Carl Zeiss Jena 13.5cm f4.5

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Shawn Dougherty, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I had this lens kicking around but the old Compur it's in was sticking... so I forgot about it for the last year or so. Until I bought another lens and found the same problem with the shutter. I went back to the Jena to compare and found the shutter is now working fine.

    Anyway, my question is... is this worth buying a lensboard for and using? It is uncoated but otherwise the glass is in pretty good shape. The exact markings on the lens itself are:

    Carl Zeiss Jena Nr. 25270## Tessar 1:4,5 f = 13.5cm

    Oh, and will this cover 4x5 or was it designed for another format?

    Thanks. Shawn
     
  2. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    If the glass is in good shape, why not use it for an "old" look to images? It will "cover" 4x5" like any other Tessar, in other words central definition good at full aperture, edges noticeably worse, corners poor, edges and corners improving to acceptable definition as you close to f16 but not quite matching center. By virtue of being uncoated, you may find it gives pleasingly plastic tones and acceptable contrast with b+w with normal subjects, contrast will probably fall sharply if a light source is within or just outside the frame. Flare spots will be encountered with light sources in certain places, certain types of subject like studio shots on a white background will look a mess, color shots will generally lack saturation (you may like certain shots that way). Your lens is certainly worth using.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My own experience pretty much matches the previous posters comments. I was using a 1931 f4.5 13.5cm Tessar on a hand held Crown Graphic, shooting landscapes. When I printed the images I found the corners were always slightly soft, shoting arouround f11/f16, I also tried the camera/lens on a tripod shooting at f32 with slightly better results. Overall by f16 - f32 the lens is a reasonable performer.

    However the "Plastic tones" these lenses produce become very apparent when you put prints made with one alongside similar images made with a modern multi-coated 135mm or 150mm. There's a definate lack of micro-contrast in the fine detail of the Tessar's images, caused by the internal flare of the uncoated lens. This makes my Tessar unsuitable for my landscape work, but it could be an excellent lens for portraits.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2008
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    [​IMG]

    Not a scientific test but here's an image of my 135mm f4.5 Tessars cells alongside a pair of coated 150mm f4.5 Tessar cells I bought recently. They fit the same shutter.

    The coating makes an very substantial difference and the improvement in image quality brings the 50's Tessar very close to the quality I'd expect from a modern Multi coated 135/150 from Schneider or Rodenstock.

    Ian
     
  5. OP
    Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Thanks, Ian! Turns out I'm going to have an extra lensboard for a little while so I'll give it a try. I have a 6x6 to 4x4 board adapter... I'm thinking with the limited coverage this might do interesting things on my 8x10... I'm going to have to give this a try. Thanks again for the great info. All the best. Shawn
     
  6. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    On your 8x10" at infinity, the Tessar will give a circle of illumination of about 6.5" with a smaller circle of sharpness inside this. Used for a 1:1 close-up, of course, the Tessar will cover 8x10". No Tessar is particularly sharp at this distance, but it might well prove "interesting".
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Shawn, these were shot with the 135mm Tessar, I suspect a 150mm Tessar of similar vintage would have better coverage/edge sharpness for 5x4, and my 1919 165mm Tessar could be very interesting on a 10x8 camera.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ian
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I built a 5x4 camera based on the fact that I had a 13.5mm Zeiss Tessar lens which came with an old 9x12cm plate camera. The coverage was better than I expected. Adequate but not outstanding.




    Steve.
     
  9. OP
    Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Awesome, thanks again for all the great info. Especially Ian, with the great examples. My lens board was delivered today so I'll be giving it a try this week. All the best. Shawn