Carl Zeiss lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by catem, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. catem

    catem Member

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    I have just been given two Carl Zeiss lenses. Apart from being very dusty, they look O.K. Both are called Carl Zeiss Jena, one is f.2.8/ 28mm the other is f2.8/135mm. The lenses also have 'MC' on them - don't know what that means.

    Does anyone know anything about these lenses?. The only 35mm camera I have is a Nikon FM2 - sorry if this is a basic question, but is there any way I could or should use them with this camera? They're obviously not quite the same, but is it possible to get an adaptor ring? (doesn't matter if the metering doesn't work)...
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    MC should be for "multicoated," which would make these East German Zeiss lenses of relatively recent vintage. If you can post an image of the mount, I'm sure someone here can help you identify it. If the mount is something like M42, then you can easily adapt it for Nikon. If it's not, it might be easier to find a Praktika body to use them on (not sure offhand what mount they use--Exacta?).
     
  3. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My first "real" camera, an Exacta, had a Zeiss Jena 50mm on it. It was a wonderful sharp, contrasty lens that started me on a long (and expensive) love affair with German glass.
    I believe that Jena was the East German side of the company after WWII but if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone more knowledgable will correct me.
     
  4. catem

    catem Member

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    I'll try to post up a photo of the mount.

    Sounds like they're worth doing something with....Any idea how they would compare quality-wise with Nikkor lenses? Firstly if it's possible to use them with my Nikon body, and secondly e.g. with a Praktica body?

    Flotsam, I think you're right about the 'Jena' bit, - it would have been the E.German side, as I believe they were originally aquired after the fall of the Wall.

    Many thanks for your help!
     
  5. kapro

    kapro Member

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    You are right. Those are East German produced in Jena
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If the mount is threaded It is most likely a 42mm thread. In this case they will fit Practika and older..non bayonet.. Pentax cameras. There are adapters made to allow 42mm thread lens to fit a wide variety of cameras.
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, Zeiss Jena (East Germany) made these lenses in mounts for several different cameras, including M42 screw mount ( the so-called Pentax screw mount).
    M42 thread Adapters are available for most SLR cameras.

    I believe that the f.2.8/ 28mm and the f2.8/135mm lenses were designs acquired from Meyer Optic when Zeiss Jena absorbed that company.

    I have several Zeiss Jena lenses in the M42 screw mount including:
    1. 20mm f4 Flektagon (single coated)
    2. 20mm f2.8 Flektagon (Multi-Coated)
    3. 35mm f2.4 Flektagon (Multi-Coated)
    4. 135mm f4 Sonnar (single coated)
    5. 50mm f1.8 Pancolar (Multi-Coated)

    All of theses lenses are excellent performers, sharp and contrasty.

    I use all of them with an adapter on My Contax RTS3 and my other Contax SLRs And, they screw right into my new Bessaflex.
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I think that my Exacta VX1000 was marked "Made in USSR Occupied Germany".

    Talk about rubbing your nose in it :smile:.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Just to clarify the Zeiss Jena lenses were not Meyer designs, for many years Praktica sold both alternatives, in fact they sold an excellent Meyer WA a 29mm, not 28mm like the Zeiss lens.

    Late production of Prakticar lenses were made by Sigma in Japan.

    Ian
     
  10. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    The east german zeiss lenses are every bit as sharp as the west german zeiss, regardless of what some people might say. The optics are comparable, but the fit and finish of the west german lenses seem to be a bit better.

    One of the things that keeps me shooting the Pentacon Six tl are the marvellous zeiss lenses that can be purchased for about 1/5 the cost of comparable hassy zeiss lenses.

    Mr. Monaghan's medium format site has some interesting comparisons regarding the east-west zeiss lens issue.
     
  11. catem

    catem Member

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    Feeling a bit confused now...they don't look threaded, are a bayonet type (quite similar to my Nikon F mounts, but not quite...).
    Will have to post a photo...

    Sounds like these could be good lenses so I'd really like to be able to use them on the Nikon.

    p.s. the lens info on both starts with 'P'. e.g. P 1:2.8 f=135mm MC
     
  12. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Adapting to Nikon is difficult, it has a short registration distance. Few lenses will focus to infinity besides Nikkors... check them before you go to any bother !
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I think you will find it far less expensive to pick up a body to fit the lenses, than it will be to adapt the lenses to your Nikon.

    Dave
     
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  15. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Agreed. Absolutely.
     
  16. Seele

    Seele Member

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    Stargazer,

    The short answer: these two lenses are of Hugo Meyer design and manufacture and was a proportion of similar lenses marked as Carl Zeiss Jena, made after 1985, in Praktica B-mount.

    The long answer: Pentacon, the company who manufactured Praktica cameras, primarily used two lens suppliers: Hugo Meyer of Gorlitz, and Carl Zeiss of Jena. Hugo Meyer was acquired by Pentacon in the late 1960s so its lenses were marked "Pentacon" instead of "Meyer" a few years afterwards.

    In 1985, Carl Zeiss acquired pretty much all the optical and photographic equipment manufacturers in the DDR, including Pentacon, thus also acquiring the rights to put its name on their products. A limited quantity of Praktica cameras were sold under the name of "Jenaflex", and a proportion of lenses originally bearing the name of Pentacon were also re-badged "Carl Zeiss Jena", but with a "P" added to signify its Pentacon origin. If they are bayonet mounts similar to the Pentax K, but with three closely-spaced electrical contacts, then they are indeed for the Praktica B-series cameras.

