09:26 p.m.

I've yet to find the Zeiss lenses with Nikon mount at an affordable price. You can buy one new for more than $1000.00 but I think that's somewhat of a joke when you consider how good Nikkor primes already are. So yes, Zeiss lenses are commonly seen as the best ever made, but you have to pay for that reputation. Personally I find Nikon lenses to be superb and well worth the small investment. But Zeiss lenses command too high a price for my budget.

Carl Becker , Mar 21, 2011; 09:35 p.m.

I would look for some excellent used Nikkor AIS glass. You could pickup 3 or 4 nice focal lengths for the price of one Zeiss. If you choose well they all would have 52mm filter size.

Bob H , Mar 21, 2011; 10:06 p.m.

You can have older Zeiss Contax and Leica R lenses converted using the Leitax adaptors. Or you can buy
the adaptor and do the conversion yourself. It is not too difficult. Each has a signature that is different from an AIS Nikkor. There is also a converter offered for the Zeiss Hasselblad lenses. You can use them on your FE or your Nikon DSLR. They are fun to experiment with.

Erwin Baeyens , Mar 22, 2011; 08:01 a.m.

If you're not a pro then the difference between the Zeiss lenses and the Nikkors in price will not be of any purpose to you.
keep in mind that you'll be buying a lens that has been built bij Cosina( nothing wrong with that) and branded "zeiss".
That it is only manual focus is not of real concern to you, but at that price I'd want a lens I can use on all my camera's.
Also on lighter digital and film af slrs you have no metering information as these a not chipped (basically, F80 derived bodies), So to me and I stress that "TO ME" once again, what it boils down to is a very expensive lens, that only works as should on manual and upper echelon Nikon cameras, that apart from that test on Photozone.de has not been extensively tested and reviewed in a decent manner ( no dpreview test) and on the photozone test it is only marginally better than the Nikon 50 1.4 d or G and only for sharpness. vignetting is worse, aberation is worse, and cost is 3 times that of the nikon.

Michael Bradtke , Mar 22, 2011; 11:35 a.m.

If you buy the ZF2 series of lenses they have a CPU chip.
In my not always humble opinion I would say that the price is way out there for a manual focus lens.
I have a Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 that I am very happy with. The build and optical quality's meet my expectations. It too was built by Cosina and I don't have a problem with that. To me the price of the 20mm was in line with they quality of the lens.
I have always felt that Zeiss equipment was over priced. I am not saying that its not good gear I am just saying that I feel it is over priced.
And to answer your question the ZF lenses will work on your FE2 with no problem other then to your wallet.

Steve Renwick , Mar 22, 2011; 12:40 p.m.

I was curious about the Zeiss lenses too. I have a FM3A and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. The local rental agency had Zeiss ZF lenses available. I rented one, took some side-by-each comparison shots on Ilford Delta 100 and printed them at 8x10. I couldn't see the difference, and only one guy (out of ten) to whom I showed the prints was able to pick the Zeiss-lens prints correctly.
I suspect that if you were shooting USAF resolution targets you might see a difference, but in real life you won't.
Happy shooting.

dennis george miller , Mar 22, 2011; 02:09 p.m.

I was looking for my FE2 last night, kinda miss it. I usually use the F, but thinking of the nice feel the FE2 has, and I agree that it is better than most cameras. When I travel I take it with the 28-45 and 50-135, both these zooms can beat many primes I have on tripod. And although I can see in the microscope (at 40x) that expensive lenses are better, I can't see it in the print unless I go to 16x20, then it is mostly my technique that gets in the way. For me the workmanship and variety of the old nikors are unbeatable. The 35mm 2.0 is fine. Think very few lenses can out resolve that 55 you have! But I have no experience with zeiss 35mm.

Ilkka Nissila , Mar 23, 2011; 05:37 a.m.

The signature "look" of the Zeiss lenses is very different from Nikkors. Any regular user of both brands who is not blind would be able to tell the difference. Not necessarily on every image, but there are many telltale signs.

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