Carl Zeiss, 32, Wagnergasse, Jena, Germany. - Lens



Carl Zeiss, 32, Wagnergasse, Jena, Germany. - Lens
Carl Zeiss, 32, Wagnergasse, Jena, Germany. ((1847)
also: 29/II Dorotheen strasse 29, Berlin, Germany. (1901)
and 29, Margaret St, Regent St, London W (1901)
The founder, Carl Zeiss (1816-1888) was born in Weimar, the son of a cabinet maker and ivory carver. He
graduated from school in 1834, qualified to be apprenticed to the Grand Dukes Instrument maker, Dr Koerner,
and attended academic courses as well as working as apprentice. Next he travelled from Jan. 1838 to Oct.
1845 to study in Stuttgart, Darmstadt, Vienna, and Berlin to broaden his experience. Back at home, he
studied chemistry and higher mathematics.
By May 1845, he felt well enough qualified to apply to the County Administration at Weimar for permission to
found "An establishment for the production of advanced mechanical devices", hoping for a relationship with the
University to advance designs. Money was tight with capital of 100 Thalers (possibly £100) only, but in Nov.
1846, he opened at 7, Neugasse. It remained a small business for years, as it took some 20 years for the
University relationship to be productive, and he often grew weary of the trial and error methods traditionally
used in the trade. Much of the production was of microscopes- often relatively simple ones by modern
standards, such as dissection viewers. Then in 1863, a young lecturer Ernst Abbe (1840-1905) joined the
University to teach physics and astronomy. Zeiss approached him in 1866 for cooperation in the design of
improved systems and this lead to new ideas, eg in the Abbe refractometer (1869), a comparator and a
spectrometer. Abbe felt that in lenses the need was for new types of glass with other dispersion propertiesnot totally novel as others had used natural minerals for the purpose. But Abbe in 1882 induced a young glass
chemist Otto Schott (1851-1935, from Witten, Ruhr area) to Jena to help with developing new glass types
including Barium, Zinc, Phosphate and Borate: and by 1884, the Jenaer Glaswerke Schott und Genossen
was formed. The partners were actually Zeiss, Abbe, Otto Schott and his son, Dr Roderich Schott, and by
1886, they were able to offer a price list of some 46 glass types- and Zeiss issued his 10,000th microscope.
The glasses lead immediately to improved microscope lenses made to Abbe designs, and Zeiss expanded
from some 42 employees in 1876 to 300 in 1888, at the time of his death. His son did not continue in the firm,
and Abbe became the sole owner.
The new glasses were also used in improved versions of the classic photographic lenses, as in the
Euryscopes of Voigtlaender and the new Aplanats of Steinheil, and others in the industry thought there were
other uses possible. It does seem that Abbe discussed these with Steinheil who had made more progress in
correction of astigmatism than others, but did not really find the solution. And Abbe also replanned the firm he
now owned.
Especially for a University man, industrial conditions then seemed harsh, with a 14-17 hour day, 6 day week,
no vacations, and no health or old age security, and he felt they were unreasonable since much of the
success of a company was due to the employees: and they should share in the benefits. Abbe therefore
decided to convert the company into a foundation in 1889, as the basis of a continuing corporate structure, the
profits to be shared among the employees in more limited hours, paid leave and assistance with health and
pensions, as well as outside assistance to science. This was a recipe for success and the payroll grew
steadily to reach 2,300 employees by 1914, as new products such as spectrometers, prismatic binoculars,
telescopes, opthalmic lenses- and photographic equipment- came into the product list.
It was in the 1880's that Abbe became interested in the problems of photographic lenses and in 1888, he
persuaded the mathematical physicist Dr Paul Rudolph (1858-1935) to join him in their design. The new
glasses and the working environment proved very effective and in a few years, Rudolph really began the use of
most of the modern lens design types. However the very first attempt was at an Triplet Apochromat and was a
unsuccessful one. (These are therefore an almost prototypic lens, especially as two types existed. Eder
suggests they just existed commercially and one seems to have been auctioned in London at No44.)
Subsequently, Rudolph alone produced a series of some 5 or more 'anastigmat' designs using Barium flint and
light crown glasses. (Jahrbuch fur Photographie, 1891, p225, also 1893; Patent DRP 56,109 03/04/1890). And
then developed into several symmetrical anastigmats and lenses such as the Unar, Planar and Tessar by
1902, as well as early telephoto units.) This lead to Zeiss interests in making camera lenses, their mounts,
irises, shutters, and finally cameras, with the purchase of Zeiss Palmos in 1902 and the formation of I.C.A. in
1909. There must have been both elation at the success and sometimes problems in managing it. And Abbe
and Schott both combined to give the Jenaer Glas business to the foundation, apparently in 1919 in the case
of Schott.
Zeiss seem to have made binoculars in small numbers of non-prismatic types. But the design of prismatic
binoculars by Abbe in1893 gave higher powers than the older Galilean types ("almost useless in war") and
these were licensed by Bausch & Lomb, and widely sold by both firms- in the UK from 1896. The lack of these
was noted in South Africa by the British Army as the Boers seemed better supplied there than they were. By
1914, they had tried to catch up, and all armies used prismatics in original form or as copies.
The sheer physical expansion of buildings and employees meant construction and training, and these could
not occur overnight. Zeiss always paid real interest in training, via apprenticeships but these take time. Thus
they licensed others to make the new lens designs and Zeiss Anastigmats can be found made by them todaylook for Voigtlaender (Germany, to 1895), Suter ( Switzerland), Ross (UK), Fritsch v. Prokesch (Austria),
Koristka (Italy and Bausch and Lomb (USA). About half of the original anastigmats were made under license
up to 1900. These do not seem to have prevented Zeiss also supplying these markets as opportunity
occurred, as N&G used original Zeiss lenses and Mr W.Hume advertised them. (Brit.Jnl.Alman. 1896; N&G
advert. ibid, 1901, p147) The licensing may have been valuable to Zeiss in a way now forgotten- they were not
really photographers, and the licensees may have made valuable inputs on mount design and the types of
products wanted. These licenses were of variable life, partly as the companies designed their own competing
products but also as the first World War made business relations impossible. Remember, it was fought with
unique loss of life and ferocity, and left emotions which poisoned business for a generation or more. There
seem after the War to be cases of English firms boycotting purchases of German lenses, and of Hollywood
looking askance at the new f1.4 Biotar for this reason.
There must have been problems, none very serious, in such a rapid expansion. (a) Rudolph tried to introduce a
new iris calibration system, or perhaps two, which did not prove popular and was dropped. One version used
an iris calibrated in mm diameter- which really needs a set of Tables for use. It may have allowed a standard
mount to be supplied with various optics, as with a 'Projection Aplanat' mounted in one, where the value of the
iris seems slight. (b) The trade name "Anastigmat" came to be used by others, possibly since it was an 'old'
word in ordinary use and not defenceable. (c) The rate of design innovation may have puzzled customers, as
f4.5 lenses were introduced as the Anasigmat, Planar, Unar and finally Tessar within a limited period. (d) The
shutter making side seems to have lead to the Deckel/Compur works at Munich rather than in-house long-term
manufacture. (e) And there seems to have been an attempt to found a business in London in 1909 at Bittacy
Hill, for the manufacture or assembly of lenses, perhaps to come within "Imperial Preference" on sales of
Empire made goods- which must have ended with the outbreak of war. (f) There seems to have been a
problem, perhaps shortlived, with the French patents on some of the lenses as the 1901 Catalogue describes
the Planar, Unar and Protar VII as not being for trade sale in France. But overall, it was extremely successful.
While World War I must have made them busy with orders for binoculars, aerial lenses and gunsights,
perhaps using the new "Erfle" eyepiece (1917) by H.Erfle (1884-1923), peace brought the problems of the
depression. In 1926, Zeiss lead the amalgamation of the camera making firms Ernemann, Contessa-Nettel
and Goerz with I.C.A. to form Zeiss Ikon. This ended competition with Goerz over optical glass as the
Goerz/Sendlingen plant went over to other products, and gave access to the novel Ernostar lens designs- and
Carl Zeiss had a secure in-house market for lenses. Over a few years, the group, often as a result of designs
by Dr Heinz Kuppenbender, introduced new cameras such as the Ikonta, Super Ikonta, Ikoflex, Movikon, and
the 35mm series of Contax, Nettax, Tenax and Contaflex. Several new designers provided important new
types of lens- Merte from the 1920's with the Biotar, Richter with the Topogon, and Bertele with the Sonnars
are the best known, but this was a design team with unusual strength in numbers as well as ability.The
commercial results were impressive, as sales flourished even in the bitter years of the recession, and by 1939,
the payroll was 14,000 for Carl Zeiss + Schott and Zeiss Ikon was in addition. (By then, Zeiss had taken over
the shutter making firm of A.C.Gauthier of Prontorwerk/Calmbach though this was late in the 1930's and made
less impact prewar.)
Inevitably, the Zeiss group was involved in supplies in World War II, and a number of items are listed, some
specially designed such as night vision lenses. And Zeiss personnel seem to have had a role in the overall
management of the German optical industry at war. This was a double edged situation, as commercialization
of some innovations was delayed, including anti-reflexion coating and probably the Biometar lens design. Also
the idea of a 35mm reflex, possibly with some of the retrofocus lens designs, had to be put on ice for the
duration of the war. In fact, at the end of the war, the first troops into Jena were British, and found few
Germans at work in the plant, most of the personnel working being recruited from other countries during the
war. The British were soon replaced by US forces, who began the rehabilitation of the plant, but the Yalta
Conference made this area part of the Russian Zone. Before the Russians came, the US authorities moved
some 126 leading personnel (85 from Zeiss, 41 from Schott) and some hardware to the West. This included
the famous Zeiss lens collection as well as some plans, drawings and records. But the Russians blocked
further removals of machinery.
The Russians seem to have got the plant running in some sense, especially to make the "Contax lens"
programme, probably both in the original bayonet form and in M39 versions originating in the war, and then
suddenly moved the whole package to Russia. Machinery was moved out by knocking holes in the walls of the
plant and more personnel were given 2 hours to pack for the journey. (This was the origin of the lens
programmes for the Kiev and Fed for years.) All the remaining men at Jena could do was to fill in the holes in
the walls and try to work with machinery rejected for the moves. And then the East German Communist
Government nationalized the firm.
This was the beginning of 45 years of difficulty and separation. In Jena, conditions were difficult, with poor
access to scientific information, materials, currency and commercial decisions, with poor working conditions.
Equally, "Zeiss" was made a centre for much of the innovative technology of the East, being involved later with
computers and machine tools in fields far from their usual subjects. Much of this was commercially totally
non-viable by Western standards but needed by a regime unable to trade freely with the West. Thus it is
impressive that Jena did make quality photographic lenses over this period, and achieved world status as a
supplier eg of aerial cameras and process lenses. And to many, the words "Zeiss, Jena" retained some of the
old magic, even though standards were more variable and finishes less brilliant.This was especially true when
the West banned the sale of goods with certain of the revered trade names and abbreviations such as "CZJ
Bm" had to suffice. Business between Jena and the new Western Zeiss company did exist but was described
as "very difficult", and in the West a new trade name "Opton" was developed to distinguish the products,
especially when sold in the Comecon area.
In contrast, the Zeiss move to the West involved a fresh start on a new site. They were offered one at Munich,
probably the old Steinheil business, but chose Heidenheim where an old cigar factory was taken over, and
and Oberkochen, there was an old gunsight works. This was due to a preference for small country towns and
the more peaceful way of life there. They established satellite works at Aalen, Nattheim and Goettingen and
there is a impression relations with Steinheil may have continued for some time. They say many friends and
customers helped, even at a very difficult time. And slowly some of the old personnel caught up with the move.
Some came when the Russians allowed them to leave Kiev or wherever they had worked to on-stream the
plant after the move, others through the frontier from Jena till some 1,600 had come. In terms of quality of
design and manufacture, Zeiss Opton set the very highest standards, which has been shown by the long term
performance of the products. And novel designs were many- look at the lens programmes for Hasselblad,
Arriflex, Contarex, Contax and Linhof. There are many cases where a single outfit purchased such as a Linhof
with Biogon, Planar and Sonnar has by now given a lifetimes' service and still has a competitive performance
today. And as in 1890, they have licensed designs abroad for use on the Contax cameras made there, though
rather surprisingly they have not continued in supplying large format lenses for 5x4 and 10x8in use, even
though the Zeiss-Voigtlaender large format business was active and highly regarded.
By the 1970's, the Carl Zeiss Foundation employed 28,000 persons, having taken over the Voigtlaender
business as a way of expanding lens production and the shutter works of Deckel/Compur at Munich.
Subsequently, exchange rates made business very difficult, and contraction was needed, Voigtlaender being
sold and the Compur production moved to the Prontor works at Calmbach. But this is long after the cut-off
point of the Vademacum in 1960, a time when Zeiss was still actively expanding and with excellent prospects
for the future.
A very valuable article was by W. Woeltche the Head of the Mathematics Dept, Photo Optics Division in
B.J.P. 25/01/1980 p76, and it will be referred to a number of times, as Woeltche loc. cit. It seems to have
followed from a Conference for the Press at Oberkochen.
-----------------Two Tables of lens serial numbers and dates are at the end of the section. The more detailed seems to
originate with Mr G. Gilbert "Collecting Photographica" and has been quoted by Mr J. McKeown in his Price
Guide and by Mr P.-H. Pont in Chiffres Clef. The shorter was supplied to a friend by Zeiss in 1967. Both
versions end rather suddenly in 1942. After the war, Jena seem to have continued with the same series, at
about 3 million, while Oberkochen made a fresh start (at No1,000 or some such perhaps.) Thus a lens at
No1,000,000 might be about 1930 from Jena or 1950 from Oberkochen. It is usually possible to tell which from
the coating, mount and feel of the item. Examples of many serial numbers are quoted in the text.
Zeiss Landmark lenses are many: Anastigmat, Protar, Protar V11a, Planar, Tessar, Sonnars, Hologon,
Topogon, Biogon(s) are examples, and there are many other "possibles". The firm has been so fertile in
producing new designs that it is a "must" for collectors, and listing the products would be a major task, still
only superficially carried out here. However this may be a useful beginning.
Pre-1890 type designs Non-Anastigmats.
These are exceptionally rare, and will not be anastigmats. In fact, only one item has been noted during the
preparation of the text. A graphic account is in Eder's book of some of the earliest Zeiss lenses coming to him
for an opinion. The set did include a triple lens.
Apochromatic Triplet f6.3. This was not an anastigmat and seems to have had limited sales from 1888, or
possibly even not been sold normally. The designers were E.Abbe and P.Rudolph. The design showed
problems with correction of oblique rays and was abandoned. Two versions are said to have been tried:
(a) symmetrical and
(b) disymmetrical (Layout Zei001).
They may have sold as low power macro lenses for photomicrography. Thus one list gives an apochromat
microscope lens (1886) by Abbe and Rudolph.
It is significant that one of these seems to have been sent to Eder as " a triple lens f6.3 for 90degrees" in
30/05/1890 for examination: he (possibly loosely?) classes all of the set sent to him as "anastigmats". The
others were, slightly paraphrasing a partly unclear passage:
Anastigmat f6.3/85° a lens with a 2+3 layout, which may have been a Series 11?
Anastigmat f10 This was a double lens system for wide angle and process work. It was possibly a Series
Anastigmat for 110° This was a lens with a 2+2 layout, and was probably a Series V(?)
Thus the conclusion must be that some Triplets did escapefrom the factory and may still exist. One possibility
is that as suggested above, they enjoyed sales for some specialized uses. And there is a hint in Eder's text
that the lenses he saw were not quite those issued. Subsequently, it was noted that one Triplet Apochromat
Patent lens 310mm No44 with flange did sell at a Christies' auction so (a) they do exist and (b) the Zeiss
numbering begins at unity or very near it!
Note that Dr Schroeder of Ross may have anticipated this line of development with his own triplet as well as
Concentric, and one result may have been the licence to Ross of the Anastigmats developed later by Zeiss.
The next non-anastigmat is probably a more prosaic item and is likely to be later. It was possible to see a
"Aplanat fur Projection" f6.7 200mm. This was a Zeiss lens in a brass mount with an iris calibrated in mm
(28-3mm). It must be a rare lens and non-anastigmatic but may not be photographic. It was seen at Nr 1,02x,
DRP 84,996. The Patent No seems later than expected and the lens may be a 1892-5 period item. But it is
unusual as a non-anastigmat Zeiss lens and it is certainly not a normal photographic lens as the correction is
really sharp in the centre but only over a 10-15cm radius, and then falls off markedly. This would be a
reasonable performance for a projection lens but not really acceptable for normal camera work. It also raises
questions over the serial numbering sequence then in use- perhaps the projection lens was numbered in a
different series with a later start date.
Fig 002 033 Zeiss Projection Aplanat f6.7/20cm No1024.
There is also a reference to a RR by Zeiss on an 1889 Express Detective Stereo by Nadar as alternative to a
Steinheil RR lens. [It is more likely that Zeiss had agreed the contract in 1889 but could not tell Nadar just
what the new lens he was to get would be. So Nadar and the customer was happily surprised to actually get a
Series III anastigmat or some such.]
Anastigmats from 1890.
Zeiss quote some basic references in their catalogue, including German. Pats. No 56,109 of 03/04/1890 to
Zeiss; Brit. Pat.No 6,028 of 24/05/1890 to Rudolph, and the Brit Jnl. Photo. 1890, p443.
These certainly were the start in 1889 of the Anastigmat era in a real sense. While the external curves are
symmetrical, Rudolph designed them deliberately with the two halves unlike in the internal curves, to allow the
correction of the overall design even though the external curves were the same. Equally they were very much
in the contemporary mould in external appearance and specification so the customer could replace an f8 RR
with a Series 111 f7.2 anastigmat and get an f18 Series V to replace his f16 WAR without feeling that things
had changed superficially very much. There was also an f4.5 Series 1 to replace the Portrait RR and a Series
1V f12.5 to replace a MAR. Thus the Anastigmats must be viewed as a very well thought out product range to
displace the RR's, and they were issued over the years 1890-1893. Doubtless the licensees introduced
products slightly differently in time, and not all the versions may have been made by all of them, though Ross
and Bausch and Lomb certainly made a good range. The layouts of the different series show rather little
individuality, except that some have a three glass rear component and Eder says these are in the designs of
f9 or faster- though this is not actually quite in line with experience. They were listed in a price list by 1890
and a catalogue was issued in May 1891, with a supplement in 1893.
It is unlikely that Zeiss made any "unnumbered" lenses as some other makers did at the start of their
production runs. They were an experienced and meticulous maker and seem to have numbered and doubtless
recorded every possible item. But unnumbered lenses do occur. They are probably spurious items resulting
from the union of unrelated items where the missing parts were the ones with the number. One example seen
was a barrel with two Series VI type cells- with no number. This was probably a Zeiss barrel (from a Protar
VIIa) fitted with two cells from a Goerz/Ross Dagor type, where the cells are not engraved. Another was
superficially a perfect early Series III which proved to cover only 55° angle- here two unknown anastigmat cells
were probably fitted to a "too-long" barrel from another lens, which limited the angle covered. Incidentally, it is
likely that these resulted from screwing odd components together where-ever they fitted rather than from
fraudulent intentions but are worth noting.
Actually, it does not seem to be known how Zeiss numbered the earliest Anastigmat lenses- possibly starting
from No100 perhaps, but certainly No1,51x has been seen and is an Anastigmat and note the Triple
Apochromate which suggests they started from 1 or near it. Eder says they initially were not easy to sell in
Germany, but were popular abroad in England, Russia and France. This may now determine where they can
be found. Experience bears this out, with more French-made Krauss versions at auctions than German, due to
their use on Jumelles. Ross also made quite a lot but they seem to figure less at auction.
[The design of the anastigmat depended on using one cell to correct the other. There was opposite gradation
of the refractive indices in the two cells, the positive glass in one case having a higher and in the other a lower
refractive index. The front, which was used to correct spherical aberration, was made of the old glasses (a
crown positive and a highly refractive flint negative): and the rear for anastigmatic correction, was made of the
new glasses with a crown positive of high refraction glass and a flint negative of low refraction glass. (Eder
merely says Barita flint and light crown) The separate components are not useable alone. The rear
components are the strongly positive ones, the fronts being from about 2x greater focal length in the early f7.2
lenses through some 3x in the f6.3 to others where the front seems to be very long indeed, as in the f8, f9, f18
lenses. This ratio of front to back focus can be a very easy way to note redesigns, as the first and second f7.2
change from being a 2:1 ratio to being of almost zero power front type.Where a fifth glass was added it was to
correct higher order spherical aberrations and these were possibly the faster or older lenses. Two crowns of
high refraction with a central flint of very low refraction were used. (An example of the design process is given
in Kingslake's "Lens Design Fundementals", p276.]
Anastigmats 1890
Series III Anastigmat Protar f7.2 Layout 2 + 2 glasses* (Zei oo4) To cover about 75°?
This was made in 3.75-23in in 9 foci. One of the first group to be issued and today is one of the easier to find.
It should be an attractive lens, really sharp and contrasty and covering a good angle,but some of the early
ones do need to be stopped down a bit for critical use. In designing it, Rudolph was probably aiming to match
the Aplanat which had been the traditional lens of the day, and which provided f7 to focus, but where owners
would have expected to stop down to perhaps f16 for critical work, and here the Anastigmat would have shown
a real benefit. A 315mm lens covered 10x8in with at least 3in of decentration possible and the image was fully
usable at the extreme corner. But note* that by todays standards, there does seem to be some field curvature
on an early lens of 2+3 glasses, but a later one was very much flatter field, and there seems to be a real
difference here. The later seems to use a much revised design. Thus it may be wise for use to look for one
with just 2 glasses in the rear component. Another point is that these early examples if small do tend to be in
plain barrel mounts with disc stops and unusual stop markings which may need to be converted for use today.
Three examples noted were Nos 1,51x (early type), 5,793, and 19,51x, as well as lenses by Ross from
London. Thus it seems to be one of the easier ones to find.
Fig 014 010 Set of f7.2/315mm Anastigmats by (l) Zeiss No1511; Ross No482; and Zeiss No19,515 (the two
Zeiss lenses differ in external curvatures!).
Series IV Anastigmat Protar f12.5 Layout 2 + 2 (Zei 005) To cover 100°.
This was made in 2.5-48.5in in 10 focal lengths. It was one of the first group to be issued, with similar
attractive qualities of sharpness and contrast, and with a wider angle of cover. It was probably designed to
replace the portable RR's which had sold at f11 or f12 as a lighter alternative for landscape work, and this was
not as important a market slot as the f7.2, which replaced the normal Aplanat or RR. Thus it has been noted
in the UK as a Ross-made version at No703, but no original Zeiss lens has been seen, and it probably is
relatively uncommon. At the time, it may have been judged too slow so that Zeiss replaced it with later
Anastigmat lenses of f8 and f9, as being easier to sell when most work was focused on a ground glass
Series V Anastigmat Protar f18/f16 2+3 glasses (Layout Zei 006_ To cover up to 110°
These were made in focal lengths of 40, 62, 86, 112,141, 182, 212, 265, 315, 360, 390mm for use at up to
110° as a normal wide angle camera lens. It was also made in 460, 632, 947 and up to 1664mm for use as a
process lens, when it covered only 90°.(The difference in angle covered may be due to the mount.)
This became the classic wide angle. It is slow and dim to focus, but the image is crisp and contrasty, and the
lens is freer from ghosting and flare than than any of the other old lenses tested- and some modern ones! This
resulted in it being one of the longest lived lens designs, selling new from 1890 to about 1950, when supplied
by Bausch & Lomb. Initially, it was made under license by all the licensees- or most of them!- and in some
countries the maximum aperture seems to have been quietly adjusted to f16, while still under Zeiss
supervision. The difference was probably not significant. It was often supplied with rotating disc stops in the
smaller sizes, eg up to 182mm, as these were easier to make and more accurate, especially if a pair was
used for stereo work.
It was typically made in 15 sizes, and very large sizes could be made to special order. These were for process
use, and initially this would have been very welcome. But they are scarce today, and it is probably that they
were fairly short lived as other process lenses overtook them, even by 1900. By then, Zeiss for one were
offering the Planar in "differing focus and dimensions (ie apertures?) for reproductions".
Typical lenses seen today and the angles covered are as follows:
Focal length
Covers at f18
Covers at f32
9x12 or 1/4plate
12x15 or 1/2plate
12x15cm or 1/2plate
13x18cm or 5x7in
20x26 or 10x8in
13x18cm or 5x7in
16x21 or 1/1plate
24x30 or 9.5x11.75in
Actually, 86mm is the most useful today, and the shortest actually found often. It can be useful on 5x4in,
though any of this series can be a nice find. They are small and may need careful searching through a box of
lenses however. In the old days it was the famous wide angle lens and for example was used on the shallow
Kodak Wide Angle camera, where a f18/86mm Protar was fitted to 1/1plate (6.5x8.5in) cameras. This
underlines that it was seldom possible with ordinary cameras to use the whole image, but rather the best
illuminated centre was employed. On 5x4in, the 86mm covers generously, and a 62mm could almost be used.
One of these was noted with a mm iris and a focusing mount at No9779x, probably off a Kodak wide angle
camera. It mounted neatly on a MPP MicroTechnical and the focusing mount acted both to focus and to give a
trifle of useful extension like the cone mounts used on these cameras for w/a lenses. This could also be useful
on a Linhof Technika.
With time, the range of foci shrank, first with the process sizes going, though they were listed up to 37.5in in a
Kodak Catalogue for 1914. Normally, it was 1.5-15in. It is likely that the moderate cost of this small lens kept
it on sale in a few sizes. It was seldom in price lists, but in 1914, Ross was selling their type at f16/3.25in for
£3.2 when a 3in WAR was £3.00 and a 6in f4.5 Tessar in a Compound was £6.75 or a 6in/f4.5 Ross
Homocentric in a was £8.9 which makes it seem very good value if you actually had the £3,2 to spare, which
was then an appreciable sum. Thus a proportion are found on cameras where they do not seem to have been
used as wide angles, but rather as normal angle lenses for their pure quality, as when a 13x18cm camera
noted at auction was fitted with an f18/212mm Protar No27,80x.
References: DRPatent 56,109/1890; some have DRPatent 84,983 on the mount also.
also DRP 193,439, and Brit Pat. 6028/1890.
British Jnl. Photog. 1890, 443.
Zeiss Price List 1890, Catalogue 1890, p443.
DRP 84,996 This covered a compact focusing mount and iris diaphragm.
Fig 002 038 Zeiss Anastigmat Ser V f18/212mm, ie before the use of the T.N. Protar.
Fig 003 019 Zeiss Protar Anastigmat f18/86mm No97,795 (Note Protar name in use, cf. Fig002/038 above).
Anastigmats 1891
Series 1 Anastigmat Protar
51-416mm (9 f.l.) (Layout Zei 002)
2+3 A portrait lens.
No angle of coverage has been noted but it was probably appreciably narrower than for the other original
anstigmats. (Layout Zei002). It seems to be relatively uncommon, and may have found it hard to displace
Portrait RR's in sales due to a higher cost and the lack of a need for the same overall sharpness in this
market. It also was replaced by other lenses such as the Planar, Unar and Tessar, so it was probably only
sold for a few years, possibly 1891-1896. It certainly had gone by 1901 and the catalogue notes it was
replaced by other and better lenses. (This comment also applied then to the Series II, III,and IV anastigmats.)
Series 11 Anastigmat Protar f6.3.
54-590mm (12 f.l.) (Layout Zei 003)
2+3 To cover 80-85°
Like the others, this is a fine lens but the angle covered is noticeably less than some. A 170mm lens might
just cover 1/1 plate but certainly not 10x8. In comparison a Series V would cover in emergency and a 180mm
Dagor might. But the suggested 150mm for 1/4plate is very conservative and would give excellent results and
allow for some movement. (In fact, a 170mm lens covered most of a 10x8in, equivalent to 90°, but a very small
stop would be required at the corners. It would be good on 5x7in). The example seen was an original Zeiss
lens and it was noted that it was not marked with a Series number indicating that these lenses do need to be
recognised by the apertures. It was seen at Zeiss No 21,73x. It also was displaced by other lenses, probably
mainly by the Doppel Protars VIa and VIIa, though the Series IIa was the logical replacement.
This seems to be the least illustrated of the series, and may have been a compromise too near other makers
anastigmat lenses in speed for success. (Layout Zei003) This seems to have been the favourite Zeiss lens
and they backed it in comparison with the Dagor in a trial reported in the Photographic News 15/09/1893,
p586. It was carried out by Dr Miethe, Dr Neuhauss, and Dr Stolze and the angles they considered sharply
covered were :
Anastigmat II
Goerz Ser111
Protar Zeiss
above 65°
This showed the Goerz Dagor Double Anastigmat won, but the Zeiss Protar anastigmat was certainly a fine
lens since these distinguished workers probably set really high standards of sharpness.
At least one of these Series II lenses seems to have been used in early movie photography as a f6.3/85mm is
in Mr Ariel's list as on a 1896 Darras.
Note During 1891 Rudolph designed a single landscape lens using a combination of 3 glasses. At f14.5 this
was anastigmatically corrected, flat field and free from spherical aberrations. It was not sold until the launch of
the Satz Anastigmat V1, an f7.7 which was made up of a pair of f14.5 components, essentially like the Dagor.
The centre glass had a refraction between those of the outers, and "had one converging and one diverging
surface". [Goerz secured a prior patent in 1892 and it became their Dagor.] It is possible that Abbe and
Rudolph were keen to keep the anastigmat as simple optically as the predecessors (ie 2+2 glasses as in the
RR) and were trying to avoid the use of more complex 6-glass designs.
Series IIIa Anastigmat Protar f9.0 2 + 2 glasses (Layout Zei 007) To cover 97°
This was made in: 75, 95, 120, 150, 172, 196, 230, 272, 317, 407, 505, 600, 690, 820mm where the first 4
were normally suplied with rotating stops as better adapted especially for matching exposure with a stereo
pair. Later the range shrank to 75-317mm in 1907.
The series IIIa was suggested for stereo and hand cameras, and had the typical advantages of giving crisp and
contrasty pictures and in addition was relarively small and light. It also could be sold as a useful wide angle
lens, although this does not seem to have been stressed as much as with the Series V. But it is made use of
in suggesting a 95mm lens for 6x9cm or a 120mm for 9x12cm. Today, it may seem rather near the Series II
and IIa in aperture, but Zeiss seem to have sold them in parallel for a period before deleting the Series IIa.
Thus Series IIIa was one of the last of the unsymmetrical Protars to be in production. One reason may be
price. It was probably inherently cheaper to make a 4 glass Series IIIa than a 5 glass Series IIa and in addition
the customer could choose a shorter focal length and reduce the cost still more. Thus for 1/4plate, a Series IIa
in 136mm with 5 glasses cost 95 Marks while a Series IIIa option would be 120mm at 65 Marks or a 150mm
at 75 Marks.
Incidentally, it was sold as "Reg'd No 41,715/1899" which may be a patent or register design. An example
was on a "Block Notes" body No141x VP size as f9/175mm No62,25x.
It seems to be one of the least easy to find today. No example has been seen so far although it has been
noted on Stereo cameras. It was fitted by Ernemann, Boulade, Huttig, and Palmos but in 1901, the f8 seems
to have been the preferred item.
Typical sizes useful today might be:
Film size
Film size
Diameter of Image with stopped down
at f9
at f12.5
the lens stoppped down (mm)
Anastigmat 1893
Series IIa Anastigmat Protar f8.0 2 + 3 glasses (Layout Zei 008) To cover 75 or 80°
This was made in focal lengths of 90, 110, 136, 167, 205, 244, 295, 350, 433mm.
This was one of the last of the Anastigmats to be introduced, and the 3-glass rear component was used to
allow improved spherical correction with a critically flat field. In fact, it has the typical advantages of sharpness
and contrast with a really good angle covered. Customers would have compared this anastigmat with an RR,
and found real advantages in a lens of similar size and without too great an increase in cost compared with
either an RR or a Series V. But it must have always lived in the shadow of Symmetrical Anastigmats such as
the Series VI and similar lenses, where the main reason that the Series IIa sold was probably that it was
about half the price.
Today it does not seem to be easy to find, but does occur. Curiously, both those seen were 110mm, and this
may be due to its use on several Stereo cameras, where the moderate size, cost and weight resulted in their
use. One very attractive version noted was in an aluminium mount with a copper or bronze iris ring at
No34,14x, and a stereo camera by Billieni of Nancy is shown with lenses like these by FBB as Fig E'. This
option of an alloy mount was offered by Zeiss in 1901 for most if not all lenses, but no other example has been
seen of this type. Later alloy was used more freely for lens cells. The focal length used can be seen from this
Table, derived from the Zeiss one.
Film size
Film size
overed at
covered at
Note on Collecting
From the collecting point of view, one problem is that these lenses are marked 'Anastigmat' and later as Protar
but do not have a 'series number'. Thus they do need to be individually recognized by their aperture. This may
be less easy than it seems at first sight. For one thing, there is a problem of confusion by the customer today
which may well have existed originally. (It is only too easy here to forget which types are needed and which
are already owned! ) Also they are often physically small and easy to overlook in a collection of lenses.
Originally they set a new standard of performance but rapidly faced stiff competition from the Goerz Dagor,
which was an f7.7 lens covering some 80° at the time. (While several specifications of Dagor existed, they
were nothing like as wide a range as the Anastigmat). And Rudolph quickly found new and better designs. As
a result the range of anastigmats contracted fairly quickly and by 1901 only 11a, 111a and V were listed
though 1 was still available to special order in 1905. 11a was deleted by 1910, leaving 111a (noted in 1911 on
the Blocknotes) and especially V as the longest to survive. Thus they will seem quite old items today.
This means that collecting a set is quite a challenge today. It is a great help that they were made under
licence. But not all may have been made by all the licencees, and certainly their focal length choices varied.
Series V was offered in an f16 version by the licensees with Zeiss cooperation during the license period since
the adverts. do refer to it as Zeiss, and this may have been a cosmetic change for countries used to that
aperture system. And Series V continued up into the 1950's, though no longer with signs of Zeiss participation
in the case of Ross. Bausch and Lomb used the Zeiss Trade names and may have continued as licensees.
Quite a high proportion of the early lenses will be from licensees. Remember that in 1901, 100,000 lenses had
been made, about 44,000 being the current Zeiss number. By then, Zeiss would be making an increasing
proportion, so that the first few would be above 56% from licensees, although this is apparently the overall
In use, these are still really desireable, the simple structures making for high contrast and freedom from flare
and at small apertures they are fully sharp. There may have been support from camera makers, as their
designs may have been built round lenses of a traditional weight, size and price, so that a radically new
product could have caused real problems for them. On the other hand, Dr Kingslake says that the anastigmat
was regarded as "not as good as hoped" and that "in spite of several redesigns" the series was replaced.
There must be small print here, though redesigns are not mentioned in the 1901 Zeiss catalogue. One aspect
may be the later lenses with "a" suffix. But it seems a different example may be the Series 111 f7.2 315mm
lens. Mr Burford of Collectors Cameras allowed us to examine an early example before sale and Zeiss
No1,51x to DRP56,109 proved to differ in surface curves from a later example of the same specification, Zeiss
No19,51x which was also to DRP56,109 but additionally marked DRP 84,996. The reflexions in the rear
component also differed as did the ratio of the foci of the components as mentioned above. The later lens
seemed to be a 2 glass cell while the early one seemed to be 3 glass. An early Ross version Ross No48x
seemed identical to the early Zeiss lens and for most collectors, the licensees lenses are accepted as valid
versions of the originals, although the "real Zeiss" probably fetches a premium.
In 1926, Frerk mentions that two Protars were still available new in 1926, the Series V f18 and probably the
Series 111a at f9. He stresses the amount of movement available with the f9 and says it is not really replaced
by any other lens, and confirms the value of the Series V for wide-angle work. They were then 2+2 designs.
The Series 111a was suggested in 20cm for 13x18cm but was said to cover a 30cm dia. at small stops, or
90°. Incidentally the serial number No115x was early, but Zeiss probably did begin at 1 or near it from
consideration of the No44 on the Triplet Apochromat above.
The Trade Name Anastigmat was widely adopted by non-licensed makers even though Zeiss in 1901 noted
that it had previously been "seldom used". The lenses so labelled were not by Zeiss, used different designs
and in some cases could claim little comparison with the real thing. Since it was a pre-existing word, it would
be non-registrable as a Trade Name, and Zeiss had to adopt a new one, "Protar", in 1900 and successfully
defended this. Few original Zeiss anastigmats seem to actually carry this T.N. as a result of the date, which
was after some had ceased production, but Protar is still a correct way to refer to them. Protar was used on
the early symmetrical anastigmats as well which can now cause some confusion, but all the later types such
as Planar, Unar and Tessar were given registered unique names.
Fig 33 Anastigmat Lenses by Zeiss and Zeiss-Ross.
Exposure: Q9 type lens of unknown make 6in overall, with 10.5in rear cell.
Back Row
433mm f8.0 Zeiss; 272mm f8.0 W/A Zeiss ; 315mm f7.2 Zeiss; 315mm f7.2 Zeiss +
caps and Wh stops, No151x; 315mm f7.2 Zeiss-Ross.
Middle Row
140mm f18 Zeiss + box; 120mm f9 Zeiss-Ross; 120mm f8.0 Zeiss-Ross 110mm f8.0
Zeiss in alloy; 98mm f12 Zeiss-Ross; 141mm f16 Zeiss-Ross; 170mm f6.3 Zeiss.
Front Row
112mm f18 Zeiss with disc stops; 212mm f18 Zeiss with mm iris scale; 112mm f18
Zeiss with no iris,ex-MoD; 110mm f18 Zeiss mm iris scale; 85mm f18 Zeiss, mm iris;
141mm f18 Zeiss Ross with disc iris; 112mm f16 Zeiss-Ross; 86mm f16 Ross
In a different field, Rudolph and Abbe studied the design of anamorphic lenses in 1897 using cylindrical
Symmetrical Anastigmats
Although the external curves of the above lenses look symmetrical, the layout shows they are in fact
something like an old+new achromat combined and the inner curves are not symmetrical. In contrast, the
Goerz Dagor was strictly symmetrical with identical glasses and curves in both components and a very fine
lens. Zeiss offered symmetrical anastigmats early on and made several series. (Rudolph/Zeiss Brit Pat
4,692/1893, on the OrthoProtar). In fact, they seem to have made versions of all the main types of
Symmetrical Anastigmats, normally associated with the Dagor of Goerz (as Series V1), Kollinear of
Voigtlaender (1909 TypeV11) and Holos of Watson (as the Ortho Protar). This may suggest cross licensing or
that Zeiss's patenting of the Anastigmat gave them some rights to all types- which is possible. However Zeiss
seems to have decided that the Zeiss Series V11 Protar was the best: and that quite different types were the
way ahead as in fact was the case.
One suggestion is that Rudolph followed up the design of the Anastigmat with the design of a 3-glass
meniscus anastigmat working at f14.5 and that these were used in pairs to produce the Series V1 in 1893.
This would explain why when von Hoegh approached Zeiss with the idea of the Dagor, Zeiss were able to say
they were not interested, since in fact they already had designed the half lens; and why they were able to
Patent it in the UK. (Brit.Pat 4,692/1893). But the real priority seems to have been to v.Hoegh and Goerz for
the use of a symmetrical pair.
[Note According to Eder, the first application for a job by v. Hoegh lead to an offer of employment, but this was
cancelled after Bamberg, his former superviser, said he was not suitable as being weak in mathematics. He
did contact Zeiss again, fruitlessly, and then, when he still had only sketches of his ideas, he called on Goerz,
and promised to do the calculation of the real lens in a few weeks. The first Goerz Doppel Anastigmat was
ready in Nov 1892, and the patent application was 20/12/1892, granted 05/05/1893. This casts a rather
different light on his refusal by Zeiss, which is often described as rather blunter than it actually was.]
Two lenses which must be mentioned are the IV and VI and the OrthoProtar but both are still shrouded in
some mystery and these notes are very preliminary. One reason may be that they were not sold in the UK.
Convertible Protar Series 1V (sic) This was introduced in 1908, at f12.5 for 60° coverage for the single cells.
