Review Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

According provided by Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 lens huge thanks to Sergey Guzenko.

Review Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Review Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

The Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 is a fairly well-known wide-angle lens appreciated by many photographers and videographers. I've seen it in three different flavors: with a white aperture ring and a black focus ring, with stripes (zebra like in this review) and an all-black body with black control rings. Also, there are lenses with M42 mounting thread and Exakta mount, the latter are often redesigned for M42.

Carl Zeiss has been producing wide-angle lenses under the 'Flektogon' brand since 1956. The Flektogon 4/20 was developed in 1961 and was the first super wide-angle lens from Carl Zeiss, previously only the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/25. In 1976 the lens was updated to a faster version - Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 2.8 / 20. Flektogons have been discontinued since the 90s and have been replaced by 'Distagon' lenses.

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 MDF Focused

The lens body is made of metal, the focus ring and aperture are also metal, with a black and white color like a zebra. The copy from the review is rather shabby, the focus ring and aperture have a slight backlash. Personally, I was surprised by the very small rear lens of the lens.

The lens from the review is most likely broken. On a full-format camera, the left edge of the image is absolutely not working, because in this review I can not judge the image quality of this lens.

If anyone has real experience using Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20, please leave your impressions in the comments.

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

The focus ring rotates very tightly 300 degrees, while the lens trunk is lengthened by half a centimeter. The front lens does not rotate when focusing. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 has depth of field scale for F / 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 and focusing distance scale in meters and feet. An unusual feature of the lens can be considered a very small minimum focusing distance, which is only 16 cm. In combination with the ultra-wide viewing angle, such a small focusing distance will allow you to play with perspective and get interesting visual effects :). There is also a mark for correcting focusing when shooting in the infrared spectrum.

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

The aperture consists of 6 shiny, not blackened blades, closes to F / 22, you can use the values ​​of F / 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 and one intermediate value between them. The lens has automatic iris control on the respective cameras. This specimen came to me with the aperture control lug fixed, so the aperture control became completely manual.

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 on Canon EOS Digital 350D

The lens uses large diameter filters, at 77 mm, and, due to the combination of small length and such a large front lens, looks rather unusual on the camera.

This time, the review turned out without a pack with RAW files, because there is nothing special to show:

The optical design of Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 formed the basis of the Soviet MS Mir-20N 3.5 / 20 (and his over 9000 modifications).

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 on Nikon AF N8008S

I used Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/20 on Canon cameras with an adapter M42-Canon EOS, and on Nikon cameras with an adapter M42-Nikon. Special thanks to Onishchuk Vadim who gave Radozhiva the M42-Canon EOS adapter with a chip :)

Catalog of modern Carl Zeiss lenses can look at this link.

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram | Assistance of the Armed Forces

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Comments: 46, on the topic: Review of Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4 / 20

  • Ivan

    I got this one quite recently (2 weeks ago) for only 5 thousand rubles. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the image - the lens produces the highest quality picture of all my lenses. Used on Canon 1d (Mark I).
    Here are a couple of examples:
    Password on the album 45457

    • Ivan

      It was possible to choose, by the way, between him and MIR-20, and so MIR didn’t lie next to it

    • Oleg

      I was immediately impressed by the quality of the image - the lens produces the highest quality picture of all my lenses >> what do you mean by quality? these are blurry, unclear images. if not for the blur, I would not have thought that it was filmed with a DSLR.

      • Oleg too

        on a soap dish, too, such a blur will be from such a focusing distance.
        Judging by the pictures, either the lens is complete shit, or this instance was terribly mocked

    • anonym

      Yes, in truth, they gave an example not a good one

    • Maksim

      To Ivan a hod for the above photo, ale yak on me stink dysno podbnі on a photo from milnitsy.

    • anonym

      I greet you.
      I enter the password, but I can’t enter the album

    • Vovka Good

      I don’t know how high-quality your lens is, but it’s for sure that it’s not visible!

  • Anonymous 1

    I did not work with this model, but I was lucky to work with Flektogon 40 / 2,8 for Pentacon Six-TL, and I will tell you that I never saw a more amazing picture! And the point is not even in that amazing sharpness and detail, as if from contact printing, but in the magical volume, realism, tonal transitions, delicate color reproduction and at the same time high contrast !! I’m still dreaming of getting one! ..

  • Oleg

    as I understand this objective candidate number 1 for the title of the most shitty objective?)

    • Maksim


  • Alik

    I, after reading foreign forums, bought one on Ibei for about 7 thousand rubles in very good condition. I filmed for six months on the second penny (photo only). All rings ran very smoothly. Sharpness across the entire aperture spectrum was very good ... not super duper, but plastic, i.e. the image is clear, but did not hurt the eyes. But his drawing and color rendition, in my opinion, are somehow "non-Zeiss". The only thing I liked was that it fills up the geometry very delicately. The rest of the lens seemed to me pretty ordinary. Sold for 11 thousand and was very happy.

  • anonym

    I'd like to see some video reviews :)

  • Andrei

    Congratulations to all on the day of the photographer !!! Creative success gentlemen)))

  • Komarek

    The subject was not impressed, to be honest

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Well, of course, it’s broken.

  • anonym

    I don’t understand anything .... defective helios is still liked by everyone, but this one is not. The fourth photo is just lovely. A good artistic lens.

  • anonym

    Arkady, where did the previous review go?

  • anonym

    All is clear, thank you.

  • Ampels

    Due to the fact that the lens was disassembled with “skillful” handles and one of the lenses was skewed during assembly, the picture is not sharp on one side. If there was a good lens, the view would be better.

