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Difference between MM serie and AE serie Zeiss Planar 1.4/50




I'd like to ask if someone knows what is difference between Planar 1.4/50 AE and Planar 1.4/50 MM? I'd like to use AE Planar with Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 (hope that it'll run) and then with Contax Aria.

Thanks a lot,

Hi Karel!

Optically there is no difference, the Planar 1,4/50 is still the same (also in N-mount)since 1974. With the MM You can use P and Tv as well, whereas the AE "only" Av and M enables. The price should be about 30% for the AE than the MM.

Do you mean that price for AE version should be 30% lower than for MM version or that price for AE should be 30% of price for MM version? I'm just curious because of this big difference.


I meant that the price for AE version should be 30% lower than for MM due to the lack of P/Tv possibilities (eg: MM lens € 1000,--, AE version € 700,--); this was meant for second hand lenses; with new lenses I would try to get a bigger discount. But You should know that there are some lenses that are only in AE available, as Macro-Planar 100 and 60 (only the 60C, scale 1:2 is in MM), and the F-Distagon, and the D15

Would someone could let me know about the quality
and performance of the 180/2.8AE? I am thinking of
buying a used one which is in very good condition and the asking price is US$500. Just let me have as much information as possible.
Hi Paul!

Optically there are no differences as far as I know between all types of 180/2,8. The first version for the RTS (1974) is thicker and more bulky than the later (1982). I think $500 is a real good price for this wonderfull lens - one of my favorites.

A difference between AE and MM generally lies in that the shape of the aperture plate becomes star-like, sharp-edged shape for AE lenses when one narrows the aperture whereas MM lenses maintain the less sharpe-edged original shape (ex. a hexagon shape) throughout. So, sometimes the former less artisitic light spots appear on the image in the AE cases, but MM lenses do not produce such disappointing artificial patterns. If you dislike this, MM lenses are to be recommended. If it does not mattr, the cheaper the better except for the functional restriction referred to by Mr. Wolfgang.
Hi Mr. Wolfgang & Mr. Nakano,
Thank you very for the information, it certainly helps to make my decision in purchasing this wonderful lens.
Thanks again,
n/b now I have a T2, G1+28,45,90 and RX 28/2.8,50/1.7,135/2.8 and now the 180/2.8
You can use any AE lens as MM on any later Contax body. Here is how to do it:
The later MM capable Contax bodies has a small pin just outside the lens mount at 5 o'clock orientation, see the picture.

All MM lenses has a small lever that rotates this pin as you mount the lens. So if you are using an AE lens, you can still see the pin and rotate it manually. I usually use a small piece of paper to keep the pin rotates. Then voila you can use all AE lens in Multifunction Modes: Shutter Priority and Program Modes.
Please not the following: Some people argue that MM lenses has lighter aperture mechanisms. So doing when i described before might ruin the camera. I have been using this method on my camera for a long time and still working like a charm. In the mean time i buy the CHEAPER AE lenses and use them as MM when ever i please to do so.
As already mentioned somewhere in this forum before:

although it might look like it's working, there is a big drawback in doing so:

Aperture blades in the MM series of lenses are optimised to give a "linear" closing when the camera operates the closing lever. Also they are lighter, to allow the camera to bring them in position more precisely and with less force. So if you use AE lenses in MM mode, and the aperture is not fully open or closed, there is a good chance, that your exposure is not exact. If you shoot only print film, this might not be recognisible, as they are tolerant to misexposure (to some degree), but with slides, you might be quite disappointed by the results!

So better not mess around here, especially as MM on ebay is not THAT much more expensive, it only looks like, because most MM lenses are newer and in better shape.