Pairs were at f6.3 or f7.0. It used new Jena glass, and may be one of the reports of the Ortho Protar- or
Amatar. It is not an 'original anastigmat' as it is separable, but may be a replacement or printers error for
Series V1. (It seems to be in the 1903 Encyclopedia Brit.) Conrady quotes Von Rohr as using G1= 1.52246,
G2= 1.56724, G3= 1.61120 external glass). A Protar IV was noted at auction at No101,37x on a Universal
Palmos No802x for 18x13cm. The front cell was 350mm, ie. about an 8in lens unit.
Satz Anastigmat Series V1 (Sold from 1893) f12.5 or f14.5 200-900mm (Layout Zei009)
One catalogue calls the Zeiss lens "Double Protar V1 (Single and double) in 150-700mm single at f12.5,
87-407mm, double,at f6.3, f7.0.The slower version will be for unlike cells to get 3 foci.
Satz anastigmat series V1a f7.7 115-519mm. .
V1 was a single component and V1a was a double component lens. Note that Zeiss in the
UK were selling mixed sets with different foci cells, and single components freely while Goerz tended only to
sell pairs of identical components in Dagors. Lummer says "sales from 1891" and that it was replaced by the
4+4 Protar V11a. It may be that Goerz agreed to short term production or that an error in Patent cover existed
(it did in France) and was rectified.
This was rather a short lived product and essentially a Goerz Dagor type Q9 lens, so there would have been a
patent overlap. Lummer in c.1897 discussesSeries VIA as a current product, but it is not in the 1901
catalogue however. Ross versions of Q9 type are common, but are marked 'Goerz', so they probably licensed
direct from Goerz, which may have been uncomfortable as they also made Zeiss lenses. It may be best
called 'Double Protar Series VI': Lummer fairly says 'Convertible Anastigmat Series VIa' and refers to the
single meniscus as derivable from the Series VII by simplification.
[Lummer gives the date of design of the Series VII as 1894. (Brit. Pat 19,509,1894; Brit. Jnl. Photog. 1894,
p829; Eder Jahrbuch der Photographie 1895, p283.) and says the middle two glasses in a VII can be replaced
by a single glass. (This at first produces a Orthoprotar/Holos type.) Or the order of the + and - glasses can be
reversed, (to produce the Series VI/Dagor type). This reads rather as if Lummer was making a synopsis of the
Patent and Dr von Rohr's account of it. Significantly, he says the "achromatic single objective" with flat field,
spherical and anastigmatic correction and of this type was constructed by Zeiss even before the single
objective, at the end of 1891 as Anastigmat-Satzlinse, Series VI . And quotes Brit. Pat. 4692/1893 as validly
covering the type. In comparison von Hoegh's Patent was No23,378/1892, D.R.P. 74,437; see Brit. Jnl.Photo.
1893, p485; or Photographische Mitteilungen Berlin, 1893. One conclusion is that just as Voigtlaender could
persuade Steinheil to share the Orthostigmat patent since they could demonstrate it was well known to them
when the patent was granted to Steinheil, Zeiss could have made problems over the granting of the Goerz
Series III patent and agreed to forego this if they had some use of the design. Note that Lummer's account
explains how they could arrive at both the OrthoProtar and Series VI in one intellectual move as it were.
Possibly the agreement was for Zeiss to market the Series VIa until the Protar VIIa was available for sale.
Lummer goes on to discuss the double anastigmat Series VIa with two cells. (Zei009) and says that there is
no problem in using different foci in the cells as they are each fully corrected. Thus 2 or 3 different cells can be
sold as a Satz Anastigmat for 3 or 5 foci. But a lot of this is guess work!]
The dating of this product is complicated since Zeiss returned to the layout later in a 1908 series called the
Amatar. And the Series V1 seems to have been re-listed after the issue of the Tessar f3.5, probably near to
the Amatar (below) but was not so named. The only possible example seen had no identifying engraving,
merely "Carl Zeiss Jena D.R.P." and an iris engraved in mm from 23-3mm, corresponding to f7.7/177mm.
Zeiss Amatar F6.8 3.5-8.25-10in.(1908)
(Designers Rudolph and Wandersleb,1906 D.R.Pat. 196,734), Layout Zei 010
This was designed to cover 85°. Dagor Q9 layout was used here again in the 1910 period in the Amatar but
only symmetrical pairs were used. It was an excellent lens but is not very common and is normally found on
small (6x9cm) plate cameras though ones seen were a 150mm at No124,75x and a 165mm f6.8 at Nr198,01x
(c.1912). However it was listed in focal lengths 3.5-8.25in in UK, with the suggestion "use 6in for 5x4, but
3.25in will cover at small stops". The 165mm above illuminated 10x8 when focused at 15ft but corner
sharpness was limited and the image here hard to focus as if suffering from astigmatism.
In fact the image matched a 168mm Dagor quite well, with a suggestion that the Amatar was slightly the
sharper in the centre at f6.8 but may have fallen off rather more towards the edge. However the front curves do
seem to differ and be slightly flatter in the Amatar. Later use of two 150mm lenses seemed to show
similarities rather than differences. A 10in version has been noted as for sale secondhand in a B&J list. The
use of single components was recommended, eg 6in gives 2x 10in cells. (Layout Zei010). For what it is worth,
the drawing suggests that Amatar was a rather slimmer design than Dagor but this may be the result of
artistic license. It may have been covered by Brit Pat. 26,317/1910 for a Q9 with improved astigmatism
correction due to the use of new glass types. The example seen at No198,01x was in Compound shutter- and
rather high priced in 1998 as these lenses always seem to be! It is a scarce and sought-after lens today! The
fitting of the cells to the shutter was an unusual size and may be one reserved for the product so the shutter is
an important part of the item to evaluate on purchase.
Frerk remembered it in 1926, though it was not made then, and quotes 21cm for 13x18cm. Here the individual
cells are 36cm.
Fig 003 015 Zeiss Amatar f6.8/165mm No198,010 in dialset Compur (defective).
Zeiss 'Amatar' f4.5 Series 1X This is a mystery, offered in Houghton's list in 1914 for the Ensign Box Reflex,
as a 6in for 1/4plate. (BJA, 1914, p339). It just may be a misprint eg. for a Triotar, although only the f6.3
seems to be officially available by then.
Protar Apochromat This was noted as an f6.3/142mm lens at No73,32x in brass, and may be an early
process version to be replaced by the ApoTessar and ApoPlanar.
Ortho Protar-This is also a rather obscure lens, possibly as it was not sold in the UK. It was
forseen in the original patent (Brit Pat 4,692/1893). It was probably f8.0 max.The layout was to be used later in
the Conrady-Watson Holos, and then in the Angulon by Tronnier (c.1930). Possibly it was the second Series
V1/V1a above. Conrady quotes Gleichen as giving the glasses for OrthoProtar as G1= 1.49833, G2= 1.58950,
G3= 1.62210 (external when paired). It was dated as a 1910 item, and the confusion may be due to two types
being concealed in one number. A double Protar was offered from 1894. Rudolph described a (last?) one in
1910, at f8.0. The use of an "Ortho Protar" layout seems to have been shortlived.
Probably all the 3+3 symmetrical anastigmat types were somewhat neglected by Zeiss due to the success of
the next lenses, but the simpler types must have been cheaper to make and led to pressure from
management to try to seek a version which was up to the Zeiss standards of correction. This might be
especially true as the complicated patent position ended. In contrast, a competitor (T.R.Dallmeyer) described
the Series V11a below as the best corrected lens issued up to 1900, which was more the type of product that
Zeiss would have wished to make. And there could be no question of the patent cover of the Sries VIIa.
Series VII/VIIa Anastigmat Protar Series (Double Protar) (1894) f6.3 To cover 70-85°
(Rudolph/Zeiss Brit. Pat. No 19,509/1894) (Layout Zei011, 012)
(a) Single Protar Series VII was made in: 100,135, 170, 183, 224, 285, 350, 412, 480, 590, 690, 782, 862,
1000mm. The 3 smallest lenses were at f11, and covered 75°, all the others were at f12.5 and covered 85°.
They were a meniscus of 4 cemented glasses, mounted concave towards the subject. It was suggested to
use 170mm for 9x12, though 135 or even 100mm would cover if needed. These have maximum diameters of
image of 260, 210, and 150mm respectively. The limitation suggested is probably due to the need to avoid
distortion as they suggest 285mm for use on 5.1x7in for use in architecture with results free from noticeable
distortion. Single Protar VII cells do show some shift of focus as they are stopped down, and care is needed:
but it is not as severe as some makes.
Single components should be mounted at the rear of the barrel for the field to be flat and if original will have a
neat screw-in ring at the front of the barrel to protect the unused threads which would normally have held the
other component. Check on purchase that these are genuinely original as too often a 'single Protar' is just a
case where one component has been lost, stolen or strayed.
Conrady quotes suitable glasses as having Nd in G1= 1.51743, G2= 1.61002, G3= 1.51156, G4= 1.58254
(external glass in a pair).
Coverages in 1929 were given as:
6.5x4.75in plate
A Protar was dismantled by soaking in Xylene for about 14 days, and this showed two points. One that the
front (outer) glass was well oversize at 37mm dia compared with 34mm for the other glasses. The other was
that the inner has a chamfer ground on it but otherwise the 34mm diameters form a true cylinder without a
waist as on other makes.
(b) Double Protar Series VIIa was chosen from the above as pairs, or more cells with a common thread and
These seem to be coverages for symmetrical Protar VIIa pairs at f6.3-7.7 given in 1929:
7 + 7in cells
3.5x2.5in plate
8.75 + 8.75in
11.5 + 11.5in
16 + 16.5in
Series V11a f6.3,etc.
61-595mm (27 f.l.) normal form. (Layout Zei011) Use 13in. for 10x8in.
(c) Protar Sets Set Ao: for 1/4plate, 7.5,9.1,9.8in components (for 4.7in and up)
Set A: for 7x5, 9.8,11.8,13.8in components (for 6.2in and up)
Set B: for 9x7 19.7,16.9,13.8,11.8in components(for 7.3in and up)
Some sets had a Series V anastigmat as an extra for extreme wide angle work.
Colour filters could also be added.
For preference, lenses of roughly equal size were used for convenience in mounting, an example being a
Protar set C with cells of 224, 285, 350mm which combined gave 143, 156, 179mm double Protars. A
common choice for a simple 'double' was just 285+224mm giving 143mm. Zeiss offered at least 30 double
Protars by combining singles but two which are very common are the one above, used for 1/4plate and 5x7in.
Another was the set D used for 1/1plate. It used cells of 285, 350, 412, 480mm and combined these gave 179,
192, 216, 232, 254mm and a good choice of foci for a 1/1plate or 10x8in camera. Normally Protar VIIa covered
80° but the 3 smallest and the 3 largest sizes covered only 70°. The maximum aperture was f6.3 when two
like cells were in use, but fell to f7.0 or f7.7 when unlike cells were used. Thus some were mounted in shutters
or mounts with sets if stop scales; or iris scales calibrated in mm and a Table to read off the speeds. These
pairs were free from distortion, and also free from focus shift as they were stopped down.
The Series V11 is made of 4-glasses, and was effectively an original anastigmat (eg. Series 1V) compressed
into a single cemented component and still fully corrected-( which a single component of a Dagor is not.) But
Zeiss admitted to a trifle of distortion with the single Protar- the double is free of this. (The external curves of
the "original" are the same inside and out so that it is feasible to actually reverse one pair and cement them to
the others.) Thus Zeiss sold both single components, Series V11, and Double Protars Series V11a which
had a pair with two components. And they were free to sell pairs in which the components were different (as in
Zei012) so that the user got 3 foci from one pair as A+B, A,or B. This is the classic Protar and is implied if no
further detail is given. It continued as a minority product into the late 1930's at least on the Zeiss Ikon Juwel
plate camera, their most costly product. And it is still very good to use today. (Thus R.C.Taylor in B.J.A.
03/03/1978 says the sharpness compares well with a modern convertible Symmar though the contrast is
lower.) An early one seems to be No24,35x + 24,77x in a brass barrel. Note the cells were individually
numbered and the numbers will be near but not necessarily in sequence in original lenses.
Depending on the pairing of the cells, it could be f6.3, f7.0 or f7.7 maximum aperture. It was suggested to
chose 20.5cm for 13x18cm plates, with two 35cm cells. Unlike pairs are needed for 3-focus and these are
slower in aperture. Double Protars were made by most of the Licensees eg. Ross and B+L. They were and
should still be a highly valued item. Protars were made at least to 1940, at least by the ex-licencees. Rather
often, they seem to be found with two identical cells such as No406,19x where two successive serial numbers
are allotted to the pair of 22cm cells in a dialset Compur- but this is certainly not universal. An early brass
example seen has the iris marked in "mm" rather than f-stops. Later sets at about Nr 27822x and 24844x are
35cm+29cm to give a 7.5in approx pair for 5x7, and 29cm+22cm to give a 5.75in approx. pair for 9x12cm. The
range of versions may have been contracting by then (1920's) and these gave 3 well chosen foci.
In the UK N&G were active agents, many of their cameras having a 3 focus pair, such as 224/284mm and they
had a specialist mounting with the front cell screwed into a bayonet adapter to the front of their own shutter so
it could be easily removed and replaced: this was a standard, and it is now possible to build up a set of cells
to interchange. Prices today are often surprisingly modest for many Protar VII's as they are little understood
today, but in fact they are excellent lenses, sharp, contrasty and free from distortion. They give good covering
power, though this is rather less than the Dagor.
Fig 002 017 Zeiss Protar VIIa set for 10x8in, with 48cm 172,09x + 407,947, and 41cm 410,925.
Fig 002 037 Zeiss Protar Series VII 224mm and 285mm cells in bayonets for Newman-Sinclair shutter.
Fig 003 009 Zeiss Protar VIIa 35+29cm for 19.0cm Nos278,222+2,781,10x set refitted to Compur 2 shutter.
When purchasing the Series VIIA double Protar it is worth noting that it does lose out to Dagor slightly on
covering power, and slightly on contrast. But they should be extremely sharp, eg with Protar VII closed down
as far as f64 though there was a slight loss of sharpness at f128. And there can be a hint of change of focus
on stopping down, the sharpest point moving slightly nearer the camera though the sharp zone seems to
remain equally distributed beyond and in front of the point focused. (This was studied with a 24.5in Ross-Zeiss
Protar VII and could well be masked with a smaller lens. But it is something Mr A. Adams comments on.) And
it must have been a problem centering the 4 glasses to the accuracy required. Some problems with failure of
the balsaming have been encountered in these lenses, though perhaps these are few in view of their complex
design but this is certainly something to look for on purchasing. [Certainly there are fewer problems with them
than with some other 4+4 designs, where practically every sample seen has balsam flaws.] Another question
from experience has been old lens cells remounted in more modern shutters. Unless very well done this can
lead to problems with alignment of the axes and it would be wise to buy only on approval here. But this can
apply to other lenses as well.
At least one of these Protar VIIa sets was noted in a very elaborately engraved full brass shutter made by
Zeiss using a 9+14in pair, each of which was marked 'Zeiss patent' so they just may be Ross cells in a Zeiss
shutter. But it was certainly a case where a much higher price would be obtained.
A surprising note in Photography 15/6/1909 says the 4-glass Series V11 was to be replaced by a 3-glass
OrthoProtar type Protar at f12.5,single and f6.3 double, and as sets. It seems either to have been a
misunderstanding or there was a change of plan. The optical layout was shown which makes confusion less
likely, and possibly the intention was to use it for some applications only. (Layout Zei013, Zei014). The cause
was probably a search for a lower cost product.
(d) Protar Telepositive f3.0 use: This was an exotic fast f3.0 (or possibly also f4.0) version of the single
Protar, for use as a tele positive component, and it was corrected over a narrow angle only. It was not listed as
an actual Protar in the 1901 catalogue, although the layout is the same. It was made about 1900 as 135, 225,
and 375mm for use with Telephotographic tube mounts III, IV, V respectively.
135mm for:
T/T mount III
27?, 45, 58mm focus (3.0x or 2.3x manification resp.)
225mm for
T/T mount IV
75, 100mm focus (3.0x or 2.3x magnification respectively).
375mm for
T/T mount V
125mm focus (no data)
Thus a 135 would go up to 405mm and a 225 to 675mm with the more powerful. Here the telenegative should
be mounted with the engraved side away from the positive lens. (It would be away from it with a Doppel
These are shown in the 1901 Catalogue and also see Marriage's book. The Layout is Zei015;Zei016, where the
latter shows the components but without the spacing). It was noted at auction in a TeleTubus III below as a
f3/135mm positive No88,88x teamed with a -58mm negative, ie about 310mm overall. The Telepositive could
also be used as a rapid studio lens for small pictures, where the covering power was sufficient for portrait
heads. Thus a 225mm covered CdeV and a 375mm covered Cabinet- this suggest a fairly narrow angle. [It
may have given other designers ideas since there were several later lenses with some resemblance to the
Protar VII design but with greater aperture.]
Other Anastigmats
Rudolph seems to have then looked for other anastigmat designs, probably with a view to simpler ones as the
Protar VII must have been inherently costly to make. It was also inherently slow, in a world where lenses were
becoming faster. The Zeiss Anastigmat f4.5 Series I does not seem to have sold well and in England,
Dallmeyer was selling an f3.5 Stigmatic from 1895 and this would have begun to sell in the portrait lens
market. Thus a Zeiss of that speed would be welcome.
Planar Anastigmat Series 1a f3.6-f5.0 (Layout Zei 017, also Zei 018?) To cover 62-72°
References: D.R.P. 92,313 of 14/11/1896. On sale in Sweden from Nov. 1896.
The Planar was made in 18 or 19 foci from 20-610mm and the apertures varied with the focus as follows:
20, 35, 40,50, 75, 100mm; also 370, 423mm
40, 60, 83, 110mm.
130, 160mm.
470, 610mm.
The exact foci vary in the lists seen in different adverts.and 40 and 610mm seem to be the unusual ones. But
there seems a gap above from 160 to 370mm which may not be correct.
These might indicate a maximum size of weight and or glass blank. In the layout above, note that the lenses
seen correspond to Zei 017 with a concave surface to the inside of the outer glasses, not to Zei 018 with flat
inner surfaces, though this could be a revised design.
Planar was sold from August 1897, and used a 6 glass/4 component Gauss layout, the inner or outer
component being divided into two glasses of nearly equal refractive index but different dispersion- in practice it
was always the inner which was divided. The drawing shows G1, G2, G5, G6 as crowns, G3, G4 as flints
(Woeltche, loc cit.). The result was an objective with a critically flat field, good spherical corrections, and
excellent colour correction. It is slightly soft at full aperture, due to coma, but this is attractive for portraits and
clears up on stopping down, when it is really sharp and the contrast also increases. Although Planar is not
very far from symmetrical, it is not truly symmetrical and as a result the individual cells are not really useable
separately, although this is said to be just possible when stopped right down.
This meant it sold for action pictures, (eg on the Sigriste focal plane camera), movie work in the sizes up to
about 75mm, studio portraits at f4.5-f6.0, and groups, where it would be closed to about f8-f12.5, as well as
copying and process work. It was expensive, at nearly twice the price of a Series IIa Protar, and the amount of
glass makes it heavy in larger sizes. The angle covered is not restrictive, but seems limited after the Protar
series. And for the first time, Zeiss were making a lens with 8 air-glass surfaces rather than 2 or 4, and there
is the increased flare that can go with the increase. There was a tendency to ghosting near the image plane,
though this was not noted in use and may not be serious. And the overall contrast is less good, so that the
Zeiss catalogue suggests the use of a developer restrainer as possibly useful. This meant that the "old" Planar
slipped from the lists about 1914, and apparently later was sold only in small sizes as a microscope lens. It
was overtaken first by the Unar and then by the Tessar, lower cost designs of similar aperture, and even in
1901, Zeiss was suggesting Unar or Protar IIa to VIIa for interiors or landscapes and keeping Planar as a
special item for portraits, movies or where process quality was needed. In the longer term, it proved to be a
major basis for optical design, and its history is well described by Woeltche (Proc. Opt. Soc. Amer. 1980,
S.P.I.E. Vol 237, 31/05/1980).
All these were engraved "Planar" (a trade name for the first time?) so there should be no problem in
identification, but also note the engraving "Series 1a", as it replaced the old Series I.
Some data are:
Plate size
Plate size
Image Diameter
at full aperture
stopped down
at small stops
8.5x8.5cm (3.3x3.3in) 12.7cm
9x12cm (1/4plate)
12x17cm (1/2plate)
16x21cm (1/1plate)
21x26cm 10x8in
As indicated above, ghosting was not a problem in use, but a deep shade would be wise. As it was closed
down, sharpness became very good, and contrast improved markedly, so that negatives printed easily.
Possibly the most useful sizes are (from experience) 160mm, which suited 5x4in nicely, and 300mm for
10x8in, as the suggested 423mm size must be heavy and seems even harder to find. Planar is a valuable
item, and not an easy lens to find.
Fig 002 035 Zeiss Two early types: Planar f3.8/160mm No68,88x and Unar f4.7/145mm No66,55x.
Fig 003 017 Zeiss Planar f4.5/5cm No117,722 refitted to rimset Compur.
Apo Planar f6.3. This seems to have a reduced aperture of f10 in longer sizes, eg. 800mm. This lens was
listed in the general catalogue for 1901, and its existence was indicated with a warning of extra cost. But the
term APO was not used then- it was merely 'reduced secondary spectrum.' It was noted in 1903 for groups
and general work, also for 3-colour and astro photography. It can be confused with Series 1a, 2.8-12in focal
lengths but seems slower and was a distinct product. Woeltche quotes these as having a secondary
spectrum of less than 0.5% of the focal length, using KzF 2 Schott glass for the inner divergent glasses.
These original Apos were symmetrical lenses for work at 1:1. These have not been seen, are probably rare
and would be very nice to use as the slower aperture could make for higher contrast and the colour correction
will be exceptional for the date. The following are described as 'copying lenses' and have Planar type layout,
but may not be the apos mentioned in the footnote.
Copying Lenses
470, 610mm. These were especially costly.
505, 600, 690mm
460, 632, 947mm.
It may be partly that a new type of glass was coming into use and large pieces were still especially hard to
Many years later, a new Apo Planar was designed for infinity use, and this was no longer symmetrical as a
result. This is typically a f4.0 300mm lens. There may also be a macro lens series for microscope use, in the
pre-1940 period.
Planar Type V111 f7.2 (or is this confusion?)
This was listed from 1900 (Am.Photo. 24/05/1900, p351) as Type V111, also in f10,16.4-51.4in, and was a
process lens. These may be the long focus lenses from the same series as the Apo lens above. The
designers were Rudolph and Wandersleb, in 1910 for what may be a new design.
Unar Anastigmat Series Ib f4.5-f5.6 (Layout Zei 019) To cover about 65° or up to 82°.
References: Reg. Design No41,716/1899: D.R.P. 134,408: Brit. Pat. 24,089/1899: USPat. 660,202: See
Rudolph in Photogra. Mitteilungen (Berlin) Nov. 1900.
It was made in:
112, 136mm,
Sizes 112, 136, 155mm were suggested for snapshot cameras.
145mm (This was seen at No6655x so it may be 'late' for a Unar and it is not in the 1901 list: it is a
barrel mount iris lens in a helical focus mount, with iris. It is coded AIV2 and the iris is graduated in mm.
When fitted to a 10x8 camera, it seems probably to be a 1/4plate lens. One application was to the Zeiss
Palmos where a f4.7/145mm Unar was No58,59x of 1901 in black alloy mount. It can be dated as this camera
model was only made that one year marked 'Carl Zeiss'. This seems to be one of the more usual sizes, eg ?
for 9x12cm?
155, 210, 255, 305mm. 210, 255, 305, 375, 460mm were suggested for portraits and groups.
It can be argued that the Unar was the first true unsymmetrical anastigmat: it is true the the original
Anastigmats were unsymmetrical as the internal curves differed, but in Unar there is very little symmetry left. It
is as if an original Anastigmat had been uncemented and the freedom used to alter the curves for a better
design, which may show how it was arrived at. Certainly, the Zeiss catalogue notes the importance of the airgaps and that they are a + in front and a - behind the iris. The cells are not usable alone, but correct each
other as in the original anastigmat. The outer glasses are both Dense Barium Crown, R.I.=1.61, the inners
both Ordinary Light Flint, R.I.=1.57. Thus it is not convertible. This is an example of a lens where the DBC can
slowly weather to a remarkably fine coated surface, iridescent in violets and blues and still relatively hard and
optically sound. This is NOT something to have repolished. It was noted that this lens gave a clean contrasty
image to compare with modern ones when used outdoors with the sun behind the camera.
It was regarded as very well corrected, for colour and for spherical aberrations, and free from distortion. It
covered a much more useful angle than the Planar, although this seems to have required some stopping down
and still did not approach the original anastigmats. In use, the only problem may be flare from the 8 air/glass
surfaces, but this was not serious in the examples tried. One example seemed to have aquired a fine natural
coating which should help.
Unar was noted as new in Photography 24/05/1899, p351; 27/12/1900 p863; as an indication of the speed with
which business reacted even then, Ross were issuing details of the new foci to be offered in the December
issue (f4.5-f5.6, 4.5-18in). It may be that by then the glasses and mount were fairly standard and the lens was
easy to put into production.
Zeiss Unars were still a recent introduction in the 1901 catalogue, which shows one at No44,04x, which may
be about the first serial number. One seen at No16,xxx may be an anomaly possibly due to an engraving error
as No46,xxx would be more credible. It was noted as Zeiss Unar f4.5/36mm at No49,00x and 51,82x and as a
bigger lens from Ross. Original reviews confirmed the quality of the design, and noted that the field was
slightly forward at halfway out the frame, and then slightly backward at the edge, so that overall it was very
good. It was still in use in 1906 on the Premo reflex at f4.5, and a Portrait Unar (below) may have continued
after that.
Unar competed for sales with Planar, and several Protars, and while it sold well initially as an f4.5 for hand
cameras such as 1/4plate Press and reflexes, it was progressively replaced by the Tessar which was issued
as an f6.3 in 1902 and an f4.5 a little later. The Tessar had only 6 air-glass surfaces and was inherently safer
to use under difficult lighting conditions and may have been easier to make as well. Now the value of the Unar
disappeared, and it became a forgotten lens, so that today it can be found in scrap lens boxes at modest
prices, which do not reflect its lineage. It can be recognized by the Trade Name and by the Series Ib- due to it
coming after the Series 1a Planar. It is a much better item than this lack of interest suggests. As suggested,
f4.5/136mm seems to be the commonest size, and should cover not just 1/4plate but 5x4in stopped down a
bit. Larger examples do occur, especially from Ross, but are certainly not common.
Covers at f4.5,etc
Covers stopped down
Max Diameter
9x12cm and 1/4plate
Fig 002 035 Zeiss Two early types: Unar f4.7/145mm No66,55x and Planar f3.8/160mm No68,88x
Fig 029 035 Zeiss Krauss Unar f4.7/145mm No42,445.
Note that the rear glass of a 15cm has little protection from the mount and can scratch easily- check on
Also that the two inner glasses are retained by screwed locking rings and can easily be removed for cleaning
on the example seen.
Portrait Unar
Some of the licensees, notably Bausch & Lomb, offered this as a special version but no details are available.
It is not known if this use was mirrored by Zeiss themselves.
Points from the 1901 Catalogue
1 In the 1901Catalogue, Zeiss state that they "use exclusively silicate glasses, whose permanency and
power of resisting external influences have been amply tested". They admitted to some bubbles in the glasses
as unavoidable however. The original Schott glasses had included phosphates and borates, but they seem to
have been rejected. Some firms used softer glasses for internal glasses, ie where they were cemented both
sides to harder glasses, but Zeiss seems to have felt these materials were to fugitive even there- or just not
needed them
2 Zeiss were then selling several of their own shutters. These included ones to patents D.R.P. 74,652 and
Iris shutters. The dimensions were related to the standard mounts Zeiss were using.
A Automatic Iris shutter with a speed 1/40sec upwards, but not adjustable mechanically. It seems to have
been made in several sizes for repetitive exposures. This was made in 5 sizes, with diameter of openings 17,
27, 42, 53, 62mm.
B Adjustable iris shutters D.R.P. 101,691 This was a new design, more compact and speeds could be set
from 2sec to 1/150sec. It was in a brass case with a very attractive machined finish. This was made in 6
sizes, with diameter of opening 20, 28, 33, 42, 53, 62mm
C Detective Iris shutters These were for small hand camera, to give about 1/20 to 1/60sec. or longer on the
time setting. These were in 2 sizes, with diameters of opening 17 and 27mm.
D Linhof's Adjustable Leaf shutter This was placed in front of the lens, for up to 1/150sec which 'can be
regulated with ease and a fair degree of certainty of action.' In brass or aluminium, in 7 sizes to 70mm
aperture. Also Stereo.
3 Zeiss used a series of standard and special mounts. The standard was either a small barrel with a
revolving disc stop plate for smaller size lenses, eg Protar Series V, or in larger sizes, a barrel mount with iris.
These were made with the largest iris setting from 10mm. They went up in 21 sizes to a 110mm largest stop
setting. In some cases, the same iris size was mounted in two mounts of the same diameter but different
length, as with 28mm dia. in 41.8mm mount and 33mm and 23mm length. There were also two special
mounts, one Special mount A with a 'screw in slot' focussing movement, (a SFIM) in 4 sizes; and Special
mount B with no focussing (SIM) in 5 sizes. These were for smaller lens sizes only. There was also a
focussing mount that took Standard mount screw in lenses on a flange at the front end in 2 sizes.
4 Zeiss were faced with a novel problem when the Protar VIIa went on sale. The unit needed different iris
scales for the whole lens and for the single cells when they were in use- and if these were different, three
scales in all were needed. Extend this to a casket with 3 cells and some 7 possible foci, and the situation is
obviously complex. Their answer was to calibrate the iris in mm of aperture and supply a set of Tables for all
their lenses. There was also another point: on the scales, the calibration is given at points where the aperture
has changed by a factor of 2, or by one stop. Thus a lens graduated with lines at 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 17, 24mm has
a difference of one stop between each number. They could then be related to the U.S. System of the R.P.S.,
and to Dr Rudolph's system.
Dr Rudolph's system took a lens of f50 as a base, and expressed the aperture as the relative rapidity
compared with f50. Thus a bigger aperture had a bigger number.
F Number
50 36 25 18 12.5 9
6.3 4.5 3.2
Relative Rapidity
16 32 64 128 256
It will be met on Zeiss lenses, but on the whole the "MM" engraving is more common. Actually, it is thoroughly
practical as the ratio of diameter to focal length Dmm/fmm is fairly easy to work out sufficiently accurately for
use while working. The mm scales are not confined to process lenses but probably did not go on small hand
cameras sold to the general public. NB Some Zeiss lenses also are in MM iris mounts graduated at 5mm
equal intervals- here doubling would not apply!
5 Zeiss gave a list in 1901 of camera makers regularly using their lenses:
H. Bellieni Fils, Nancy, 17, Place Carnot, France.
Paul Boucher, Paris, 39, Quai des Grands-Augustins.
L. & A. Boulade Freres, Lyon-Monplaisir, 4 Rue St. Gervais.
H. Ernemann, Aktiengesellschaft fuer Camera-fabrikation, Dresden, Schandauerstr 48.
L. Gaumont & Cie, Paris, 57, Rue Saint-Roch.
A. Gauthier, Paris, 31, Rue Pastourelle.
Rud. A. Goldmann, Vienna IV, Victorgasse 14.
Christian Harbers, Leipzig, Markt 6.
Fabrik. Huttig (vormals R. Huttig u. Sohn), Dresden, Schandauerstr. 76.
R. Lechner, Vienna I, Graben 31.
H. Mackenstein, Paris, 15, Rue des Carmes.
E. Mazo, Paris, 8, Boulevard Magenta.
E. B. Meyrowitz, 104, East 23rd Str., New York, USA.
Newman & Guardia, Ltd., 90-92 Shaftesbury Ave, London.
A.G. Camerawerk Palmos in Jena.
Photo-Hall, Paris, 5, Rue Scribe.
Jules Richard, Paris, 25, Rue Melingue.
A. Stegemann, Berlin S., Oranienstrasse 151.
These are well spread through Europe, especially in France.
Tessar (1902) (Layout Zei020) (P.Rudolph and E.Wandersleb, for Zeiss, Brit Pat 13,061/1902, German Pat.
142,294, USPat 721,240)
A 1902 development by Rudolph, this became about the most famous lens ever designed, and really sets a
new era. It beat most rivals on sharpness and had only 6 a/g surfaces so it was more reliable from the flare
point of view than Unar or Planar. Zeiss stated it was derived from the Anastigmat and Unar designs and this
seems reasonable from the type of development Rudolph was making by working on these by separating and
bending. (Cynics said it was a Triplet with an extra glass but this ignores several facts).
It was cheaper than Protar V11a, less prone to flare than Unar, and a very desirable item. Zeiss defended the
design and the trade name Tessar carefully, and in 1932 stated their objections to the use of their name and
"Tessar type" and "Tessar construction" in advertisements. [However it did become one of the most widely
used layouts in the industry once the patents had run out. Hence the use here of the code Q15 for the many
other users of the layout.] The Zeiss objection was fair as the trade name was theirs and experience shows
that the careful design and production of the Tessar did put it ahead of its rivals. This was shown in a
comparison of a Tessar with "other" brand Q15 lenses.
An apparently 1915 list has Tessar in f2.7, f3.5, f4.5, f6.3, f9.0, f15, which has some surprises! (Later time
would add f1.9, f2.0, f2.8, f3.8, f4.9, f5.5, f6.5, f8.0, f10 and probably other maximum apertures!) The "f15" in
1915 may be a version of the ApoTessar. The launch versions in 1902 were the f6.3 and the Apo in f10-f15. It
was cheaper than the Protar f6.3 and gave better cover of fine sharp detail than the Unar. (Photo Miniature,
1903 based on a Zeiss announcement).
Tessar Series 11b (1902) f6.3 1.5-23.25 in. It is suggested to use 14in for 10x8, 6in for 5x4. It is marked
D.R.P.142,294.This was a most favoured lens and the one still used by connoiseurs! It covers 70° and is sharp
and contrasty. Note there was also an f8.0 Tessar on Verascope (1913): this may be a limited stop version
due to the shutter size? (Layout Zei020) The series numbering suggests it replaced Anastigmat Series 11 at
f6.3 in the lists. This f6.3 Tessar is the connoisseurs choice and usually available although the f4.5 is certainly
much more common. Thus the f6.3 needs to be consciously looked for, except perhaps in larger sizes, when
the f6.3 was popular as lighter and less expensive. An early one f6.3/150mm AIIoy at No98,35x was in a
focusing mount and was scaled in both mm of iris aperture from 21-3mm, and in the usual f numbers- this
double scaling is uncommon in our experience.
In 1914 it was made in 3.0, 3.5, 4.75, 5.25, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 8.25, 10, 12, 14, 19.25, and 23.25in, and 14in was
suggested for 10x8, 6in for 5x4.
Zeiss-Kodak f6.3 on 1909-1912 Premo- This may be another Series 1b fitting.
The date suggests this is a Tessar version as the Triotar was probably not in production but the next item
may be a 3-glass lens.
Zeiss-Kodak f6.5 56mm This was made by Krauss about 1913 at No53,26x to fit on a Le Mondaine VP
Strut camera No88, and is an unusual aperture, though it may merely be an f6.3 with a limit to it.
Tessar f5.5 This was noted as a 25cm lens with iris in mm to 48mm, an unusual type possibly for technical
work, at No296,00x, about 1917. They were probably made to fit a market, possibly decided by the size and
weight a camera maker could use. Thus they have been reported as an f5.5/165mm on a big folding Kodak
camera. Alternatively, the 25cm lens may be a war related product or one which just failed to find a market.
These are too unusual to be worth looking for, but rather it can be chance finding them.
Among other honours Dr Rudolph was awarded the 1905 Progress Medal of the R.P.S. (Account
of Researches, Brit.Jnl.Photo 30/12/1905, p1112)
Tessar Series 1c (1906) f4.5 1.5-20in. Here use 6in for 1/4plate. (Layout Zei 021)
There is a hint that the success of the Tessar came as a slight surprise and that the response took a little
time in preparing a faster version. Remember that Zeiss introduced the f4.5 Anastigmat, Planar and Unar in
succession over some 10 years and may have wanted more continuity at this aperture! The f4.5 Tessar was to
be a product which commercially put all of them in the shade. Compared with the f6.3 it was faster and more
successful, though connoisseurs say it just is not quite such a charismatic item! But it did replace both the
f4.5 Unar and the Planar. Hence the numbering as Series 1c.
The designer here was E.Wandersleb. (D.R.P. 142,294).The drawing (Layout Zei.021) shows two flat surfaces.
In our experience this is unusual. The rear of glass 1 is more usually concave, as is the inside of the rear pair.
But the latter was flat in an early Series 1c f3.5 which was dismantled. Thus Zei022 may be still another
variant. The great success of this product means it is one of the easy ones to find and it is still well worth
using for black+white work. There are coated examples which might be better for colour. It is normally quite
free from flare, but inevitably this tends to affect colour materials more than b+w where it is easy to correct for
changes in contrast.
In 1914, it was made as 3.0, 3.5, 4.75, 5.25, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 8.25, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20in and 16in was suggested
for 10x8, and 6in for 5x4in. There may be other sizes, as A. Adams mentions using an 8.5in Tessar in the
1920's. (Autobiography, p60). In view of the later use of interchangable front components, it seems the E.
Wanderslab envisaged this as early as 1908-9- but production does not seem to have ocurred.
The Tessar quickly became the prestige lens on the bulk of small cameras sold to the general public. This
was typically the f4.5 though the f6.3 was also a success. It must have had a major impact on camera design
as a result. This is due to the designers in each company having to accommodate the same shutter/lens
package and the same rear focus in all the models of the same format. And thence on lens designers whose
lenses for sale as alternate fitments now had to conform at least approximately to that of the Zeiss Tessar.
Also as the cameras converged, so the identity was lessened, and the possibility of a merger such as
occurred to form Zeiss Ikon was eased. But note that this only involved some 4 makers, and the design
convergence will have affected firms (such as Ensign in the UK) who were definitely independant.
An interesting focal length is the 55mm, found on stereo cameras for 45x107mm format, eg at No471,35x (2x).
Another point is that some f4.5/150mm Tessar lenses are in Compound or Compur shutters with oversize rear
mounting threads of 44x0.9mm, probably an A size, possibly to allow a bigger rear cell for more even
illumination. This is something to note in mounting them as the 44mm ring is now hard to find if missing.
An interesting example was marked "Flieger Truppe" at No29587x, possibly a WW1 air lens.
During 1999, a group of some 5 Tessars f6.3 and f4.5 were tried out on B+W film 6x9cm using a 1960's
coated lens for comparison. There was amazingly little difference between them in contrast for ordinary views
outside when shooting at f11 and 1/100sec, and using a lens hood also seemed to be unnecessary. But as
the camera was swung to look towards the sun, the difference began to show up, one conclusion being that
anything which kept the sunlight off the actual glass was almost equally efffective: so site the camera in
shade, even of a telephone pole or hold up a hand, book or newspaper to shade the actual lens. Zeiss seem to
have achieved a premium product here, and this may depend partly on the sharpness of the lens image and
partly on the careful blacking of the edges and related parts. There are also mentions in older books of the
unusual "black" polish Zeiss were able to obtain on the glasses- due to a very perfect surface finish and
perhaps an insistence on harder grades of glass. One tentative suggestion is that the choice of polishing
compound contributed something to not just the smoothness but to the finished surface layer, which could be
modified in refractive index and begin to approach a anti-reflection layer. This will affect (reduce) the reflexions
even if not of optimal thickness.
Fig 002 014 Zeiss Tessars: f3.5/150mm (below), and 2 versions of f4.5/150mm.
Tessar f4.9 9, 13cm This was noted at No627,77x It was also noted at f4.9/130mm in a dialset Compur.
This will probably be an aperture limited f4.5 , the first being on VP Kodak about 1926-7 only.
Tessar Series 1c (1906) f3.5 1.375-12in. use 2in for 18x24mm,10in for 1/4plate.
In 1914 it was made as 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 8.25, 10, 12in, the shorter for movie as 24x18mm and up to 1.75in sq.
with 3in; and the bigger for 6x9 (8.25in), 5x4 (10in) and 6.5x4.75in (12in) respectively.
See Fig above!
The early Tessar f3.5 was a sharp narrow angle lens. It was sold for movie use as the KinoTessar and for
portrait work. It illuminated a fair angle but with severe fall off in sharpness outside the area intended for use.