  • AlekK

    A very interesting lens, but with a very poor design. The lens had four versions: the first is black with a white aperture ring and leatherette on the focusing ring, the second is black with a white aperture ring and rhombuses on the focusing ring, the third is a zebra on two rings, the most common version, the fourth is the latest. completely black. Produced for three mounts: M42, PB and Exakta. The most successful is the first version, it is extremely rare on the secondary market and saw only under Exaktu, although there was an M42, and the first version had a blackened diaphragm. And then it only gets worse, the blackening of the diaphragm disappears and the build quality drops. Eternal sticking of aperture and focus. I was looking for this lens for a year and a half, then I spat. During this time, I watched more than thirty copies of the first three versions, the fourth - black, knowledgeable people said not to consider, because it was completely bad. Seventy percent of those seen had the cases opened - it means that something was being repaired, sharp, not approximately, but normally sharp, only four copies were caught on the open one, one first, two second and one pre-owned version, and everything under Exaktu is explained very simply, Exakta was positioned as a professional camera and optics for it, as a rule, it was assembled with a higher quality, and this applies not only to the GDR assembly, but also to West German manufacturers. With perfect sharpness in the open, Flectogons are very rare and the price for them is from 650 bucks, everything else is usually rubbish. Another disadvantage is the awkwardness in the back and side lights, it is better not to take off without a hood.

    • pragle

      I am also looking for such a decent lens, many offers, but either 150 or 500 dollars. Do you think that for 150 obviously junk? Unfortunately, I can’t buy it personally.

  • Alexander Malyaev

    I got shots with Flektogon 20/4 but another modification made on 5DM2 with f / 8. I’ll post a link to RAWs here, I hope the owner of this lens (which is currently selling it in Nizhny Novgorod) will not sue me. :)

    • Alexander Malyaev

      And I would like to hear opinions on how this lens in comparison with, say, Nikon 20 / 2.8

    • Pragle

      ... I won't sue, I will sell the lens :-)

  • Pragle

    I like the glass, but there is no way to “salt” them, I'm using Samyan the 14th now. I am an admirer of harshness, so the softness of the flektogon is not very good for me ... just softness, not soapiness. Macro from him is also very interesting. For Nikon, ask Konstantin he has a zebra, takes wonderful pictures with him.

  • Vdadislav

    Guys!!! just now I am comparing Mir-20 MC and Flektogon. So just Flektogon was not standing next to Mir 20. I'm talking about the latest version of Mir 20 MS. So, they both catch “birds with one stone” well. World 20 is already sharp at open 3.5, while Flektogon has no sharpness even at 5.6. In the backlight “Mir” does not lose contrast and the sun remains a small bright circle, and the Flektogon fills with light by 1/4 of the frame and there is no question of any contrast. I tried Mir on the full frame of Kenon-5, so the sharpness is per-pixel even when open. I do not exclude that I came across a not very high-quality copy of Flektogon. In general, a lot of German lenses passed through my hands and there was an opportunity to compare them with their Soviet counterparts. So howling about the super “magical” properties of German optics is a MYTH, sometimes the unpretentious Soviet counterpart works much better !!!!

  • Sasha poberailo

    not the worst lens! yes, the construct is weak, and there is no sharpness. but I took it from a friend for filming my movie. suitable for my task. I also tried Samyang 24mm / 1.4 .. the lens is excellent .. but I don't need a picture ...
    in general, I already realized that for creative purposes, any lens can work, it all depends on the task.
    well, you don’t shoot a wedding on it.
    the only negative (and not only this lens) is its revaluation in monetary terms .. a lot of resellers want for it .. it’s not worth the money ..
    However, to Helios-40 is still far :))

  • Anatoly

    I bought a lens of the MC Flektogon 2,8 / 20 Carl Zeiss Jena DDR in 83, used at the Zenith. Opportunities dizzy yesterday, but it was yesterday. I want to try the lens on a Canon, Yesterday there will be no delight, and we'll see what happens.

  • Anatoly

    I did not read the previously written comments, so I’ll make a clarification. The MC Flektogon 2,8 / 20 Carl Zeiss Jena DDR lens was purchased in a Prague store for 300 rubles. A couple of years later, I ended up in Germany and went to the photo store on Alexanderplatz. I saw "my" lens, out of curiosity counted and it turned out the same amount that I gave in Prague. Today, the Carl Zeiss Planar T * 1.4 / 50 lens costs about 50 kilo rubles, according to my estimates, the old order of prices remains.

  • Volodka

    I tried on this on the crop, very juicy colors and extremely good sharpness, compared to the 20ms world, the Zeiss works out the details much better (on the 20ms world and the city landscape merges on the horizon, the houses are illegible - everything is in a haze), it's a pity there is no FF, it would be full frame ...

  • Anatoly

    On the APS-C matrix (Sony a58) was not impressed.

  • Shreib

    I wanted to try with a polarik.

  • Chilimov Mikhail

    “Smoked” carefully all the comments and considerations. Buy Nikon 20 / 2,8 and Mir 20 / 3,5. Is it possible to buy adapters for FujiFilm X-T2 from them where? Thank you all for the info and experience! Diletant.🤗

  • Dmitriy

    Arkady, hello! your mail is not at hand, therefore I am writing here (delete if that). the insertion of the text about the history of Flektogon is fundamentally wrong. Corresponding Flektogon to Zeiss has nothing to do (most likely it was made in Dresden) and since the 90s (tentatively 1991) it has not changed to a distagon, but simply ceased to be produced, as the GDR ceased to exist and Pentacon apparently reoriented itself to other goods.
    Distagon is a series of West German lenses under the brand name Contax. made in Germany and Japan since 1972, and later only in Japan. there are now being produced.
    The Carl Zeiss brand was used illegally and only in the Soviet bloc, in the 70s in a court in England it was finally sued in favor of Oberkochen.

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