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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Layne View Post
    I have never come across a bad Tessar made by Zeiss -as opposed to other manufacturers
    I never came across a Tessar that was not made by Zeiss.

    But yes, i have indeed come across Tessars (made by Zeiss) that are not good.

    The ones i'm talking about in particular are 1950s versions made for the early Hasselblads.
    The Kodak Ektar lens (a Heliar type?) that they replaced easily produces better results.

    The Tessar was/is a simple, and cheap to make design. And that's why they have enjoyed such a long life and why there are so many of them.
    (And that was why this and other Zeiss lenses replaced the Kodak Ektars: they were cheaper.)
    And though apparently there are many people who like the Tessars, and it therefore probably is quite good, it can also be almost the opposite.

    Not that many years ago, Zeiss made another true Tessar for Hasselblad.
    And again it was cheap(ish), but also not on the same level as the other lenses of similar focal lengths they also made for Hasselblad.

    I don't like Tessars.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Layne View Post
    I have never come across a bad Tessar made by Zeiss -as opposed to other manufacturers
    Mark
    In the sixties it was quite popular to use tessars (or triplets) with front cell focusing in compact rangefinders with leaf shutters. This isn't the best for performance. I have one of them with "Zeiss" on both camera and lens.
    Regards,
    Andreas

  3. #53
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I have 6 or 7 Zeiss Jena Tessar's all are OK, but only one is excellent.

    My Crown Graphic came with a 1932 135mm f4.5 Tessar which I used for a while here in Turkey, it's a little flat contrast wise, and quite poor at the edges and corners until stopped down to f22 at which point its a good sharp lens, but just lacks the critical micro contrasts of modern Multi Coated lenses. Two other Tessars are similar and although older have a fraction more contrast, the 165mm is slightly better on 5x4 because of it's larger coverage so the fall off in sharpness is less noticeable.

    However I bought a pair of coated CZJ 150mm f4.5 Tessar cells, made around 1952/4 and mounted them in a Compur 1, this is a very sharp lens, the coating is a distinctive bluish colour, the edge sharpness is passable by f11 and improves quickly at f16/22, it's as good as a late production 150mm f5.6 Xenar and not far of the quality of a Symmar or Sironar. It was made at a time when both arms of Zeiss (East &West) had been unofficially co-operating and Jena were making a few lenses for the Western arm, they had hoped the company would re-unite again.

    Tessars got a bad name after WWII mainly because of inconsistent glass supplies to Carl Zeiss Jena, lens designs had to be re-optimised to suit the available batches of glass, this lead to Rollei ceasing to use CZJ Tessars because of quality problems.

    There are other issue, the type of glass used in some (not all) Tessars & other Zeiss lenses changed in the 30's and doesn't seem to age well, lenses go slightly cloudy, another issue is quality control, Zeiss were making huge numbers of Tessars as Germany came out of recession in the 30's, you only have to look at the vast array of companies offering their cameras with a Tessar lens.

    So Tessars (for LF) are a minefield, none are usually abysmal, most are OK/very good stopped well down, but only a few are excellent.

    Then there's the Tessars for 35mm, etc

    Ian

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    So Tessars (for LF) are a minefield, none are usually abysmal, most are OK/very good stopped well down, but only a few are excellent.
    Ian
    There have been a couple of posts stating that Tessars are good at f/16-f/22.
    I assume those are all large format users, as in 35mm, a Tessar at f/22 is probably much worse than at full aperture!

    My own experience is that a middle format Tessar (75mm on a Rollleiflex TLR) outshines any Tessar for 35mm I've used - of course taking the format differences into account - makes me think that Tessars made for different formats are often quite different animals.

    I've heard from other sources (no personal experience), that Zeiss lenses for LF are often "bad"...

    All goes to show that trying to judge lenses based on their name or general formula can be an exercise in futility.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  5. #55
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Actually Doctor Optics stated clearly that LF Tessars were optimised for f22 (5x4) they took over production of LF lenses from CZJ.

    Obviously with smaller formats the sharpness kicks in earlier as the focal lengths are so much shorter. But then I really liked the Triotar I had on a Rolliecord D

    You need to be careful discussing Zeiss LF lenses as they vary depending on era and place of manufacture. I haven't used a bad Zeiss lens yet, but that doesn't mean they've all been good by modern standards. Remember that a lens many would have thought was excellent years ago might be poor/bad compared to what came later. Then realise Zeiss have been around a long time

    I think it would be hard to find any contemporary sources discrediting a Zeiss lens at the time it was manufactured, I'm not saying they were the best rather that they were close

    Ian.

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    I think it would be hard to find any contemporary sources discrediting a Zeiss lens at the time it was manufactured
    Well ...
    We had Zeiss' dr. Kornelius Fleischer/Müller (he used two names - don't know why) defend the Zeiss Tessar 160 mm lens on Photo.net, at the time they made this thing for Hasselblad, by saying that the other Zeiss lenses were often too good.

    If that isn't saying that it isn't up to scratch, i don't know what is.
    And it was not just 'a source', but a Zeiss employee who's job as Head of Strategic Marketing was to promote Zeiss products.
    Last edited by Q.G.; 05-30-2009 at 07:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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