Thus O.Barnack's early pictures with prototype Leicas fitted with a Kino Tessar 50mm are contrasty but only
sharp in the middle 24x24mm, and were not really a correct use of the lens. (Afterall, the camera was a
prototype!) However it was to be used commercially on several early 35mm still cameras. The designer was
again Wandersleb, and the f4.5 and f3.5 seem to have been launched together.
These lenses were costly, ranging up to £50 for a big Tessar which was a good years wages in those days.
This was seen as a 15cm Tessar at Nr 870,78x ( later 1920's). In collecting for use, it is worth noting that
there was a later redesign of the f3.5 Tessar by Merte and Wandersleb about 1926 (Brit.Pat 273,274) and it is
wise to check on purchase which type is offered. The redesign probably was sold from nearer Serial Number
1,000,000 than most early f3.5's and was probably little used on big size lenses such as a 15cm. It is also
likely that the early type or at least a narrow angle design was continued for movie use. These big f3.5
Tessars seem not to be an easy type to find. Frerk also refers to a 1921 patent D.R.P.142,294 but this just
may be a confusion with the 1902 Patent.
Zeiss were always trying to improve even good products, and patented a new Tessar version using harder
glass in 1917 (Brit Pat 146211/1917) and one with improved spherical correction (Brit Pat 146,213/1917,
USPat 1,479,195 also).
For movie, Ariel's list gives a number of f3.5/50mm Tessars but with quite a proportion from licencees,
especially Krauss, the only Zeiss Jena example being on a 1915 Universal. Others occur at Auction in the UK.
Thus an original Zeiss example at auction was f3.5/5cm No135,91x on a Prestwich 35mm movie camera
No183x. Another was No 509,784 on a wooden Ernemann 35mm movie camera, and again No386,37x on an
Ertel. (Some of these are later numbers and are ?retrofitted lenses.) It has been noted for movie in f3.5 in35,
40, 50, 75mm and as f4.5 in 120mm for 35mm movie.
ApoTessar Type V111 f10 (f15 in longer f.l.) (Rudolph and Wandersleb,1908)
It was made made in f9.0,12.6in, f10,18.1,25.2in, f12.5,46.1in, f15,71in.
This was an important process lens in its day. Today, they are still a nice and not too uncommon an item
which often comes in an attractive wooden box. They are still useful for large format close up work if not too
long focus. (The reservation must be that process lenses are designed for close-up and some workers do not
approve of using them at infinity). Actually the series V111 ApoTessar dated from 1903 at f10. (Photominiature
1903, p553) in 5f.l. Thus the 1908 may have been a new series, at least from 1910 in one list.
An earlier example at No208,45x is marked Apochromat Tessar while by No872,71x it is just ApoTessar
and this just might signal the change in the design.
Fig 003 007 Zeiss (l)Apochromat Tessar f10/46cm No208,45x and (r)ApoTessar f9/30cm No 872,71x with
Tessar at times was used as a workhorse lens so 'Projection Tessars' and small 20mm Tessar for cine
projection (?) have been noted. But these are probably many years later in date.
Tele Accessories
Over this period Zeiss supplied telephoto units of several sorts, depending on date and purpose. Typically
these were for:
(a) Cameras of fixed extension, often for use with 5.375in f6.3 Tessar, also 6in f6.3, f4.5 Tessar.
(b) Cameras with variable extension, for use with 5.375, 6.0,7.0in f6.3, f4.5 Tessars, or 7.0in Protars.
(c) Stand cameras.
(d) Zeiss Tubular Tele Accessory ("Tele Tubus") (This may be the German discription.)
d was the version in the 1901 Catalogue, noted with a complex Zeiss shutter with auto stop down, in brass.
An impressive version No445 (-135mm ) was at auction in 1999. Some, probably all, use Zeiss own shutters,
rather than the later Deckel versions. An example at auction of a TeleTubus III used an f3.0/135mm
Anastigmat positive at No88,88x and a -58mmTelenegative No51,75x. In fact, there is a choice of 45, 58,
75mm Telenegatives here, and suggested positives from 179-216mm, the magnifications ranging from 2.6-3.0
mainly on 5x7in formats. TeleTubus IV used Telenegatives from 75, 100,125mm, matched with lenses from
337-433mm, for 3.0-3.5 magnifications on 1/1plate. Other combinations were possible. The uses envisaged
were landscape and architectural subjects.
a and b used 1.75 and 2.375in. negative lenses for 3x or 2.5x. The examples noted were made later, and
were telenegative -6cm, No661,03x (with a 6in f4.5 Tessar No344,54x) and No 483,89x (with a 165mm f6.3
Tessar No197,19x). These numbers suggest they were made over a considerable period from say 1905-1925
at least. There is no shutter, so they were probably accessories for Klapp cameras. But the screw threads of
the lens heads are smaller than those of the tele units, so additional panels were needed.There are additional
serial numbers on the barrels, of Nos351x and 386x but these do seem to be in a different series.
Fig 002 021 Zeiss Tele Accessories with -6cm lenses fitted Tessar f6.3/165mm and f4.5/150mm.
c used 2.375,3,or 4in lenses for 2.5 to 3x, for use with Tessar or Protar 6-12in.
These often came as a nice helical focussing black tube unit. In comparison, earlier units were in brass finish
and had a rack+pinion focus movement.
Magnar (Rudolph and Wandersleb,1906)
This was a "special teleobjective" f10 of fixed separation as a telephoto unit, eg. giving 18in focus with only 6in
extension, in focussing mount. It was not intended to use any separate parts.
An 80cm Magnar was noted at No116,52x and a special 9x12cm Magnar camera was made to suit it, taking
a "big" 32in. (80cm) focus Magnar. There was also a "small" f10 45cm Magnar, compared with the "Big"
80cm, 32in (812mm approx) f10. (The 45cm used only 15cm backfocus). Both are really for 9x12cm.
Kerkmann also illustrates a f10/800mm Magnar on p334, and a camera with f50/3000mm Magnar on p335.
Fig 002 008 Zeiss Tessar f4.5/21cm and Zeiss Magnar f10/45cm No123,77x.
They were made under D.R.P. No 227,112, Brit. Pat 19,580/1909*, and used a 2+3 layout (Layout Zei023,
B..J.A.1911, p504). The example used was at No 123,77x. The components front and rear are coded A and B
respectively. Magnar focusses by altering the separation of the elements, rather like some of the accessory
units. It was intended for balloon photography, portraiture and wild life work. The performance should be sharp
and contrasty, but on this example was rather disappointing, possibly because it was far from new. Sales in
the UK seem to have been from 1908.
A Magnar camera at auction used a f10/80cm Magnar No116,53x on a 9x12cm camera, the lens being in a
push-pull tube to compact for transit. It was thought to be about 1906-1910.
*Also see below on TeleTessar where there are two older patents.
f6.3 initially (Wandersleb,1912) (Layout Zei024)
In a sense, Zeiss were rather late to come to the triplet, since they had less need than others and it could not
be said to improve on their existing designs. But there is an Anastigmat noted at auction as 27.5in (690mm)
f2.5 No14,050 "marked TTH Patent on barrel". It is possible that this was somewhat scrambled in printing
(the serial number seems low), but it may suggest that early one (perhaps 1910) Zeiss were licensed to make
a few big triplets for balloon work, possibly a f5.5/690mm, where the lightness of the design was valued. And
when it was possible to do it 'patent free', they designed their own triplet, the Triotar. Thus the Triotar was
noted in 1913 on Klito 1/4plate, Postcard Cameo.
See also Zeiss-Kodak for a lens of unknown type f6.3 eg on VPK about 1913.
Distar This was noted as a telenegative accessory in1914. Woeltche , loc. cit. says the Proxar and Distar
date back in Zeiss production to the beginning of the Century, so 1914 may not be the earliest type.
(Plasmat: It is said that this Trade Name first appeared on a Zeiss lens prewar but Eder gives it as a 1920
design and merely says Zeiss were not sufficiently interested so Rudolph entrusted production to Hugo Meyer
of Goerlitz.)
Rudolph left Zeiss for a rest in 1910 due to health reasons, but was recalled at the outbreak of WW1 and
calculated a new teleobjective for taking photographs from balloons- this just may be related to the f6.3
TeleTessar though there the final design was due to Merte (Eder quotes v. Rohr in "Theorie und Geschichte
der Photographischen Objective" (1899) and several of Rudolph's own writings as basis. Wandersleb became
the head of the camera lens operation in Rudolph's place, and continued with Zeiss to 1957, with a break due
to the regime in 1938-1945.
A group of prototype lenses was auctioned in Dec 1996 and were apparently mainly of 1913 date. These were:
Zeiss f6.3/30cm, No249,350-V1913-XVIII ie the eighteenth of 1913.
Protar f12/19.6mm No233,394-V1913-VI
Zeiss V f3.1/7.5cm Nr208,473 V1913 in brass.
Triplet f8/25cm No335,876-V1920 Nr2 ie a revised version.
They are interesting items to note though it is hard to relate some of them to products marketed. The serial
numbers relate approximately to published lists.
Known products made in WW1 seem to be limited to a set of aerial triplets, some telephotos(?) and
Tessars for aerial survey work. These triplets may be the same as listed later and are still very desireable
items for astrophotography as the image is of very high quality. They are also surprisingly light, which can be
a real advantage. These are scarce but still do turn up at sales, one being found in 1993 at £25 for a 300mm
lens. Examples known of are:
120cm f7.0 Triplet (1918) for Air Corps (Fliegertruppe), also 70cm f5.0, 50cm Nr311,42x.(1918?)
210mm f4.5 Tessar, also 240mm; f4.8 20in Tessar. These may have been normal civilian type lenses.
Also Tele above.
It is worth noting that these were equally or more used on balloons than in aeroplanes, owing to the greater
weight carrying capacity and absence of engine vibrations of the balloon, and that there has been mention that
the triplets may have been figured- ie made slightly aspheric for improved sharpness.
Post WW1
Normal international trading took some time to be reestablished after the war and the first postwar products
may be little known in the UK. It is likely that they were a continuation of a very strong pre-war product range
of Tessar, Protar and similar lenses, since no great step forward in technology had come with the War effort.
Certainly this was true in Gemany where almost every camera seems to have had Tessar f4.5 as an option,
often the most expensive. [The exceptions are usually where the camera maker also is a lens maker and does
not sell a competitors lenses.] Thus for many years the Tessar became the lens against which all others were
compared and today the "Tessar model" carries a premium still on the collector market- for its quality if not for
the rarity of the lens, as so many were sold that the f4.5 Tessar is not in general rare though some versions
are. The one real limitation was on cameras where movements were to be used, and here Zeiss was to offer
Protar V11a, Amatar and Dagor f9 for many years, but sadly this type of use was declining and first the
Amatar and then finally the Dagor and Protar disappeared from sales, though they seem to have been made
up to about 1942 in the case of the f9 Dagor. Thus the absence may be more apparent due to lack of
advertising than real. Incidentally the f6.3 Tessar did continue on small plate cameras such as Donata and
Trona into the late 1920's, but it is possible that they had been made earlier, were old stock, and had been
held in store. It would probably be hard to find one in a Rimset Compur for example. One reason here is that
the 3-glass triplet such as the Triotar was now able to give high quality results and in small sizes the Tessar
showed less advantage. But it was still supplied for large format sizes.
Thus it seems useful to list postwar-items in order of re-appearance in UK lists or in Patents. This is not a
perfect chronology but gives some degree of order. Incidentally, Schott transferred his share in the glassworks
to the Carl Zeiss Stiftung in 1919 and retired completely from it, although he was to live until 1935.
Some items were used in Germany but not sold in the UK, perhaps from the chance that the camera was not
sold here. Thus the Amatar was used postwar as lenses for the Stereo-Nettel Deckrullo, and large format
Triotars were fitted to the non-stereo version.
Zeiss were also continuing an active research and design programme, and this is shown by the series of
lenses launched. There was a Brit. Patent for a microreduction lens No145,023/1918 rather like a microscope
objective used in reverse and for what seems to be a new Series VII Protar (Brit Pat 146,465/1919 at f5.0 for
pairs, anf f9.5 for cells. And there was a improved Tessar with new glass in Brit. Pat. 146,213/1917- apparently
granted during the war! More basic studies included work on novel substances, such as sodium and lithium
fluorides for their low R.I. and dispersions.
Sodium Fluoride
84.5= v
Lithium Fluoride
(B.J.A. 1925, p243; Brit. Pat. 204,002 of 1922.) It may have been used sooner than one might think for
microscope objectives.
Tessar Series 1c
35-300mm This was a classic Tessar type. But note that these were still a
narrow angle lens: it was suggested to use 250mm for 5x4in. (cf. the later version in 1929.) They have been
noted for movie as f3.5/75mm at No453,94x. Another 1924 number was carried on a f3.5/40mm lens in a
bayonet mount- also likely to be a movie lens. It was used on the ICA Kinamo in B.J.A. 1925, p367.
1x0.75in = movie
2.5x3.5in These were in 'bold' in the 1929 advert. and were 'for hand cameras'.
They probably represent new design lenses.
4.25x3.25in In 1929, it was intended to extend these to f3.5/7cm and 8cm.
5x4in This is a coverage to compare with the 15cm above.
Note that suggested formats are partly a question of a suitable focal length and partly of the covering power of
the lens, and here there seem to be both 'old' narrow angle and 'new' wider correction Tessar f3.5 lenses.
The Tessar was the predominant lens on early collectible movie cameras, especially those of Continental
origin. This is an experts opinion, but requires qualifications. Firstly, not all are marked Kino-Tessar.
Secondly, they do not necessarily predominate in all ages or classes of camera, but rather that they do
basically turn up more often. [Other makes were Ernemann next, then Ruo as the third, who specialized in
movie lenses.]
Tessar Series 1c
40-400mm This was continued and was a major product, now far outclassing
the sales of the f6.3, which has effectively left the catalogues at least in the UK. However the Zeiss Optikers
Handbuch, esentially a guide for High St opticians, in 1927 discusses Proxar and Distar data for roughly equal
numbers of f4.5 and f6.3 Tessars, typically 2 for each size, as well as Triotars, so the f6.3 Tessars were
regarded as commercially valuable in Germany.
*The 33cm was noted in a Zeiss advert. showing an aerial picture of New York taken by the Fairchild Corp.
(B.J.A. 1924, p689) It may be a WW1 specification.
The f4.5 Triotar was sold in the UK on the T-P Reflex in B.J.A. 1926, p310. It was a 1924 product and the lens
caused no comment so it was probably well known then.
Incidentally, a picture in B.J.P. 1979 p318 is said by L.S.Shaw to show newsmen in 1926 in Downing St with
press cameras, most of which were Minimum Palmos. Typical lenses were Tessar f4.5, f3.5 and f2.7. It
illustrates the high proportion of Tessar (and Palmos) in use by this group of leading newsmen.
Tele-Tessar f6.3 This was a 1+1+i+2 tele.
The 5in may be listed rather later, and it was absent in 1924.
9x12cm = 4.25x3.25in
It was launched in the UK in B.J.A. 1925, 352, as new and a form of the Tessar. It was launched in the above
foci, and was about 2x magnification. They were impressed with the definition and brightness of the image and
with the covering power.
The Patent for the TeleTessar seems to be Brit.Pat.145,548 of 1919, B.J.A. 1922, p325 for an f6.3 lens with
the front air-gap but there was also a Brit. Pat. 179,529 of 1921, but this was for a lens of f5.5 not f6.3.(B.J.A.
1924, p279). Thus for some reason the slower lens was sold rather than the faster- there just could be a
patent overlap of some type. It suffered slightly from pincushion distortion, then thought to be inherent in the
design. However this was an improvement on an older patents Brit Pat 13,061 of 1902 and 3,096 of 1914.
(These must cover Magnar presumably?)
This was not made initially in 120mm.The design has a very large rear glass.The layout (Zei025) is not really
Tessar related, (though the front pair are separated so there is a formal relation) but the image quality is. The
most common version in the UK seems to be the 32cm, probably originally for 5x4 and 1/4plate. It was initially
issued in 1921 in Germany, and designed by Merte. It covers 30-40° and was a new fastest for Germany, and
better corrected than Magnar. A 25cm is long enough for 9x12 and a 32cm is nice for 5x4. It needs extension
about half the focus, ie is 2x mags. It was noted in B.J.A. 1927, p318 on a Mentor reflex- a typical application.
It is an very individual design. (B.J.A.1922, p325: 1924, p279:Brit Pats 179,529/1921;145,548/1919). The very
early postwar patents may be compatible with the suggestion that this is the lens Rudolph was recalled to
design but Frerk says it was due to Merte. Perhaps both men were involved. One point is that it is a
4glass/3component design with G1+2 very close but not actually balsamed. This is not obvious from the
reflexions which are those of a cemented pair, but has been checked by dismantling No410,240. This may be
the origin of the Tessar in the name since the separation pattern is the same. If you compare the later TeleTessar and Tele-Tessar-K with the smaller rear glasses, this suggests that K was for narrow angle Kino or
Klein = Miniature or Kupplung= Coupled for rangefinder, and in general the large rear glass of the early type
was a problem in fitting the lenses to some cameras. In fact the collector will find at least 3 series of these
teleTessars. First as above, then a small rear glass, large format version, and finally the K series. It seems
these were seen at No68,717x (1926) for a 'big' 32cm f6.3, followed by No 1,078,44x (1930) for a 25cm f6.3
'small' and No2,189,98x (1937) for a 180mm f6.3 Contax Tele-Tessar-K. Ratios of the rear diameters/foci are
0.16; 0.122; and 0.103 respectively, and will partly reflect the angle intended to be covered, and tend to justify
the K as a separate type.
The teleTessar was supplied for Bell & Howell cameras in B.J.A. 1927, p329 as an f6.3/5in lens to match a
f2.7/1in Tessar.
Fig 002 001 Two TeleTessars f6.3/30cm
Fig 002 003 Zeiss TeleTessar f6.3 in 32cm and 25cm.
Fig 002 005 Zeiss TeleTessar f6.5/25cm and Tessar f5.5/25cm in barrel. Note the relative sizes.
Double Protar
This was continued, probably unchanged.
4in of 2x7in cells
5in of 2x8.75in cells
6.75in of 2x11.5in cells 6.5x4.75in
9.5in of 2x16in cells
Single Protar
There may be two survivors of the original anastigmats as follows:
Single Protar
97° This was probably the old Anastigmat 2+2, and was
listed in:
Single Protar (Series V)
110° and so was this.
By then an Akeley movie camera for 35mm film was fitted with Tessar f2.7/4cm No645,00x (c1925)and Tessar
Series Ic f4.5/15cm No368,87x (c.1920) which emphasises that there was a time lag in reintroduction.
f2.7 It was made in 15-165mm in 11 foci in 1926.
It was noted as 2in =5cm for 1x0.75in movie; 3in or better 3.125in = 8cm for VP; 4in or 4.75in for 6x9cm;
5.75in for 1/4plate; 6.0in or 6.5in for 5x4in, 7in =18cm for 5.5x3.25in and 8.25in = 21cm for 6.5x4.75in.
This Tessar was for cine+press use. They were later made in 0.375in (9mm) to 8.5in in 15 sizes in 1929). The
coverage in B.J.A. 1926, p658 seems the same for the Tessar f2.7 as for the Triotar f3.5 and f3.0 and they are
all tabled up together. Where they are all available in the same focus as in 4in, the Tessar is substantially
more expensive: Tessar f2.7, £11.25; Tessar f3.5,£8.00; Tessar f4.5, £6.25;Triotar f3/f3.5, £5.50. This was a
new lens, from designer Merte, in 1925 and were noted as a new series in B.J.A. 1926, p324). (But note it
seems to be shown in a list thought to be from 1915, but possibly this was wrongly dated).
The smallest 6 sizes were made for movie or cine. (Eg B.J.A. 1927, p329 with a TeleTessar above.) The 8cm
was for VP, while the longer were for large formats up to 6.25in (158.75mm) for 9x12cm (1/4plate)- thus using
it on 5x4in is being rather unfairly demanding. The note suggests the optical performance equals the f4.5
Tessar but that real care is needed to acheive this due to the need for accurate focusing and emulsion
It was seen as a 165mm at No 700,95x engraved BX2 (a plain iris mount) and 981,13x (engraved AX2) in a
sunk focusing iris mount (these differed in flange, cell threads and most dimensions but the glass curves were
the same), and an earlier version was f2.7/8cm No 764,98x on a Baby Deckrullo. (Such a camera was noted
in B.J.A. 1926, p356, p663advert.) A larger version was on the Miroflex in B.J.A. 1927, p302.
The f2.7 Tessar was noted at No666,43x as a 165mm on a Deckrullo, at No641,70x on a VP Baby Deckrullo
and at No765,89x as a 165mm on a Tropical Nettel Klapp and later on a Miroflex (no number) and f2.7/165mm
No785,40x on Miroflex M26,02x. A f2.7/5cm No645,45x was a movie lens on a wooden 35mm movie.
Commercially, the f2.7 was important from the number in the Ariel list, in 20 and 50mm, from the 1920's. It
was noted in the UK as f2.7/4cm No778,03x (c.1927), on a Kinamo and on a 16mm Movikon at about 2
million. Incidentally the 16mm Kinamo has also been seen with a f4.5/4cm Tessar at No474,27x. An early
8mm Kinamo had an f2.7/1.5cm Tessar at No867,88x.
Fig 003 003 Zeiss Tessar f2.7/165mm as (l) barrel and (r) sfim mounts.
Frerk lists it as about the 4th really fast lens issued in Germany, after the Ruo f2, the Ernostar f2 and
Heliostigmat f2.5, and shows one on a Mentor 6.5x9cm Press camera. It shows really fine central image
detail. Which is a way of saying that the image quality away from the centre is less good. This was
understandable at the time, and it was a really desireable news gathering item on a wet afternoon in the
1920's, when it competed with the Pentac and Speedic on large reflexes and press cameras. Today, it seems
to lack a crisp focus point but the centre records fine detail. But outside 6x9cm it is well soft. It is heavy and
very bulky and hard to mount to cameras such as MPP MicroTechnicals and even Linhofs, which have a much
bigger aperture in the front standard.The central image was good enough to allow it to continue as a cine lens
into the 1930's, but the design seemingly was revised for the Movikon 16mm as it seems there is a Patent for
a reversed Tessar f2.7 for 45°at that period.(USPat 1,826,362). This used glasses G1+4=1.62177/56.8; G2=
1.52547/52.8; G3=1.62559. The 1920's lens had a normal Tessar layout from examining an example, not the
reversed version shown in one period account, where the late type was probably seen. There is also a version
in Brit Pat 256,586/1925. (Layout Zei034).
This was designed by Merte and Wandersleb. It seems not to have been sold for some
years, or just not appeared in adverts. seen here. (Layout Zei033) The patent was Brit Pat 256,586, DRP
451,194, USPat1,697,670. In the patent three types of layout are considered for lenses of f3.5, f4.0 and f2.7
where the last probably was used in practice, although it was sold as an f2.8 lens. Glasses were G1=
1.6238/56.9; G2=1.5475/45.9; G3= 1.5829/40.5; G4= 1.6424/48.0; G5= 1.5399/47.4; G6= 1.6221/53.15.
Another set of fast triplet derivatives was disclosed in USPat No 1,580,751/1926 using a 5-glass design
essentially a Tessar with a thin positive inserted in the centre, for up to f1.9 with glasses G1= 1.59015/61.0;
G2= 1.64092/33.8; G3=1.51776/63.7; G4= 1.6220/53.1; G5= 1.60820/58.9. (Zei034) Examples noted were
f2.8/135mm at No 1,125,60x (1930) and f2.8/165mm at No882,68x (1928) and 950,10x (1930).
An example f2.8/135mm No1,125,51x (1930) seems to have been used in some type of instrument perhaps
rather than a camera. It was noted in B.J.A. 1931, 304, and then was only made in 135mm (5.25in) for 6x9cm
and 165mm (6.5in) for 9x12 or 3.25x4.25in. The BJA notes it overlaps the f2.7 Tessar, and that it marked a
real advance. The f2.7 was always regarded as a special purpose lens, with speed the real feature. But the
Biotessar is really quite sharp at f2.8 with better overall coverage than the f2.7, and at smaller apertures
matches the f3.5 and f4.5 Tessars, so that it is an excellent general purpose lens, with a Tessar related
structure and the same 6 air-glass surfaces. The only real problem was weight and size, especially in the
165mm version.
Fig 002 010 Zeiss BioTessar f2.8 in 165mm No950,10x and 135mm No1,125,51x/N60.
Fig 002 012 Two Zeiss 165mm lenses: f6.3 Tessar and f2.8 BioTessar. The extra weight of the fast lens
could be a problem under some conditions.
15-210mm (B.J.A.1926, p320) This was the triplet design continued.
There were smaller versions, which were mainly for cine. In large sizes, it was suggested to use 6in for 5x4.
Coverages of small and large format examples were given as:
cine, 16mm
cine, 16mm
cine, 16mm
These coverages are tabulated for Triotar, f3.0 and f3.5
and also apply to Tessar f2.7. They are given in (B.J.A.
1929, p610)
movie = 35mm motion picture.
These big Triotars seem scarce in the UK.
20mm, 25mm This was noted in Areil's list as a 25mm lens on a 1926 Geyer
camera. The 2cm version was noted at auction on a Pathe 9.5mm Motocamera. These small versions were
mainly for cine. (Also note that postwar there was a Triotar as an f2.8 on the Movikon 8mm camera.)
15-210mm This was a portrait lens of triplet type, where it was suggested
to use 6in for 5x4. In fact, coverages were the same for f3.0 and f3.5 Triotars in the 1929 Table- just possibly
for convenience in making the Table!
It is uncertain if all these Triotars were made in both apertures of f2.9 and f3.0. It seems to have been sold in
Germany from late 1924, and are fast versions of the above.
The 'Optikers Handbuch' for 1927 lists Triotar as f6.3/135; f6.3/165mm; but not otherwise in discussing Distar
lenses. These must have been rated as important products in Germany at the time.
This was a negative subsidiary lens to adapt prime lenses for long focus.
The amalgamation to produce Zeiss Ikon was to result in a number of interim products.
These are really best taken under the parent companies whose products they were. However at least one is
original Carl Zeiss as follows:
135, 163mm
This was made at Jena. It was seen as at No 349,06x for the 135mm lens in a Kodamatic shutter; and
No213,78x for the 163mm one in a D/S Compur No251,118, which seems to be earlier than the Zeiss Ikon
amalgamation. Thus ICAR may have been an older trade name. It seems to be a triplet. This is not a well
known item but others have been seen, and said to be "a sort of Triotar". This is probably a fair comment.
Other sizes may exist. (It has not been possible to compare the curves with a Triotar however to see if they
are the same.)
Fig 003 013 Zeiss Icar f6.3/135mm in Kodamatic shutter.
A Zeiss 'Suevia' f6.3/10.5cm lens has been noted in a dealers list and may be parallel to the
Icar or merely a case where the camera name 'Suevia' has been on the shutter and used in the advert.of the
lens- McKeown lists Suevia with Nostar f6.8, Contessa-Nettel Periscop f11 or ex-C-N with a Nettar
f6.3/105mm which could be the lens in question.
f6.3 This was noted on a Bedford plate and rollfilm in B.J.A. 1927, p310, from Mssrs
Sands and Hunter of Bedford St. It was a special in limited supply.
f6.8 This was listed about 1932 as a Zeiss lens. It also occurs branded as Zeiss
Goerz Dagor See also the later f9 version below.)
Tessar f4.9 9cm fpr VP Kodak 127, noted at No627,777, 689,03x. This was apparently sold in 1926-7 only.
105-210mm This was the new version designed by Merte and Wandersleb.
This is a new computation for general use with wider angle coverage. Thus it is now possible to use 150mm for
5x4in. (cf.above) and the 50mm on 24x36 was available for the Contax when it arrived. (USPat 1741947 for an
f3.5 for 55° coverage. (Brit Pat 273,274/1926) using glasses G1= 1.60717/59.5; G2= 1.57596/41.3; G3=
1.52648/51; G4= 1.62377/56.9 to cover 55° at f3.5. A German Pat used glasses G1= 1.6711/47.3; G2=
1.6200/36.3; G3= 1.5822/42.0; G4= 1.6711/47.3. This seems to be the same as Merte and Wandersleb's
USPat 1,849,681 of 1930/1932. A restriction was that glass of R.I. above 1.55 was required- and this was
probably not too demanding. It is a date to note: thus a f3.5/12cm No2,073,92x on a 6x9cm Deckrullo Klapp
should be a "new design" lens as the serial is after this date.
Some of the mounting details seem to have come through over the next year or so. Thus in B.J.A. 1931, p325
they are noting the f3.5/135mm Tessar in focussing mount.
17, 20, 25,40,50mm,also a 70mm was due or reputed. It covers 42° (design
35-40°). 17, 20 and 25mm came later, the latter in some mountings such as Bell&Howell. (B.J.A. 1930,
p362). This was 'the latest introduction from --Carl Zeiss' in the B.J.A. 1929, p360. It was of 6-glass with 8 airglass surfaces, and 35mm was needed for the 24x18mm of movie format, and 16.7mm for 16mm. This is an
angle of 42°. It was said to give excellent definition at f1.4, and maintains it on close down to f2, f3.5 and
smaller. It seems to have been introduced as 40mm (with 23mm clear back space) and 50mm for movie, and
25mm for 16mm, though 17 and 20mm were planned, and did in fact arrive.
Prices were 40mm £15.50; 50mm, £17.50; 25mm,£11.75.
There are references to 7 and 6-glass f1.4 Biotars in the Patent. It seems that the version sold was the 6-glass
from the examples seen. Those examined were at No 225,39x and 1,365,64x so this seems to be the norm. It
is given in Am. Photo. Facts and Figure 6th. Series, No 69 and in Hendley and Dudley, 1939) as 6-glass but
the 7-glass is shown in the Patent. So perhaps both layouts were used. It seems to be a 1927 design? (DRP
485,798 of 1927, Brit Pat. No 297,823, USPat 1,786,916/1930). (Layouts Zei026;Zei027). The glasses used
were G1+5+6=1.64238/48.0; G2= 1.62306/56.9; G3= 1.57566/41.2; G4= 1.67270/32.2.
It is difficult to appreciate just what an achievement an f1.4 of good quality was in those days, and the fact that
it was sold for movie has made it an overlooked design; it actually is far more important than is appreciated.
One 50mm example seen at No888,96x came in an assembly with a linked reflex unit rather like a Megoflex
TLR, and has a rear bayonet mount, possibly for a Siemens and Halske 35mm movie camera. Ariel's list
quotes f1.4 Biotars, for Siemens & Halske and Nizo cameras, but only in 20, 25mm for 16mm and 12.5mm for
8mm on a Nozo, and a f2.0/35mm probably about 1948 for 35mm Cinephon. Later some 50mm lenses were
remounted eg in the UK by C&P privately for M39x26, where they cover 24x36mm reasonably well. Zeiss
described it as really sharp at all apertures for movie, and especially free from vignetting at small apertures,
and Woeltche notes that the design made full use of the possibilities of the period. Experience is that they
were very good over about 24x24mm and the outer parts are well up to the standard of other high speed lenses
of the period, and improve quickly on close down. The angle covered could only be then extended by reducing
the maximum aperture, an f2 version covering 50°and the f2.0 Biotars were closely related designs. The air
contact surfaces in these lenses are kept nearly symmetrical but this lens has internal surfaces which are far
from symmetrical.
Note Some 50mm lenses have been found in a very heavy black enamel mount with M39 thread and these
just may be for M39 rangefinder use but may equally have been made for a movie camera with M39 thread.
They do trade expensively as Leica-fit items however. The serial numbers are early 1930's and they may well
have been an attempt to market the Biotar for Leica before the Leica patents were published. There are also
reports of later Zeiss lenses (not Biotars) in M39, but these seem to be very late 1930's or early 1940's items
made under "stress of war". Otherwise no use seems to be known for these f1.4 Biotars on still cameras, but
the B.J.A. 1939 p550 describes them as for "cine and miniature cameras" so something has perhaps been
Fig 010 040 Zeiss Biotar f1.4/50mm No888,964 in TLR mounting for movie.
Fig 010 043 This is an example of how it just might have been adapted: Zeiss Biotar f1.4/50mm No888,964 in
TLR mounting and Leica body.
Fig 010 045 Zeiss Biotar: Actual adaptions: (l) M39 mounted by C&P, London; original TLR mount; lens head
f2.0 (Both Biotars f2.0 and f1.4 were designed by Merte.)
(Layout Zei031), B.J.A.1930, p363:1931, p318)
(Sonnar: This was designed by L.Bertele) (DRP. 530843/1929:570983, a UK Pat was 350,323/aplication
08/1930, granted 11/06/1931) at this time but not sold yet. This patent actually describes a 4-glass lens at
f1.6/100mm rather like a f4/135mm was to be, and a 5-glass f2/100mm lens rather as a f2.8/180mm was to
be. They may really be showing the principle of the design. The glasses used were:
Lens 1 G1=1.6228 / 56.9: G2=1.5888 / 61.0; G3= 1.7174 / 29.5; G4=1.6261 / 39.1;
Lens 2 G1= G2= 1.6073 / 59.5; G3= 1.5101 /63.4; G4= 1.7224 / 29.5; G5= 1.6738 / 32.1.
In agreement with this, Woeltche (loc. cit.) regarded the Sonnar as 50 year old in 1979.
I.Parker quotes the design of the Sonnar as having taken Bertele and two others 3 years and it required a pile
of paper 0.9meters high and with 3,200 pages to calculate the design. It is possible however that this covered
several actual Sonnar products- ie the f1.5 may have been designed and then simplified to the f2 or vice versa.
(The name Sonnar had been in use on Contessa-Nettel cameras, who presumably had owned the Trade
Name. It seems then to have been a Q15 type lens, but it is uncertain who made it. It is not a Zeiss Tessar as
the curves differ.)
Serial numbers reached 1 million about here.
500, 700mm for aerial use, portraiture.
f7.0 1200mm This was listed in the USA and may be from this set.
The design of big triplet types seems to have been associated with August Sonnefeld, who worked on both
deformed triplets ie aspherics in USPat 1,616,765, and in USPat 1,825,828 used a split front glass to avoid
the need for scarce big discs of high R.I. glass and then could replace them with two of crown of low R.I. The
example uses G1+2= 1.5163/64.0; G3= 1.6129/37.0; G4= 1.5163/64.0 and gave very low distortion and the
example was a 2000mm f5 lens.
Wide Angle Dagor f9.0
This is the Goerz lens in a new label. By this period the covering power of the Dagor was still valuable and it
was mostly this slower, wider version that was sold, leaving the Protar to supply the declining market for
symmetrical anastigmats. They are engraved only Goerz- Dagor or Dagor and were seen at No2,214,78x
(1936) and No2,802,51x (about 1942), the latter being one of a stereo pair of Zeiss Dagors. (They were known
as stereo aerial survey lenses). It seems that the external curves of the Dagor and wide angle version are
much the same but the wide angle has bigger external glasses even though slower, and smaller internal ones
to fit it for wider angle use. Sales included the Kodak wide-angle camera, with Dagor f9/100mm being used for
1/2plate at No2,062,89x.
Fig 003 011 Zeiss Goerz Dagor f9/15cm No2,214,787 in rimset Compur. This lens is also shown under
Goerz for comparison with the early W/A Dagors.
Fig 026 022 Goerz Berlin Wide Angle Dagor (l) f9/125mm No597,535; (mid) Zeiss Goerz Dagor f9/15cm
No2,214,787 in Compur; (r) Carl Zeiss Dagor f9/21cm No2,802,518 from a stereo pair.
f22 The old Goerz lens continued. One account was that it was discontinued when the
Topogon came in. But more likely it just faded away as sales fell off.
Distar: This was a weak negative lens to fit for focal length increase on plate cameras. (1.75x)
Proxar: This was a weak positive lens to shorten focal length (0.75x). Both these subsidiary lenses
were for use well stopped down!
About 1931, Zeiss Ikon was producing the 16mm Kinamo with Ernostar f1.9/50mm or Biotar f1.4/50mm
lenses, as well as probably a Tessar f2.7 option. There may have also been a separate 16mm Projector with
an f2 Zeiss Ikon Cine Projector lens, in 1.375 or 2in focus. (B.J.A. 1931, p580)This was soon replaced by the
Movikon 16mm with f1.4/25mm Sonnar or Tessar f2.7/20mm, apparently by 1931. Incidentally this seems to
make the f1.4 Sonnar the first Sonnar to be issued as the Contax was a 1932 product.
Alinar There were matching Kinox projectors with "Alinar" f1.4/50mm lenses.
Biotar f1.4 The 25mm version for Victor and other small cine cameras came in 1930-31 (B.J.A. 1931, p318).
The mount could be adjusted for any slight differences in register, and had iris scales and focused to 1.5ft. It
was said to be critically sharp at f1.4 and on close down as good as any other.
50, 60, 75, 80mm This was designed by Merte. It is fairly common and
usually really good but the original 80mm version for the 6x6cm Super Ikonta seems to be somehow different
and is less liked by users. As to frequency, see the Contax 1 lens lists below, where f2.8 was the commonest
[Tessar f2.8/Mentor In 1931, Mentor were listing an f2.8 Tessar versions of their plate and reflex for 6.5x9,
3.25x4.25 and 9x12cm. This is a problem product to assign as it is quite feasible but known only here.]
f4.5 This was a Q20 type was patented by Merte USPat 1,792,917/1931 filed in 1927 as an
f4.5, 100mm lens for 65°. The glasses used were G1+2= 1.61087/55.8; G2+5= 1.53994/47.4; G3+4=
1.56064/61.1. The components were usable separately: but are not identical in the patent example. (Layout
Zei053). No foci were quoted but it was to be made in 35mm for the Contax/Contaflex, and in 210-250mm, the
last for aerial work. This is a really sharp lens, but tends to be low in contrast if uncoated due to the number of
air to glass surfaces.
Triotar A new Triplet patent was granted to Richter, for an f4.5 (USPat 1,892,162, Brit Pat No364,994/1932).
It used glasses G1=1.6227/56.9; G2=1.6128/37.0;G3= 1.6423/48.0. It was for lenses of f4.0-f5.0 max. to be
used on hand cameras.
Tessar f2.7 This was for cine, probably made under USPat 1,826,362/1931.
It was at this time that the Contax camera was issued. The earliest Contax lenses are often
Tessars at No 1,250,xxx or thereby. It may be that they were produced ahead, and then Sonnars made. The
exchange lenses seem mainly to start rather later at about No1,400,000 and up.
Designer Merte (Layout Zei028)
This was a Petzval derivative, USPat. 1,967,836/1932, D R P 607,631/1932. The glasses seem to have been
G1= 1.63753/56.1; G2= 1.75823/27.4; G3= 1.46449/65.8; G4= 1.62203/53.1; G5= 1.75823/27.4. The patent
claims an f0.9 aperture and a circle of 25mm at a 100mm focus.It was made as a 45mm lens to cover 16mm
film reasonably well. (E.K.Kaprelian, JSMPE,53, 86, 1949). It was replaced postwar with an 8-glass Gauss
type from Jena. It was also noted as 55mm, in 1935 when sold. It was seen as a 4.5cm f0.85 Nr 1,514,29x
made about 1934. The back focus is very limited so it would be hard to reuse for anything else. It is said to be
reasonable easy to find which fits with substantial sales in prewar TB campaigns. It was noted in B.J.A. 1934,
p279 as a lens of unparalleled rapidity. It seems not to have been a stock item but rather made to order at
Fig 002 027 Zeiss R-Biotar f0.85/4.5cm No1,514,29x (294-16,309(CD).
Fig 002 029 Zeiss R-Biotar f0.85/4.5cm No1,514,29x (294-16,309(CD).
Sonnar German Pat 530,843, 570,983/1929; Brit Pat 383,591. This was a unique lens for its
speed and freedom from flare; and this made it very usable. Some distortion was present but not normally
noticed. The f2 and f1.5 versions were famous. USPats were No 1,975,677/1932-1934 (f2 and f2.5) followed by
No1,998,704 covering f2.0 and f2.8 lenses and No1,975,678/1932-1934 (f1.5) . Glasses proposed were:
f2.5/50mm:G1=1.6228/56.0; G2=1.5647/55.8; G3=1.6398/34.6;
f2.0/48.7mm: G1=1.6185/60.5; G2= 1.6711/47.5; G3= 1.4645/65.5;
G4=1.6890/31.2; G5= 1.7174/29.5; G6= 1.6711/ 47.5;
G7= 1.4645/65.5.
G1= 1.6185/60.5; G2= 1.6711/47.3; G3=1.4645/65.7;
G4=1.6890/31.2; G5= 1.5647; G6= 1.6711/47.3.
G1=1.6375/56.1; G2= 1.6727/47.3; G3= 1.4675/65.7;
G4=1.6890/31.0; G5= 1.5481/45.9; G6= 1.6578/51.2;
G7= 1.5488/63.0.
The latter seems the most like the product sold but note that Merte quotes a wide range of Sonnar patents
and these are made with varying glasses so the situation is not so simple as might be supposed. And note
that there is no reason for patents to exactly correspond with the items finally made.
Mr Cook of TTH discussed the corrections of the f2 and f1.5 Sonnars in the Photographic Journal Oct 1949,
p223, and showed the f2 as having a very flat field, and little astigmatism (below 1%), but some spherical
aberration, under corrected in the zone about f4-f2.5 and then over corrected at f2, and this can be partly off
set by setting the lens slightly back of the focus in normal use, and perhaps refocusing at f5 or less. The f1.5
also has a good astigmatism correction, rather as the f2, but the field is not quite as flat, being slightly
forward. And the spherical correction is undercorrected at all apertures above f11, and the lens set to suit thiswhich may explain why the older lenses were iris limited to f11 or bigger- though internal reflexions were also a
problem in uncoated lensesat small apertures.
Sizes were normally 50mm for 24x36mm, but a few were made eg. for movie as 32mm on Arriflex, and also for
RoBoT postwar.
135mm A compact long focus lens for the Contax, which was famed for its
sharpness as well as convenience in use. An early German Patent for Sonnars is No530,843/1929 and covers
lenses of 1+ 2 + i +1 and 1+ 3+ i +1 designs and these seem to have appeared as the f4 and later 18cm f2.8
Sonnars. Glasses used are: f4 example G1=1.6228/59.9; G2= 1.5888/61.0; G3= 1.7174/29.5; G4=
1.6261/39.1. The other example uses G1+2= 1.6073/59.5; G3= 1.5101/63.4; G4= 1.7224/29.5; G5=
1.6738/32.1. These were really innovative designs at the time.
Projectors Diabox slide projector ?for 3.25square?, with large lenses of 10-18in was noted in B.J.A. 1932,
Projector Adoro This was an Episcopic ie for opaque objects, and used a f4.4/12in lens idem, ibid, p316.
There was also for printed matter, a f4 anastigmat lens which was for better definition.
The Contax camera was launched in 1932, the early models mainly selling with Tessar lenses as the
formidable reputation of the Sonnars took a little time to establish. An early one (?f2.8) is noted on a Contax in
B.J.A. 1933, p263.
50, 60mm This now gave 50° coverage. It was to be an important Contax
lens, also sold on other cameras. A interesting early user was Krauss' Peggy with a f2.8/5cm at No1,336,99x.
The 6cm could be a formidable lens as used on the Rollei 4x4cm. It is probably one of these used
professionally by Cyril Arapoff (B.J.P. 28/1/1980, pp1192), from 1935, which was an unusual choice but it his
hands gave excellent results.
Kino Teletessar
This was a very rapid tele for cine.
135, 165mm for 6x9, 9x12cm. Press,etc.
This was now on sale as a very select large lens of decent performance even by modern standards. It was well
ahead of the f2.7 Tessar. It seems to have sold only on Zeiss Ikon Miroflex and Nettel Press cameras (and
Bentzin Primar reflex in 1932) though one seen seems to be out of an instrument off some type with a special
iris control ring. (Apparently BioTessar was also designed by Merte, see above, in 1925) (Layout Zei033).
Notice that the extra glasses do not involve extra air-glass surfaces so the contrast is still quite good. (Brit Pat
256,586/1925). The 135mm is a much more compact lens to handle and may be more desirable as a result.
At least one other advanced Tessar seems to have been studied. The examples seen at No 950,10x and
Nr112,551x/N60 (both c.1930) were just soft at f2.8, crispening up with f3.2 to f3.5, so it was about 1 stop
ahead of a f3.5 Tessar. It is not common. It must be remembered that Zeiss were making and selling large
format Tessar lenses very steadily through this period even though the miniature lenses may have been
"making the news!" The last Biotessars seem to have been made during the War as they are 'T' coated, the
example seen being a 135mm lens.
Tessar f2.8 This was still a novelty in B.J.A. 1933, p287, when it was as 5cm for 24x36mm (50°) and 6cm for
4x4cm. "excellent definition and brilliancy" was the verdict, and both these could be fitted into Compur
shutters. Both lenses cost £10.2 in Compur or the 5cm was £8.7 in standard mount.
[A question is that the same year, Mentor was offering f2.8 Tessar lenses on the Mentor Focal Plane, Mentor
de luxe Reflex, and New Standard Reflex in 5.25in for 6.5x9cm; 6.5in for 1/4plate and 9x12cm, but the nature
of these seems obscure- they might be BioTessars or f2.7 Tessars, but the "big" f2.8 seems an anomaly.
(see B.J.A. 1933, p580advert).]
It would be too easy in a lens list such as this to forget the preponderance of folders made at this time, often
with Tessar lenses where the f4.5 or f3.5 was probably the best choice. The faster f2.8 seems to have been
less happy in design and suffered perhaps from the flexibility inherent in a folding camera.
Fig 003 030 Zeiss Tessar f2.8/8cm on 6x6Super Ikonta and f3.5/75mm on 6x6cm Ikonta.
Fig 003 032 Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta and Ikonta cameras with Zeiss Tessar lenses.
The Sonnar was made at this aperture for movie use only, possibly as
Zei036. This was used on the Zeiss Ikon Kinamo K.S.10 in 1932-3 (B.J.A. 1933, p295) and later on the
Movikon 16mm, and was probably a special narrow angle design by Bertele, in USPat 2,029,806/1936, for a 6glass lens for 16° angle. (B.J.A. 1935, p554). However it may have sold earlier. It was seen as a 25mm lens
at No 1,589,60x; 1,914,23x and 2,578,72x (Luftwaffe, T ctd), but is now hard to use as it is in Movikon bayonet
fitting. The glasses used were G1=1.6202/60.4; G2=1.6202/60.4; G3= 1.4655/65.7; G4= 1.7400/28.2; G5=
1.6429/47.6; G6= 1.6028/60.6. The design depended on a very thick rear glass above 0.33 of the focus in
thickness. The same patent covers a f1.5 version: both are narrow angle dsigns for 14-16°. The Kinamo was a
'new' camera in the 1933 notice as was the Sonnar, and there were two other Sonnars in interchangable
3in for Kinamo above.
2in for Kinamo above.
Fig 015 019 Zeiss Movikon 16mm with Sonnars f1.4/25mm and f2.8/50mm with Luftwaffe engraving.
100mm and 55mm for phototheodolite TAL 100°
The designer was R. Richter (1886-1956).(Brit Pat 423,156/1933, USPat 2,031,792) The Layout is Zei029. It
apparently used nD=1.62 low dispersion outer glasses, and nD=1.72 higher dispersion inner glasses. There
are two versions in the patents, one being also shown with glass flats before and behind and changes to the
curves. The glasses quoted were:
Example 1 G1+4= 1.6201/60.4; G2+3= 1.7172/29.5
Example 2 G1+4= 1.6185/60.5; G2+3= 1.7261/29.0.
Another date for its launch was 1936. This was a very deeply curved Gauss type and set a trend in the use of
such lenses in aerial survey work. The delay may have been related to the challenge that its manufacture
presented. It has been described as very sharp but with more fall-off in illumination than was easy to handle.
The example seen did not have the optical flats mounted on the outside. It was an f6.3/200mm lens. (see
Zei035 with flats). Merte illustrates it with pictures taken with a Zeiss Reihenmesskammer RMKP 10 from
Zeiss Aerotopograph G.m.b.h. of Jena.
It was in 1934 that Dr Smakula first developed the vacuum coating anti-reflection process. This in-house
information would affect Zeiss lens design freedom thereon. It was not published as strategically valuable and
could not be commercialised then. But Zeiss designers would know that the future held a greater freedom from
pressure to limit air-glass surfaces.
f3.8 This was an aperture limited version for the Rolleiflex. There is a Tessar
f4.9/135mm below and Zeiss may have set a pattern here. [See postwar when Schneider, Wray and probably
Kodak all listed Xenars, Ektars and Lustrars in slowed-down aperture-limited forms.]
Projector Lens The Zeiss Ikon Kinox 16mm projector used an f1.4 lens, but no details of make or design are
avaialble. (B.J.A. 1935, p333).
This is a late appearance of this Goerz lens and will probably be the wide angle version.
The Sonnar was listed in the adverts. this year for cine, but was a 1932 or
1933 introduction.
f2.8 50mm same This was noted at No2,014,84x.
f4.0 75mm same, This was the unusual f4.0/75mm for RoBot
f2.7 This was for cine on Movikon as 1.5 and 2.0cm (also 50mm f2.8)
This was probably covered by USPat 1,826,362/1931. It covered some 45°. It probably illuminated a normal
angle but would be designed for central sharpness. A longer 75mm f2.7 has been reported as mounted late
prewar for M39 mount.
f2.0 This was for cine and miniature eg. Exacta,Robot. (Layout Zei031) The Contax
4cm lens was a different item in detail, with bigger external glasses. The 8cm f2 version for VP Exakta will
date from about here, noted at No1,746,74x. The biggest seems to be 10cm for ?6x6 such as Primaflex, the
example noted being about 1940.
For Robot, eg at No2,440,24x; 2,442,63x; 2,513,01x; 2,514,365; These lenses were mainly on wartime
cameras, since there was a wartime long spring RoBoT which is valued and sells at auction, making the
numbers available.
450mm This was an old survivor!
Quartz Anastigmat
f4.5 This was for UV work (is this the Kallosat?)
f3.8 on Rollei 6x6 (B.J.A.1936, p309). This was officially an f3.5, adapted to the
shutter size which limited the aperture.
5cm This must have come in about then for Nettel 35mm.
Fig 003 028 Zeiss Nettel with f3.5/5cm Triotar and Contessa Nettel with Tessar f2.8/5cm.
f0.85mm This was launched for sale now, and it seems to be as 45-55mm.
One point is the extensive use of Tessar lenses for projection as ProjectionTessar or for 'special' purposes as
a black barrel f3.5/10.5cm Tessar with iris but no obvious camera use- it probably was sold for copying or
the like.
Sucher Objektiv
8cm This has been noted as a scrap item, and is the viewing lens off an
Ikoflex 3 or possibly a Contaflex TLR, and not a taking lens. It seems to be a triplet. But note that Pritschow
shows a bulky 1+2+1 design (App079) on p162 of his book, on a Contaflex TLR, so 2 types may occur.
Probably this was a case where the TLR had the best of everything regardless of price. One possibility is that
this was a new improved version for the 1940's. (Note there was also an f3.2 Sucher for a Rolleidoscop many
years earlier, probably Zeiss, and a series of Teronars for Ikoflexes.)
Fig 003 004 Zeiss Ikon Sucher anastigmat f2.8/8cm No1,657,xxx and Orikor about f10/70cm.
Here the designer was Richter, and the lens was for up to 140° coverage.
[Olympia Sonnar
f2.8 180mm There were rumours of a 4-glass version for rangefinder coupling and it
was illustrated in period drawings. The existence of this version has been questioned by owners of the lens
and is said to be based on an error in the English language version of one of the old Contax booklets. As a
result, it has crept into textbooks and magazines.]
Olympia Sonnar
f2.8 180mm This was the normal 5-glass version with Flektoskop reflex unit. The
designer was Bertele. It is a brilliantly sharp and contrasty lens, giving bold but not unpleasant separation of
planes, but it is heavy and bulky. The design is further discussed below. Noted at Nos 2,275,08x, 2,275,07x;
an early one at No1.5million suggests the design was finalized in 1933 or 1934 as this is a 1934 number
officially. It may have not been produced then due to development problems over the reflex housing or possibly
the large glass blanks required. Or just that the Contax programme was very busy with other projects. No
particular patent is noted, but this could merely be that it lay within the general Sonnar patents such as the f2
with simplification. The same seems to apply to the f4/135mm for example. This version was noted in B.J.A.
1937, p251 with a sectioned drawing of the lens and coupled mount, but with the tripod screw on rop. It
confirms the use in the Olympic games and that it was to meet the need for a long lens with a fast top speed.
Merlyn Severn (Ballet photographer) tried one out in Min Cam World 11/1937 p647 in a box on a tripod and
concluded it was of excellent definition (and contrast) but hard to keep in focus at 60ft in the dark- she
suggests it is better for sport and natural history. (Note that she also used the Astro f2.3/15cm at about this
The initial examples were rangefinder coupled but this is not very convenient to use as the lens and shade are
big in comparison with the camera and rangefinder and the latter is partly masked by the hood: also the depth
of field is very limited in terms of the sensitivity of the rangefinder.
Fig 012 011 Zeiss Sonnar f2.8/180mm in rangefinder coupled mount. No1,503,71x.
Thus it was much more easily used when the reflex unit was available. Even so the 'Olympia' was heavy and
two special supports were available by 1939 (B.J.A. 1939, p287) one was a sling support with a light
aluminium frome, and the other a rifle butt support which is used as if a rifle.
5cm This was adapted to use a collapsible mount this year (B.J.A. 1937,
p260) and these were all (?) in chrome finish.
58mm This was reported as a 'unique' item found in 2000AD fitted to a small
and rather plain non-rangefinder 35mm body and the history is quite unknown. It may have been designed as
an alternative to the R-Biotar or for movie use in extreme low light. At the time it must have been one of the
fastest lenses available. The actual date is not available but it was not coated.
35mm This was made under USPat 2,084,309/1937 granted to Bertele with a
1+3+2+1 layout. ( Zei038). The original was slightly simplified for sale and seems to have been sold with 6
glasses [rather as Rus002] as an f2.8, rather than the original idea which may have been for an f2.5 or f2.7
lens. It was the front triple which seems to have changed to a doublet. The original was described by Mr Cook
of TTH as "remarkable" in a 1949 article, with a flat field, good correction for astigmatism and also for spherical
aberration. The simpler type "is not capable of as good corrections" as seen there. Biogon was the premium
wide angle for the Contax, and occasionally the Contaflex. Some 35mm Biogons have been noted at No2.8m
which are T coated and as stereo pairs in a barrel mount with no iris- they may be part of a aerial survey
camera or viewer. [There were also Russian Jupiter 3.5cm f2.8 similarly mounted in the same dealers
stock.].The patent lists the glasses as follows:
G1,2,6=1.6716/47.2; G3= 1.4645/65.7; G4= 1.6890/31.0; G7= 1.5333/48.9.
It was noted in B.J.A. 1938 p267 for Contaflex TLR. They suggested care was needed to avoid marking the
protruding rear glass, though experience has been that owners managed to look after them quite well provided
they had the necessary deep cap- now a minor collectors item.
[In a lecture in 1980 to Zeiss Historica, USA, Hubert Nerwin the Zeiss designer, mentioned that Zeiss Jena
were planning a Contax Reflex with Contax shutter but added mirror and roof prism finder as early as 1936-7
and that development was held up from 1937 due to Government needs for War preparations. It is likely this
was reflected in thinking for retrofocus lenses such as Perimetar and Sphaerogon and in fast lenses such as
the 58mm f2 Biotar and 75mm f1.5 Biotar which appeared later. (Note the f1.5 was listed as early as 1940/1
for Exakta). The retrofocus types may not have been fully developed items in all cases. These were to have
focussing barrel mounts but keep the Contax outer bayonet. Fig 002 022 below)
In design terms, Biogon was a novelty in the shear thickness of glass used- perhaps it was the first lens
where the designer thought merely in terms of spaces and optical properties irrespective of the amount of
actual glass involved, while most were still thinking of thin discs expanded to a finite thickness for actual use!
(Biogon was to remain a very select lens for special uses but much later Woeltche loc. cit. refers to the layout
being reversed and used as the intellectual starting point for the design of the first Distagons. In fact, revews
have suggests an intellectual family tree of Triplet, leading through to the Sonnar f1.5 design, and that the
Biogon was a highly reshaped Sonnar: add that the Biogon lead to the Distagon and it seems ideas develop in
unpredictable ways.)
3.25, 3.75in This was supplied for the RoBot 24x24mm camera, along with a Biotar
and Sonnar. An early RoBoT has a 3.25mm No2,027,79x. Later versions seem to have used the longer one.
During the war, this was used as a recording camera, including a Tessar f2.8/3.75 at No2,209,23x marked
"Luftwaffen Eigentum". A special long spring model was used.
f2.8 There is a note in B.J.A. 1936 p554 advert. of a new f2.8 Tessar in 5 and 6cm, under
recent patents, to cover 50°. It seems to be aimed at sales in Compur shutters, especially of 5 and 6cm in
sizes 00 and 00R without loss of aperture. There was certainly an increased use of f2.8 Tessar in blade
shutters late prewar, and there may just have been a redesign about then? There is an odd situation where
there was both f2.8 Tessar in 75mm and 80mm for 6x6cm, though possibly the 80mm replaced the 75mm
4.125in (105mm) for Nettax. This was a new Zeiss 35mm camera with Contax related
lens mounts, using Tessar 5cm standard lenses, the f8/28mm Tessar and this Triotar, each with a rangefinder
optic on the mount. It is rather scarce. (B.J.A. 1937, p274).
Twin Lens Contaflex This was introduced in 1936 (B.J.A. 1936, p266) using remounted versions of the Contax
5cm lenses with 35mm, 85mm and 135mm exchange lenses. They will probably be optically the same but in
different mounts, and are a very scarce item as the camera was an exceptionally costly one and sold only in
small numbers.
In movie, Zeiss developed a stereo slow motion cine system through Zeiss Ikon and the PhysicalischeTechnische Reichsanstalt using twin strips of film and this was later used for military outfits for the Navy and
air-force, in some 100 outfits exposing some 100,000m of B+W film. There were other Zeiss stereo
processes including lenticular and postwar the processes were developed. It is conjectured and likely that
pairs of Carl Zeiss Biogon f2.8/35mm T lenses noted by the compiler were for this work and possibly for
projecting as they typically have no iris fitted though the mounts are slotted for the iris. Mounts are plain
screwfit, not for Contax bayonet. (H-J Heuel and G. Koshofer, transl. A.J.Dalladay, B.J.P. 20/10/1978 p919).
90-200mm This was a projection lens. It was 'new' in B.J.A. 1937, p299, in
several foci, including 9 and 20cm. These were for standard size film ie ?35mm movie and were a Petzval
design of 2 components only for extra brilliance with a high correction for spherical and colour aberrations.
They are easy to dismantle for cleaning.
Ariel's list has an f1.9/165mm example on a 1934 Zeiss Ikon 35mm Projector. A projection lens was patented
to R.Richter as an f1.9, for up to 40° (USPat2,170,428/1939) and this lens may have been sold as the
Kipronar. It seems to be a 4-glass Ernostar design.
Herotar polarizer(=Bernotar)
4cm These were for Tenax 2. Note that some of these at Nr 2,382,21x are in an alloy
flange, but brass optic mount. These can be a naval item, eg engraved "M17x" and are then without a focusing
Fig 003 026 Zeiss Triotar in Tenax I, and Tessar f2.8/4cm No2,382,21x/M179 on Tenax II
Teronar This was the view lens for the prewar TLR Ikoflex, and may be an Zeiss Ikon lens. It was noted as a
f3.5/75mm on Ikoflex II and as a f2.8/8cm on Ikoflex III. Thus a lateish prewar Ikoflex had Teronar view +
Tessar f3.5/75mm No2,023,31x; while an Ikoflex II had Teronar f2.8/8cm + Tessar 1,870,31x. Teronar View
was continued postwar. eg matched to a Tessar f3.5/75mm No1,237,56x in a Synchro Compur.
Punktal This was a close up lens and it was noted in a Optina unit from Norse Trading Co London, Ltd.
(B.J.A. 1938, p674). The exact status is unknown but it just may be a Zeiss Ikon item.
An important new product range was initiated then for the Exakta 6x6. This came with a series of lenses by
Zeiss [and others,] especially:
8cm Reported at No2,528,18x.
10cm Reported at No2,464,52x Note that a few 105mm Biotars were mounted for
Leica probably for war work (see Small on M39 lenses.)
135mm Reported at No2,557,83x and No2,557,84x
Tele Tessar
18cm Reported at No2,540,60x.
Tele Tessar
25cm Reported at No2,540,72x
The close grouping of the numbers is typical of products prepared for a launch which sadly never developed
fully. These items are thought to be commoner on the continent of Europe than in the UK as they were initially
sold at home.
This was now in 50, 60, 75, 80mm.
This was for movie only,15, 25, 35, 40, 50mm
Bernotar Polarizer. It is thought that a Trade name overlap resulted in a name change.
TeleMagnar for Rollei TLR 4x This was an accessory lens which gives 30cm on a 6x6, and 24cm on 4x4
Rollei. It was on sale in 1939-1940, and is therefore a very scarce accessory in UK but sold in USA. It
consists of a straight tube rather resembling a telescope optically. See also DUONAR. (Layout 032) The light
enters through the doublet. It is a 7 glass, 4 component system, with a maximum aperture of f9, and it stops
down to f16 or better f22. It seems to have an aspheric glass. An example seems to be No2,449,90x.
58mm This seems to have been a very late pre-war introduction and just
appeared in brass mount at about No258,525x (1939), but soon went over to an alloy mount, eg at
No282,450x (1942).
75mm This was probably actually issued only after WW2 was begun in
1940, as it is in Photofreund 1941 in fitting for Exakta. If it was initially intended for a Contax reflex, by then
the issue of this was receding and Zeiss perhaps chose to offer it for an existing camera.
58mm This is an odd item often in a M39 mount and possible
actually engraved "Leica Sonnar" but not always engraved Zeiss as if it was mde for a special purpose such
as X-Ray recording. Thus the dating is exceptionally difficult here. See also below postwar.]
The Zeiss 1935 list is a good summary of what was on sale in Germany then, rather than what
was being sold abroad as above. It is much more extensive than the adverts. seen in the UK.
20,25,40,50,70mm cine [The 50mm has been noted for 16mm D (or
C?) mount but may have been adapted, as it was for 24x36mm. Postwar an f1.8 Biotar of unknown date was
listed for 35mm use.]
45,80mm The 80mm was important as the lens for the VP (Night)
Exakta at about No1,549,77x and up, and later as a 10cm for the 6x6 Exakta, at about No2,464,52x. The
4.5cm was used on the Pilot Reflex for 4x4, among others.
28,35,40,50,75mm This was for cine only, as the BioTessar or
Tessar replaced it for large format.
75,100,150mm for cine
50-300mm (15 focal lengths) An f3.5/35mm was made for the Korelle
T and may have been a 'special' but it is more likely that this list ignores the shorter versions for cine and
movie use.
40-500mm The 4cm version is interesting as the wide lens for Kine
Exakta made till the retrofocus lenses came out. It was made in aluminium mount from about No2,658,89x
and these are sometimes unusual with Eigentum engraving or cut-outs on the mount to locate the lens on a
housing such as a periscope. The larger sizes were still standard on many professional cameras.
13cm Although it was not included in this Zeiss list, this was made
in a rimset Compur about then- it may be an f4.5 in an aperture limiting shutter. The f4.5/135mm Tessar was
normally in a rather bulky Cpr 1 shutter and Zeiss may have set a trend by fitting to a Cpr 0 even though it
slowed it up to suit a small camera.]
500, 700mm This was for groups, portrait and aerial survey.
28mm for Contax, There was also a larger version for the VP Exakta.
Protar (Double)
Protar sets 3 sizes
Bo 115mm and up 3 lenses
C 145mm and up 3 lenses
D 185mm and up 4 lenses
Process ApoTessar
24, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, f15, 180cm.
Process ApoPlanar
f7.5, 41cm, f9.0, 59cm, f10, 80, 105cm, f12.5, 130, 170cm. Here the 41cm covers at
least 10x8in.
Aerial Tessar
f5.0 (see below)
Aerial Triplet
f4.8,f5.0 This was made typically as 500 and 700mm, for aerial and portrait work.
Wide Angle Protar
80-270mm,also 40, 60, 85, 110, 140, 180, 210, 270mm on one list.
A 21cm was suggested for 10x8in (12.8in diagonal) but it could cover a diameter of 18.5in (470mm) at small
28, 55mm
75-240mm It was rated for up to 100°, but use at f18 was suggested. It was
suggested for architecture, interiors, and photogrammetry owing to the low distortion. (75, 100, 125, 150, 180,
210, 240mm listed.) The 150mm covered a diameter of 13in (330mm) at small stops.
60, 75, 120mm The 7.5cm covered 6x4 up to 18x16in. It seems to have
continued till the Topogon was available to replace it.
Quartz Anastigmat
120, 250mm This was the "plain" version. The fine resolution was limited to
5.25in diameter at infinity for the 25cm lens.
Quartz Anastigmat
120, 250mm This was the "color corrected" version.
TeleNegatives and Tubes.
Telikon Telephoto lens This was a very fine telephoto designed in the late 1930's for special uses eg
aerial survey work, with a very large rear glass. (Layout Zei030) It is almost like a f6.3 TeleTessar taken to an
extreme. Woeltche lists it as a 1940 design, and says it was the lens which showed that pincushion distortion
could be corrected in tele designs.
Another long list is in the American Annual 1939 page 6, and lists the Tessar f2.8, f3.5, f4.5, f6.3, Protar (as
Series 5?), Protar Series VII convertible, Dagor, ApoTessar, Sonnar, TeleTessar, Biogon, Biotar, BioTessar,
and Triotar (for Contax), some of which are interesting survivors.
A 1939 Advert may summarize the export situation then, though other items were certainly in production.
Tessar f4.5: 50, 75, 80, 85, 105, 115, 135, 150, 165, 180, 210, 250mm. Universal quality lens.
Tessar f3.5: 50, 75, 80, 105, 120, 135, 150, 165mmUniversal fast lens.
Biotessar: 135, 165mmExtra rapid especially for reflexes.
Tessar f2.8: 50, 60, 75, 80mm. Extra rapid ojective for miniature cameras.
Tessar f2.7: 15mm, 25mm; 35mm, 40mm, 50mm. Extra rapid, especially for cine cameras.
Biotar f2.0: 45mm, 80mm. Extra rapid objective for Miniature cameras.
Biotar f1.4 20, 25, 40, 50, 70mm Highest rapidity for cine and miniature cameras.
Proxar and Distar attachment lenses and Bernotar polarizing filters.
Punktal close up lens was noted in a Optina unit from Norse Trading Co London, Ltd. (B.J.A. 1938, p674)
An interesting cost comparison is for 50mm lenses in plain iris barrel mounts:
Tessar f4.5 :£4.75, Tessar f3.5;£5.00; Tessar f2.8 £6.50; Tessar f2.7,£9.80.
Biotar f2.0/45mm £10.35; Biotar f1.4 £24.35 The Sonnar on Contax was about £10. extra if f2.0, ie about
£15.00, and the f1.5 extra £25.25, ie about £30.00 in total.
Rb aerial survey camera. This aerial camera of the 1930's for 30x30cm film used the following lenses.
Telikon 75cm f6.3 (oversize rear glass):
Tessar 50cm f5.0:(some marked infra-red Tessar) and
Topogon 20cm f8.0/f6.3.
All are very high quality items but weight was said to be a problem for the Me109's carrying them during the
war. The focal length was shown on film to 0.01mm. (Angles covered were 31°, 46°, 93° respectively). The falloff in illumination for the Topogon was fairly large at the corners and exceeded the cos4theta value expected.
They are scarce in the UK, examples usually being from aircraft shot down in WW2. They are hard to reuse or
adapt, especially considering the 30cm sq format. However an aerial survey of Eastern UK was carried out
from the airship Graf Zeppelin 11 late prewar,- and it would have carried such cameras without any problems.
(Sun. Times, 31/01/1999, p4.6) It may have been seeking information on UK radar facilities as much as
aerosurvey work. But it may explain the original concept of what was a big camera for use in airships rather
than one designed for use in aeroplanes as they were forced to use them. But a later report suggests the
Luftwaffe did photograph much of the UK from some 10,000ft for preraid reconnaisance (The Times,
18/08/1999 p6).
The Telikon may be related to telephoto lenses disclosed in Merte's Brit Pat 493,650 of 1938 and USPat
2,171,274 of 29/08/1939 but these appear to be more complex and not actually sold. Example 1 is unusual as
there is a massive central triple component in a 5-glass design. Simpler 4-glass designs are covered in Italian
Pat. No382,977/1940 for what are essentially 2+2 teles with one or both pairs uncemented as in the Telikon.
(Zei071 but note Zei030 above)
Some items not listed here, as they were apparently not on the UK market, are the following:
Orthometar Aerial Survey f4.5? But note it was also made for the Contax camera as a 35mm lens. (see
above) (Zei053)
Note the reputed Plasmat pre-WW1- Orthometar was fairly well related.
Planar There have been reports of Planar lenses for aerial survey in WW2 but no details are available.
Topogon This aerial survey lens may not have been on general sale.
(There is no information here.)
58/60mm f1.5 This was probably a wartime lens, possibly for mass X-ray work. One reader
makes a point that it is normally coated- but that has not been so evident in UK samples and it may depend
on the mounting.
25cm f1.0? (See Zeiss collection below).
This was a 4-glass Gauss and an older lens.
Contax Zeiss Ikon issued a famous 35mm system camera, the Contax, in 1932. It had its own lens
programmme with items not sold generally. This programme was outstanding in quality, especially for the
period. One major feature was the Sonnar lenses Bertele designed for it. At a time when coating was not
available, these were unique in contrast and speed.
Contax 35mm program pre-1941
The initial lenses were finished in black enamel and nickel plate and are superb items if in nice order. The
serial numbers of Contax lenses start at about No1,254,xxx, or 1,274,xxx, probably with Tessars. The range
was updateded by chrome finish lenses when the Contax 11 and 111 were introduced about 1935-1936, and
these proved very hard wearing and kept their appearance better than any of the older enamelled lenses.
Originally Contax equipment was expensive and sales were smaller than for the opposition, and this continues
in the secondhand market today, where the common items can be slow to sell, but the unusual ones are at
very high premia- a rather complete outfit would now be an expensive thing to assemble. Some of the
equipment seems physically bigger and heavier, but for the original user, the quality was a real argument and
some items were actually rather compact, such as the 135mm Sonnar and 180mm Tele-Tessar. Incidentally,
there is no suggestion that users bought the 35mm Orthometar (which is compact) in preference to the 35mm
Biogon (which is larger) since the Orthometar is a rather scarce lens today, and the Biogon is desireable but
usually available. Note that these are bayonet mount lenses and really dedicated to Contax bodies only,
though a few other cameras can use them but with some small print as to coupling (Nikon) and mount
specification (Kiev), and a few adaptors to M39 were made by Cooke and Perkins in London and by Nikon in
Japan. These are often for 50mm lenses only, though some take all foci except perhaps the 35mm Biogon.
This is a rare macro lens (There were also others-see below.)
This was prototypic only.
(Layout Zei037) This may not be the best design for a 28mm wide angle,
and it seems to suffer from a good deal of fall-off due to field curvature. But it was uniquely wide for 35mm
when it was launched. It sold fairly well and is usually findable today. It was seen at No2,267,55x.
This was reputedly listed, but was not made as the Tessar replaced it.
There was a reputed prototype of this.
This is a small version of the aerial survey lens. It was a slow light
alternative to the Biogon, launched with it quite late in the period. It is sharp but rather low in contrast due to
the 8 air-glass surfaces.(Layout Zei039) It seems to share the Biogon's mount in part. It can be hard to find
today. It was noted at Nos2,234,90x, 2,234,98x; 2,235,10x, 2,392,11x, and 2,612,98x
This was the patent version of simpler f2.8 lens below.It was prototypic
only. It is said to be superb and Mr Cook notes the good corrections in Photographic Jnl. 10/1949, p223, and
adds that the f2.8 below is not able to equal it. But it was too costly (Zei038) and just may have been more
bulky to fit into the Contax bayonet.
This was the version sold for Contax and also for the Contaflex TLR.
(Layouts Zei038, Rus002 approx.) B.J.A.1938, p266. The speed and performance of the Biogon was
something new in 1936 and it became a famous lens- although users said the thickness of the glass made it
work as a slower lens than the indicated aperture and it was rather heavy compared with a simpler layout.
The design of the Biogon was as a f1.5 Sonnar derivative (according to H.W.Lee), reshaped drastically for its
new role, the deep rear end being to allow correction of astigmatism and coma and with a glass lost in the f2.8
version here. (Brit Pat 350,739,459,739, USPat 2,084,309). The f2.8 is scarce as there is a fair demand, but
not really uncommon but usually available when needed. A typical uncoated lens was No2,392,84x.
It was coated from about No2,67x,xxx; and at 2,713,46x, where a pair with no iris* in barrel mounts was seen
T-coated, possibly as projection or stereo taking lenses. Here the brass mounts had a long focussing single
start thread with the bezel gear-cut for a focus control. The inner barrel had a iris slot though none was fittedie it was probably a standard component modified for a special job. These may have surfaced postwar adapted
for Contax or M39 as several Biogons have been noted with inner bayonet fitting. Thus Small illustrates a M39
Biogon at Nr 2,712,924 as a wartime product: it just may be one of these remounted postwar.
Fig 002 022 Zeiss Biogon f2.8/35mm (l) for Contax R/f No2,392,84x; and 2 with no iris* No2,713,46x,etc; and
similar Russian Jupiter f2.8/35mm .
40mm This Contax Biotar was a special design, not just the same lens
supplied for the RoBoT. It was given extra size outside glasses to minimize vignetting and was a novel product
when launched in aperture and speed and a decent performer; but failed to capture a big market share as it
was not really wide enough for a wide lens and less contrasty than Sonnar as a standard lens. (Layout Zei040)
It was a forward looking design at a time when most designers made the outer glasses of a Gauss a minimal
diameter to limit the fall-off in sharpness at the edge of the negative. Today it is one of the hard ones to find,
but is a really interesting item to lens collectors. Thus it can be an auction feature and was noted at
Nos1,454,068 as 4cm; 2,217,30x and 2,217,29x as 4.25cm as below.
42.5mm This was the actual focal length of all these Biotars and was the
engraving used after about 1936. This is the rarer version since by then it was in competition with the Biogon
which was nearly as fast and wider.
This is a late design f3.5 Tessar for good overall performance
(Zei041) and is certainly a fine lens to match any other comparable lens on the market. It is one of the easy to
find lenses today in the original form, but the postwar rigid version is scarce. But note that it sold less well on
the Contax I than the f2.8 or f2 and may well be scarcer than thought owing to a relative lack of demand.
50mm (Layout 042) The f2.8 50mm Tessar was a fully sound lens, and
approached the f3.5 in sharpness though it is probably true that the user paid a price in losing some fine
detail. It was probably the favourite lens on the Contax I but may have been displaced by the Sonnars on the
later models. It did not reappear postwar for Contax.
50mm (Layout 043 , USPat 1998704/1935) It is easy to forget that this was
revolutionary in those days in speed and performance, and it is still a sound performer. Initially for Contax I it
was in a rigid mount. But the normal form is a collapsible mounted lens in chrome for Contax II etc, and wear
can occur on this action so it is worth checking the condition on purchase.
50mm (Layout 044) This was the speed lens and a really useful one. Care is
needed to minimize flare and it was designed not to be stopped right down. It was reasonable sharp and flare
free when this was rare. The Zeiss Sonnar was never sold as an f1.4 for still work.( It was taken to this
aperture for cine over a narrow angle, and an improved version was patented in USPat 2,186,621/1940, but
here an extra glass was used to further minimize distortion, compared with the normal type in USPat
1,975,678/1934. There is a postwar f1.4 version in a patent, but it may sadly never have been produced.(Brit
Par 681,456/1949).) The f1.5 is nearly always in chrome and typically on Contax III bodies, and noticably
heavier than the others.
[In buying, it is worth checking the front surfaces of all 5cm Contax lenses carefully as the tongue of the
everready cases, especially on Contax 1 cameras, was apt to strike the glass and scratch it if not closed
carefully. Apart from this, they do seem to be made of more wear resistant glass than many of the period, but
some owners will scratch anything, so always check on purchase.]
This was a wartime prototype
85mm This was an impressive news and portrait lens, and sharp. The black
and nickel version is quite a rare one and desireable if found. It was noted at No1,493,06x in nickel.
85mm The 85mm may have been redesigned about 1936 with extra glass
(Layout Zei046). It was noted at No1,493,060 in nickel, No2,232,42x in chrome. The reflexions do not seem to
suggest this change and the external curves are either the same or nearly so. The postwar lenses from both
Jena and Opton do seem to have slightly flatter front curves.
There was also an IR version, made in the wartime
85mm This was a Triplet, and a rather average item for a Contax fit lens! In
practice a group of 3 Triotars used at f5.6 all delivered very nice contrasty negatives with fine detail. The mount
is an excellent full quality item and all round it did supply a lower cost item to attract users to the system.
(Zei045) One unique feature was that it had no balsamed surface which might suffer if it was warmed in a
projector, and as a result it could have been a good option for use on the Contax bayonet on the Contabox
projector for 5x5cm slides. It was seen at Nos 1,447,93x (nickel) and 2,404,76x and 1,890,35x in chrome.
These all had the same front curve and it is likely that this was a design which was constant throughout the
prewar years. (The postwar Triotar looks very different, with a larger front glass (30mm dia) than the 22.5mm
used prewar. The front curve is little changed if at all.)
Note The lensheads of Contax lenses were not intended to be removed for use on copiers, and the register
was adjusted with very thin foil washers which tend to wrinkle when the lenshead is removed, preventing
accurate refitting. This makes cleaning the rear surface harder than it might be and prevented curve
measurements on them. When off, the rear cell should unscrew for cleaning, but access to the front air-space
seems hard in the Triotar, (and one of the above was really dusty lowering the contrast.)
135mm (Layout Zei047) This was unique in quality and compactness for the
time and the design was to be followed widely by others later. There was a slight optical design change
c.1936 for the chrome items, leading to a smaller rear glass set further forward in the mount. This seems to
have required a slight change in the front curve, which then stays the same in late prewar, war and postwar
lenses, and on early Contarex versions.
(a) Today this Sonnar is one of the easier to find, even in the black and nickel finish, which is usually hard to
find in the exchange lenses and note that these include quite early serial numbers as if they were part of the
original production plan. But the range of detailed finishes on the nickel version is quite wide, so that the
individual types can be scarce. They include changes to the very front of the lens where the early external
black paint at eg. No1,412,93x probably wore badly and was replaced first by a 9.5mm wide nickel band at eg.
No1,455,69x, and then by a narrow nickelled band eg. at No1,692,60x where only the 2.8mm wide edge of the
cell is plated. Type a does not take 40.5mm screw in filters on the nickelled versions but they do take 42.0mm
external accessories.
(b) The chrome lenses show little change over a longer period, but there were M39 versions during the war,
and coating was introduced. Postwar mounts are partly in light alloy but are still quite heavy due to the
amount of glass.
It was used on the Contabox A projector of 1933. It was in chrome at No2,072,10x. Among others, these
were to find military uses, and one noted was engraved "MF 1467" possibly for Marin flug wesen= fleet air arm
[The 135mm was used in the Russian Jupiter series with essentially the same curves, and some of the first
postwar Japanese lenses seem to be based on the type using the early optical type.]
TeleTessar K
This has a small rear element! (See above!) K could be for Klein,
Kupplung or Kino- anyway it was not for large format. (Layout Zei052). It is not fast, but quite compact for the
focal length. It is a sharp and contrasty lens but rather slow and this can lead to shake in use. The original
catalogues show a heavy line between glasses 1&2 which might be an air space as in the early types.
Examining a sample suggests that these are cemented as drawn here in the Contax version.
It was noted as:
(a) Nos 1,508,50x; and 1,631,10x in nickel finish, and
(b) No2,189,98x, 2,234,18x in chrome. On purchase, seek the matching finder and case, especially if a nickel
version lens. Later examples would be used with the multiple finder. One example at No2,189,98x has an
excellent coating and a red dot on the bezel between 18cm and Carl. This just may be a stage in the
introduction of coating but also could be a postsale addition. M.J.Small mentions such dots at the end of his
Olympia Sonnar
180mm This big Sonnar was a sensation when it was released, at about the
time of the 1936 Olympic games, but note it was correctly Olympia not Olympic. The earliest noted was
No1,503,71x which should be a 1934 number from the list- it just could be a trial item. But these are scarce
and few serial numbers are available for study. All the prewar lenses were for Contax- at least officially- but
there were two mountings and it was such a desired lens that they were transplanted as available to other
cameras, remembering the cost was too high for most possible users to buy one.
(a) The first were in coupled mount for Contax, focussing to about 9ft/3m in 1/4 turn of the helix. The only
serial number noted was No1,503,71x above, although No1,874,92x may also be and 1,99x,xxx was certainly.
Finally, one was noted at No2,274,9xx. This suggests they were either fairly readily exchangeable from one
mount to another or that the two versions were made and sold as alternatives at the same time. These
coupled lenses are now very scarce, and then were bulky, really heavy and the rangefinder accuracy is only
just sufficient for their use. The mount had a substantial tripod ring round the middle, sometimes with a finder
shoe on top, possibly removed if the unit is adapted to SLR, and a rather slim rear extension with the usual
Contax mount on it. It must have required care to get the best results with the coupling, and as a result,
prices postwar were lower than for the reflex version below and when lenses were adapted to postwar reflexes
it was the rangefinder one which was selectively culled, making the supply still more limited.
(b) Later, the lens was mounted in a reflex housing, Flektoscop which allowed more accurate focusing, and
the pitch of the focus thread changed so that 3m requires about 1/2 turn of the helix. Incidentally, first use of
Flektoscop can be a surprise as the image is still inverted.This mounting continued into the war years, some
being in rather ersatz pot metal for the Flektoscop, though the lens remained 100% in quality, eg. at
No2,275,07x which seems to have a very early partial coating. Noted at Nos 2,275,07x (above) on Flektoscop
543/78-W25575), 2,275,08x, 2,404,11x, and 2,404,17x.
The reflexions in these two lenses, nominally 1934 and 1938 seems to be the same with 4 bright +2 faint
before the iris and 2 bright behind it, and the front curves seem to be identical, the rear surfaces being flat.
(The postwar version from Jena at No3,114,35x and 10,159,64x does seem to have a slightly flatter front
curve, possibly due to a new glass being available. Note that once changed, it seems to be constant as No
10,159,64x is a lens sold off discount when the programme was coming to an end in the later 1970's perhaps.
This is mentioned rather fully as there is a drawing error or artists lisence in some of the original brochures,
suggesting the rangefinder lenses are a simpler 4-glass 3-component design Zei 048, while actually all seem
to be Zei 049.
These must have represented a premium item in quality and price, and the serial numbers do suggest that
the production was unhurried, and possibly even delayed for example by the need for unusually large glass
300mm (Layout Zei051)
500mm It is thought that this is a meniscus design. Prewar examples noted
have been Nos 1,519,60x and 1,519,64x. It was also made at Jena postwar below.
The long Contax lenses are all very rare items and are costly to buy.
Serial Numbers of early Contax lenses.
The earliest Contax lenses noted were on Contax I bodies listed for auction at Christies, London, and were
f3.5 Tessars at Nrs 1.27-1.3million, followed by another group at 1.377-1.398million. The f2.8 Tessars seem to
begin at about Nr 1.3092 but most were at Nr 1.33-1.37million. The f2.0 Sonnars begin at about 1.407million,
followed by groups at 1.416, 1.548 and 1.605 and 1.658million. Finally, f1.5 Sonnars were noted from 1.39
and 1.459 and 1.548million. These will all be in nickel finish of course. The commonest on Contax 1 were the
f2.8 Tessar with 34 lenses noted, then the f2.0 Sonnar with 16 noted followed by the f3.5 with 14 noted, and
finally the f1.5 Sonnar at 5 noted. This will partly reflect the cost of the big Sonnar, but also the need to
educate the public to accept so fast a lens and possibly supply problems with the bigger blanks needed to
make it. The distribution are strongly skewed, with the Sonnars absent below 1.4million, in 1932. Thus Zeiss
seems to have prepared for Contax with a stock of Tessars, but waited to make Sonnars at or after the launch.
Incidentally, production seems very low in 1933, possibly reflecting production or sales problems with a very
complex and not too reliable camera. Or possibly there was more emphasis on exchange lenses by then
The above were matched with black and nickel exchange lenses but these are relatively scarce, only the
135mm f4 Sonnar with 3 examples at 1.42, 1.455 and 1.493million being at all common. Others noted are the
85mm f4 Triotar at Nr1.447, the 85mm f2 Sonnar at 1.493 and the 180mm f6.3 TeleTessar at Nr 1.63million.
The wide angles seem scarcer, only the 4cm f2.0 Biotar being seen at Nr1.454million. (It will be rated as
4.25cm in chrome.) Display dummy samples have numbers of all zeros, as Nr0,000,000.
For Contax, chrome lenses seem to begin at about 1.89million, but most are over 2.0million. Thus there may
be one or two chrome lenses in the Contax I fitted lenses above.There must have been a gradual change to
chrome finish as Twin Lens Contaflex lenses are all in chrome, and were made from 1.543million for a 50mm
f2.8 Tessar, and 1.548 or 1.549million for an f2.0/50mm Sonnar and up. Incidentally, for Contaflex, the Tessar
f2.8 is scarce, the f3.5 non-existent, and the commonest noted at 60% was the f1.5 Sonnar followed by the
f2.0 Sonnar at 33% out of a population of 15 lenses noted. Here exchange lenses are exceptionally scarce,
only 1x Triotar f4/85mm and 2x 135mm/f4.0 Sonnar being offered with this group of bodies, and this reflects
collecting experience. Some actual numbers are given below.
The production of the new Contax I cameras from 1932-1936 is an opportunity to look at the serial numbers of
the lenses sold on them. These were in nickel finish and few chrome lenses sell on Contax I cameras even
though the bayonet is the same. Thus Contax I lenses have been noted from Auction lists etc. as follows. The
serial numbers for the year are also indicated.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tessar f3.5
Tessar f2.8
Sonnar f2.0
Sonnar f1.5
(NB 1,239,699-1,365,582 are the 1931 numbers!)
1,271,672 pre Aug 1932
1,365,865 (NB 1,364,483-1,389,279 are the 1932 numbers!)
(NB 1,436,671-1,456,003 are the 1933 numbers!)
1,525,012 (NB 1,500,474-1,590,000 are the 1934 numbers!)
1,658,991 (1,615,764-1,752,303 is 1935 numbers !)
(1,615,764-1,752,303 are the 1935 numbers! but from here they will be chrome for CII!)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------These are probably chrome
finish lenses transplanted to Contax I.
Tessar f3.5
Tessar f2.8
Sonnar f2.0
Sonnar f1.5
Accounts surface of the prototypic lenses, especially wide angles, being made late prewar. These include
lenses such as Pleon, Herar, Perimetar, Sphaerogon, Topogon, Hypergon etc. Some accounts are of
prewar demonstrations, and others are the result of the dispersal of the Zeiss Lens Collection postwar in
America. (See below) One list gives:
35mm (Layout Zei063) Herar was a triplet with the front gap filled with low
refractive index glass to avoid flare. It required very high refractive index glass for the outer elements, and this
was easily tarnished, so Herar did not go into production. The glass seems to have been R.I. 1.672 in Mr Lee's
account. (D.R.Pat 652,882, Photogr. Ind. 1076, 1092). Merte quotes the glasses as:
Example 1, G1=1.6722/47.0; G2= 1.4930/66.0; G3=1.7214/29.3; G4= 1.7581/27.4; and
Example 2 as G1+5= 1.6722/47.0; G2= 1.4671/65.6; G3= 1.6162/36.7; G4= 1.5333/48.9.
21mm Here there was some distortion (Layout Zei059) which might be more
accepted today than prewar. This seems to be a Dagor with a negative version mounted in front of it. Some
versions show only the front 3 glasses of the Dagor.(Zeiss, Brit. Pat. 487,712/1936/1938, USPat
2,126,126/1938). cf Sphaerogon below. Perimetar was apparently actually produced in small numbers, in
Contax-fit and examples have been reported for sale in Germany, so it nearly made the market. For a simple
form of such a lens, see USPat 2,063,178. Merte illustrates both these and the front sections do vary slightly.
(Merte for Zeiss Ger. Pat. 487,712/1938)
25mm This was a rectilinear lens and sale was postwar only.
35mm 5-glass,This was a simplified Gauss with a "Biotar front,Topogon rear"
Layout Zei075) and the publication of the design was reputedly held up by the German authorities for strategic
reasons. Thus others were to make use of such designs as soon as Zeiss could.
140° (Zei055) This was essentially the rear of a Dagor behind an
enormous front negative glass. There is serious distortion. It was mounted experimentally for the Contax.
This was essentially a Topogon with a negative front glass for greater back focus and angle. There
is again some distortion. The angle covered was 142°. The designer was Richter. This was used in 1941, and
designed 1936. (Zei060) The distortion was partly corrected at the printing stage using an "anti-pleon" lens to
restore the rectilinear form.
f1.4 Lenses of essentially Sonnar type and f1.4 aperture were obtained by Bertele
from adding an extra glass at the rear (Zeiss 1937, Brit Pat 506,321) or by using extra high R.I. glass (Brit Pat
681,456). This aperture was to be used later in the Orient, but the f1.4 Kino Sonnars are thought not to use it.
Further details of these special lenses are given under the Zeiss Lens collection section. This also includes
some lenses with aspheric surfaces. These resulted from studies in Zeiss of the production of such surfaces
and of their value eg. by Merte. See Kaprelian's article on the Zeiss Collection and its fate in USA. They
included f2.0 Tessar lenses.
Mikrotar The real point may be that the 10mm was for Contax, as Mikrotars were made for low power
microphotography, and may not be truly rare but merely seldom sold in the camera field. There were also
Mikrotars of f3.5/20mm and f4.5/30mm and postwar there were Mikrotar-type lenses such as the Jena M
f3.2/20mm and f4.5/45mm. One point is that these are provided with an iris showing they were intended for
photography. But an examination of the 1934 Zeiss Microscope Catalog shows the Contax Adaptor No12 85
90 and many objectives but no Mikrotars, even though many objectives are listed including low powered ones.
Later Mikrotar was used extensively with the Exakta [as were Leitz MicroSummars and MikroPolars from
Reichert.] After WW2 the Exakta was supplied with Mikrotarring 1 and Mikrotarring 2 as part of the standard
accessory range, since 2 types were needed to suit the extensive range. Georg Fiedler in 'Exakta Makro und
Mikrofotografie' (1953) lists the following Mikrotars:
Focal length
There may be others not in that list.
Rel. Aperture
Repro. Ratio
M39 There have been mentions of prewar lenses from the Contax programme being shown late prewar in M39
fitting, but these may be unreliable and relate to the wartime production which certainly existed. There is an
additional point: that in the UK and France, the War began in late Summer 1939, while in the USA it began
with Pearl Harbor rather later. The M39 lenses noted are discussed as early postwar below- they are normally
Contaflex Twin Lens Reflex.
This costly camera used some of the same series of lenses as the Contax rangefinder cameras, in mounts
which were adapted for the new camera, as the focussing here was by an 8cm f2.8 view lens and the camera
lenses needed gearing to allow for the difference in foci. Basically these are chrome Contax mounts with a
bigger rear protrusion for the gearing. The optics were probably identical. This was a costly product range,
even compared with Contax III and all the lenses are scarce and some very scarce indeed. This probably
explains why the f3.5 Tessar was not included in the programme. Even the view lens of the Contaflex camera
is shown as an unusual (unique?) 4 glass design and not the same as most of the 8cm Sucher lenses which
are sold, but which probably are ex-Ikoflex III. The lenses were the same types as on the Contax and it may
be that Contaflex production drew lensheads as needed from the Contax supply as it was a much rarer
camera. Thus the view lens serial numbers may be an interesting guide to production and seem to be in
several groups of numbers as if made in batches: but there is today no very obvious relation between view and
taking lens numbers. This may be due merely to owners or shops exchanging units but could be due to
assemblers of TLR lenses being free to draw on Contax lens supplies as needed. They do seem to cover the
period 1935 to 1939 with the view lenses in the same number stream as the taking lenses.
The lenses used were:
Some outfits noted at auction were quoted as View lens serial number/taking lens type/Serial number of
taking lens.
1,656,708; f1.5, 2,395,107:
1,656,807; f2.0, 1,549,158:
1,657,085; f1.5; 1.629,068:
1,657,458; f1.5; 1,660,360:
1,753,31x/f2.8/ 1,535,22x;
1,781,481; f1.5; 2,552,044:
1,657,506; f1.5; 1,754,187:
1,657,600/ f2.8/ 1,543,077;
-- f1.5; 1,660,615;:
1,657,085; f1.5; 1,629,068:
1,657,276, f2.0; 1,548,756:
1,656,807; f2.0, 1,549,158:
1,753,01x;f2.0; 2,211,37x
1,723,90x; f1.5; 1,753,88x
1,657,57x; f1.5; 1,660,33x;
1,656,57x; f1.5; 1,660,33x
1,656,81x; f2.8; 2,240,40x;
1,753,26x; f2; 1,866,48x;
1,835,95x; f2; 2,211,46x;
1,753,38x; f1.5; 2,036,74x;
1,657,57x, f1.5; 1,753,89x;
1,513,40x; f2.0; 1,548,79x;
1,753,01x; f2; 1,829,72x.
Exchange lenses are scarce: Triotar f4/85mm No1,505,50x.:Sonnar f4/135mm; 1,719,803, 1,829,72x;
Zeiss Movikon 1938 Programme.
This Movikon 16 was a prestige camera and the movie equivalent of the Contax and it is worth summarizing
the lenses made for it from the 1938 Heaton Blue Book. These were in a unique bayonet mount and this can
limit their use today. There was a new model due in 1939 for Kodak cassettes, the Movikon K16 at a lower
price- but less the rangefinder and simpler. The earlier model was the Zeiss Ikon Kinamo of 1933, and it had
interchangable lenses but it is not known if they were the same fiiting as the Movikon. [ There was also a
Movikon 8 8mm camera in 1939, with Sonnar f2 only.]They were:
Tessar f2.7/15mm; Tessar f2.7/20mm with focussing to 18in; Tessar f2.8/50mm;
Tessar f2.5 This was noted as a f2.5/75mm lens at No1,938,16x, and may be a movie lens as such speed is
easier on a narrow angle design: this has near M39 mounting thread and iris to f18 but not Totally Closing Iris,
and is in a non-focusing mount. Certainly very uncommon and possibly a misprint.
Sonnar f1.4/25mm; Sonnar f4.0/75mm; (Sonnar f2.8/51mm deleted) also Sonnar f2.0/1cm, noted at
No2,279,13x ? for 8mm and:
TeleTessar f6.3/180mm. This was noted in B.J.A. 1938, p298. £32.60, in quick focus mount using only 90°
turn to focus closest. This was then a very long lens for 16mm use. Some lists distinguished a KinoTele
Tessar version at f4 from the usual f6.3 lenses but without detailing it. (eg 1937).
Supplementary lenses were made in ranges 10-3ft, 3-2ft and 2-1.5ft for the 15mm Tessar and in 3-1.5ft, 2014in and 14-10in for the Sonnar 25mm f1.4.
There was also a Sonnar f2.0/10mm together with a f2.7/2cm Tessar long focus lens, for 8mm Movikon
about 1935-1940 introduced to the UK in 1936 (B.J.A. 1937, 296).
There was also a Sonnar (?) f2.0/32mm and 50mm for 35mm movie use .
An important pre-war programme was for the Exakta series, in VP, 35mm and a few in 6x6. Special note may
be made of the pre-war 6x6 as it is scarce and comes up at auction with its f2.8 and f3.5 Tessar lenses. This
has been noted as follows: f2.8 as No2,429,53x and 2,254,253; f3.5 as No2,144,629. Few other lenses were
In General
What is noticable is that the programme was due to several designers, who each contributed several itemsnot one-off events. Thus Merte (1889-1948) was responsible for the Biotar, (with Wandersleb), the redesigned
Tessars, Orthometar, Sphaerogon and others. Richter (1886-1956) for the Topogon, Pleogon, Telikon and
probably the Kipronar, and Bertele (1900-1985) for the Sonnars,and Biogons. Merte's sad death meant he had
less impact postwar, but Richter went on to design the Topars, and Bertele the super wide Biogons and
probably a new 35mm f2.8 Biogon for Contax.
WW2 items:
From 1940, German hardware makers were allotted a randomly chosen identification code, from aaa to azz in
Nov 1940. Later 3 letter groups followed. Some of these have been published since the war and include:
ex Zeiss Militar Abteilung, coded blc.
ex Zeiss Ikon, Dresden, coded dpw.
ex Zeiss Ikon, Stuttgart, coded dpx.
ex Carl Zeiss, Jena, coded lmg, also rln.
ex Nedinsco Venlo Systeem-Carl Zeiss Jena, coded jux, probably from 09/1941.
ex OPW, a related company in Warsaw, coded eug.
Germany was sufficiently confident of victory that production of cameras did continue after Sept. 1940, if on a
reduced scale, and items were exported. Thus a set of Tessar f3.5/90mm lenses was supplied to G. Cornu in
France for the Ontoflex Model 2 TLR which was a 1940 model. Normally early wartime items were full quality,
as the intention was to preserve peacetime markets and help fund the effort. Later this policy was to change.
A major sign was as follows, and was probably the result of the need for brass in munitions.
Small in his book details German arrangements during the war, with civilian producton in Zeiss continuing
throughout the war, even in March 1945. British intelligence commented after the war that this was
accomplished with few German personnel remaining at the bench, staff mainly being trained incomers.
Rationalization had been taken to extremes under Dr H. Kuppenbender of Zeiss who ran a Precision and
critical Tools Committee from 1941, and allocated production among firms. Small suggests this explains the
marketing of Zeiss and Schneider lenses for Leica at this time. Certainly production of many other cameras
was run down in the war, as was Exakta, and probably Contax decreased sharply, so that this may have lead
to excess capacity with the lens makers. Leica production did continue, as did some Leica lenses.
Brass was replaced progressively by alloy. For lens mounts, this was aluminium, but for accessories such
as a reflex housing, very poor quality pot-metal from the remelting of scrap was used at times in the War when
no better could be obtained, eg. for the 18cm Sonnar above- here the lens is 100% prewar quality, and
probably was made then, but finished up under war conditions. A big collection of serial numbers on Exakta
lenses suggests that here aluminium came in between Nrs 2,659,10x (brass) and 2,658,89x (ali, f4.5/4cm
Tessar) and 2,666,79x (ali, f3.5/5cm Tessar) as all subsequent items are listed as ali- but it is likely that it
actually was less sharp change over than it seems, as a f2.0/50mm T-coated Sonnar at No2,709,70x seems
to be mainly brass, and an f1.5/50mm Sonnar at No2,854,44x seems to be a brass optic in an alloy shell.
Incidentally McKeown quotes Zeiss Serial number information from Collecting Photographica by G. Gilbert.
This would suggest about 1940 for the change to alloy at the beginning of WW2. Some special items
Sonnar f1.5/50mm mounted for Tenax II for use as a X-Ray recording camera about 1942. There was also a
Tessar f4.5/40mm at close focus permanently for recording, on Tenax II, again from about 1942.
Anti-reflection coating of surfaces began early in the WW2 years, or even in 1938 according to M.J.Small,
and initially was with very thin coats giving a clear blue colour. Some of these were engraved with a statement
to this effect but this was not always done. Thus an 18cm f2.8 Sonnar seems to have this coat at Nr
2,275,07x but no other identification. Here the coat is only on some internal surfaces, possibly as it was very
soft. Another early one was No 2,578,72x, a "T" coated f1.4 Sonnar with Luftwaffe engraving as is
No2,687,21x, a T-coated Sonnar f2/50 (part alloy) for Contax.. This last is blue coated on all surfaces. When
the process became general after the war, the lenses were engraved T with a red fill to show it was original
factory work, and the above Luftwaffe lens may be an early case of this. This was later omitted, when coating
had become universally used, and later still T* engraved as multicoating came in. Oberkochen (W.German)
lenses were often engraved with their Trade Name OPTON as a sign of origin, though this was later omitted on
items for non-Comecon countries.
Lenses in M39 mounts
A number of this group of lenses were made in M39x26 mounts, either during the War or soon after the end of
it- or both!- and a nearly complete set has been seen one by one in adverts. over the years. For a vivid account
postwar see the Jena section. These are normally 'T' coated except for the f1.5/58mm Sonnars, which are
often not coated. These may be war productions in an unusual fitting as the serial numbers fit Gilbert's
chronology as about 1941-2-3: or postwar as part of reparations to the USSR or as a warm up for the
production of Kiev/Fed lenses. The latter seems evident from the similarity of the mounts to those made later
in the USSR but may merely be that older drawings were dragged out as needed for the Fed project. For what
it is worth, they may have been made for taking propaganda and tourist pictures during the various
occupations of the War, and this would explain the priority accorded to their production and also the severe
wear on many if they were used by news men. But it is also true that postwar they were initially a sought after
item for use and will have had a hard time postwar as well. One point is the absence of the Tessar lenses- for
some reason there seems to have been no call for them in this fitting.
The condition of these today is usually poor to bad as coatings were soft and the alloy mounts are now
stained, and they were typically as follows:
28mm Small illustrates one of these in a compact, black finished mount. They are
certainly unusual.
35mm seen at No2,843,45x.
50mm This is one of the hard to find versions, looking very much like a M39 Elmar
from the description. This likeness may be why this specification was not made often in M39. Ian Parker, in
"Rollei TLR-The History" states Field Marshall Rommel used a Leica with a Tessar lens (aperture not stated)
fitted for choice.
50mm seen at No2,710,95x and 2,805,49x in collapsible alloy and No 2,709,39x,
2,709,70x, Nr 2,74x,xxx, 2,771,29x, 2,805,54x in rigid brass mounts. An MCM account of one of these says it
gave an excellent marginal performance, but the centre was down as the centring and mounting of the
components was not up to the usual prewar standard.
An extra series may be those for the Russian TCBBC camera, like a Fed with a Contax compatible inner
bayonet only. An f2 Sonnar was noted for one at No3,060,47x. But note this is Contax type mount. One idea
is that the serial numbers fall in two groups: one wartime to meet war and propaganda demand; and the other
early postwar under Russian demand. A plot of the numbers will then be bimodal.
50mm Rigid mount, but with varying amounts of brass, at No2,708,41x2,854,44x
and 2,858,03x, 2,859,20x, 2,866,62x. No2,866,62x was noted on a Leica IIIcK No391,24x from about 1943.
50/58mm in rigid alloy mount with snail cam at rear, No20,142,69x. (20million is an
entirely anomalous number due for production after the millenium! There will be a reason, not now apparent!)
The true focal length is about 58mm but the engraving is 50mm. An apparently earlier Zeiss Jena example was
at No1.89million, but as it was in an alloy M39 coupled mount, it does seem likely to be a later lens than the
number suggests.
5.8cm Another type is at Nos1,407,44x, 1,407,22x and 1,407,13x, and this is
anonymous and not Zeiss engraved or named- possibly an outside contract. The variant 60mm also occurred
with these. Performance of this type can be modest, suggesting they were made elsewhere possibly under
stress of war. Small suggests there were as many as 35 variants, which suggests they were made over a
period by more than one firm- or under difficult conditions where materials were varying. The care with which
one has the coupling ring worked to correct for the focus suggests quite controlled production was available.
[Small indicates some are marked "Leica Sonnar" but these have not been mentioned in the UK, where the
"typical" version seen seems to be an uncoated anonymous lens. Small also dates them from the serial
number as early 1930's but they may well be in a different number series and from the 1940's. A central
direktiv might provide for eg Schneider to make lenses to the Sonnar design, but not to use their name on
the product, so every one was happy- perhaps. Note that this would be a 1938 number for them, and that it
does not seem to be a Meyer number from the available data. Schneider opened a large new factory late
prewar which just may be the ISCO Goettingen plant where the f2/125mm Xenon was made.)
75mm This has been mentioned but no details here or in Contax fit.
75mm This was noted in M39 cpled mount in alloy at No2,696,19x, and may be a
85mm This is one of the scarcer ones but was noted at auction at No2,707,29x.
85mm This was noted at No2.8m, this is not coupled.
135mm This was noted at No2,711,88x and 2,711,878, both in alloy. The latter
seems to have been a recent preowned export from Russia, so this would suggest these were postwar as
A small collection of lenses in M39
Fig 010 045 Zeiss Biotar: (l) M39 mounted by C&P, London; original TLR mount; lens head alone.
Fig 010046 Zeiss Biogon f2.8/35mm No2,843,453 in M39 mount.
Fig 010 050 Zeiss Sonnar f1.5 in (l) alloy at No2,858,03x; (r) in brass at No2,854,44x.
Fig 010 052 Zeiss Sonnar f2.0/50mm (l) in collapsible alloy mount No2,710,954; in rigid brass mount
No2,709,703 in M39.
Fig 010 054 Zeiss Sonnar f1.5/58 (l) alloy mount at No1,407,440 (anon) and by Zeiss in brass (r) at
Fig 010 056 Zeiss Sonnar f4/135mm in M39. One is ex-Jena and the other is actually a Russian Jupiter fitted
with a genuine Zeiss front ring! (The difference in the coating is obvious.)
Zeiss Collection.
At the end of WW2, the occupying forces in Jena were first British; then American and the Americans moved
the most valued and mobile assets out of Jena as the Russians moved in. One item they commandeered was
the Zeiss lens collection. This was as part of a policy of denying the Russians the assets when the town was
to fall under their control. The lens collection was moved to the USA and extensively examined by
E.J.Kaprelian and others. It consisted of normal production items, competitors' lenses bought for comparison
and a unique assembly of Zeiss prototypes and research lenses. The prototypes are especially interesting
historically and those illustrated in the literature can be classed roughly as 6 types.
(a) Zeiss seems to have studied the design of aspheric Triplet and Tessar lenses systematically,
working the front and rear cemented surfaces in separate examples. These are shown in three Tessar f2.0
50mm lenses, Zei064 where the front is aspheric and Zei065 where the third glass is aspheric. Finally Zei066
has the inner surface of the rear glass worked and the space between it and the third glass filled with balsam
which set to form what really is an extra aspheric element- perhaps the first aspheric plastic element. There is
a Zeiss patent Brit Pat 459,739/1935 on aspherics to Merte.{This may have led to the postwar f2.0 Tessar for
16mm Arriflex (eg Nr 3,624,37x from Jena), though this is not certain (as Merte says a f2 Tessar is possible
without aspheric surfaces, and cheaper f1.9 Tessars were made for the 8mm Movikon postwar). It is a fine
lens at f2.0 which is something for a Tessar -type design.} Much older work seems to be by Sonnefeld in
USPat 1,616,765 where a triplet is "deformed" and the patent relates to thinning the edges of the rear glass
and states that previous work deformed the centre but that time is saved if the rear is worked as it can be
tested without having as laborious recentering of the glasses, 1 and 2 remaining in place. This just may relate
to the aerial triplets as they are of great focal length and aperture. A very simple "deformed" system is covered
by Merte's patent for Zeiss USPat No 2,063,178 of 08/12/1936.
(b) A second group seem to be earlier, and designed to minimize air-glass surfaces in three types with
6,4,4 air-glass surfaces. These are Zei061, an f1.5/70mm; Zei062, an f2.8/8cm; and the Herar, Zei063
f2.8/35mm. It is possible to see the aspheric Zei067 an f3.5/105mm as another in this group.
(c) The wide field lenses caused much interest at the time. They included the Sphaerygon, Zei055; Zei056
and f2.8/75mm and the almost spherical Zei057 and Zei058, an f6.8 16mm lens, and the Perimetar,
f6.2/100mm, and finally the Pleon in Zei060. Several of these were non-linear in image ie they approach
fisheye lenses. Separate special lenses were made to remove this effect in printing. (See Merte for Zeiss in
German Pat 672,393/1935 for a Sphaerogon with a single front glass.)
(d) Some lenses were of obvious strategic importance, such as the fast lenses Zei068 f1.0/25cm; Zei069
f1.0/9cm and Zei070 f1.5/40cm, which were made for night vision equipment in harbours and tanks (for Zei069)
where a baby version was used. There were also extreme long focus lenses such as Zei071, the Telikon in
f6.3/75cm form, and the Zei072 Fern lens for f25/300cm. for infra-red work. A Burke and James list in the
1960's still offered a f1.5/400mm and an f0.85/150mm which may have originated from this set. (Night vision
then involved an image converter where infra-red light was made visible to the operator. (It might allow the
detection of hot items such as exhausts or have an infra-red light to illuminate the subject?) (B.J.P.
05/10/1979, p964).
(e)The collection had two types which suggest a move to de-cement lenses,in view of
Smakula's success with coating. These are both Sonnar types in Zei073 for f1.4/5cm and Zei074 f1.5/5cm.
(f) Finally, the existence of the Biometar f2.8/35mm may have become known to the allies
at this stage. (Zei075). This was to become a more important design as a simplified Gauss than many of the
The collection was initially looked after with great care, but interest declined with time and eventually it was
sold off through a Trader as secondhand equipment. Thus most of the items are floating around in the USA.
When the German government and Zeiss approached the USA for the return of the collection, it had been
dispersed. Little apart from Kaprelian's accounts (ref. see Kaprelian in file K) survive to show its glory although
some pictures were taken with some wide angle lenses and published at the time. These "unknown" designs
were an amazing achievement, especially as the published Contax lens programme was itself a real
achievement. A UK postwar report on Zeiss is Combined Intelligence Objective Sub-Committee, London,
HMSO Item 28, File No XXX111-51, Col A.W.Angus (25.05.1945). It includes accounts of production 19391944, building work 1934-1944, organization, and relations with Japan.
Curiously, Zeiss cameras and lenses were in use also in the UK forces for news work. C. Dawson (B.J.P.
31/10/1980 records how newsmen covering the war were issued with Super Ikontas, which they disliked as too
short focal length and involving too much personal risk to get pictures- some 50% casualties resulted among
news men as a result. Movie filmers were better served with up to 6in teles on 35mm. The Super Ikontas had
been bought in from the public though there was a rumour that a consignment due to go to USA was captured
at sea.
World War 2 ended with Zeiss divided, with some of the personel to be incarcerated in Russia, and many of
the buildings and plant damaged, or moved to new sites. American forces moved some 126 of the key
personnel and equipment to the West and invited some workers (including W. Merte) to the USA as "Paper
Clip Scientists"- essentially a recuperative visit. And it seems that in the West, a site was first offered at
Munich on the old Steinheil plant, but Zeiss opted for a quieter place and settled nearer their Zeiss Ikon
Contessa camera (Stuttgart) and Prontor shutter (Calmbach) works, at Oberkochen where a small factory on a
congested valley site was free- it had made gunsights in the War. Production grew rapidly with satellite
factories in nearby villages. Further expansion came in 1956, when Schering sold their interest in Voigtlaender
to Zeiss and the Brunswick factory was able to take over the production of many camera lenses for Zeiss.
Binocular production also restarted, with novel products from 1954, and later it was consolidated at the
Hensoldt works at Wetzlar which was part of Zeiss from 1928.
To mark this fresh start postwar, they seem to have made a new beginning in serial numbers, perhaps at
No10,000 according to M.J.Small, so that they were making No42,23x when Jena were happily in the
No2,900,000 region. This can be confusing especially when two f2 Sonnars have serial numbers in the 1.5
million region and the older has been coated by a repairer- normally the clues are the Oberkochen trade name
OPTON which was used postwar only, and the presence of a red 'T' for coated- which indicates a war or
postwar factory coated lens. (The 'T' mark was used only to c1953 or 1957; but note the later 'T*' series.)
Incidentally OPTON was used for only a limited time in the West, but continued for exports to Comecon
countries at least to the 1980's. The firm was called Firma Zeiss-Opton until 01/10/1953, when it became
simply Carl Zeiss again. Add in that Jena lenses are more often in alloy mounts, and that both made slight
changes to the mounts and it is usually possible to reach a definite decision. In general the production must
have begun with easily made and sold types, initially with more lenses for folders such as Super Ikontas then
might be expected, but this camera was the Contessa factory speciality and they were possibly in a position
to begin production again more easily here. Some lenses were possibly bought in (including some Xenar f2.8
lenses for the 35mm Ikonta) but these seem to be very few and in the main Zeiss were able to supply lenses
as fast as cameras were made. There was a steady move to lenses for smaller cameras however, and apart
from Linhof, the largest preferred format seems to have become 6x6 on the Hasselblad. Thus initially there
were a fair number of Tessar and Triotar lenses for folders, but the main aim was the Contax programme,
followed by the new SLR cameras. Postwar the Contax was 'shrunk' with an outline to match competitors
cameras, and the interior was smaller. This meant one old lens was no longer usable, and some other designs
were retired as 'old'. To the user, the main restriction is that the pre-war Biogon 35mm f2.8 will NOT fit and a
new small version was designed- or possibly two were tried and a shrunk version of the old won. The Tessar
f8/28mm was discontinued (except possibly for a handful from Jena) and there was no routine replacement.
Business between the two parts of Zeiss did exist and it is a hotly debated question if Jena lenses or glasses
were among sales to Oberkochen to assemble into Contax mounts. Probably this will never be answerable.
Contax Lenses to Prewar Specification, continued.
Contax 11a was still 'new' in the Paris Show in 4/1950, to be followed by the 111a with meter about a year
later. The initial lens list was 50mm f1.5, f2.0, f3.5 but not f2.8; f2.0/85mm, f4.0/135mm f2.8/180mm and
f4.0/300mm: but the wide angles were still to come, as a new Biogon was needed and the old 28mm Tessar
was ended. No interim products seem to be offered before the new series came. They did offer Flektoskops for
the 180 and 3000mm lenses and the Universal finder.
35mm Some were made at Jena, and were seen T-coated in M39 mounts, eg at
No2,843,45x, which may be wartime number but post war finish. A wartime or postwar Jena lens for Contax is
No2,672,88x (T coated) in brass mount. One at No3,317,84x must be a very late example.
50mm ex Jena, collapsible,eg at No3,056,35x.
50mm from Oberkochen, in rigid mount cf. Sonnar. This is very desirable but rather
hard to find.
50mm These have been seen from Jena, in collapsible mount. Note the comment
below about the TCBBC camera lenses.
50mm In rigid mount from both plants, eg Oberkochen at No1,256,02x and Jena at
No3,008,88x. A modern review is in Amateur Photo 15/09/1990.
50mm This was in a rigid mount from both plants. It is a nice lens in coated form
but is apparently the commonest of these postwar.
85mm These came from both plants in white alloy mounts, eg. No839,45x and
135mm There is a very slight change in the front curve of these compared with the
prewar lens, possibly due to new glass types. (Zei106) Noted at No 91,060; 1,346,12x (ex Oberkochen?) and
No 3,060,88x and 3,107,24x from Jena
180mm These have been noted at Nos 3,432,20x/1074x and 3,114,39x/1069x where
the last digits are the Flektoskop, and were ex-Jena. Also No3,132,77x alone.
300mm Noted at No3,945,06x ex-Jena. This was sold with an extra M42 adaptor.
(These postwar Jena Sonnars for 180 and 300mm are much more common for SLR mounts and
correspondingly less valuable. The SLR mounts seem to have many parts in common including the preset iris
initially, but diverge in later manufacture, probably after sales for Contax declined.)
500mm this was noted at auction ex-Jena at Nos 3,606,41x and 4,269,62x.
Novel Postwar Contax Items.
Luminar close up lenses. These were used with a screw-to-bayonet adapter ring. They were made in 63, 40,
25, 16mm and were available in the mid-1950's. These shorter lenses were superb, and reduced the long
extensions needed in macro photography with the normal 50mm Tessars as well as being ideally computed
for the work.
21mm This was a totally new type of lens to the market, with big negative glasses
back and front. It was a simplified Aviogon (see Wild) and was a sensational novelty when new: it is still a very
nice lens to use and a valuable one. (Zei100) For the collector with a budget, the cheaper option may be the
more common version for Contarex! It was followed by other firms' deep sunk lenses but the Biogon is the only
one to have been made widely in other sizes to the same layout and to have stayed in production for so long.
So it is really unique.
It has been noted at auction at No1,420,48x; 1,420,52x, 1,421,99x; 1,548,09x; 1,548,48x and 1,136,06x
25mm This was also a sensation, as a mere 4-glass design for this specification. It is
rare as most or all were from Jena and the supply was intermittent at best. At 82-94°, the angle covered is
less than some other Topogons but the speed is greater. The story is reported by Barringer in Zeiss Historica
13/01/1991. It must be remembered that at that time the Topogon was a less well known lens than it became
35mm This was the new type from Oberkochen, with a small rear end for the "a"
series Contax. In fact, Bertele may have designed two lenses, one a small version of the prewar one, and the
other a more radically new one. (BPat. 696,925, USPat 2,622,480/1950) but it is not quite obvious how far
these actually differ. Woeltche shows in his Fig 12 two f2.8/35mm Biogons, where the second differs
essentially in a less thick rear glass- and may well be the postwar Contax lens. These 'new' Opton Biogons
are the most desired of the postwar 35mm lenses, though all are nice and none is too common. (Zei101,
Zei102) They were noted at Nos 1,045,12x (twice); 578,09x; 579,35x and 1,132,92x.
Fig 002 024 Zeiss Biogon f2.8 35mm for Contax (l) prewar at No 2,392,84x and (r) postwar at No1,132,92x.
35mm This was ex Jena (Zei103) to fit the Contax 11a/111a series. It seems to be
based on a prewar design, not made commercially till then. It was noted at No3,234,15x, 3,234,18x.
35mm 5glass/4component. (Zei104). This is the first mention here of the 'new'
series of Planars, descended from the 1897 type and the Biotar. (See others below.) It was noted at No
1,346,12x; 1,589,21x, 1,590,23x, 1,988,25x.
Pinhole Lens This was an experimental item for test on the experimental VK21 model that might have
become the Contax 1V- and never was! (Wehran, B.J.P. 08/02/1974,p120).
50mm This was prototypic for Contax 1V prototypes, ex Zeiss/Voigtlaender (See
Voigtlaender section)
50mm Bertele patented this type in modern glass but it did not go into production.
For the SLR, the Planar type was preferable as it had a better rear clearance for the mirror and the Gauss was
proving a better design field to develop. (Bertele, USPat. 2,600,610/1952, DRPat. 835,202/1949, BPat.
75mm This was a very rare mounting of this lens, normally a Jena lens sold for
Exakta SLR. But note it was for Exakta in 1940, so a Contax version may well go back to then. There seem
also to be M39x26 mounted examples.
85mm This is a redesign of the 'old' Triotar and a much advanced lens. Now ex
Oberkochen, with the front glass well sunk in the mount, coated and in light alloy mount. It was seen at
No145,240x. The front of the 'old' lens looks very flat in comparison and the front glass is only 22mm dia.,
while the postwar is 30.5mm dia. (85mm f4.0 requires 21.25mm minimum.)
Panflex Tessarf3.5
115mm This was ex-Oberkochen for reflex housing. This was an early postwar item
which replaced a wartime f4.5 135mm Tessar.
Stereotar C with paired f3.5/35mm lenses. A leaflet shows these as 3 glass triplets.The unit was noted at
auction as at Code C 810/01 ST 15,25x with the same prism no., also W2603x-543/70 with prism
NoW2617xNos . This does not seem to follow the same series numbering. A leaflet lists the Stereotar as Cat
No810; the finder as No420, the Proxar lenses as 925/50/30/20 for 50cm, 30cm and 20cm respectively; with
leather case 1243 and assorted stereo masks 1503.
Flektometer- This was an improved version of the old Flektoskop, used for the Sonnar f2.8/180; Sonnar
f4.0/300mm and Fern f8/500mm lenses. These are little known in the UK and are uncommon elsewhere. A
complete set was noted at auction at serial numbers Flektometer No30,204 and 180mm, No5,902,479;
300mm, 5,902,59x and 500mm, No6,822,94x. These are very high numbers, even for Jena, and suggest a late
Some idea of the postwar design strategy of Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen) was disclosed in October 1979 in a
symposium for the photographic press. It lead to an editorial in B.J.P. 02/11/1979 p44, where the impact of the
computer was stressed, and the role of E. Glatzel in designing optimising programmes was disclosed, and by
then not merely the design and choice of the layout was by computer but also the calculation of the expected
MTF was possible so that the image quality could be predicted from the computer print-out. The next stage
was to use it to decide whether a further 'improvement' in design lead to an improvement in performance which
was actually detectable in use. This also allows decisions on the cost/efficiency aspect of a new design, and
in fact cost was becoming virtually a factor in the design equation. One point was that the computer could now
be forced to consider the production costs involved where very tight tolerances were called for or difficult to
produce components were needed in a process called 'Entspannung' or consideration or "relaxation of
tolerances." This lead to decisions on the limitations of 35mm and other films where flatness was imperfect
and could be the limitation on performance rather than the lens. Another feature coming to the fore in 1979
was 'internal-focusing'. This period was soon after the launch of lenses for the Contax reflex and Hasselblad
and is important background to them.
The development of optical glasses by Schott and others was summarized by H.Morian, Schott ( in B.J.P.
04/01/1980 p6 ) with glass maps of R.I. v. Abbe number for glasses to 1975 and also the major Schott types
of glass, with R.I. up to about 1.96. One point made was that Schott did make small batches of rare earth and
Thorium containing glasses during WW2 but had problems with attack on the ceramic pots used for the melt
and only made them postwar (1949-1950) in quantity when platinum crucibles came into use. Subsequently,
the Lanthanum glasses have played a major part, as he instanced in Planar and Distagon designs as well as
others. Up to 1976 Schott had patent cover on their FK glasses of low R.I. and high Abbe number, but this
expired and later 'ED' glasses appeared from the Far East.
The prospects of improved standard lenses from the Gauss designs was much greater than from the triplets,
and coating had minimized their main problem (flare) postwar. Thus it seems that Zeiss applied most of their
design expertise in the Planar field and Planar became a major product in the normal and medium long focus
lens area. Sonnar was to be used mainly in longer lenses. The story was well summarized by Woeltche in the
Pro Opt. Soc. Amer. SPIE Vol 237, 31/05/1980. Some points were made above (Biotar) but mention must be
made that he notes the sharp increase in glass cost with aperture for increasing aperture from f2.0 where
LaFN 2 (1.74/44.8) can be used to beyond f1.4 where LaSF 31 is needed (1.88/41.1). In spite of this, very fast
Planars were made especially for projection, including the f1.0 20mm for 8mm, with LaK 21 and SF6 glasses,
and the f1.2 40mm with LaK 7, LaFN 2, and SF 6 glasses. Little need was seen for aspherics, but a number of
designs were given an extra front component to allow image stabilization- essentially a type of "Front cell"
focusing but included to keep the corrections high rather than for focusing. This is often for movie and TV
lenses. This article can be recommended as a classic account. Innovation has been related to work by G.
Lange going into production about 1954.
Incidentally there was a lingering feeling by customers that at modest apertures and over a limited angle, the
Tessar still set a very strong challenge.(R.Schwalberg, 02/1976 p46) This does come up in discussions by
Linhof users who may have a choice of Tessar f3.5/105 and Planar f2.8/100mm lenses and for some uses with
older outfits the Tessar has the edge. [Note also the very high rating the TTH Micronar gets from MPP users
relative to all other TLR lenses including the German Gauss designs, even though it is a Tessar type lens.
Schwalberg included a f3.5 Tessar and another famous lens in his consideration and worked at c.f11.]
(Dr M. Kidger was very kind in supplying copies of the above articles in 1997).
Some other "special" postwar lenses.
These can include extreme wide angle lenses and non-retrofocus types.
This was an extreme wide angle for Contarex/Hologon Special (Zei107). It was made 19691972. A prototype was auctioned at No4,851,33x (1972), as well as a normal model at 4,851,52x..
A few were supplied in a special mount to fit the Leica M series.
This was a postwar aerial survey lens ex Oberkochen 1955, designed by Richter. (Layout
Zei108) It seems to be a f5.6 153mm design and is a rare large format lens.
A redesign by Roos and Winser, f4.0 85mm for 23x23cm for up to 125°. It was a 9-glass
design with doubled outer glasses. There is said to be inevitable fall-off in illumination at the edges. It was to
be one of the ultimate designs in this direction and retrofocus lenses seem to be the preferred development
later. (Yet Hologon was redeveloped for Contax G1 as a f8/16mm lens eg. at No7,761,32x, and sells well.)
A series of Planar lenses was designed for aerial reconnaissance over more moderate
angles, as f4.0, 150mm (5g/4c); f2.8, 152mm (5g/4c); f4.0, 304mm (6g/4c).
Kipronar Projection This seems to be a continuation of the prewar type.
f2.8 for Rolleiflex, Note that several designs were used here and can change so there is
interest for the collector. (Zei170-172)
180mm This was noted as a well sizes lens but very compact- it actually is
half of a symmetrical lens with an iris and mirror probably dismantled from a photocopier. It seems to be an
Orthometar type lens from the reflections. This design was used by others as it saved on cost but this may be
the leading example! It would be nice to assemble a pair as a working camera lens.
Super Ikonta
This was a premium product prewar and postwar and was sourced from the previous Contessa Nettel factory,
so production could restart more easily postwar than some other products. Some interim versions seem to
have been made but basically it was fitted with Zeiss Tessar lenses and by B.J.A. 1952 p218 it was the Type
532/16 for 6x6cm with f2.8/80mm Opton Tessar, coated but otherwise much as prewar. The smaller 16-on
Super Ikonta was also made with f3.5/75mm Tessar or occasionally Novar but in the UK these are much less
common: professionals in particular bought 6x6cm rather than 16-on cameras under licence. The same
applies to the 531/2 Super Ikonta for 6x9cm, where 105mm f3.5 and f4.5 Tessars were fitted, apparently
mostly from Jena as they are not Opton lenses.
This Zeiss Ikon TLR was sold initially with Novar f3.5/75mm and Tessar f3.5/75mm lenses. These were Tcoated lenses, but some of the Tessars were from Jena (ie not Opton!), and in the second model, from about
1949, the Zeiss Opton Tessar from Oberkochen accompanied the Novar T. These were initially in Zeiss's own
Prontor shutters, but they were upgraded to Compur Rapid in the early 1950's, as supplies were available.
With folders such as the Nettar, it may have been a more important product in bulk and implications for
Zeiss's recovery than may now be realized. A lateish version with Opton Tessar f3.5/75mm in SynchroCompur
1-1/250sec and Teronar viewfinder anastigmat were noted in B.J.A. 1954, p193 who said "fine camera". A
Ikoflex Ia with a f3.5/75mm Novar in Prontor SVS and also with a Teronar was noted on p201.
Novar Novar was made in several speeds for Nettar, Ikonette and Signal Nettar, Nettax 6x6, etc. postwar
and was the sort of product which helped the reestablishment of the companies.
75mm, 105mm
75mm, 105mm. A Nettar 517/16 was noted with a f4.5/75mm Novar in a Prontor SVS
in B.J.A. 1954, p230. For a Nettar II see B.J.A. 1952, p190. This was front cell focus to 4ft, in Pronto shutter.
45mm, 75mm, 105mm
Super Ikonta Some of the lenses for this camera were initially from Jena, owing to production problems in the
West, but after 1948 this trade ceased owing to difficulties, and Zeiss production was made up with Xenar
lenses from Schneider. This was common on early 531 4.5x6cm Super Ikontas, and other Ikontas, and results
in some collectibles. The Opton Tessars commanded a premium price when they came through and some
seem to be listed separately.
This attractive early postwar 35mm was fitted with an f2.8/45mm Opton Tessar in Synchro Compur, and was
r/f coupled and used front cell focus. It was noted as a 'superior camera' and 'excellent' in B.J.A. 1953, p269.
(Fig 003 028 Zeiss Nettel with f3.5/5cm Triotar and Contessa Nettel with Tessar f2.8/5cm.)
Postwar this name was used for a 35mm SLR with a blade shutter and front cell interchangeable lenses. The
first type had a fixed lens and took an removable accessory front lens. This was not very versatile and in 1957
Zeiss designed a new version with interchangeable front lens cells so that only the rear 3 glasses of the
Tessar were fixed. This allowed a quite elaborate system to develop, and this included a 1:1 copy lens of very
high quality. The system seems to have developed a little later than the comparable systems for the Retina
from Schneider and Rodenstock and may have benefitted from this. However it seems that the idea may have
been begun in the 1930's by Italian Pat. 379,226 of 1940 for a triplet with exchanged front cell to go from 100
to 180mm designed by Merte for Zeiss. Incidentally, one would expect that all the Tessars would be exactly
the same as the same front cells seem to fit all lenses (after the Contaflex 1+ 2). But collectors seem to agree
the last f2.8 Tessars on the Contaflex Super B (c.1962 or probably 1970/1) were an improved design with new
glass and better corrections. Incidentally we are told these use ProTessars with a different mount. It seems
that the matching ProTessars were not compatible between the early and late types.
45mm This was for Contaflex 1 and 2 with fixed lens as Zei109
1.7x auxiliary lens to fit in front of the whole lens. This must have an adaptor bracket
to fit to the Contaflex as it is heavy. These were noted at Nos Tessar 945,47x and Tele No1,612,92x.
Steritar A
This was a stereo unit.
Contaflex 3 and 4
50mm This was for Contaflex 3,4,Super (Layout Zei109)
35mm (Layout Zei110)
85mm (Layout Zei108b)
Contaflex Super BC This was a later camera in the series, with faster exchange lenses on apparently the
same Tessar prime lens. Actually it had a detailed redesign, and the overall corrections are said to be better.
(I.J.Matanle, Am. Photo 13/05/2000 p25) (The mix of old cells and new Tessar was not possible and new cells
were designed to fit a new Tessar.) These were sold from about 1971.
50mm 47° (Layout Zei109)
35mm 63° (Layout Zei111)
85mm 29° (Layout Zei112)
115mm 21° (Layout Zei113)
ProTessar 1:1 reproduction scale f8.0 (30mm) (Zei114)
The 1:1 was outstanding and the others "distinctly better than adequate" in Modern Photo 04/1963; 08/1957.
Sadly their long term fate has not been so happy as the big glasses and deep curves can make them open to
balsam failure and they are commonly seen on dealers shelves in this condition. It is not wise to buy these
damaged cells with plans to use them though they may work better than one might expect. It may be wise to
avoid exposure of this series to strong light, heat and vibration, especially for those still in good condition.
Often it seems to be the front glasses of lenses exposed to sunlight that fail due to hardening and shrinkage of
the balsam.
Steritar B unit.
Proxars These were made in 1,2,3,5,10Dioptre.
Contapol This was a polarizer.
Contaflex S Tessar f2.8/50mm This was the last in the series, at Nos 5,059,75x; 5,272,66x.
Glass in Tessars.
Morian (loc. cit.) gives the glass used in two Tessar designs, nominally of 100mm each, and says the 'old' f3.5
was surpassed in both aperture and performance by the 'later' f2.8 version and shows curves for spherical
correction and field flatness. The glasses in the lenses mentioned were;
SK16; SF16; LLF6 and SK16.
LaKN9; SF16; BaSF5; LaFN3
Contaflex Alpha, Beta, Prima.
These were lower price cameras in the series and had a 45mm Pantar 3-glass triplet as the prime lens. This
required a different set of front cells from the above. These can now be hard to find. The same series was used
in the Contina III (B.J.A. 1958, p263) with also a Steritar D stereo unit. Here a viefinder was required both for
stereo and single frame.
45mm Triplet (App080) Noted at No3,363,77x
30mm wide angle cell. (App082) Noted at No3,439,52x.
75mm long focus. (App081) Noted at No3,291,72x.
Steritar D stereo unit.
Large Format Lenses
Postwar the sales of large format equipment were smaller and Zeiss tended to be less involved in this unless it
was a special project such as aerial survey or photogrammetry. Thus the Zeiss/Voigtlaender list of large
format lenses was initially impressive but was allowed to dwindle or was rationalized: and the lenses supplied
for the Linhofs are rather uncommon. It may be true that this is a competitive market and one well served by
others but in some ways the trend was surprising.
For Linhof 6x9 Technika, Press, Press 70, Technika 70.
The programme of Biogon, Planar and 180mm Sonnar was a remarkable one for the period, and probably
started at near the Planar below Nr1.59million, as that is in a leather trimmed cone on Linhof Press body
Nr7,01x. Launch adverts, such as that in Grossbild Technik 1/1955 show Planar Nr1,344,205.It must be
stressed that the optical designs were then a breakthrough in speed and performance for 6x9 which makes
them highly desirable even today, and also that the mounts were very advanced, with complex and precise
focusing helices and coupling. But it seems that the actual lens barrels in some Press lenses such as the
180mm are integrated with the mount design and would be by no means easy to transfer to other panels
including Linhof 69. The Press is an exotic but one where items must be in fine order or they will be a repair
Fig 003 020 Zeiss lens set for Linhof Press: Biogon f4.5/53mm, Planar f2.8/100mm, Sonnar f4.8/180mm.
f4.5/f3.5100mm/105mm In USA some were coded S-Tessar, eg f4.5 75mm Tessar for 40°,
f3.5 105mm for 55°. The large format Tessar-S was also made in larger sizes.These were noted in a 1955
listing of W.German lenses. A lateish example of a 100mm Tessar on a Super Technika 70 is No 3,342,69x,
and is no longer 'T' marked, but seems to have the same curves as an early postwar Super Ikonta lens. The
contrast is very high in the late example- almost to a point of difficulty at times.
Fig 003 023 Zeiss Tessar f3.5/105mm on Linhof Technika 70.
100mm Optically this is better corrected than the Tessar with more even sharpness
at full aperture, but it lacks the Tessar's high contrast, and is a less agressive style of image. It was seen at
No1,593,12x, which is probably an early example, and No2,349,83x.
for Graphic XL (58°)
This is an excellent and highly valued lens, and a 'big' version of the 21mm
Contax lens. Seen at No3,859,84x which was said to be one of the latest. It is not common and can be used
for panoramic shots on 5x4. Note that the 38mm version covers a diameter just more than 2x the focal length
so the 53mm should cover about 110mm dia. but actually it may be more. It gives very even illumination,
freedom from distortion, and high degree of contrast. When the 6x7 format was introduced, the 53mm seemed
just a bit too long and Zeiss offered a new type in Grossbild Technik, 2/1966, p109, as follows:
45mm Here the image circle is given as 100mm and it is sharp all over so that at
least 95° and effectively 100° are usable on 6x7cm, and this seems to be the actual angle on the negative. In
general it looked much like a late 53mm Biogon, sold in a Compur shutter with a broad finger grip. It has not
been seen.
Excellent. Seen at No3,509,38x, a late example.
Often these lenses are in Compur 11 size shutters where spares are now a problem and this must be
considered on purchase. Worn shutters will decrease the desireability a good deal. Many were also made
fitted for Graphic XL. There seems to be a minor industry remounting Compur 11 lenses in Size 111 shuttersbut note that really meticulous work is needed.
For Linhof 5x4
135mm This was for 65° coverage, and was a 5x4in lens roughly as Zei104 and a
very high quality lens with very low distortion, real sharpness and even illumination. Shutter size was probably
again Size 11 but some examples seen have a smaller Size 1 shutter, and give more restricted coverage so
that they only just cover 5x4 and were apparently designed as 6x9 lenses, eg at No5,061,49x, which was sold
secondhand as a lens for 6x9 use only. This is fine but worth noting if a 5x4 lens is wanted.
75mm This is a very sought-after and prestigious lens. (Layout as Zei100)
250mm This is again a very highly valued lens.
Macro Lenses
16mm These are macro lenses of very high quality.
Vario Luminar This was a special for epi-lens work with special illuminators- a scarce item?
It seems they were used on the Ultraphot made about 1960-1970.
Tessovar This was a Close up Zoom camera assembly for most SLR's and up to Polaroid size with a 1.6-6.4x
zoom magnifier and also supplementary lenses (Modern Photo. 02/1970, p132) which may have developed
with or into the Vario-Sonnar lenses.
Survey Lenses.
Topar AS
80mm This is a mystery lens, probably an aerial survey item, with an increased
back focus as it seems to be mildly retrofocus and it was apparently designed for 70mm film and probably
was mounted in a Trimet assembly. It was seen at No 117,84x, (ie fairly early postwar?), blue coated, and it
seems to be an 8g/7c design.
Fig 002 030 Zeiss Topar f2/80mm No117,844
300mm This is a more normal aerial survey lens of very high quality.
305mm for 23x23cm on the Reihenmesskamera RWK A 30/23. This was used on the
Columbia on 31/11/1983 for earth survey work of areas 189x189Km per exposure. Film lengths of 150m were
300mm These were in barrel mount, some with iris but some without. These seem to
have sold in the USA rather than the UK.
Rolleiflex TLR
The Tessar was the standard Rolleiflex lens for many years, first as the top of the line and later on the
Rolleiflex T, which became the super-budget version. The last were assembled in 1970 for the UK MoD but by
then Zeiss were unwilling to supply further lenses and production was made up of 3,500 Tessars from stock
and 2,500 Xenars from Schneider. (See Ian Parker) (Among many Rollei users, is included R. Avedon in the
75mm for Rolleiflex.
Later they were extended in choice with Planar f2.8 and f3.5 [and Schneider Xenotar f2.8 and f3.5 lenses].
77mm (This is quoted in B.J.A. 1960, p260 and is probably a misprint, but in
fairness, it needs to be noted as it is just possible that it either is the planned focal length, or the real one,
even though the official value is certainly 75mm on the mounts.)
75mm This was sold for Rollei 6x6 from 1954. Illustrations show it at about
Nr1,195,53x. This was about 1 year after the Biometar version.
75mm This was rather later again, in 1956.
135mm for TeleRollei. (about 1959-975) This was a important product made
for portraiture and wedding photography. It is a relatively easy item to obtain as a result. See B.J.A. 1960 p173
for a notice of the TeleRollei, covering 33° and focusing to 8.5ft. There was a matching Heidosmat of the same
55mm These are really rare, being limited to some 3000 cameras. One noted was at
No3,506,43x and they were assembled as cameras over the years 1961-1967, though the lenses may have
been made over a shorter period.
Lenses for Hasselblad 6x6 Cameras.
(see also note under Hasselblad).
The initial Hasselblad list was from Kodak, but a Zeiss programme was established early on and has
continued, and one chronology gives:
From 1948 The earliest lenses: non-shuttered for 1600 (from 1948) and 1000F (from 1952). These included the
earliest Zeiss lenses such as the f4.0 250mm Sonnar. Production was 3627 bodies of 1600F, 10,400 of 1000F
and till then, 2,000 Super Wides.
From 1974 Later the production in 1974 was at 18,000 and this rate may be a steady figure in that period. By
1978, few 1000F cameras were still in use, due to the design and heavy use they received.
From 1957 Shuttered lenses for Compur models with Zeiss Lenses, from about 1957. (The SWC was from
From 1 May 1965, Hasselblad EL/M motorized version of body.
From 1973, T* coating as multicoating.
From 1974, listed a Super Achromat.
From 1976, listed a Zoom.
From 1978, listed 200FC and F lenses.
From 1982, CF lenses replaced C.
The Zeiss Hasselblad lenses hold their values very well, due to excellent, robust designs and production. By
one account, they were also used on Cinerama cameras, in the same fitting. [And a unique story is of a
photographer paying well for a scratched lens, and when challenged, he explained that Zeiss sold
replacements at a credible price so a repairer just unscrewed the bezel and tipped out the old, replaced with
new, the bezel fitted- and the lens was as new. Contacting the UK agent, Hasselblad UK (tel 0181.903.3435),
they said front and rear glasses of current design lenses were normally available as replacements and
suggested £80 for the rear of a f2.8/80mm Planar plus about 1 hour to fit. This is definitely economic for a lens
of this level of original price. But check glasses are available before buying a scratched lens!]
The Hasselblad has attracted several authors and the lenses are well described eg in E. Wildi, 'The
Hasselblad Manual', Focal Press, 1980, 1982, ISBN 0-240-51186-7, and R. Shell, The Hasselblad System,
Hove Photo Books, 1991, ISBN 0-906-44777-1 and the former shows some of the sections, while the latter
includes the 'F' series lenses.
In his 1980 article, Woeltche (loc. cit.) stresses the Gauss/Planar designs and the Sonnar types were both
fully useful and that with coating, the choice was no longer influenced by the number of air-glass surfaces.
Rather, the Planar was chosen for standard lenses for its long rear clearance to allow a mirror to function: and
the Sonnar was chosen for long focus lenses due to the short rear clearance which made for a more compact
lens. This applied equally to lenses for Contax and Arriflex cameras at the time. He illustrates the article with
many Zeiss lenses of the period. He mentions the use of aspheric surfaces in the design of Planar type lenses
but says they have not been spectacularly successful. Rather, the route lies with very high refractive index
glasses, which allow a flatter field. Thus he indicates Schott LaFN 2 glass is used in G2 and G5 and G6 of a
f1.4/50mm lens and G1, G2, G5, G6, G7 of a f1.7/50mm lens.
One major point Woeltche makes is in relating the original Distagons to the 1936 type Biogon- but reversed
back-to-front! This is striking when you look at them. Distagons were needed to give long rear clearances for
reflexes such as Hasselblad and Arriflex, and asymmetry was essential in the design.
He notes the correction of these asymmetrical lenses is less easy than symmetrical equivalents, as with the
40mm Distagon relative to the 38mm Biogon and suggests the use of aspheric surfaces could be useful here.
(Zeiss had obtained a Patent for their use as early as German Pat. No119,915 of 1899).
Woeltche stresses the problems in correcting the secondary colour spectrum in long lenses and the major
improvement in them from using 'special' glass, albeit at a cost 15-20x the normal for optical glass- it featured
in the f5.6/250mm Sonnar Superachromat introduced in 1972. He also noted the S-Planars for close-up and
forcaste that further developments were possible if the internal separations of the glasses could be made
An another unusual point is that in 1977, Hasselblad UK reported the number of Hasselblads sold as 1129
with 970 lenses. Presumably some bodies were as spares. The value was £1.34million of which 39% was
cameras, 29% lenses. This data is quoted as so rarely available. (B.J.P. 10/03/1978, p202). Quality control
was exacting, accounting for some 30%.of the cost.
[Initial List- "Kodak" lenses from the Hasselblad 1600/1000 period.]
[This is included only for completion here.
[Ektar (Kodak) f6.3
55mm This was a one-off prototype for a mirror lock-up camera not produced.
Ektar (Kodak) f2.8
Ektar (Kodak) f3.5
Ektar (Kodak) f5.6
254mm Prototype at EI 0002, ie a Two-off prototype.]
A 1952 List of the Zeiss lenses gives:
80mm This was a well respected lens, though not up to the later Planar series. It was
well ahead of the old f2.8 Tessar used on the prewar Super Ikontas. It was unique in bright finish trim. This is
relatively common. It was noted at No1,418,30x. The example noted was a Tessar f2.8/80mm No832,53xand
60mm For about 66°, this was issued in 1953/4, and then was the first retrofocus
lens for a 6x6 camera.(Layout Zei116). It was then a unique lens, but not actually a very wide one. Thus the
38mm Biogon was a very valued extra. Later the 50mm replaced the 60mm, about 1965,
38mm For 90° diagonal. 8g/5c
(a) It was issued in 1954, partly in chrome.
It was in Synchro Compur shutter from 1959.
(b) It came in black from 1969.
(c) Later in T* coating.
The back focus is only about 20mm. Stops are to f22, focus to c.60cm with a very big depth of field stopped
down eg 26in to Inf at f22 at hyperfocal, from 12in at 60cm setting.
This was a super wide angle lens in the same group as the 21mm for the Contax (Zei100) but required a
special non-reflex body unique to it, the Hasselblad Super Wide. Then the Hasselblad had the 60mm Distagon
(for 65°) as the only wide angle lens and this was a revolutionary new one. Modern Photo. reviewed it as
excellent on a "new model" CF version in 02/1960, p92. It has been noted at Nos1,841,17x, 5,238,03x;
5,901,40x; 6,193,84x; 6,572,12x T*, 6,226,85x, A launch leaflet in Italy was 09/1988 and shows Biogon
Nr6,888,727, (?of the later all black model). Then the novelty was the body as the lens was available in
chrome from 1954. The compactness is a real advantage, especially close-up. Both versions have fine antireflexion coats but the later one is correctly a T* lens and Zeiss show a graph of the low level of distortion
obtained. This is zero at the centre and edge at 40mm from the axis, and the maximum is still only 0.30% at
25mm off axis, and is a smooth curve down to that, so at no point is it important. This accords with the
success of the lens in aerial survey and architectural work. It is generally accepted as outstandingly free from
flare and spurious reflexions and giving an extrememly even illumination. It is near symmetrical which may
explain its excellent performance in real close-up when the image area covered expands substantially- this
close-focus ability may be a help in comparison with some of the older Distagons which did not respond as
perfectly in close up. An example noted was No3,472,06x on body NoTIW 597x.
One account (Woeltche, loc. cit.) was that Zeiss checked the design later once computers had developed and
found that the old hand-calculated version could not be improved. But note that new Biogons with slightly
different designs and specifications have since appeared, eg for copying and the Contax G2. (See f2.8/21mm
Biogon for Contax G in B.J.P. 25/09/1996, p5).
In buying, note that 38mm Biogons were also fitted:
(a) in a single solid barrel mount to Vinten F95 70mm cameras- these are not dismountable to fit in shutters(b) and in special shutters to AGI stereo cameras, where the lenses were used in pairs, the shutters firing with
a time lapse. These were noted at No4,930,57x, 4,997,991, 4,998,089. There is little compatibility with civilian
lenses, though special adaptors have been made to No1 Copal or Synchro Compurs- this is a specialized job
requiring real skill for success. Brass rings are needed each side of the shutter to increase the thickness by
5mm in front and 9.6mm behind, to give an overall shutter thickness of 34.3mm (measured!) and these must
accommodate the fine 33.5mm threads on the cells by being belled out from the usual Size 1 threds. The
threads must be strictly coaxial, and a new thread needs to be cut on the front cell.
An 'AGI originated' lens when remounted, covered at f32 an image diameter of 84.7mm extremely well and
evenly, and this is equivalent to 66x56mm on a '6x9' rollfilm holder, and this increased to 87mm dia at larger
aperture, but the outer part was less evenly illuminated due to vignetting. Thus it can be a really sensational
lens on 56x72mm if it is used with a little care and a little sympathy at the corners- or cover a panoramic
frame across 83mm wide frame, and in extreme close-up this coverage increases markedly. An exposure
directly into the sun gave no sign of flare.
135mm (Layout Zei118) It was noted at No1,135,97x.
250mm This is a rare lens as reports said the coverage was slightly marginal and it
was replaced. An auction list says reputed UK imports were 8 lenses only. The one auctioned was
250mm This replaced the above in 1954 (Layout Zei120).
Modern Photo 08/1965 p83, tested and rated as superb a group of six of these lenses with only the 500mm
(Zei133) falling as low as good/excellent. These were well ahead of rivals and were the part of the basis of the
Hasselblad's reputation.
New Series in Compur or Prontor shutters.
Fish Eye
30mm 8g/7c layout This was a full frame type, for 180°, 1972 date. (Layout Zei120)
Diagonal view is 180° and focusses down to c.29cm and is a really 'special effects' lens not in normal use. It
uses internal colour filters and one of these must always be fitted when in use. To fit, remove the front of the
mount. The fish drawing means there is no serious fall-off in illumination at the edges.
40mm for 88° with10g/8c, from c.1965. Some of these have a detente at c.1m to
indicate that there is some decrease in performance at the corners at these very close distances (below 1m).
Care may then be needed. Its weight and cost and bulk all mean that the 38mm Biogon continues to offer a
useful choice.
Distagon new f4.0
40mm This was a new design with floating elements. (Layout Zei121) Setting the
amount of float involves an adjustment to a ring at the front of the lens before focusing normally. It is slightly
smaller and lighter than the first type, but optically improved.
50mm This was a 7g/7c type from about 1960, Layout Zei122.
50mm Again there is a new version, with a similar front element float adjustment.
9g/8c layout. It will be of improved performance.
60mm This may be the same and was noted in Taylor's 1978 list as from c.1975, and
is distinct from the older f4/60mm in the section above. It has a 7g/7c design rather like the 50mm. It was
needed to fill the gap between the 80 and 50mm lenses.
60mm This sold from about 1957, to replacement by the next type in 1975. It was
noted that Woeltcher of Zeiss compared the design of the early Distagons with that of the old 1936 Biogon,
(Zei038) but reversed so that the rear glass becomes the negative front lens.
60mm (1975) Layout Zei123. This was the lens in the 1987 list.
80mm The initial version was a classic Gauss 6-glass design from 1957. It is shown
in Wildi, 'The Hasselblad Manual' as a 2+1+i+2+1 layout on a 500CM body (p33). It would then be replaced by
the 7glass design now used. Taylor notes one point that on early chrome items, this opens to f2.8 for focusing
only when set to f2.8, otherwise being held at 1/2 stop less. This is due to a design feature of the linkage, later
altered, apparently on all black lenses. One slight point is that the rear glass is fairly exposed on these and
needs to be checked on purchase for marks where it has been put down while changing lenses.
As to dates note: Tentatively, an early T* lens at No5,719,69x is a 7-glass type. Some example numbers are
1,244,89x; 2,573,48x, 5,657,34x, 5,876,99x, 5,890,30x, 6,272,80x, 6,124,39x, 6,273,82x, 5,265,98x T*;
5,738,61x T*; 6,272,80x T*; 6,298,78x T*6,302,22x T*;
80mm A 7-glass/5component version replaced it, as in Layout Zei124 but the date
is unknown here. Crawley discussed this in B.J.P. 31/07/1996 p20 concluding that the Planar with 7 g was
one of the leading lenses, just sharper at the corners than a Bronica lens and just lower in contrast, with
slightly less corner vignetting and just better flatness of image in close-up. It seemed likely that the extra
glass of the 7g layout allowed this slight improvement but caused the decrease in contrast. The Planar was
just cooler in colour that the Bronica lens- to match European taste perhaps. He concluded that there was a
difference in the image quality of out-of focus areas, with the Planar recording them with more depth of field.
A minor difference reported is that early lenses including the first T* lenses used 50mm glass/52mm bayonet
filters, but later these were changed to 60mm size. Either works well but the choice of other lenses might
decide which type suits best.
As to dates, note the following:
An advert in B.J.P. 14/03/1980 shows 6,127,128.
When reviewed in B.J.P. 03/07/1996 p11 the Planar fitted was No7,467,265.and in an advert No7,514,834 in
H. Sauer commented that the Hasselblad Planar was designed with longer rear clearance for the mirror, but
otherwise matched the Rollei lens.
100mm A 5g/4c design Layout Zei125. This is/was designed as a 'special' for
meticulous work, such as aerial, photogrammetry and architecture and is of 5 element (=glass?) design. The
field is very evenly illuminated and the sharpness can exceed even the 80mm Planar- but it is not especially
for close up work.
105mm (Layout Zei127). The design here uses fluorite and quartz. 7'g'/7c. The
corrections include the visible spectrum, so that the lens can be focused in the usual way. It is used for aerial
mapping, science and criminology but is not really intended for normal use.
120mm about 1965 Layout Zei126 6g/4c. This is in a normal shuttered focusing
mount. It is said to have ultimate quality at about f11, but stops to f45. It is near symmetrical 6g/4c design. As
one of the 'S' series, it is designed for close up work, from infinity down to 1:1. It also is excellent with
extension tubes, etc, and in general rewards ultra meticulous work with extra fine grain films.
135mm, This was for bellows use, about 1965, Layout Zei128, 7g/5c. The issue of
this lens was accompanied by the new bellows with hexagonal section and other changes and these do not
stretch flat but keep the folds so that reflexions are trapped avoiding flare in the high quality image. It has a lot
in common with the above. It is lighter as in a short mount. Some lists give it a a 'C' for close-up lens.
150mm from 1957 onwards, 5g/3c. This is especially for portraiture. With the 50mm,
it is the major seller among the exchange lenses. It is in all-black finish by 1978. Basically, this is a long, fast
sharp workhorse in the Hasselblad system. It may be the second most purchased lens.
180mm, This seems to be new in the late 1980's as a 5g/?c design of very high
quality and especially even illumination. [It must not be confused with older f2.8/180mm version which
certainly could have flourished on focal plane Hasselblads.]
250mm from 1957, 4g/3c. (Layout Zei131) This changed from chrome finish to all
black and users felt this was a real improvement. It focusses to 8ft but can be used with extension tubes for
closer work, but is still classed as quite compact.
Sonnar Super Apochromat f5.6
250mm 6g/6c Layout Zei130 The correction included the infra-red
and it has a 6g design with one calcium fluoride element so that it has advantages over the normal 250mm
Sonnar. It was introduced by Zeiss in 1972. (Woeltche, loc. cit., H. Sauer, B.J.P. 27/02/1976, p166-9). It was
designed to overcome the colour correction problems which normally limit long fast lenses and is ideal for
aerial, technical and scientific photography but has one point to note- it can focus past infinity as there is no
stop stressing, the need to focus it on the ground glass screen.
It is not known which 250mm with a 80mm was used in a NASA flight in Columbia in 1981, but these were the
foci selected.(B.J.P. 10/04/1981, p372).
There is a reputed 280mm lens but no details are available.
350mm from 1972, 4g/4c, Layout Zei132. This came in 1972 to fill the gap from the
250mm to 500mm lenses. It is a 4 glass design and focuses to 16ft and is physically relatively short in size,
and its lightness is an advantage.
500mm from 1957, 5g/3c. Layout Zei133. This is the longest normally fitted, and has
a tripod socket under the focus mount due to the weight ((75oz). It was noted at No3,338,63x. It was in allblack finish by the mid-1970's but initially had a little chrome on the focusing and aperture rings. It is
especially chosen by nature photographers and news men. It scored as 'very good' or the like in some tests,
and seems to have been updated with a 'new' f8/500mm lens in the 1980's.
Tele-ApoTessar f8.0
500mm 5g/3c The new design uses low dispersion glass, as the limitations with the
old one were in the colour correction, which tends to be the difficulty in correcting long lenses with the older
glasses. It also uses internal focusing.
Zeiss Mutar 2x converter. This fits between the lens and camera and doubles the focus without seriously
changing the focus setting of the prime lens but it ground glass focusing is really needed. It seems to be an
item introduced in the 1980's. Use on the model 'C' seems uncertain- it may really be for 'F' cameras.
[Note that the programme also contained a:
Schneider Variogon Zoom f5.6 140-280mm, an example noted at No13,268,31x. This was still 'recent' in
Taylor's review in Jan 1979, also in Compur shutter and was the first official non-Zeiss lens for some 20 years.
It used 17g/14c design and focused to 8ft, when a macro mode is available to 43.5in.]
A leaflet, 'Gli Objettivi' from 04/1987 shows a very complete set at Serial Nos about 6.56-6.72 million approx.
with one the Planar f2.0/110mm at Nr 5,881,787. These are all T* lenses.
Macro Lenses. There are no details of these.
Close up lenses were being closed out in AD2000 in favour of the use of extension tubes.
Softars These soft focus accessory lenses are in 3 grades of diffusion, are of plastic and have tiny raised
convex areas scattered all over the surface 1.5-2mm dia., and a few thou mm thick and give a constant
softness independant of aperture. They were designed on the basis of the MTF of the lens in use and may be
stacked. All 3 are useful in B+W but in colour desaturation can seem excessive- but this is a matter of taste!
The Millenium list for Hasselblad was:
35mm CFi
40mm CFi
50mm CFi
50mm FE
60mm CB
60-120mm FE
80mm CB
100mm CFi
110mm FE
Makro-Planar f4
120mm CFi
140-280mm CF from Schneider]
150mm CFi
150mm FE for 2000F series
160mm CB
180mm CFi
250mm CFi
250mm CFi coded Superachromat
250mm FE
300mm FE Super Achromat
350mm CFE Super Achromat
350mm FE
500mm CF
All are coded T*, and the FE lenses are for the 2000F camera with focal plane shutter- and lack blade
shutters. Blade shutters will be Prontors. In addition, the f4.5/38mm Biogon was in production for the SWC
camera, as were lenses for the Arc and X-Pan cameras..
For Hasselblad 2000F from 1980. see Modern Photo 07/1980 p106 This review also covered lenses 50mm,
80mm, 110mm 150mm. It was 'new' in Popular Photo 10/1977, 108 'First Look' by M. Frank. There are also a
set of TCC lenses for the 205TCC camera with no shutters- distinguished by 4 contact pins on the mount and
2 blue lines next the left side of the aperture ring. The serial numbers are an interesting group. These were all
made for F and TCC. These have not been used but the books say that the Compur shutter lenses can also
be used on the focal plane camera and vice versa, as the bayonet is the same. But the F lenses can only be
useful in poor light conditions with the cameras normally using bladed lenses as then only the focal plane
curtain is available as a shutter.
9 glass/8component The review lens was No5,901,232 and was
awarded substantially 'excellents'. It focuses to 1ft.
Planar F
7 glass The review lens was No5,873,117, 'excellent'. It was said to
be optically exactly the same as the 'C' lens above.
Planar F
7 glass/6component The review lens was No5,881,468.
Sonnar F
5 glass/4 component Seen as a T* at No6,063,66x in black.
5 glass This is not in the 1987 list but the Tele-Tessar is.]
Tele-Tessar F f4.0
5 glass/5 component.
Tele-Tessar F f4.0
350mm (1984) 8 glass/6 component
Extender Mutar 2x
7 glass
(Schneider Variogon C was also available in f5.6, 140-280mm)
105mm for the wavelength range 215-700.
[Schneider Variogon f5.6 140-280mm This is the 'F' version of the above Variogon.]
These new designs reflected the greater freedom the lens designer had when the blade shutter was no longer
present as a restriction. Thus Frank welcomes two faster lenses. For example, look for the faster 50mm and
110mm lenses as examples of what was now possible.
Note that an Alpa 12 camera was launched from 18/12/1996 which took CF lenses but with a slight
modification, which was reversible, but may cause the occurrence of some compatibility problems unless it is
The following is a list for 1987 lenses, essentially Zeiss T* lenses.
Normal focus types.
Planar CF
Planar CF
Wide Angle
Distagon CF
30mm This was the first full frame 6x6 fish, 8g/7c, 180°, from 1980.
Distagon CF
60mm, note two series above.
Biogon CF
38mm These are mounted in the Hasselblad 903SWC wide angle camera- a thin flat
body. Their existence was explained by the quality of the Biogon and the fact that the Biogon package is still
cheaper than the competition such as a 30mm Distagon. (J.Tarrant, B.J.P. 10/04/1996 p24). This is a valuable
article on the then 6x6 camera market.
Long Focus Lenses.
Sonnar CF
Sonnar CF
Sonnar CF
Sonnar CF
500mm Product revised in 1982.
Special Purpose Lenses.
UV-Sonnar CF f4.3
105mm (Quartz+fluorite, as above.)
120mm This was replaced by the MakroPlanar in 1982.
MakroPlanar CF f4.0 120mm This was from 1982.
Sonnar CF Super Achromat
60mm This was a special (unique?) lens for the Apollo II space flights. It may never
have been in civilian hands.
Contarex Programme from about 1960 onwards.
Contarex was the Zeiss Ikon flagship SLR It was a superbly made camera, but rather big and heavy by
modern standards. For a generation the quality of its lenses set the standard of performance for others to
match, and even today they are hard to equal. Thus Amateur Photo in 08/12/1990 p65 said "only the best
modern 50mm objectives can match the performance of the 50mm Contarex Planar". This is essentially a
1971 list when the programme was well matured. (See note on the prewar Contax reflex above for a possible
origin of the concept).
15mm This seems to be a rarity, possibly better known in the USA than in the UK
and perhaps a late addition.
18mm 100°
10g/9c Zei134. This was noted at No4,492,68x. It has been said to
have a rose coloured focussing screen to go with it as part of the package, but this is not clear at present.
21mm no details available.
21mm details below, it was used deep sunk with mirror lift. Noted at
No3,255,56x;3,255,58x; 3,256,36x; 3,448,30x3,448,60x. This was not listed in the 10/1971 list and was
probably discontinued by then. There was a general trend to stop fitting mirror lift to SLR's about then and it
may be later Contarex would not take it. But the ability to supply quality 18mm lenses by then may have just
made it redundant to the program- in quality it was not obsolete.
25mm 82°
8g/7c Zei135
28mm This is in some lists about 1969, but may be late and scarce. (ZeiXXX)
35mm 63°
9g/8c Zei136
Users comment on the heaviness of this lens!
35mm 63°
7g/4c Zei137. Noted at No2,626,44x, 3,596,51x.
This was an interesting design with few air/glass surfaces.
50mm 47°
6g/5c Zei139.
Amateur Photo retested this in 08/12/1990: it still matched the best! It is the normal Contarex lens and is
found on most bodies. Some serial numbers are listed below suggesting production began about No2.3million.
Fig 026 033 Zeiss Contarex (l) Biogon f4.5/21mm; Planar f2/50mm No2612264; Sonnar f4/135mm.
50mm 47°
4g/3c Zei141.
50mm 47°
6g/4c Zei140.
This is a macro lens optimized for 1:2.8-1:13 scale. It was noted at No3,698,22x for Contarex but may have
been available elsewhere.
55mm 41°
7g/5c Zei138 Noted at No3,338,21x. It was 'new' and in 'silver'when
noted in B.J.A. 1962, p484-41, and was said to offer an extra stop in speed over the f2 with no loss in image
quality. It focussed to 45cm, from the film plain, with auto exposure compensation in close-up. The cost was
£93.2 + tax £16.67.
Zeiss Winkel f4.5
63mm This seems to mean technical business or workshop, and must be a bellows
lens for copying and special uses. It is not often listed.
85mm Noted at auction at No5,771,15x as only 400 units made.
85mm 29°
7g/3c Zei142. Noted at No2,623,91x
115mm 21°
4g/3c Zei143.
This was a lens for use on a bellows unit. Note the unusual rear component layout. This is a known Tessar
version, but an unusual one. [Compare Kodak Pathe French Pat 838 237/1938 and Zei034 from the 1920's] It
is fair to say not all drawings show this feature, at least one showing a more conventional Tessar, so there just
may be a redesign here.
135mm 18°
4g/4c Zei144.
135mm 18°
4g/3c Zei145 Noted at No2,618,61x; 3,644,65x, 3,645,19x.
180mm 14°
It is thought that the original layout was a 5g/3c one rather as Zei 049, and that it was later redesigned as a
4g/4c version Zei 146 in 1971. It is not in the 1965 list, possibly as it was being redesigned at the time, but is
in the 10/1971.
250mm 10°
4g/4c as 1+1+1+i+1 Zei147. There seems to have been an earlier
design of 1+2+i+1 rather like the f4.0/135mm Sonnar. This seems to be in a 1969 list. (App084) Noted at
Zeiss Monocular 8x30 to give 400mm when fitted over a 50mm lens. (App085)
400mm 6°
4g/4c Zei148 Noted at No4,737,15x, 4,240,86x, .
500mm 5°
Note the double front glass- an expensive means to very high quality. Some at auction were Nos 3,513,31x;
3,513,26x; and these may be ex-Jena from the list.
as above. Noted at No3,543,93x.
Vario-Sonnar f2.8
13glass/8component as 2+2+2+1+i+2+1+1+2. It was noted at
No4,240,86x, and in a 10/1971 list. [One comment by a Nikon designer Mr Wakimoto was that it 'seemed big
and heavy'. He said 'Better to carry 2 separate long lenses'. But that was an opposition opinion!]
Vario Sonnar T*
70-210mm This was noted at auction at No6,686,81x, but the format was not
noted, but seems most likely to be 35mm still.
Vario-Sonnar f4.0
15glass/10c as 2+2+2+1+2+2+i+1+1+1+1 Noted 10/1971.
A group of Contarex lenses was reviewed in Modern Photo 04/1963. It may prove that these are a sort of high
water mark or peak for 35mm lenses as more recently designers meet pressures for lightness and
compactness which are hard to refute, but tend to dilute the absolute aim of the designer for perfection.
Serial Numbers of f2.0 Planars/Contarex.
Supermatic type.
N-Mirotar This was a special unit coupled to photomultiplier tubes and was noted by N. Maude in B.J.P.
05/10/1979 p965, and seems to be a very fast 210mm unit, at ?f1.4 with a 2,500x multiplier and allows
exposures of 1/500sec in moonlight or 1/4sec on a dark night. It fits a Contax RTS SLR and couples with the
exposure system correctly.
A paper by Woeltche refers to a set of Distagons of unknown applications:
f3.5, 15mm; f2.8, 16mm; a fish eye; f4.0, 18mm; f2.0, 28mm; f2.8, 35mm; f1.4, 35mm. Some of these can be
Contarex and others may just be for movie or 16mm use. (B.J.P. 01/02/1980, p94 etc. This is a major paper
by the Head of the Mathematics Dept., Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen and well worth seeking out!) He lists for
6x6cm: f4/40mm, f3.5/60mm, f4.0/50mm, f2.8/50mm.
He also refers to aspherical Distagons f1.2/18mm; f1.2/35mm; f1.2/25mm; f1.4/35mm. (see p95)
Contaflex 126. Noted in advert May 1968 when still "new".
Although 126 film is now of declining import, some fine cameras were made, about the best being this
Contaflex. The whole lens changed here, not just the front cell, and the lens programme was like a miniature
Contarex one. But they all used the same helical so that the focus range was limited with the longer lenses.
32mm 64°
6g/6c Zei151. This was noted at (?) No4,388,7xx in an advert. in
Mai 1968. This may well be a launch item.
Color Pantar f2.8
45mm This will be 3 glass. This is not in some lists, eg for USA but was noted by J.
Schneider in Modern Photo 10/1978 p57 so it must have sold there.
45mm 48°
4g/3c Zei152
85mm 27°
4g/4c Zei153
135mm 17°
4g/4c Zei154
200mm 12°
6g/5c Zei155.This was not in the May 1968 advert. so it will be
added later at least in the UK.
Icarex Lenses
Color Pantar f2.8
50mm Some where in this product group is a rare version with a concave front glass,
soon replaced by one with the usual curve. There is also a version under Planar f1.8/50mm in a 3-tab bayonet
of unknown fit at No 5228534 single coated, with a essentially flat front glass surface.
Super Dynarexf4.0
Super Dynarexf4.0
Luminars, Monocular, etc.
Arriflex Lenses
A series of lenses was made in Arriflex mount. These seem initially to have had many Jena lenses but the
programme then concentrated on Distagons and Planars from West Germany, and in turn, they were
reinforced with Vario-Sonnars, and often a film team would carry just a Vario-Sonnar and a wide angle.The
Tessar and Sonnar lenses seem to be in the initial programme, which later included many Planars.
Several were noted in Woltche's article as:
25mm(from Jena) Noted at No 3,624,37x
50mm This was for 35mm movie with 1+2+i+2+1+1 layout. (Woeltche, loc. cit.)
50mm This was noted at No1,841,55x.
8mm This was noted at No6,160,21x
24mm This was noted at No5,456,42x.
50mm 6g/4c, 1+2+2+1 layout It was noted at No2,589,64x This was for 35mm
50mm 7g/5c, 1+2+2+1+1 layout.
85mm 6g/5c, 1+1+1+2+1 layout It was noted at No5,615,53x. Also for movie.
85mm 1+1+1+i+2+1 layout for 35mm movie.
100mm This was for 35mm movie.
85mm 6g/5c, 1+1+1+2+1 layout.
135mm 5g/5c, 1+1+1+i+1+1 layout.
Some image stabilized Planars for movie and TV include:
f1.2, 50mm (2 types); f1.2, 85mm, f1.2, 135mm, f0.95, 25 and 50mm.
Vario-Sonnar f2
12-120mm This was available for Arriflex in May 1968, when it was one of the lenses
introduced in self-blimped mount [along with Angenieux zooms]. This gave the lens a more bulky appearance
as the actual lens locked to the camera internally, and the outer was independantly mounted on a bigger
flange, and operated the controls using levers. The front glass was an essential part of the sound proofing. It is
likely this was only possible in the single mount cameras as the turret types would not take so big a mount.
Vario-Sonnar f2.8
10-100mm Noted at No4,734,58x, 5,752,86x; It was something of a standard on
Arriflex cameras, and was one of the lenses supplied for the silent Model BL, possibly after the 12-120mm
Vario-Sonnar f1.9
7.5-30mm about 1963. It is likely this is one of the standard Arriflex versions.
Anamorphot 2x63 This is said to date from the 1950's, with 2:1 aspect ratio and 63mm clear diameter.
(Woeltche, loc. cit.)
50mm This is a Gauss/Planar with a field flattener at the rear. (Woeltche,
loc. cit.) The use is not known. It is a 1+2+i+2+1+1 layout. It is a special lens but not actually an S-Planar.
Wide Angle Attachment This converts the Planar f0.7/50mm to a 25mm lens for 35mm movie use.
(Woeltche, loc. cit.)
Panavision Lenses
An 1992 Panavision rental list shows several Zeiss items as lens sets available to rent with the cameras.
For Panavision
(1) Ultra Speed 'Z' Series Mk II Zeiss Optics in Panavision mechanics (ie mounts?)
T1.3 as 24mm, 29mm, T1.4 as 35mm, 50mm, 80mm. Rental 540 per week per set.
(2) Super Speed 'Z' Series MkII Zeiss Optics in Panavision mechanics.
T1.9 as 24mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm, 80mm. Rental 510 per week per set.
For Arriflex 35mm:
(3) Set of Super Zeiss BNCR/PL T1.3 as 18, 25, 35, 50, 85mm. Rental at 660 per week per set.
(4) Set of Zeiss High Speed (PL) T1.4 as 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm. Rental 414 per week per set.
These seem to be the same lenses in PL or Bayonet fit.
(5) Set of Zeiss Standard in BNCR/PL fit, T2.1/16mm; T2.1/24mm; T2.1/32mm; T2.1/40mm; T2.1/50mm;
T2.1/85mm; T2.1/100mm. Rental 690 per week per set.
(6) Special lenses included a 60mm Zeiss Macro; a 14mm T2 and 16mm Distagon T2.4 and T2.1; Planar T2.1
and T2.0 135mm lenses; T2.8/300mm, and Zeiss Xtal internal focusing T1.4 in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm,
100mm; and T2.3 in 24mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm.
It may be that some of these repeat earlier items with anamorphic units fitted. Rentals were 270 and 210 per
week per lens.
Postwar this was a compact horizontal held 8mm camera, with several lenses. It was noted in B.J.A. 1959,
p221, with a Triotar f2.8/10mm, with Proxars for close ups and Movitelar and Movigonar long and wide lenses.
There was also a wide screen anamorphic lens. There was no mention of the other prime lenses then.
wide angle accessory lens, noted about 1954.
long focus accessory lens, same
10mm for 8mm This was noted on a Movikon 8 cine in B.J.A. 1954, p168 where it
was in a focussing mount to 8in, and gave good definition.
10mm prime lens for Movinette simple version, 1959.
10mm This was the premium lens on the 1961 Movikon 8B. Certainly the f1.9 is
uncommon in the UK, as it was expensive and the Triotar sold better.
Vario Sonnar f1.9
9-36mm about 1966 on GS-8 about 1966. Noted in Oct 1971 list. This is a complex
12g/9c, 2+1+1+2+1+1bs+1+1+2 system with a glass cemented to a beam splitter wedge in the centre, which
supplies light to the reflex.
Vario-Sonnar f2.8
6-60mm Moviflex GS 8 about 10/1971. This has a complex 16g/11c layout, 2+1+2+2
+1+2+!bs+1+3+1 with one cemented to the beam splitter bs.
Vario Sonnar f1.9
9-30mm on Moviflex ES-8. an earlier lens?
Vario-Sonnar f1.9
7.5-30mm for Moviflex Super about 1963.
Vario-Sonnar f1.9
12-30mm on Zeiss Ikon M 803
[Moviflex Variogon f1.9 7-80mm on Zeiss Ikon M811 about 1972, this may well be a Schneider derived item
for Zeiss Ikon]
Projection Lenses Kine.
18mm These were for Movilux DS 8 and ? S-8. It is a Gauss, but with simplified
second component and split rear- ie. 1+1+c+2+1+1 which is a very unusual design, just possibly selected to
avoid exposure of a cemented surface to heat.
25mm These are on Movilux S-8 (1967)
15-25mm This is also on Movilux DS-8 dual format Eight/Super Eight. These are
8g/6c as 2+2+1+1+1+1
Projection Lenses Still
90mm This was used on the Perkeo projector (35mm slide?) It is a 1+2+i+1+1 5g/4c
Gauss rather like some of the taking lenses. Well above the usual industry item.
Some Special Items.
15mm 120°
3g/3c Zei107
This is a sharp ultra-wide lens which was a sensation when new. (H. Glatzel, H. Schulz, R. Ruth and
H.D.Schulz, USPat. 3,661,447, May 1972) The design apparently began as a f11 lens for 80° and developed
on the computer to an almost spherical lens of f8.0 covering 110° which seemed to be a favourable balance,
as it could be extended to as much as 120° at f5.6 but the fall-off in illumination would now be severe. The
limiting aberration is oblique spherical. The lens actually made is not absolutely symmetrical, and is a 15mm
f8.0. It is actually a 4 glass lens as the centre has to be made from two separate pieces and during assembly
these are cemented together as one. (Layout Zei107). As it is deep sunk in normal bodies, it needed a special
slim body and a special Hologon Contarex derivative was made. Examples were noted at lenses No4,814,44x,
5,098,87x. Later a few were made in Leica M bayonet (eg at No5,736,29x) and became a legendary
collector/user item. The centre glass is high R.I. Crown, the outers high R.I.Flints. The centre glass prevents
the fitting of an iris. (Computers can forget such a thing is needed apparently!).
Hologon is also used on the Contax G1 but is a slightly different design and focus. The first type was used
on Leica M and this later type has also been transplanted but the machining is said to be difficult and the rear
clearance of the lens in front of the shutter blinds is very limited. But it seems to have become a regular item
in the USA.
The original wide Biogon was made in 21, 38, possibly 45mm, 53 and 75mm (for
35mm, 6x6, 6x9 and 5x4 respectively). It is thought these can all be represented closely by Zei100. As to the
angle covered, the 38mm version covers just less than 56x72 but covers 56x56mm very well. The 53mm is for
6x9, but is useful as a panoramic lens on 5x4 but again does not quite cover the corners. These are among
the exotica which are just about affordable- or perhaps not affordable!: one cheaper version can be the 38mm
which was sold for the F95 in a rigid barrel mount (No removable cells) and can be adapted for use if a very
thin camera is available, and perhaps using a front blade shutter. The version for the AGI stereo camera is not
as easy to use, as the components are not in a standard Compur thread, and adaption can be costly. It has
been seen at Nr 4,998,02x, coded "^b20374/401, , E56 F.F.D. 28.70mm." where ^ represents
the broad arrow of UK government property codes.
Other versions may include a f2.8 38 or 40mm designed by Bertele with 8glasses for microfilm work and a
45mm of which there is no data. There was a special version for NASA with a 8g/6c design to work with a
glass pressure plate. And there is a 7g/5c version which may be the 45mm. (See article by Woeltche).
Biogon Wide
60mm for photgrammetry for NASA? on the Hasselblad. It has been noted at
auction as f5.6/60mm No5,225,88x on Hasselblad with a 200 shot magazine.
Contax G1 and 2
See Biogon f2.8/21mm in B.J.P. 25/09/1996 p5
See Hologon above
See Planar f2.0/35mm in B.J.P. above.
Special Application Lenses
Zeiss (Oberkochen) supplies an impressive range of special lenses for copying and reproduction, listed in a
special applications catalogue. These do not trade on the normal market, but may appear as equipment
becomes obsolete and is replaced. (Listed in 1970's, Mikrostruktur-D 09/1972) "S" was used as a code to
indicate Special and they are not designed for use at infinity but rather in close-up. The structure of one is
shown (Zei157) to show the lengths the designer went to in order to optimize the lens.
14mm 9g/7c
195mm 9g/8c A correspondent writes: "This was a little gem, and was used
for the preparation of microcircuit chips by Monica and had a resolving power of some 1000pairs per mm, and
weighed 49.5lb and cost some 500,000Dmarks each."
25mm 9g/7c as 14mm lens. (Zei157)
100mm 6g/4c
100mm This was for Contax RTS bellows use for 1:1 to infinity. It covers
more than 24x36mm and allows up to 10mm lateral shift.
60mm This as also for Contax, for a long range of repro-ratios.
120mm for Hasselblad. This focusses to 0.95m, or nearer with extension
135mm for Hasselblad. This was for use with bellows, to 1:1 ratio.
70mm 7g/5c
75mm 7g/5c
125mm 8g/6c
210mm 10g/8c (Made in 3 versions)
50mm This is a Gauss/Planar with a field flattener at the rear. (Woeltche,
loc. cit.) The use is not known. It is a 1+2+i+2+1+1 layout.
Again this has a field flattener. It is a 2+1+2+i+2+2+1+2 layout.
Micro Copying Lenses
32mm for unperforated 16mm film.
S-Ortho Planarf4.0
50mm Glatzel showed that this 8-glass type combined the corrections of the
Orthometar and the double Gauss and gives a very high resolution of 120-150l/mm over the field at f5.6.
(Glatzel, 1969)
60mm This was for use with unperforated film 35mm.
S-Ortho Planar f4.0
74mm for 1:1 over a 50-80mm dia. field.
S-Ortho Planarf5.6
The use of a field flattener near the film for Gauss lenses of up to f1.0 dates in Zeiss from about 1940. They
include a 120mm f1.0 for 63mm square, also a 55mm f0.85 for 24mm square. Later Tronnier designed a 75mm
f0.87 which was made as the Super Farron (German Pat. 1103616) and Glatzel redesigned the R-Biotar for
f0.70 in 50mm size. A field flattener was used here as well as in the UV-Planar f2.0/50mm.
50mm This was a 8glass/6component design made for NASA in 1966, and was used
for the candle scene in Kubrick's film "Barry Lyndon" among other uses.
[Modern image intensifiers have limited the sales of ultra-fast lenses somewhat since the good old days and
these are less likely to be found in future. Thus this will be a very select item in the future.]
S-Distagon A very special version was made for CERN for use in the bubble chamber to cover 106° with slight
The Zeiss Planimat D2 Stereo plotter was described in B.J.P. 09/06/1978, p490 etc. This article describes the
Plotter rather than any individual lenses.
With Kyocera/Yashica of Japan.
UK Agents Photax, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK.
As costs of manufacturing in Germany increased, Zeiss became associated with Yashica of Japan to produce
the Contax SLR with styling by Porsche design for the RTS model. The lenses were to Zeiss designs, and
included a f1.7 50mm Planar, f2.8/85mm and f2.8/25mm where the latter were at least initially made in
Germany. The Contax 139 was reviewed in Popular Photo 08/1980 p115, while the earlier RTS was seen in an
03/1977. The lenses used an anodized alloy bayonet, and all metal construction (alluminum Brass aluminium
helix) with excellent blackening, but with more plastic in the 50mm barrel. These were obviously very fine
items. Serial numbers were then: Planar f1.7/50mm No6,255,597; Distagon f2.8/25mm No5,816,774 and
Sonnar f2.8/85mm No5,914,968.
PC Distagon
35mm It covers 63mm image circle and gives 10mm displacement 9g/9c
design with floating element to allow close up working to 0.3m. The basis is an 83° angle of coverage to allow
the displacement.(B.J.P. 11/04/1980 p341, B.J.P. 26/12/1980, p1291)
70-210mm This was the first Zeiss macro-zoom and had a 15g/12c design
and normal focus to 1.8m, or at 210mm to 0.3m. (B.J.P. as above.)
100mm 6g/5c design, focus to 1m for portraiture and action photography in
poor light. (B.J.P. as above).
55mm See B.J.P. 25/09/1996 p5 This has a floating element to maintain
image quality to 0.6m close-up.
50mm It is probably this lens mentioned by Morian (loc. cit.) as having all the
glasses of R.I. no less than 1.70-1.80. Glasses 1,2,5,6,7 are all Lanthanum glasses. It is shown as a 7g/6c
Gauss design with the 3 front glasses air-spaced.
35mm This was noted by Morian as 6g/6c with Lanthanum glass in glasses
3, 5, 6.
f3.5-f4.5 24-85mm
This was noted in Oct 2000
This was noted in Oct 2000
Coded Contax AF (This is a new 4.5x6cm camera?)
Oct 2000
Oct 2000
Oct 2000
Oct 2000
Oct 2000
Oct 2000
Contax 645 for rollfilm
This was reviewed as new in Popular Photo 11/1999 p118: Petersens Photographic 11/1999 p24:
All are manual or auto focus except for the apo-Makro. The lenses are all designed in Germany and made in
Japan. They are individual designs to the camera, not identical with any other series, and about as good as
they can be. In particular, resolution did not improve on stop down- a very rare accolade.
Carl Zeiss Jena, under E. German control period.
At the end of WW2 Jena was successively under British, American and then long term Russian control. Thus
long term postwar production was under a Communist regime and initially the factory was plundered for
reparations and to set up production in the USSR of the Kiev camera, and lenses for the Fed. Personnel were
taken to the USSR to help in this work. An account in MCM is contemporary and vivid:
"As soon as the War was over, the Russians had the Jena works going full blast on war materials and the
lightweight f2.0 and f1.5 "T" Sonnars of which quite a number have somehow reached London. When the
Russian production experts had thus accumulated practical experience of the plants' operation, all work was
suddenly stopped and the key men and 500 workers were taken to Russia at two hours notice, being told that
their contracts with Zeiss did not specify any address. Machinery was then crated and taken out through the
walls. The workers left behind in the ruins are struggling with worn out obsolete equipment."
In Jena, production at the end of the war was almost at a standstill owing to lack of materials and workers. It
only slowly recovered in an atmosphere where demand was strong but production was difficult. Thus it is no
surprise that these items are easy to distinguish from prewar ones in quality and finish. However it is true that
this situation continued in some measure and Jena items tended to be in light alloy where brass might have
been used, and some ersatz materials were used. The remaining company was nationalized in 1946, and
incorporated as VEB Mechanik in 1948 just as the SLR Contax S was being launched. Jena also faced some
difficulties over the use of trade names regarded now as belonging to Oberkochen in West Germany. Thus an
f2.8/80mm Biometar for Exakta arrived labelled :
"Bm 1:2.8 f=80 6,911,707 Jena"
on an easily removable screw in bezel, which covered the real engraving which was:
"Biometar 2.8/80 7,195,15x Carl Zeiss Jena"
since it had originally been supplied to a country whose customs refused entry to East German Biometars. In
other cases the initials CZJ were used. It is thought that the shortages included certain sorts of glass and
access to modern computers and other technology, and that designs were limited by these factors. Prime
quality was shown by a Q enclosing a 1. Today collectors find extra interest in such items, but they do limit
the prices realized for the equipment. Lens name abbreviations were T for Tessar, B for Biotar and Bm for
Biometar. Typically these are on lenses from about 3.6million to 9.7m- a very long period and not useful for
dating. Incidentally, some have a red diamond in place of the usual red 'T'.
Postwar the Jena plant seems to have continued the serial number series used prewar, typical early post war
numbers seemingly being from about 2.9- 3 million. This is complicated by dating problems over some of the
lenses seen and a better figure would be valuable but published pictures show postwar Exaktas with
No3,006,xxx about 1948. Incidentally Exakta collectors find that there is no big break or gap in the numbers
used for lenses, so that if production of Exakta lenses fell to nil at any time, it must have been when overall
production was also low, perhaps at No2,830,xxx-3,004,xxx or so. Sales documents show lenses at
No3.5million were sold in early 1952, rising to 3.73 in late 1953 and 5.43million in early 1960. Close out
Exakta lenses sold in the late 1970's were at No9.57 and 9.86million on Flektogons and 10.1million on a
f2.8/180mm Sonnar for Praktisix and Exakta.
Some early postwar items were mainly for rangefinder and then SLR cameras. A major Contax outfit sold at
Christies was as follows: f2.8/35mm,2,713,48x; f2.0/5cm,2,710,23x; f1.5/50mm,2,725,46x; f2.0/85mm,
2,766,58x; f4.0/135mm,2,712,47x; f2.8/18cm, 3,132,77x; f4.0/30cm, 3,116,17x. these are wartime or early
postwar items.
Zeiss Ikon East Germany made the Contax S from about May 1949. (MCM, Utrecht Fair). These included the
M39 and Contax lenses referred to in the last section, such as Biogon f2.8/35mm; Sonnar f2.0, 50, 85mm;
Sonnar f1.5, 50mm, Sonnar, f4.0 135mm; and Sonnar f1.5, 58mm. Some of these may be products from
WW2 or ones finished up after the Peace. The designer of cameras postwar was not H. Nerwin, who moved to
the USA (to design the Combat Graphic etc.) but Mr Winzenburg, who designed an SLR, the Contax S, using
an M42 mount and horizontal moving cloth shutter for simplicity.
The red 'T' mark was used postwar on virtually all items, the exception being a few with red diamonds for
export, and lenses after about 1960, somewhat after Zeiss in West Germany gave up the use.
Incidentally there was a Teronar f3.5/75mm lens for Ikoflex, which could be a viewing lens of unknown period,
possibly ex-Jena or Zeiss Ikon (B.J.A. 1954, p193 as view lens).
SLR lens items included:
20mm This is a MC electric item, 1977, below.
20mm 10g/6c 1960-63 93°
This was a real novelty when new in 1968, but is by no means as sharp as expected today. A May 1966
advert. shows No6,622,148. It was seen at No9,574,45x, a very late example. It was mounted for Exakta and
M42 mainly but at least one has been seen with a mount for Nikon; this was a factory made mount- but the
adaption may have been made far from Jena in a Japanese factory (at No8,281,43x). (A locking ring is
removableand then the actual mount comes off so it could have been a user modification but a slightly brave
one.) Incidentally a review in Modern Photo 07/1971 p90 includes a 20mm Flektogon among the list of nonNikkor lenses readers used on Nikons.
At that time the programme was f4/20mm, f4/25mm, f2.8/35mm, f2/50mm Pancolar, f2.8/80mm, f4/135mm,
f2.8/180mm, f4/300mm.
25mm 7g/6c 1958-1960 This seems to be a less common lens.
35mm This was in white finish when tested by Modern Photo 03/1965 p86.
The layouts CZJ158 (Early) and CZJ159 (Late) do suggest there may be a revision of the design here. It was
seen at No9,865,32x, probably a very late example.
It was an original listing in June 1960 with the
80mm Biometar.
35mm 6g/5c 1952-1958.
40mm This will be a very early postwar lens with manual iris, and was in M42, T
coated and chrome plated, made before the Flektogon freed up wide angle designs in CZJ.
58mm 6g/4c This was the prestige lens on the SLR's postwar, and was made in a
succession of mounts from manual through preset to auto-preset. It was seen at No3,348,05x in black manual
iris mount (Exakta) but the first preset lenses came as early as No3,349,37x for M42. Later there were spring
wound auto diaphragms (FAPD) eg on No5,628,52x and finally fully auto diaphragms (APD) and most of these
were in white until black auto arrived.
It was noted at No4,736,90x on a motor driven Praktina FX.
Fig 029 021 Carl Zeiss Jena, Biotar f2.0/58mm No3,348,05x, black, plain iris.
50mm 6g/4c
50mm 6g/4c
This was a replacement and an improvement on the old Biotar (Layout Biotar CZJ162; Pancolor CZJ163). This
new lens was called "Flexon" when made to fit Prakti cameras (eg Praktina IIa), and Pancolar for Exakta. It
becomes normal at about No6.61million, reported there and at No6.757, 6.775, 6.811millions, so it must have
been a major product.
50mm 6g/5c Note the rear 3 glasses are all air spaced here.The f2 version was
produced up to about No8.453million, when the f1.8 version went into production at about No8.53million.
80mm This was for Practica bayonet, M42 plain and M42 electric as MC, but not
Exakta, and flourished about 1979 as it was noted in Practical Photography 1979/2 and seen at
No10,884,10x. It was reviewed as having a trace of softness at f1.8 but being fully sharp closed down. It is a
much desired lens in Practica circles and not too common.
50mm This was an early postwar item for Exakta in plain manual iris alloy mount.
These are a modern and extremely sharp optic and are a really welcome item. But it is worth noting they also
came in shutters, as with a Tcoated lens at No3,449,866 in Compur rapid 6,441,643, where the original use is
50mm There are reports of an update here with real reduction in aberrations using
new glass- the date is not known. It is not known just when this occurred. As with the Biotar, the f2.8 went
through several changes of mount, but continuing into the period of fully auto mounts, as at No6,757,08x and
8,351,96x. No8,152,6xx seems to be in 04/1972 adverts on a Praktica L
A special version was engraved "Ernst Abbe Jens T 1:2.8 50 Nr 3,805,12x" and filled in Gold color. Numbers
seem to be from the above (aluminium preset mount) to another group about 3,943,47x on a autopreset
version ie there just may be two groups with a break due to the type of mount. Reputedly 4,000 were made in
There are said to be differences between types of Tessar, eg on SLR and Pentina cameras. The Jenaer
Jahrbuch 1951 p55-56 seems to suggest a 25% reduction in aberrations due to postwar changes to new
4cm This was used at No2,383,40x on a so-called "postwar" Tenax- but this may
actually be wartime still.Thus No2,382,21x was in a rigid non-speed marked uncoupled mount at NoM179 for
Marin. This indicates special Tenaxes were used in the war. [Others were used for X-ray recording but only
with modified wind levers, though there have been suggestions of cameras modified to take special lenses
such as the 0.85 R-Biotar, whose mounting seems little discussed.]
75mm A very fast prestige lens for Exakta, actually from 1940 (above). It was made
postwar in two slightly different mounts which dealers class as "fat" and "thin", both with preset iris. It was
seen at No 6,404,28x. The lens was also mounted for Contax, but that is very rare indeed and may in fact be
wartime. Other Exakta examples have been reported at No3,169,77x and 3,235,37x in chromed brass and at
3,234,72x in aluminium. These are quite early in postwar production, especially for an exotic lens, and might
suggest that the product was one prepared for production prewar and easy to launch- as was the case.
Variations in the style of the alloy mounts do occur. In Modern Photo 07/1971 it was rated as a remarkable
lens and it was mentioned that it had been a professional use lens. But they did add-'if you get a good
Thus there was a M39 fit Biotar f1.5/75mm made at No5,892,90x.
75mm for Praktica Super TL (Layout CZJ164) It may not have been possible to fit this
big lens to Exakta.
80mm It was mounted for Pentacon 6 normally, but also for Exakta, and these may
be optically the same lens. It was seen at No7,195,15x in auto mount. Reports says that it was available for
Exakta in aluminium mount from about No3,583,86x, and was a long term product. The Rolleiflex models with
Biometar f2.8/80mm were made in 1952-1953, but the serial numbers are not known. No7,251,428 was used
in an advert. for Pentacon 6 in 06/1967.
80mm This is listed under Bronica and just may be a Biometar or a development with
a 6-glass design.
80mm This has been noted for postwar Exakta, eg. at No3,691,09x. It was the
standard 6x6 lens until the Biometar was sold.
105mm This was sold postwar on the Primar Reflex (Curt Bentzin) or in USA as the
Astraflex II, which was a troublesome camera (Modern Photo 02/1968, p45) which probably limited production.
120mm This was another 5-glass Gauss design, and it was also adopted for the
Pentacon 6 for 35mm use. Seen at No5,984,04x. in auto mount. It seems to have been sold later than the
80mm version.
135mm This was the prewar lens or very near it, but the mounts were for SLR and
varied from plain to auto. It was seen as a preset iris at No6,238,47x in white alloy mount. 4g/3c CZJ166.
Sonnar S
135mm This was sold as an EDC/MC lens for the Praktica LTL-3 about 12/10/1977
with an EDC Tessar, and f2.4/35mm Flektogon EDC/MC.
135mm This was seen at No 5,564,69x in white alloy preset mount, but also in a
rather nice chrome plated brass mount for Exakta. This is a rather large long (but slim) lens in comparison to
the Sonnar, which seems very compact mounted for an SLR. In use, Triotar proved to give fine results- with
good contrast and sharpness and well better than might be feared. In fact, the length of the mount was the
main disadvantage in what was probably originally a slightly budget item.
180mm 5g/3c. Jena seems to have kept to the 5glass design, but there was some
adjustment to the design late on. It was seen at No3,114,35x in a black preset mount, and at 10,159,64x in an
auto mount for Pentacon 6 with auto adaptor for Exakta- a fairly late example. The surface curves of the late
lens do seem to differ slightly from the classic type, as do the reflexions. It was in auto mount for M42 and
Praktisix from 08/1963.
300mm 5g/3c This is not a common lens, but easier to find and afford than the
prewar or Western versions. It was in preset iris black mount for many years. Reported at No3,662,04x and
seen at No6,896,56x.There seems to be a late 1970's redesign of some of the long Sonnars, or of their
mounts, as some have nothing behind the iris but an optical flat. Most 180mm Sonnars have part of the optic
there, though the 300mm does not. (CZJ167)
Mirror Zeiss
500mm This was supplied from 1957. The layout of the 500 and 1000mm versions
was rather alike, and as Layout App086.
Mirror Zeiss
1000mm see leaflets Nr 54-317-1; W54-084-2). This was supplied from 1960. These
Jena mirrors were rather simpler than those from the West, with two front glasses but the outer is flat on the
inner side. And there are only 3 glasses at the camera end. Connoisseurs rate them very highly, and they
were more affordable. Both covered 6x6 as well as 35mm. They were designed by (or for?) Prof Grzimek, who
may have been a nature photographer- ie designed the physical handling with an optician?
Carl Zeiss Jena Electric lenses for electric diaphragm control were introduced in Amateur Photo. 21/09/1977
for the Praktica LLC, PLC2, VLC and VLC2 as f2.8 20mm Flektogon MC, f2.4 35mm Flektogon MC, and f3.5
135mm Zeiss Electric MC. The latter was a 4-element design.
Pentina SLR.
This took interchangeable lenses and 30, 50, 85, 135mm were available. The advert. shows a Jena "T"
f2.8/50mm Nr5,964,606 of about 1962. The 135 f4.0 was a Domigor (from Meyer?).
37.5mm for 24x24mm. about 1950.
For Werra compact camera about 01/02/1969.
35mm 6g/5c
50mm 4g/3c This was seen at Nr5,683,59x with a green body. Tessar was also
often sold under the mark "T" due to international pressure, eg. at Nr5,916,xxx, 6,523,xxx , 6,308,xxx about
100mm 5g/4c It may be that some changes in the mount were made as a Cardinar at
No5,706,06x seems just not to fit- it may be for a related camera perhaps.
Fig 003 037 CZJ Werra with Tessar f2.8/50mm No5,683,594 in Synchro Compur shutter, and Cardinar
DuonarA 2x Tele attachment for Rollei, about 1953 of Galilean type. It covers 43mm dia. only. This product
was not released and is said to be scarce or prototypic. Equally, a Duonar seems to be well known in the
USA but not in the UK as it was a 1950's item and seldom imported. Production has been quoted as about
2,000 2x Duonars and it was made in Jena and sold by Franke and Heidecke in the USA. It was a favoured
professional item and often is in well worn condition as a result.
80mm for Praktisix SLR and a few were sold on Rollei cameras. This seems to have
been an old or prewar design and was not up to the standard expected. There seems to have been a close out
in Jan. 1964. The f2.8 Tessar had previously been a problem on the Rollei 2.8A in 1950-1951 when a batch
finished in Feb 1951 were sold with Tessars at No2,300,000-3,000,000, which are wartime or just postwar
numbers reputedly intended for Ikoflex III (or ?Super Ikonata 6x6 cameras which were never made). Some were
in shutters to 1/400sec which will support the older timing of production. Customers found these of poor
performance and the factory recalled them. Thus they became a real collectible through scarcity. A little later
Rollei supplied some cameras with Jena f2.8 80mm Biometars and these were much more succesful. [It is not
known what happened to the Tessar cameras, but they may have been rebuilt with Biometars and sold eg. in
E. Germany but this is a uncertain.]
Lenses for Praktisix and Pentacon Six Cameras.
This was a big SLR using 56x56 on rollfilm, and was supplied with a lens set mainly from Jena, with a few
items from Meyer (also shown here for completeness) in the longer sizes. Lenses had auto mounts up to
120mm, then were preset. It was noted in the B.J.A. 1959, p223 at £133.45 + £26,03 with f2.8/80mm lens and
then the range was 65mm to 400mm.
50mm 7g
1958/1969, auto mount.
65mm 6g
80mm 4g as above. This was probably also used on the postwar Exakta SLR for
6x6 and has been noted at auction as body number/lens number: 600,230 + 3,512,732; 601,071 + 3,513,156;
601,28x + 3,513,5217x; 601,929 + 3,756,202: also lens number only: 3,512,52x; 3,514,364; 3,691,852,
80mm 5g This was a very preferable lens.(CZJ165) See the note on the Exakta
version above. It was noted for Pentacon at No10,067,23x. For Rollei, this was from 1952 to replace the f2.8
[Primotar There may have been a Meyer Primotar f3.5 80mm as an option on some bodies, possibly for
Comecon countries.]
120mm 5g The review in Modern Photo 09/1962 was very good to excellent in the
centre. It was also supplied mounted for the 35mm Exacta. An example mounted in a blade shutter, such as
Synchro Compur has been reported as a prototype, possibly made for testing before a Praktisix was available.
Sonnar (Jena-S) f2.8 180mm 5g
300mm 5g/4c ] These are Meyer lenses and are in]
500mm 4g
] preset iris mounts.]
Sonnar (Jena-S)
300mm 5g/3c Note that one list says 6-glass here.
Other Jena CZJ lenses noted are f5.6 500mm, f4.8 500mm, but these may be prototypes or confusion with
the Meyer programme.
The only lenses reported for this postwar are:
105mm at No3,380,77x.
165mm at No3,400,6xx. It is a scarce camera in the UK. Jena seems to have
serviced the Korelle also at about this time with an f2.8/8cm Tessar.
Other CZJ lenses to note are as follows:
BIOinterimar I.Matanle reported this in 2000AD as a f2/58mm lens from Jena, No390537. The number is a
real 'funny' and there may be a real number on a inner bezel covered by this name. But note Bm is the usual
This was the T.N. for the Biotar when the Contax S was marketed in USA as the
Hexacon camera.
110mm This was a Triplet, normally of Zeiss Ikon make.
110mm This was the same type, possibly with new glass.
50mm on Taxona 24x24mm, and for Werra I 24x36mm so it covered this format. It
was noted on one of the "green bodies".
50mm This was on the Colora camera (1963). It was also reported on the Contina
from 1956. It was also a triplet.
45mm on Contina 1a, IIa
45mm on Continette (1960)
These just may be Western products or ones supplied for West German cameras from the East zone.
During this postwar period Jena also built up a first class record for the production of aerial cameras, and
process lenses. The latter were noted in a leaflet "Reproduction Lenses" No 54/087/2 and were traded in the
West, but their prices were rather high for ordinary users to be able to buy.
f3.5/20mm and f4.5/30mm These play the same role in macro photography as the West Zeiss
Mikrotars do.
140-900mm (Layout CZJ168)
Apo-Germinar f9.0
140-900mm 6g/6c This was a symmetrical anastigmat.
Apo-Germinar f11
(see supplement Ag./010/3/002/61. V/10/13)
Layout CZJ169 The mounting threads were commonized in the above. It was a lens which London studios
rented for special occasions and it was regarded as rather special.
The Germinar name was continued by Docter Optic to about 1998- see Docter below.
125mm This was used on the Jenoptik MKF-6 cameras on the Salyut 6 space craft
to give about 1:2,800,000 scale of image recording from space.
This was a standard large format lens, in sizes such as 210, 250, 300mm Those
seen were in plain iris barrel mounts, black finished and seem to have been a standard item made in fair
quantity and well thought of. Prices are now moderate for what are impressive items. There are some
apparently Russian large format lenses which look very much alike and may be related.
X-Ray Recording Lens
f0.85 for 32° angle, This was an 8-glass Gauss from the 1950's.
60mm This has been reported in Synchro Compur shutter at Nr4,869,2xx and must
be a very scarce and attractive version.
Magnar for Rollei This was mentioned in May 1949, and this is likely to be a Jena product. It increased the
7.5m to 30cm on 6x6 and 6cm to 24cm on 4x4.
Video Lenses
These were made under the Tevidon name and are sometimes found, usually in C-mount, in the UK. The one
seen was unusually heavily constructed.
16mm at No 9,376,xxx, in C mount, coated.
