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Build quality and ergonomics

Last updated 2010-09-10 - Send Feedback
Related: ergonomics, Hartblei

My first impression was of the professional-grade fit and finish, and I almost felt like putting them directly into a display case! You won’t find nicer build quality than this. All of the metal parts (and all are metal) appear to be black anodized, a very durable treatment. The mounting plates are hard-chromed, and not just the wear surfaces. It appears that no expense was spared in the quality of the parts.

My next impression was that these are “car lenses” meaning I would not want to carry all three of them around all day; together they’re bulky and heavy enough to give pause, but such is life with quality professional grade optics. Alas, one can’t have the solid build quality of metal and glass and light weight at the same time!

Hartblei 80/2.8
Hartblei 40/4. Visible at lower left is the tripod mount locking clamp

Focusing feel

Focus feel is very smooth and nicely damped, just what you might expect. The only quibble might be to have a little more “throw” near infinity focus, but that’s also true of the entire Zeiss ZF line.

The 40/4 and 80/2.8 offer conventional focusing rings, the 120/4 has a dual-ring design, with one ring for infinity to ~2 feet, and the second ring for 2 feet to its closest focusing distance. If you’re working at one range or the other with the 120mm, a piece of tape would be a good idea to keep one ring in place so that it doesn’t get nudged accidentally.

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Size and weight

Weights shown below are in grams, as actually weighed on a scientific scale accurate to 1 gram.

For comparison, 813 grams is about the same weight as the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4.

Lens With hood, caps, shade

(no hood)

80/2.8 813g
120/4 1131g

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