well thanks about the info, i have 4 copies of the tessar design and found them reasonable lenses, minotar, tessar 7.5cm, xenar and ilex paragon, but i just don´t know this lens performance, well, i´ll stick with my smc takumar, but still! is there any pancake lens to m42???????
Used with care a Tessar will deliver first rate images, but remember what's bad for landscapes or anything requiring critical sharpness might be ideal for portraits etc.
For critical sharpness then f11 for a 50mm on a 35mm camera, and f16 on larger, but then you need to decide when you need overall critical sharpness. I use two Tessars regularly for LF work, one's an 1950's CZJ T coated f4.5 150mm the other a Schneider 150mm f5.6 Xenar (last production run) both are superb when stopped down, the results indistinguishable from my Symmr's and Sironar's, but they do lack coverage for movements.
I just shot a roll with a Contaflex (Tessar f/2.8). Looks pretty decent at f/8
Originally Posted by ruilourosa
I have found good Tessars to have more contrast than the good 1.8 Super-Takumars.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
The Takumar is a different design -- probably a Planar design, although that's just a guess and not actual knowledge.
The Tessar is a four-element design in three groups. For several decades, the Tessar was the premium lens for many German camera makers, so don't think that it's a mediocre lens. Far from it.
Depending on your photography, the Tessar will be an excellent lens. Wide open to about f/5.6, you'll get round out-of-focus backgrounds when shooting at closer distances.
Stopped down, it's very sharp.
I've done a lot of shooting with many types of Tessars although not large format. I've never found the lens to perform inadequately.
The Tessar name is a Carl Zeiss trademark, and you'll almost always see Carl Zeiss Jena, Carl Zeiss or Carl Zeiss Jena on the face ring. Rollei made the Tessar under license for its cameras, including the Rollei 35 and 35T, the A110/E110 and others. I can't think of any others that made the Tessar under license.
The Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar is a Tessar design and performs similarly, if not identically. The (Color-)Skopar also is a Tessar design. I'm not sure the current Cosina Voigtlander Skopars are Tessar designs.
And I recall reading that Zeiss reformulated the Tessar. Zeiss never made a big deal when it reformulated its lenses.
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The Tessar design was re-formulated many times by Zeiss, basically when newer optical glasses became available, before & after WW1, in the early 30's, and later in the 50's.
You can find the Tessar name used by quite a number of other companies such as Ross in the UK, B&L in the US, all manufacturing Zeiss designs under license.
As Mike says in its heyday the Tessar was the top Zeiss lens fitted to many camera models, but emulsions where thicker, and less sharp and the degree of enlargement was also comparatively small. If you see contemporary prints from Brassai, Kertesz etc made before WWII the images are rarely printed larger than 10"x8" and in these circumstances the Tessar was a superb design.
I was thinking this morning of the Bausch & Lomb Tessars that I've seen. I have a very old brass B&L Tessar that was made for 5x7.
I have a 50mm f2.8 Tessar from a Practica FX, early 1950s. I agree with the assessment that it is soft at the edges, and especially so wide open, but performs much better stopped down.
In the Tessars I have used, the contrast was quite good. Not bad for such an old lens design and without modern coatings. The same applies to the Color Skopar on my Voigtlander Vito II, and which I believe is also a Tessar design lens. The coating on both of these lenses is blue.
I am thinking that the Tessar design has appeared in many different lenses since its creation in 1903. Wasn't the Leitz Elmar derived from a Tessar? The Soviets copied the design, as did the Japanese and Chinese. I think that even Kodak made Tessars under license. Think of all those affordable 35mm rangefinders from Japan in the 60s with 2.8 lenses. Like Yashica J, for example. Isn't Nikon's 45mm f/2.8 pancake which came out with the FM3a a Tessar inspired lens? I have read that it is quite good. Isn't the GN Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 also a Tessar design?
If the Tessar was a bad lens, it would not have been copied so much, don't you think? Used wisely and within its design envelope, it is quite good, IMO.
Last edited by T42; 02-11-2010 at 12:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: typo, add
A Certified Dinosaur
Nikons F, F2, D700, Leica M3, & Kiev 4a
Not all Tessars are equal.
I've used the Tessar on my Rolleiflex TLR wide open (f/3.5) and at close range with absolutely outstanding results.
I've also come across several especially good "Tessars" (Color-Skopars, Xenars, Soviet Elmar derivatives) which did very well, if not always completely wide open, then closed a stop or so - far from the f/11 some here suggest as necessary.
As often, generalisations don't give an accurate picture (what a surprise?!?).
The Tessar and its derivatives has been built for over a century, with many upgrades, changes, different glass types, tweaks, cost-cutting and with widely differing tolerance and quality control levels. They are certainly not equal to each other.
A "good" Tessar is an excellent lens.
More complex schemes often have the main purpose of guaranteeing minimum quality levels using less stringent production methods...
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa