Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2.4

I forgot to take a front view pic of the Flek! 🙁

Focal Lenght: 35mm
Max Apeture: 2.4
Lens Mount: M42
Min. Focus: 0.20 mm
Filter Size: 49mm
Weight: One Helios 44-2 (250 g)
Coated: MC
A/M switch

LENS STORY

I had just started reading up on lenses, brands, manufacturers. I was struck by the mysticism and history surrounding Zeiss. I remember thinking “Oh man, I’d love to use a Zeiss lens and see what it’s all about. So many people are talking about Zeiss colours, surely there’s something special there.” But still starting out, I didn’t want to spend the money to get one. Afterwards I met an old photographer who wasn’t using his gear anymore, we became friends and one of the lenses I bought from him was the Flektogon 35mm 2.4.

I got home, excited I finally had a Zeiss, bumped up the iso on my camera, since it was dark and took a few snaps. I was stunned by the colors and rendition. I remember thinking “This is the first time this room showed up like it does in real life on a picture”.

I used it on and off through the next year and then for a month prior to this review.

Sadly my copy is de-centered and the far corners on the left side are never sharp.

HANDLING

It’s a nice lens, metal with black finish. I love the close focusing distance, with a 0.20 minimum you can really zone in on the details if you want to.

The m42 mount is wide-spread, so getting an adapter is easy and the M/A switch is always nice to have!

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

I love the colors. Have you ever shot slide film? It has real punchy and contrasted colors, well saturated – They leap off the screen/photo to take a lunge at you. In post processing I didn’t even touch the colors, be it saturation or hue. It was exactly what I wanted to see.

It’s on the warmer side of things, which gives pictures taken with the Flek a sort of whimsical/magical feeling.

Around (do you say around in this case?) the internet, you’ll hear people praise this lenses micro-contrast, making images feel a bit 3D, there is that indeed.

You won’t get edge to edge sharpness, especially wide open,  where the centre is usable, but the corners are soft.

Stop down to f5.6 and things improve quite a bit making the lens usable for work that requires more detail. 

Chromatic aberrations are not that well corrected for, but stopping down a few stops improves performance drastically.

I had no problems with flaring, so I’d say it’s a good performer in that regard.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I love this lens. The character and specific vibe/feel it gives out hits close to home for me. The close focusing distance provides a lot of flexibility and has spoiled me to be honest.

I like to use this lens when I have a specific subject in mind and not so much for landscapes or cityscapes. Scenes with vivid and bright hues of red and orange give really magical results.

If anyone needed a walk around or street photography lens, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Flektogon. Maybe hunt around a bit and get it cheaper, as the “cult following”it gets has brought the price up.