Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f2.8 (Part 2)

‘back to the future … Part 1

Tthe Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon (CZJ) is an old lady, produced  between 1955 and 1961. It has 6 elements which is placed in 5 groups.

its imperfections gives a wonderful potential. I am of cause talking about how it is prone to flair, how depth of field lens effects the light and gives crazy Smooth Bubbles. The lens is produced in different versions, this one has 9 aperture blades, but there is rare versions with 12 blades as well. Great center sharpness and it’s really sharp all over from f/5.6 and above.

IMG_0539I like the fact that this lens is prone to lens flare, for some it might be seen as an undesirable effect on the image. I see it differently, for me it is often the element that brings emotion to my picture. It could be an effect of romance, life, depth. My advice is to seek to use them deliberately, rather than being annoyed by these what technically just is diffraction artifacts. It is true lens flare can show itself in more than one way, as long as it only manifests itself as visible artifacts in the shape of the lens iris then I do not mind. It can also appear as a haze across the image and in such situations am I the first to head down in my camera bag to retrieve a lens hood to avoid that washed out look with reduced contrast and color saturation. Diffraction artifact becomes especially interesting in digital cameras, When the sun is shining on an unprotected lens, a group of small rainbows appears. This artifact is formed by internal diffraction on the image sensor, which acts like a diffraction grating.

DSC00777.jpg

Using the CZJ 35mm f/2.8 with a extension tube

Extension tubes is perhaps one use-scenario which I had overlooked the most, and which I am totally nuts about. All the qualities of the lens comes to life combined with a really close macro experience. Do notice how the understated colors is still in play, and the sharpness right on the money, not looking overly sharpened yet very well defined. This shoot of the flower is straight out of the camera, shoot handheld and with no postproduction with no Photoshop magic or cropping

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I’ve had more people suggesting me to look into M42 bellows rather than using extension tubes, they usually sell for similar prices and give both greater flexibility and a wider range of magnification.  I got my extension tube practically for free, but should I purchase one for the full price, my choice had possibly tipped the other way, while the bellows is both easier and more flexible to use. Finally, and not to be considered lightly, bellows are WAY cooler looking than tubes! Impress both friends and strangers!
the math is simple:

  • magnification_change= extension_change/focal_length short lens = big magnification.
  • working_distance_change = focal_length(1/new_magnification-1/old_magnification) long lens = big working distance.

 

 

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