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  1. #1
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Tessar, Sonnar, Sumicron, Plannar?????

    Where can I learn about the difference in all of these lens classifications? I have no idea what these classifications mean.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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    Barry
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  2. #2
    jaimeb82's Avatar
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    Did you know there is a kind called Biogens? I will like to know those differences as well, does any one know a guide that explains the basics of those types of glasses, in the past I've found some tutorials but they were to advance and long for starters, kind of the history of camera lenses.

    Cheers,
    "Art is a lie that enables us to tell the truth" -Picasso
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  3. #3
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    As I understand it, these terms are applied to different formulations of numbers of lens elements, the grouping of those elements, the types of different glass used in certain of the elements to give the maximum number of corrections for all the optical defects presented when a colored image is projected on to a flat surface like film.

    Any standard textbook on optical design will illustrate the layout of the various lenses and the combinations of postive and negative optical shapes and what the differnt types of glass do in combination to produce the highest possible image quality.

    I will not mentioned anything about the "bokeh" of various lenses; it is a topic which I find totally foreign to myself and my photographic sensibilities--or lack of them.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  4. #4

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    Biogons are traditionally wide angle lenses.

    Summicron is a Leica term. Leica distinguished their 'slower' in f/stop lenses by calling them Summicron verses their Summilux f/1.4 lenses. The Leica Elmar and Elmarit lenses are slower in f/stop than their Summicron.

    Sonnar: http://www.answers.com/topic/sonnar-lens

    Tessar: http://www.answers.com/topic/tessar-lens
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

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  5. #5
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    To make things even more complicated, they are currently used in somewhat different ways by different manufacturers.

    Zeiss still *tends* to use the name to denote a particular design, with Tessar being a 4 element design, Sonnar a fast 5 or 6 element design and Planar a nearly symmetrical 6 element design, though these names and design types aren't used strictly.

    In Leica lingo, Elmar, Summicron and Summilux also originally denoted particular lens designs, but now Elmarit, Summicron and Summilux denote 2.8, 2.0 and 1.4 aperture lenses irrespective of design.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  6. #6
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Zeiss: Biogons are symmetrical or nearly symmetrical wide-angle lens designs which cannot be used with SLRs (at least not without locking up the mirror). Distagons are retrofocus (= will clear a SLR mirror) wide angles.

    Tessar = Xenar (Schneider) = Skopar (Voigtländer)
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I've read many rubbish answers in the past but this one takes the biscuit.

    Firstly - Tessar, Sonnar, Planar are all Zeiss designs, the Summicron is Leitz/Leica. Tessars are basic 4 element designs they are good but never excellent as performance is poor until stopped down to f16 or more.

    Sonnars & Planars are excellent designs but the real world performance depends on their age and model.

    You'd be hard pushed to find a bad Summicron.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    The names are unique to each manufacturer, Leica uses theirs to identify a maximum aperture so, Noctilux=f1,1.2 Summilux=f1.4 Summicron=f2 Elmar=2.8 & 3.5. Those are the current lenses, LTM lenses also had a few others.
    Zeiss Biogon and Distogon=wide angle, Planar=normal & Sonnar=telephoto. Rol lei nut has a breakdown of some specifics above
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    I've read many rubbish answers in the past but this one takes the biscuit.

    Firstly - Tessar, Sonnar, Planar are all Zeiss designs, the Summicron is Leitz/Leica. Tessars are basic 4 element designs they are good but never excellent as performance is poor until stopped down to f16 or more.
    ??? Did anyone say that the Summicron wasn't Leica?

    BTW: I've had excellent results with Tessars at f/8.0 and even 5.6...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  10. #10
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    & Sonnar=telephoto.

    Gosh, you mean the 5 cm F 2.0 Sonnar on my Contax is a telephoto!!??
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

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