    This, of course, is to assume that you can find markings on the lenses which signify its country of origin as DDR; there is also the British wild card:

    The British agent for Carl Zeiss Jena (also Pentacon) owned the rights to the name in the UK, so it was free to offer products under that name even if they had nothing to do with Carl Zeiss in terms of design and manufacture. Among such products were two series of Sigma-sourced lenses bearing the Carl Zeiss Jena name, and made to fit a number of different cameras. I do not think these "British" Zeiss lenses included a 135/2.8 though, but if they bear the markings as made in Japan, then these would be examples of those.
     
  17. catem

    catem Member

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    Thank you all for the advice and info, especially Seele for the comprehensive post.

    There's no indication of where the lenses were made, so am not completely sure of their origin (unless this rules out the 'British' lenses).

    It looks easier, then, to find a body...

    My question is : how would you rate such a system - is it worth it, how does it compare with my Nikon Fm2 + Nikon lens.

    I only have a Nikkor 50mm at the moment, but as it happens am on the point of purchasing an 85mm. - am deciding which to go for - so it may or may not make sense to have the two systems. Bearing in mind also that I have almost exclusively been using a Mamiya RZ for the past couple of years but have recently returned to appreciating and using the Nikon, but don't feel the need to go too much overboard with 35mm.
     
  18. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    David, your answer surprised me. It not like you to be offhand or mistaken.

    The Nikon F register (flange-to-film distance) is greater than nearly all other, if not all other, 35 mm SLRs' registers. This means a lens in any other SLR mount can't focus to infinity when held to the front of a Nikon body.

    Praktica has its own mount. The other major user of the Exakta mount was Topcon.

    df cardwell, you got it backwards. One of the great attractions of the Alpa SLR system, not to be confused with the current MF Alpas, is its extremely short register, which allows lenses from most other SLR systems to be used on Alpas.

    The best list of registers I've found so far is here: http://www.a1.nl/phomepag/markerink/mounts.htm If there's a better one available, will someone please post a link to it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2006
  19. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    On the whole, your life will be simpler if you invest in just one 35 mm SLR system. Which one doesn't matter much, as long as you don't settle on something that has unreliable bodies, few lenses, really hard-to-find support, and doesn't accept much in the way of wide angle lenses. ZI bayonet mount Icarex, for example.

    Since you have a perfectly find Nikon body, why not stick with Nikon? I'm prejudiced -- I have an FM2n -- but east bloc 35 mm SLRs seem a cut below the FM2 and east bloc lenses are no better than Nikkors.
     
  20. catem

    catem Member

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    To be completely accurate, mine's an FM2n aswell. :wink:

    Do you have an 85mm Nikon lens? If so, I wonder which one.
    I'm wondering whether it's worth the increase expense of getting a 9-element lens. I'm not sure about this, as bokeh isn't generally a problem. Sorry, this is a bit of an aside, but isn't really as for me it's all part of the question of what to spend the money on.
     
  21. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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  22. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Sorry, no. I bought my first Nikon, an Nikkormat FTN, when I was younger and more easily influenced. It came with a nice little brochure on photography that made the point that a reasonable lens collection would have focal lengths in steps of 2x. My current set of lenses for my Nikons runs 24, 55, 105, 200, 400, 700; with a 35-70 and 50 thrown in to add confusion. Plus a 75-200 bought for a cine project -- it wasn't good enough -- that I never use. Two third-party lenses, the 400 and 700, the rest Nikkors. I had a 35/2 Nikkor for a while. After it was stolen I replaced it with the 35-70; the alternative was an Olympus XA.

    Funny, when I buy lenses -- more for my Graphics these days than for my Nikons -- I don't think much about how many elements they have.
     
  23. Seele

    Seele Member

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    Stargazer,

    DDR-made B-series lenses tend to have their country of origin marked around the barrel just behind the aperture ring. To make it easier for you to identify them here are two pages for your reference:

    28/2.8

    135/2.8

    It should be easy to find a Praktica B-series camera to take advantage of these lenses; try eBay, and I would tend to recommend the first-chassis type, especially the B200.

    For my money I can say that the German lenses tend to give a somewhat different "look" to the pictures compared to Japanese - especially Nikon lenses especially in the bokeh department.

    As far as I know there has not been any adapter made in commercial quantity for putting B-series lenses to cameras of different mount. However, a very small quantity of adapters were pretty much hand-made for putting these lenses on Canon manual-focus cameras, whose existance was known only to very few people: sort of whispers between trusted friends so to speak. I have one, and occasionally use it with my first-generation Canonflex. Of course all couplings are lost; part of the deal really.
     
  24. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Quite right. This is why I don't use a tablesaw late at night.

    Anyhow, an M42 lens doesn't focus to infinity on a Nikon. At least mine don't.

    thanks.. and the markerink list is great

    .
     
  25. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Stargazer:

    I have an 85/1.8 from... years past... and it is a fine lens.

    Björn Rörslett has nice things to say about it: I shoot people instead of rocks'ntrees, and it is a fine, fine, fine lens.

    .
     
  26. catem

    catem Member

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    Hi there,

    I wonder if that would be a manual-only lens (I guess it would). These don't appear to be available new any more in 85mm...so it seems to be a question of putting autofocus lenses on manual mode, if buying new, or buying second-hand. Do you know anything about the f1.8 DAF ? It retails here for £298.49. I think it is 6 elements as opposed to 9, (which is the f1.4's)but as I said, I'm really not sure how much that matters for portraits (which is what I want it for).
    As I understand it the 9 elements is quite unique to Nikon, and is good for smooth bokeh, if that's crucial (but I might be wrong here).