Movie Lenses
Postwar movie lenses were made, eg for Mitchell and Arriflex cameras, and included the
f2 Tessar, which just may be aspheric (see below), and
Biotars, 25, 35 and 40mm f2.0 and f1.8 sold for 35mm use, and 12.5mm for 8mm. There were also Tessar
f2.8/75mm, f3.5/60mm, f3.5/100mm, f2.7/165mm and
Sonnar f1.5/60mm. Few details are available, and some of these may be old lenses, possibly remounted. A
5cm f1.5 was noted for Arriflex at No2,802,76x, as well as others in unspecified mounts.
35mm This was a lens on the Arriflex 16mm list from G.B.-Kalee in the 1955, 1956
adverts. for the Arriflex, with a series of Schneider Xenons, and may have sold until the TTH Kinetals were in
stock: in 1956 they listed Panchros for Arriflex 35mm but no TTH for 16mm.
80mm Noted for AK16 at No6,244,28x.
A 85mm was noted for Arriflex at No2,791,95x, and another where the number was
not seen.
135mm Noted for 16mm AK16 at No6,239,79x.
There is a hint in Merte's chapter that narrow angle f2.0 Tessars were possible however.
16mm No3,624,37x Carl Zeiss Jena, in Arri mount. (T-coated). The example seen
had the normal 4 bright reflexions in front of the iris and 2 bright and 1 faint behind, so it probably had the
usual Tessar layout.
A single (?) 50mm f2.0 Tessar has been reported at NoV63-x and may be a planned large size version of this.
10mm for VEB 8mm cine.
12.5mm This was listed on a VEB camera for 16mm about 1955.
[Pentovar 16 f2.8
15-60mm This was noted as a trade name below and this will be the 16mm version.
The examples seen had a unique bayonet mount probably for Pentaflex.
8-32mm This was the zoom on the East German Pentachar 8 8mm camera from
Pentacon. There may be other lenses with the same name.
Prokinar f1.4/17.5mm This was a VEB projection lens of about 1960.
Pentaflex 16mm camera
This was a Pentacon 16mm camera which an owner describes as of very fine quality and it was supplied with
premium quality lenses, probably including the Pentovar above. An outfit in London had the following lenses
fitted, all in a close serial number group.
25mm This was at No6,357,73x
50mm This was at No6,768,37x.
12.5mm This was at No6,718,55x.
Serial Numbering of Zeiss Lenses.
The size and importance of the company makes these both of prime interest and also of great complexity.
Several attempts have been made at listing the serial numbers and these do have to be considered in several
(a) Classic Zeiss Jena numbers.
It does seem that very low numbers do exist, and it is suggested that they begin at Jena at 1,000 in about
1890, unless information to the contrary is found. There may also be unnumbered lenses, possibly when they
are one of a stereo pair, though confusion with licencees lenses can occur. There seems then to be a gap to
1912. Two listings then exist, and run very much in parallel. One is by G. Gilbert, in "Collecting
Photographica" and is reproduced in the back of McKeown's "Price Guide". The other is given in "Chiffres
Cles" by P-H. Pont. As a collector, the main point is that they do tell the same story within the time span that
interests one. The following is a shortened version of the one in "Chiffres Clef" with some extra notes added
from experience here. It is tentative in places.
Anastigmat production begins. this is partly licensed to others, including Voigtlaender for
Germany.The earliest Zeiss Anastigmat noted so far is No1,51x suggesting a possible No1000 start at Jena
for camera lenses: but note an aplanat for projection seems anomalous.
Voigtlaender stops production of Zeiss designs, suggesting Zeiss had expanded production facilities
to make the lenses at Jena.
c. 44,040 as Unar sales begin, production of anastigmats reaches 100,000, with about 44,000 by
Zeiss and 56,000 under license.
Tessar f6.3 launched. This must have been one factor leading to a big expansion of demand and
91,711 + 103,3xx, 104,2xx noted on cameras burgled at N&G, London (Manthos article), but note
N&G may have lagged in fitting as cameras made in 1912 had lenses No133,73x- say a year in store or
Serial Numbers
Number of
(begin + end)
numbers used
No173,418- 200,520
40,877 Carl Zeiss London here (see below)
97,091 This is about the change over to rimset Compur shutters
125,883 First Contax lenses here.
267,924 The switch to chrome finish begins at about 1.89 million.
2,800,000- ?
2.8m * The last numbers are from an obviously different source and are of unknown
2.9m accuracy. It is an anonymous item. Thus they are distinguished by quoting as M
3.0m for million.
Note the variation in the number per year. Now a plant of a successful company does not vary that much in
production rate unless there is diversion to other products, as is likely during a war (binoculars?, gunsights?)
numbered in another series. Or there is a cessation of materials or labour, which can also happen in war.
These will have affected things in say 1916 to 1918 but it does seem likely that the numbers used in 1913
are a "funny" and one feels they include some for 1914 as well. Also note that there are gaps between the
"Years lens" numbers, as for No252,739 in 1914 end and No282,800 for 1915 begin, where 30,061 numbers
are "missing." The tables admit that the WW1 data is approximate and this might explain the low figure
apparent for 1914. It seems likely that there was a carry over of numbers in some years from one year to the
next, due to numbers being booked for a contract or sale in advance- or some such mechanism. There is a
instinctive feeling that in 1912, the plant was actually normally making about 25,000-30,000 lenses. Now
going backwards, it is likely that production had built up slowly as labour was trained and plant designed and
built, and that a typical serial number for 1900 might be No40,000 (as suggested above), rather than
No75,000 which would be the mid-point from No1000 to say No151,000 in 1910.
After WW1, there is a rapid recovery of production, but again there are big fluctuations in the apparent yearly
numbers produced. There are also still gaps between the blocks of numbers attributed to years. It does
seem that production was set to rise steadily in the 1920's, even though there was a recession, and especially
after the formation of Zeiss Ikon with the related rationalizations and a "captive" market. Thus by 1930, there
do seem to be some 100,000 or more per year, and then in the 1930's, up to 250,000 or 300,000 numbers per
year used. This suggests a major expansion at Jena, or just possible the use of the redundant plants of
Goerz/Berlin and Ernemann/Dresden to support the production in some way. All this does also raise one
point: that any maker quickly finds that while brass and glass cost money, numbers are "free" and makers
often "waste" numbers when plans change or products are cancelled. Thus it is normal to find cases where
lenses were never made to match numbers reserved for them. One is left with a feeling that early Zeiss
lenses are rare and should be very desired items.
An authentic list Carl Zeiss supplied to a friend in 1967, with the same general result, was as follows:
around 1912
After WW2, Carl Zeiss at Oberkochen began a new series of numbers, probably at No1000 or 10,000 and as
indicated above, these were normally also marked Opton and coated. The Opton mark lasted for most
purposes until about 1953 at No1,100,000 but was used for many more years for items sold in the Comecon
countries- which will cause confusion if it is not realized. More data than this is in P-H Pont's "Chiffres Cles".
(b) CZJ =Carl Zeiss, Jena Postwar.
3.0-3.2 million. Initially these were calibrated with the focal length in centimeters.
3.2-3.47 million
347,000-4.0 million From here focal lengths were given in millimeters.
4.0-5.0 million
5.0-6.0 million
6.0-6.7 million
7.0-8.0 million
8.0-9.0 million
9.0-10.0 million.
(c) Carl Zeiss,
Oberkochen, West Germany.
10,000-500,000 These will be engraved Zeiss Opton.
500,000-1,100,000 same
1,100,000-2,600,000 Now just Carl Zeiss except for Comecon sales.
Dating of Zeiss lenses may be helped by one on a Paxette 2 at No1,616672 in an advert. in June 1958. It was
replaced by No1,617,53x in June 1960. Another f2.8/50mm Tessar No3,200,091 was shown in May 1964 on a
Contessa LK and may suggest dates. [Such dating is subject to problems and may merely show a minimum
number due to the use of old lenses or pictures.] There are also many items in the text where the date can be
inferred fairly exactly.
Carl Zeiss, Bittacy Hill, London.
See above for the registration of a company at Bittacy Hill. Lenses are known marked Carl Zeiss, London of
that date eg a Tessar f6.3/135mm in Compound shutter and marked Carl Zeiss, London No225,58x (=1913)
and a f4.5/150mm in barrel at No226,02x, and a binocular book refers to UK Government attempts to buy
Zeiss binoculars in WW1- which seems silly unless there was a UK plant. A theory is that a refusal, or
strategic sense, made the Government sequester the firm and get a UK maker to run it for the War effort.
There are known "Ross, Mill Hill, London 6in "Tessar Patent" lenses" thought to be from WW1 aerial and other
cameras, with anomalous serial numbers, and they may have come from the same plant after take over. Mill
Hill is some 16m NNW of London on the motorway M1 and Bittacy Hill is a road and area some 1m to the
East- arguably in Mill Hill. Postwar, there are accounts of an opthalmic glass works in the area.
[One eye-witness account was that there was a substantial Zeiss plant there into the 1970's, making lenses
but not for direct sale, so that the public were little aware of it- and it might well be opthalmic or binocular
lenses from the information, which needs confirmation!]
Note that this was a period when the Patents were running out on a number of Zeiss/Rudolph designs and the
license with Ross to make them was wearing thin. It may have been that the initial idea was to establish a
Zeiss plant inside the "British Empire" so that Imperial Preference could be enjoyed for the products, rather as
firms now seek a plant within the EEC.
Docter Lenses, Wetzlar and Jena, Germany.
Subsequent to reunification, in the early 1990's, the CZJ empire was managed by the Treuhand for the
government, and then Carl Zeiss were allowed to buy back at nominal cost the part of the business which was
felt to be truly Zeiss. There had been expansion into many areas such as machine tools and computers which
was probably felt to be of little relevance. It is thought that one area was aquired by the Wetzlar optical firm
Docter who are better known in UK for binoculars, and that it was the binocular production which they aquired,
but that they manufactured some high quality large format lenses with Zeiss agreement to use certain trade
names and designs. This production ended in 1997, and much of the stock was sold off in the UK by Mr Cad
of Croydon at a discount, and was of three main types:
"Tessar" Docter lenses either in Copal shutters or barrel mounts. These had a Tessar layout.
50, 75, 105, 135, 180, 210, 250, 300mm in Copals.
50, 75, 105, 135mm in barrels.
These were in Docter's own number series, eg No1,54x on a 105mm. (Fig below)
"Wide Angle Docter" These were a type with big external negative glasses, said to be 6g/4c.
65mm was the only size noted. It seems to have been well liked if stopped
down a bit.
"Apo-Germinar" These were process lenses and two designs were used, 4 glass up to 450mm, and 6-glass
in 600-1000mm. It is likely that the Apo-Germinars were the same design as listed above by CZJ169 though
the 4-glass must differ.
"Wide Angle Apo-Germinar" These are a 'new' design as they used a pair of 3-glass inner components
(apparently mounted separately) surrounded by two negative glasses almost like a modern wide angle lens.
They in fact cover a quite wide angle (184mm dia. for the 150mm lens, 63° ) as well as offering a sharp and
evenly illuminated image. It is thought that the design may have been chosen to minimize distortion and to
even up illumination- it must have been an expensive one to use! These was seen at No1,04x on a 150mm
lens. It becomes rather heavy and bulky in the longer foci but 150mm is a favourite lens.
Fig 003 025 Docter Optic Tessar f4.5/105mm No1540 and ApoGerminar w/a f8/150mm No1043.
240, 300, 360, 450mm.
Another list has 140, 180, 375mm as well.
f11, 600mm; f14.5, 750mm; f19.5, 1000mm
Wide Angle Apo-Germinar
150, 210, 240mm
These were high quality lenses, and may also offer an insight into late CZJ designs. We are told that the
programme is continuing with a soft focus lens, but no details are available.
Zeiss Ikon, Germany.
also as Zeiss Ikon-Voigtlaender about 1967
Some lenses were made by Zeiss Ikon in their factories after the amalgamation in 1926, especially in the early
years perhaps before rationalization took effect. The major year was probably 1928 as shown below, with
some items probably being older stock. (See B.J.A. 1927, p708;1928, p682) but the adverts. seem to be
restrained in the use of the old trade names. Progressively these were reduced to the budget types at the
lower price end of the programme, and the only real hanger-on in 1929 was the Dominar. Thus the Novar
name was continued and used for what is usually regarded as a Zeiss Ikon triplet and Triotar for the Carl
Zeiss Jena version of the same basic triplet type. The Novar did not always have a serial number although
some on early Ikontas were apparently numbered in the Zeiss series eg. at No1,301,07x, and did not carry the
name Zeiss. The Nettar was also a triplet.The box cameras continued to carry the Frontar name (but
apparently as Goerz and it tended to be f11 now) and the Spezial Anastigmat, the enlarging lens for the
Contax system, may be another. Zeiss Ikon also made projection lenses and several Orikor versions in the
200-700mm range have been seen at differing apertures, as well as a Diatar f2.5 100mm, a coated modern
lens. A 700mm Orikar was a triplet design. Interestingly, one is merely an "IKON ORIKAR f=35cm Nr
1,361,496" ie no Zeiss name but seemingly in a Zeiss number series- it is a nickel plate lens of the 1930's.
Postwar the lenses on the Contina and other more modest cameras were only always coated from 1952, and
many earlier ones if coated were treated by a repairer. Some lenses were sub-contracted and these probably
will not be marked with the Zeiss 'T' for transmission if coated. The red 'T'mark ended in 1957. One account is
that the postwar Novar production was partly from the Hensoldt plant.
Goerz, etc.
f11 This was on Piccolette, about 1930. This may be from another factory working in
parallel to eg.Goerz so a similar lens to Frontar is not so named. It seems the Box cameras carried Goerz
Frontars for many years. (See also:Tengor f11 Frontar, B.J.A. 1931, p285.) The older versions were f9,
possibly when film was slower, but also possibly being achromats. Others had Novar lenses which will be the
best performers.
Fig 003 034 Zeiss Ikon Baby Box with Novar and 16-on 120 film Ikonta with Novar and 16-on 127 with Tessar
f4.5/5cm lenses.
This was on Suevia, soon after the formation. Also as an f11/90mm
onCicarette 5x7.5.
f8.0 or f9.0 as Goerz Frontar on the Ikonette in 1929 (B.J.A. p329), but normally it
was an f11 from the time of the formation of Zeiss Ikon.
Thus it was f11 on the 1928 Box Tengor but f9 on the Roll Tengor which was closed out that year.
This was noted on the Piccolette in 1928 for 2.5x1.625in, also on Cocarette
in 1928.
This was noted on the Cocarette 210 and 220 in 1928.
Noted on Roll Film Tenax in 1928.
Noted on the Roll Tengor II in 1928
Noted on the Roll Tengor in 1928.
Noted on Roll Film Tenax in 1928.
Noted on Roll Film Tenax, 1928.
135mm on a Tessco 9x12cm , also on a Cocarette in B.J.A. 1928, p322.
f6.3 }This was a common moderate price option, eg. onIkonta 6x9. It was also used
as an enlarging lens, eg. on the Miraphot for 6x9 or 9x12cm (B.J.A. 1930, p330). The Klein Miraphot had the
Special Anastigmat below.
f4.5 }
f4.8 This was noted on Ikonta 6x9 about 1933.
f3.5 This was used on the 4.5x6cm Ikonta about 1934. It seems a common early
1930's fitment, in Compur or Compur Rapid shutters.
f4.5 This was noted on Ikonta 6x9cm eg. Typ 520/2 about 1931, but was replaced
fairly early in the 1930's by Tessar options. (The above used a f4.5/105mm for 6x11cm format so the Dominar
may have had a good wide field.)
Other Dominars on Zeiss Ikon/Zeiss cameras noted have been a f4.5/165mm at No1,316,27x on a 10x14cm
Tropica, and a f4.5/135mm No1,340,14x in a rimset Compur on a 9x12cm Tropen Adoro. There is a Donata
version for 6x9cm in B.J.A. 1931, p278 at £9.75 while the matching f4.5 Tessar version cost £11.15. Also on
Maximar in 1931. Tentatively, it seems not to be on the ICA derived cameras, such as Icarette and LLoyd, but
on the C-N types. These serial numbers seem to be Carl Zeiss numbers so the Dominar has more claim to be
a Zeiss lens than some.
f6.3 }
f4.5 }The Nettars were noted about 1936 on the Nettar folding cameras for 4.5x6cm,
6x6cm and 6x9cm, and these were essentially non-rangefinder folding cameras sold in parallel to the more
complex and expensive Ikontas. For the 6x9cm version see B.J.A. 1938, p289.
f3.5 This was the fastest version, on the Nettar f3.5 camera (B.J.A. 1936, p298).
This was really a pre-Zeiss Ikon lens carried over to sell on the plate cameras Volta,
Niklas, Orix, and Donata in 1927-8. It was probably replaced quite quickly, while Dominar did have a finite life
as a Zeiss Ikon lens.
This was noted as an I.C.A. projection lens in a bright plated (chrome) mount
apparently late 1930's.
f6.3 This was on a 6x9cm Contessa Duroll in B.J.A. 1927, p701.
Contessa Nettel
Sonnar The origin of the famous trade name was a nice Q15 type f4.5 in 105 and 135mm on a Sonnet plate
camera. This is not a Tessar under another name- the front diameter is smaller, and the external curves differ.
from Ernemann:
110mm on Simplex-Ernoflex, and Heag V11. These were other carry-over
f8.0/100mm on Heag I. There was also an Ernastigmat f6.8/105mm.
120mm, etc. on Heag II. Here 120mm was used for 6x9, 75mm for 4.5x6cm,
135mm for 9x12 and 165mm for 10x15cm.
75, 120mm, 135mm, 165mm as above, on Heag II
75, 105, 135, 165mm on Heag II.
75, 105, 135, 135mm sizes.
f2.0/42mm on Bobette II.
The prices were in the ascending order Ernastigmat, Ernar, Ernoplast, Ernotar, Tessar f6.3, Tessar f4.5. The f2
Ernostar-Bobette was more likely an official Zeiss Ikon product, made as a fill-in till the 35mm cameras were
ICA (?)
This was noted on the 1928 Icarettes and Maximar.
from Goerz (typically in a 1927 list):
Many of these are on carryover Tenax 6x9cm and Tengor 6x9cm cameras.
This was an achromat on Plaskop stereo
Kinostar This seems to be best known as an 8mm projection lens listed as an f1.8 in 10 and 50mm, from the
interwar years. But it was an old trade name as Mr Brochmann tells of a Zeiss Kinostar Serie IV 10cm lens at
Serial Number 31,21x for 35mm work on an 'ERKO Maschinenbau Berlin N31 machine which is a very old
projector pensioned off in North Sweden. This will be about 1898 if it is numbered with the normal photographic
18mm probably for 8mm projection.
50mm Projection lens in Kinox-N projector in 1931.
100mm projection lens on Contax large projector. (1934)
Special Anastigmat
This enlarging lens was used on the Klein Miraphot enlarger in Contax outer bayonet.
It is a triplet of 50mm about f6, but the aperture is not marked, nor is there an iris. It was seen at No1,341,99x,
which seems to be a Carl Zeiss number from about 1933 but the lens seen has no makers name.
135mm on Taxo in 1927.
Protar V11a Note that this was sold on the square back Favorite and Tropica in 1927, but the product to
continue was the Juwel.
f4.0/300mm in 1930, on an Epidiascope.
f4.0/500mm, f4.0/600mm on other models.
f4.0/210mm These may be the same design but in rather shorter sizes for
slide projection. These lenses are from 1932 catalogues.
Projection lens It was noted as f2.8/8cm; f2.5/10cm; f3.2/15cm; on the Ikolux 250
2x2in slide projector in B.J.A. 1956, p161.
This was noted as an f5/80cm lens, this is possibly a "dia" lens from an epidiascope
projection unit at lens No322,76x..
105mm Projection Lens.
The realignment of the firms production in 1926 must have been quite complex, as new products were needed,
and current inventories needed to be sold off, and it was not acceptable to lay off workers wholesale while this
was done. Thus there are fascinating intermediate products to look for. Essentially, they seem to have
continued old products as an interim, with Zeiss Ikon insignia, but some stock was sold off, eg. lenses from
Goerz went to B&J in Chicago, USA. However care was needed, and taken, not to have items spoiling the
market for the new introductions to come. The new production was typified by the cleaner lines of the selferecting cameras such as Ikonta, Netter and Tenax, and by the use of the new rimset Compur shutter, then
coming into use. Equally, new lenses such as the f2 Biotar and the Sonnars posed new problems of accurate
mounting as well as new possibilities.
Post WW2
The B.I.O.S team visiting Zeiss Ikon (Herr Reichter, in the absence of Dr. Eyth) after the war at Stuttgart(?)
noted the problems of work, cut off from the Dresden and Jena plants. Output was limited to Ikonta and Super
Ikonta cameras, using lenses and optics from Rodenstock. Later Schneider supplied when the French agreed
to release lenses. The main object was to restart production, even though more hand work than usual was
needed and some inferior materials were used- eg. cellulose paint in place of stove enemels. One problem
was that during the war production had been of gunsights and gyroscope motors, so that a major change in
equipment was involved. One report was that Hensoldt continued as a major lens source.
These are projection lenses for 35mm projector Perkeo ML, and others.
50mm for 18x24mm only.
Novicar, Novar, Pantar
These also included the Pantar satz lenses for Contina III. These were often for Contina.
These extra options were for the Perkeo-AF-Automat (1960's). see B.J.A. 1957, p263).
75mm This could be one of the high value ones, as it was fitted to the Zeiss
Super Ikonta 531/16 for 6x6cm, possibly as a low cost version for the UK, (B.J.A. 1955, p215) and this has
become a sought after folder. It had front cell focus, coupled R/F, and was said to 'produce excellent
45mm This was on the Contina I camera, coated and front cell focus, and
'performs exceedingly well, ---leaves nothing to be desired'. (B.J.A. 1955, p263). The B.J.A. 1955, p269 said
'phenomenal performance'. It was then still a novelty.
This was on the Contina Ia in B.J.A. 1956, p163. It had front cell focus and
was hard coated.
This was on the Contina IIa in B.J.A. 1956, p163, and was an expansion of
the Model I range from the previous year where only the Novar was noted. This was now a rigid body camera.
85mm Projection lens on the Ikolux 150 projector for 2x2in slides.
100mm also on Ikolux 150 (B.J.A. 1958, p188).
f9 It is thought this was still named as Frontar but the reference seen does not
mention this. It had 3 apertures of f9, 11, 16 set by a lever below the lens, probably connected to 3 holes on a
swinging plate, and had focusing for Inf-8m, 8-2m and 2-1meters, all rather a reincarnation of the prewar
camera but with flash sync. and coated f9 lens (in place of the old f11) probably needed to handle colour film.
(B.J.A. 1952, p204). The features were very advanced for a box camera.
Items here should really be under Franke and Heidecke, or Zeiss. It is worth noting that the view lens on the
TLR was nominally a F&H product, although it is uncertain who actually made them or who matched up the 2
lenses. It probably was either F&H or the lens makers, as taking lenses from Zeiss and Schneider were
involved postwar.
Viewfinder Lenses
Sucher Triplet f3.2/55mm and f4.2/75mm These Carl Zeiss finder lenses were on the Stereo camers
Heidoscop in the 1920's and may suggest the source of the later finder lenses.
Zeiss Anastigmat f3.2/55mm and f4.2/75mm These were on later Rolleidoscops, about 1926-1940.
f3 This was on the early Rolleiflex with f4.5 Tessar in B.J.A. 1930, p338.
f3.1/75mm This was the original version with f4.5 Tessar. Some versions on the early
Rolleicord were not engraved with an aperture: it was probably about f3.2, as late prewar models actually had
an f3.2/75mm Heidoskp. This was replaced in the 1950's with engraving as f3.2/75mm Heidosmat and
possibly finally f3.5/75mm Heidosmat.
f2.8/60mm on 4x4cm Rolleiflex early 1930's
f2.8/75mm These were on Rolleiflex, normally having faster taking lenses as well.
During the WW2 and just after, some were not engraved and then an f3.1/75mm Heidoscop was used, and
later an f2.8/75mm or f2.8/80mm Heidosmat. These then became the standard finder lens on late Rolleiflexes.
One point is that larger lenses would be hard to accommodate on these camera so that there was a long time
when the finder lens was no faster than the taking one.
A combined programme was often used for the late specialized camera programme and it is not easy to see
exactly who actually made what items. It seems however that Zeiss did the designs and that Rollei made
many of the lenses with the exceptions perhaps of the early batches and especially difficult items. But this is
partly a guess.
In 1970, Rollei set up a company in Singapore with the help of German bankers, and the firm worked from 3
sites: Braunschweig with 1650 employees, Luneberg with 316 employees and Singapore with 5700
employees, but the major expansion in the Far East did not pay. The company became in turn part of the
British United Scientific Holdings PLC of London and in 1987 then the H. Mandermann group, along with
Schneider and Pentacon (1991). Major items included:
Lenses for Rolleiflex SL66
Distagon HFT (a)
Distagon HFT
Distagon HFTS
1/500sec, XM) 6 glass, 52°, filter
Planar HFT
30mm 8g/7c full frame fisheye.
40mm 10g/9c 1968-1986 approx. 10 glass, 88°, filter VII.
40mm 11g/10c new version 1986 onwards.
50mm 7g/7c 7 glass, 75°, reverses for macro.
60mm 7g/7c 1984-1993?
80mm 5g/5c with bladed shutter. In May 1972 this was (Compur 1/30VI but there may be confusion.
80mm 7g/5c 7 glass, 75°, reversible for macro, filter VI.
Planar HFT
120mm 7g/5c
S-Planar HFT
120mm 6g/4c 6 glass, 52°, reversible, filters VI.
Sonnar HFTS
150mm 5g/3c 5 glass, 29°, filter VI. These could be in Compur shutters.
Sonnar HFT
250mm 4g/3c 5 glass, 18°, filter VI
Tele-Tessar (PS)
500mm 6g/5c or ?6g/3c? 6 glass, some are in fully auto iris though PS may
suggest not all are. 9°, bayonet VII.
Tele-Tessar (PS)
4g/4c 6 glass in 1972 lists.
Mirror Listed 1972 with filters.
16mm 5g/4c
25mm 4g.3c
40mm 3g/3c
63mm 3g/3c
100mm 3g/3c
75mm 11g/9c A shift lens (1984-)
S indicates a bladed shutter is fitted. The first 10 items are in fully auto iris mounts.
Rolleiflex SL35 (April 1972 advert.)
This was a full frame 35mm SLR probably related to the older Voigtlaender-Zeiss Ikon Icarex, and with a series
of lenses from their designs. The lenses are rare in the UK as they were issued in the 1970's when there was
intenses competition from he Far East. Not all may have ever sold here. The normal lens was a 7 glass
f1.8/50mm Planar, though f1.8 Xenons have been reported as have f1.4 Planars. The advert. shows a
Distagon f2.8/28mm and probably f2.8/85mm Sonnar and f2.8/135mm Planar at Serial No 5,289,68x and a
f4.0/200mm Zeiss Tessar. The 06/1967 advert shows a Carl Zeiss Super Dynarex f4.0/135mm at No6,984,528
on an Icarex 35, so there may have been overlap with Brunswick named lenses. At that stage, there were
Tessar, Color Pantar, Dynarex, Skoparex lenses but the mounts are not described.This latter seems to differ
from the list in McKeown's guide (q.v.) which lists some 15 lenses available eg. in the USA.
Postwar for TLR's.
Most of these are Zeiss productions made and supplied to Rollei but are tabulated here for convenience.
75mm This was for Rolleicord, 3-glass triplet.
75mm OPTON from Oberkochen.
75mm from Jena.
80mm These were ex-Jena, now a scarce lens.
80mm Again these were ex-Jena, and are another scarce lens.
75mm OPTON (Layout Zei170) This is really the classic version
of the Rollei lens.
75mm This is a 6-glass version, West German and a little obscure. (Layout
Zei172). In general the f3.5 lenses have the very highest reputation on the TLR's.
80mm OPTON, excellent, 5g/4c (Layout Zei171) An alternative 6glass Planar
layout is in Zei175, but it is not known where or if this was used. A "late" number Planar was No8,119,39x
when the last 100 or so Rolleis were assembled.
135mm OPTON for Tele Rollei
35mm OPTON for Rollei wide angle. (This may be an error the item seen
was a 55mm lens.)
55mm This was noted for the wide angle Rollei at No3,506,437. This was a
small production camera, unlike the TeleRollei which marched it. R.Clark notes the use of one as a sort of
snapshot camera at the 1976 University boatrace in B.J.P. 04/04/1980 p326.
Rollei Mutars, Bayonet front fit lenses, 1965.
Mutar 0.7 for Size 11 and 111 eg f3.5 Planar Noted at No3,566,09x
Mutar 1.5 for Size 11 and 111 as above. Noted at No3,843,37x.
Adaptors were made for these to be fitted to size 1 and 111 but note that size 1 may show severe vignetting.
Note also Magnar, a prewar auxiliary unit above.
For Some Other Cameras.
25mm for Rollei 16 (1963)
40mm for S126 (1968-1973)
28mm same
40mm for Rollei A26.
23mm for Rollei 110 (1970's)
40mm for Rollei 35, 35T.
40mm for Rollei 35. also Rollei 35LED noted in B.J.P. 10/11/1978 p978 when
it was made by Rollei under license. It matched the original Zeiss lens used on the B35 and was said to give
moderate sharpness over a 25mm circle at f3.5, improving at f4 but the corners were really fuzzy until at f8
about a 37mm circle was sharp and f8-f11 was about optimum with some signs of falloff at f22. At no time did
the corners really come sharp. It was described as a good modern triplet, but they seem to have been felt the
angle demanded was just too big for the type of lens used.
40mm for Rollei 35, 35S. These are a 1+1+2+i+2 design (Modern Photo
06/1978, p43advert. Here at No2,400,404, when it was multi coated.
Most of these were marked "Made by Rollei under license" They were noted in B.J.P. 18/07/1975 by N.
Maude. He noted that the Tessar did not cover the 24x36mm format in a 40mm f2.8 form so that the design
had to be extended to a 5-glass one. There was a Zeiss Ikon f2.8/40mm Tessar but the performance was less
good down to f11. Here the f2.8 Sonnar is an excellent lens and exceeds the f3.5 Tessar showing edge
advantages at faster stops than f5.6 and the Rollei HFT coating showed real benefits.
40mm for Rollei XF35. (Late 1970's)
38mm This was a Zeiss design.
In general note programmes for Rollei 35, S12000, 3003, Rollei Sl66, 6002 series.
Lenses for the 35mm Slr such as the SL 35M about 1976 included:
16mm A fish eye lens.
35mm from Schneider)
50mm from Schneider)
135mm from Schneider.)
As to serial numbers on earlier Rollei cameras, see A. Evans "Collectors Guide to Rollei Cameras" from
Centennial Photo Service, Grantsburg Wisc 54840, USA ISBN 0-931838-06-1, 1986.
Rollei were absorbed into Samsung of Korea in the 1990's and when a last batch of TLR's was made the Zeiss
Planar number was about No8,119,39x.
Zenith, Ukraine (USSR)
This was a Russian SLR with initially a M39x26 thread but much deeper register of about 45.2mm rather than
28.8mm.The lenses are listed in the Russia section as some are common to other cameras.
Zenza Bronica, Japan.
The firm Bronica is initially a camera maker, founded by Mr Zenza initially to make consumer items. In 1959,
he issued the first camera and it was a sensation although not without problems initially. It initially used
Nikkor lenses and later own-brand Zenzanon lenses. The programme was a combination of the two series in
May 1972, with Nikkor f4/40 (10 glass); f2.8/50 (8 glass); f2.8/75 (5 glass); f3.5/105in Seiko shutter, f4.5/200
(4 glass) and f5.6/600mm (5 glass) and Zenzanon f2.8/100mm; f3.5/150mm and f4.5/300mm.
We are grateful to Mr Takahashi of Introphoto for information here. An interesting review is by G. Crawley in
B.J.P. 17/07/1996 p20. In a 1980 note, 67mm filters were used where possible, but not on 40 and 500mm
Zenzanon lenses are listed here as follows:
Zenzanon PE
35mm This was a fish for the SQ-Ai in B.J.P. 23/10/1996 p7 and it was accompanied a 30mm version
of a fish for the ETR-Si for 6x4.5.
9glass/7 component. This is a 11g/8c lens in 1980 (below) for 87° and focussing to 16in.
50mm 8g/7c This was given as 10g/8c in B.J.P. 19/08/1980, p925 so a redesign may have occurred.
It covers 72° and focusses to 20in.
75mm 5g/4c
80mm 6g/5c This was a 'new' item in B.J.P. 20/02/1976, p147. It focussed to 70cm. The Nikkor was
continuing for the present.
100mm 6g/4c
105mm in 1996 In 1980 (above) this was mainly for macro.
150mm 5g/4c By 1980, this was 5g/5c and especially for portraiture. It focused to 1.5m.
200mm 5g/5c
200mm This was a 5g/5c design noted in 1980, focussing to 2m.
250mm in 1996 The design was basically like the 200/4.5 lens.
300mm 6g/5c
500mm in 1996 "This was a more elaborate 7g/6c design, and the longest then made for the camera."
80mm (This was from 'Carl Zeiss Jena', and may have been a Biometar? but there is a hint that this
was a 6g design, and tests in Am. Photo 29/10/1978 and What Camera 02/1979 were very favourable,
[comparing it to the West Zeiss Oberkochen Planar], and while the Biometar was good this seems better.
There were also teleconverters etc in 1996.
Bronica VX This was a new camera noted in L.A.Mannheim's article in B.J.P. 26/09/1980 p950 $3 with
initially 3 lenses:
28mm 8g/6c
40mm 5g/4c
85mm 4g/4c
Here the timing of the shutter is in the camera and the blades and stop control are in the lens. There is no iris
in the usual sense.
Before the Zenzanon series was available, the Bronica was Initially supplied with Nikkor lenses, but the
Zenzanon series succeeded them and a 1965 Nikkor programme was as follows:
f3.5, 50mm; f2.8, 75mm; f3.5, 135mm; f4.0, 200mm; f2.5, 180mm;
f4.0, 250mm; f4.5, 350mm; f5.0, 500mm.
A later list probably from the late 1980's has:
Zenzanon PS and PE lenses:
f4.0 PS,
40mm 11g/8c 87°
f4.0 PE
40mm 9g/8c (Practical Photo., 04/1992, p84)
f3.5 PS,
50mm 10g/8c 76°
F2.8 PE
50mm 9g/7c
f4.0 PS
65mm 9g/7c 62°
f2.8 PE
75mm 6g/5c
f2.8 PS
80mm 6g/5c 50°
105mm Noted B.J.P. advert. 20/02/1981, pxxv
f4.0 Macro PS 110mm 6g/4c 40°
f4.0 PS
150mm 6g/4c 30°
f3.5 PE
150mm 6g/5c 30°
f4.5 PE
200mm (Amateur Photo., 23/05/1992, p53)
f5.6 PE
f8.0 PS
500mm 11g/10c 9°
55mm 10g/8c This was coded Zenzanon Super Angulon*
f4.0Macro E, PE
Zooms Zenzanon Variogon* 75-150, 140-280, 70-140, 125-250mm.
*Lens mounts carry J. Schneider Kreuznach engraving.
Bronica ETR
This was reviewed in B.J.P. 02/04/1997, p23, with the lenses.
30mm Fish full frame for near 180° 11g/8g and this was a sharp contrasty lens noted in B.J.P.
23/10/1996 p7.
40mm 9g/7c tertrofocus type, with stops to f22, focus to 40cm.
50mm PE This was a 8g/7c design giving a high quality image. Stops to f22, focus to 50cm.
75mm In ?1978, this was a 5g/4c Gauss design 1+1+i+2+1 layout focus to 60cm. It means the next
entry may be wrong:
75mm This was a 6g/5c design with faultless drawing and especially sharp at f5.6.
150mm In one list this had a 6g/6c design with stops to f22 and focus to 150cm. Again this may
means the next is wrong.
150mm PE This was a 6g/5c design also of high quality.
250mm This was noted as a 6g/6c design with stops to f32 and focus to 350cm.
Bronica ETRSi
The first zoom for this was:
Zoom Zenzanon PE
100-220mm and was an aspheric with constant aperture. (Professional
Photographer 05/1997, p5)
Bronica GS-1 for 6x7cm.
A new PG 80mm f3.5 was added to the list in B.J.P. 27/11/1996 p8 of 8g/6c design, with a built in leaf shutter.
A Millenium List for Bronica is as follows:
(all lenses are named as Bronica)
for Bronica SQ:
35mm Fish
110mm Macro for 1:1 9g/8c
for Bronica GS1:
110mm macro 6g/4c
for Bronica ETRSi:
30mm Fisheye 11g/8c
11g/10c inc aspheric(s)
9g/8c macro to 1:1
Zion, France.
He was a French lens maker, whose products do not seem to be known in the U.K. He supplied lenses for
cameras noted in FBB, from 1893 to about 1928, making anastigmats and sold or made cameras as well.
Thus there were Zion anasrigmats on a Simili Jumelle in 1893,1898 and on a Pocket Z stereo in 1928, but the
Zionscopes of 1912 offered a choice of Hermagis, Boyer, Berthiot, Roussel in place of the Zion lenses of 1905
and 1911, and Roussel Trylors were used in 1920. He also used Seckler Anastigmats on some Stereo
cameras about 1910. [It is possible that all these were in fact bought-in and only the Zion lenses were
renamed. There is no suggestion of sales except on a camera here.]
Zoomar Inc, USA.
We thank Mr R. Shell USA and Mr Zuchendorfer, Kilfitt, Germany for additional information here.
Zoomar was most active for a period in the 1950's and 1960's, possibly for about 10 years, and the leading
figure was Dr Back. There were cooperative programmes with Voigtlaender on the Zoomar and with Kilfitt, so
that a Macro Zoomatar f2.8/90mm No 301-02x seems to be a Macro Kilar 'in disguise'- or at least adjusted
for a new use. It seems to have been for cine, since the mount ran back too far for any normal SLR and has
been noted on Arriflex cameras, probably for 35mm movie. (There may be two different designs used here: the
one seen seems to be a Q15). Also a Pan Tele Kilar f4.0 300mm No 271-04x carries the dual emblems of
Kilfitt and Zoomar. Products included Zoomatars, mirror systems, interchangable lenses. These will be just a
180mm movie or TV lens with a narrow angle of view.
(This was given as 7in. So it may be the same lens.)
240mm for 56x56mm.
f5.0, f5.6
600mm These may both refer to the same meniscus lens with different stop
500mm mirror. (Zoomar Reflectors were noted for movie as f5.6/500,(20in);f5.6/
620mm,(25in);f8/1000(40in), f15/2000(80in); f20/2500(100in),f25/ 3800mm(150in)
1000mm mirror.
2000mm mirror
These are photographic mirrors and were not designed for astronomy.
Reflectar Zoomar for f4.0/20in- f8.0/40in, and then f15/80in; f20/100in; f25/150in. These were obtained from one
basic system with a little conversion.
Some late examples were in T-mounts, and these included the macro version. Auction lists include Zoomar
Macro Kilar No243-2140 and Zoomar Makro Zoomar D f2.8/4cm No245-9573. These illustrate how closely
Zoomar and Kilfitt became related.
Zuiho Optical, Japan.
f1.9 and
f2.0 50mm lenses in black finish.A Honor f1.9/50 was noted at No61,59x.
Zunow, Japan.
They were specialist makers of innovative fast lenses during the rangefinder period in Japan and their products
are now highly respected, valued and sought after. Most of these would be available in M39x26 mounts.
35mm (1956-1961)
50mm (1956-1961) 9glass (Zun002) The source of these drawings was in
poor order and rather ambiguous and the drawings may be inexact.
f1.3 or f1.5
50mm (1957) (Zun001 or Zun003)
100mm (1956-1961)
50mm on early Miranda
58mm on SLR Prototypic only? (Modern. Photo. 11/1962 p67)
6cm This was mounted on a Prinz 44 TLR or Automat TLR for 127 film. It
was noted at Zunow Optical taking lens No60,37x, where the view lens was also a f2.8/6cm.
A note in the Amateur Photographer 01/01/2000 says Zunow later overreached itself in designing an SLR in
1958 and was forced to close about 1961. Modern Photo 04/1976 p79 says 'long out of business' and rates
the f1.1/50mm Zunow along with the contemporaneous Nikkor f1.1 as highly regarded- but says these are now
superseded by modern lenses.

Similar documents