Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2010/02/28

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Subject: [Leica] Zeiss Wide Angle 35mm f/2 Biogon T* ZM
From: mark at (Mark Rabiner)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 17:11:32 -0500

> Mark
> I think everyone got your argument -- a $1000 lens cannot be as good as a
> $3000 lens. This might be true. But I think you ought at least refute the
> commonly held notion -- even by many who love Leica lenses, and I am
> certainly one of those people who love them -- that one pays a substantial
> premium just for the brand, nothing else.  I wouldn't presume to know
> whether this is true. I think certainly when it comes to things like straps
> and viewfinders ($600 for a viewfinder? oy) and lens caps it certainly
> (ridiculously, in fact) is true. When I was young and ignorant I paid a
> fortune for a 39mm Leica plastic pinch-style lens cap (like 30 bucks or
> something; I checked, they're over $60 now) and it was the cheesiest lens
> cap I ever owned. Wouldn't stay on, broke, etc.  All of the luxury brands 
> do
> this: autos, clothes, etc. They overcharge mercilessly on accessories. But
> many folks think Leica charges too much for everything. (I don't agree with
> that; in fact, if the Nikon D3 at 80lbs or whatever it is costs $7000 I
> cannot imagine how the M9 doesn't cost much much more.)
> Also, in recent years, certain lenses have come out from Cosina and 
> elswhere
> that reviewers claim are superior to Leica designs of earlier that still
> sell (I'm thinking here, and will humbly take correction from all who offer
> it, of the CV 21/4 which a slew of reviewers have said is superior to the
> Leica 21mm lens currently extant though the latter costs four times as
> much).
> These two basic tenets, now commonly accepted -- that Leicas often are
> overpriced as a branding stragey and that certain modern technologically
> assisted designs have from time to time (albeit not often) produced 
> superior
> though much less expensive products -- are what allow many of us without a
> second thought to accept the statement that such and such a lens is "world
> class" (and  a $1000 lens probably is 'world class' no?) and to imply that
> the lens is at least comparable to the famed 35mm Summicron AsPH at three
> times the price. As I remarked, the pictures certainly look good enough to
> make certain claims for. (I know I know web images are not prints and who
> can tell and you gotta see 'em at 36" by 24" in an operating room at Mt
> Sinai then you can judge but only with a German loupe -- I know).
> I'm suggesting only that to some, a continued insistence that perforce the
> $3k HAS to be better than the $1K -- because after all it costs three times
> as much which means they spent three times as much making it -- sounds a
> little naive, as if everything in the world were accurately priced 
> according
> to its measurable value. It might just be true in this case but I do think
> your argument needs to acknowledge that some have reasonable doubts.
> I have long heard that the 35, 75 and 90 Summicrons are masterpieces, so I
> don't doubt what you're saying myself. I would love to own one someday.
> Which means I should get to WORK and stop following this highly amusing
> thread.
> Vince
> On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM, Jeffery Smith <jsmith342 at> 
> wrote:
>> Oddly enough, I thought that's what you were saying in your posts. Some of
>> the reactions sort of surprised me.
>> For the record, I have a Nikon film SLR (FM3A) with a Zeiss 50/1.4 Planar
>> on it. I just like the rendering that Zeiss glass gives. Maybe not as 
>> sharp
>> as a Leica lens, but I love the results. I have room for lots of cameras 
>> in
>> my collection, and never get TOO married to any single one of them.
>> Jeffery
>> On Feb 28, 2010, at 2:35 PM, Mark Rabiner wrote:
>>> Here's why I got as keyed in as much as I did as I realize some of my
>> typing
>>> was fuzzy, unlear or not to the real point.:
>>> There is certainly a place in the world for the excellent ZM lens line.
>>> I'd assume  or guess most of the stuff gives better than Nikon Canon
>>> results.
>>> The orignal post seemed to describe tor hark back to the Zeiss legacy
>> going
>>> back a hundred years of fanatical high end quality. Which is what the
>> Zeiss
>>> legacy is. An interesting combination of conservative lens design with
>>> innovation. But always very high quality which resulted in the very high
>>> price. Not the fluxuations of the German Mark.
>>> In the past years the stuff they had made by other companies to appeal to
>> a
>>> whole different price point.  Kyrrocera and then Cosina and is just not
>> part
>>> of that intense tradition they were put in play to appeal to the mass
>>> market.
>>> They Zeiss designs perhaps but modified so they can be made to much lower
>>> tolerances an appealing to the popular market. The same companants can be
>>> used in more than one lens.
>>> The majority of lenes you buy from any company is  unless its some
>> cutting
>>> edge Asperical based on a CLASSIC ZEISS DESIGN.
>>> So saying "get whizz it's a Zeiss design"  it not to the point.
>>> You've probably got one in your hand right now.
>>> I think a thousand dollar nikon lens is competitive against a thousand
>>> dollar canon or Pentax, Olympus. Minolta. Cosina. Miranda.
>>> And a three thousand dollar Leica lens is competitive and comparable to a
>>> 3000 dollar Zeiss lens. Or a 3000 dollar  lens made from just about
>> anybody.
>>> Though I think the Kraft company should stay out of it.
>>> Saving money and NOT getting the highest end premium pie the sky thing is
>>> often the way to go. Its the usual way to go for most people most of the
>>> time.
>>> Sometimes you go for it and and break the bank and get the best.
>>> And a choice of glass is worth it.
>>> Leica gives you that opportunity.
>>> [Rabs]
>>> Mark William Rabiner
Throughout my whole life I've run into people often pros as that's who most
my friends were shooting Nikons and Canons not in that order who had reasons
or rationalizations for NOT shooting Leica. (and not living in NY)
Or shooting a Bronica or some garbage instead of a Hasselblad.

1. You're paying for an inflated German Mark or some such economic quirk.
(ot of school that day)
2. You're paying a jacked up price to play up to elitist German loving rich
guys wanting what other guys cant afford.
3. the stuff just breaks.
4. Leica is not supposed to last the year they are going out of business any
day now.
5. I forgot
6. same as 3.
Oh! 7. Ten times more money for one perect more quailty is not worth it.
7. all the other guys are using Canons.

I do think there is such a thing as lens tests and specs. These are finite
numbers. And there is looking at a print.
I did at one point acutely get a Leica and a Summicron lens.
I made 11x14 fiber prints with it.
Saw the difference between those and what'd been getting with Nikkor.
Also make 16x20s and even I'm sure some 20x24's.

I've printed 30x40s in a rental darkroom
Each sheet of paper cost me  ten bucks.
Processing another fifteen bucks. Lets see .... That's 25 bucks a pop.
Watching a print  like that come slowly out of the processor running  RA-4
chemisty a Kreonite you see what's sharp and what's not sharp in the print.
Each clump of grain has a name.
And you wonder if 50th of a second is really fast enough for a 50 millimeter
If maybe you should have stopped down a few. Used a tripod.
If maybe you used a better lens than that fence in the background you'd see
the individual slats?

And so on .
In other words stuff matters.
Not if your getting stuff back form the drugstore of posting jpegs to a
gallery but if you're output is critical then  you stop making excuses and
get the best.

My speakers cost 50 bucks each no ones paying me to listen to them. (Polks)
I don't own a car.

Mark William Rabiner

Replies: Reply from passaro.vince at (Vince Passaro) ([Leica] Zeiss Wide Angle 35mm f/2 Biogon T* ZM)
In reply to: Message from passaro.vince at (Vince Passaro) ([Leica] Zeiss Wide Angle 35mm f/2 Biogon T* ZM)