martin26at071 9:48pm, 5 January 2009
im looking at getting the above lens there any issues with this lens .going to use it on my sony a200 .i have a minolta 50mm1.7.
will the zeiss be any better ???

thanks in advance

Westbourne White PRO 9 years ago
I've used it on my dslr, nice lens, unique colors.

CZJ 50 2.8

A bit slow, but that's my only complaint. It will focus down to 0.35m, which is handy. Make sure the focus ring does not lock up, also check the aperture clicks at each stop.
wwwuppertal PRO 9 years ago
It will hardly be better but it is different. You will not need much money to get one; so it will be worth the money in almost any case (when it's in ok condition). The lens will deliver the image characteristics of a Tessar lens which is a classic design; and you will get nice bokeh.
telemar 9 years ago
I have the 1,7 minolta in 3 versions : MC-Rokkor 1,7, MD-Rokkor 1,7 , and "minolta 1,7/50" (more recent)) and several copies of the Czj tessar ,(preset , alu auto, black) I can say Tessar give a very different general rendition . The rokkor give more saturated colors , and a better definition . The Tessar give a "dry" rendition when stopped down .
Koni Kowa 9 years ago
Hi Martin, I have this lens here but I don't use it at all. It's the chrome version, a real beauty. You should write my a flickrmail if you're interested to have it only for shipping fees.
Arkku PRO 9 years ago
I have to disagree with nikkormatftnuser above about the Tessar bokeh; it's generally quite busy and potentially distracting. The f/2.8 is also quite slow for a prime normal lens, so you won't be able to obtain such narrow field of view as with the Minolta 50mm f/1.7. I have both lenses, and the Minolta is definitely better, but Koni Kowa's offer above is certainly worth considering if you want to try the Tessar. =)
Mr Shin 9 years ago
I've got a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8/50 in my collection and I do find it a good performer. I like the bokeh and love the zebra look of the lens.

The only problem with my copy is that the focus ring is very stiff...has anyone had this problem or attempted to fix it?
dDerdol Man PRO 9 years ago
Tessar 2.8/50 is the lower end of excellent line of CZJ lenses. Tessar is only useable stop down.
If you really like CZJ colours, you'd be better off getting a Pancolar (50mm f1.8) or a Biotar (58mm f2). These are much much better (and more expensive).
Yes I have them all and I don't use Tessar at all. My fav is the Biotar.
Midori no Saru [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Midori no Saru (member) 9 years ago
Don't forget the less expensive Pentacon 50mm f1.8, and Helios 58mm f2 (Biotar copy). These are 6-element lenses. Well - they've got more elements than the tessar - and generally that means better correction for aberrations.

All of these lenses have bad bokeh to a greater or lesser extent. It's a particular problem at around this focal length for some reason.
Westbourne White PRO 9 years ago
Mr Shin, i have serviced my version. This guide helped:

Only attempt if you are good at working with small parts:

Carl Zeiss Jens Tessar 2.8 50 reconstruct
SteveFE 9 years ago
In my experience, stiff focus rings on Zeisses are down to it having had a bash at some time in its past, and some reforming of the flimsy metal is called for.
jacek.poplawski 9 years ago
Is there any reason to buy Tessar if I already have Pancolar? Anything better in Tessar?
Midori no Saru [deleted] Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Midori no Saru (member) 9 years ago
No - Tessar will be worse.
telemar 9 years ago
My Tessar's are mounted on old Prakticas (FX,IV,V) and Exaktas , and the whole stuff is closed in my camera showcase ... I tested them once and preferred tu use the Pancolar, Flexon , Biotar , and Oreston lenses....Helios 44 is a better choice and dirt cheap...
Dr. RawheaD PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Dr. RawheaD (member) 9 years ago
I have to agree with Midori no Saru above; a Pentacon 50/1.8 (branded as Revuenon 50/1.8) and a Helios 44M 58/2 were the first ever two M42 lenses I happened to snatch on Ebay. On the one hand I consider myself extremely lucky, because they both turned out to be great performers (although the Helios tends to flare), and got me really into M42 (or, is that a bad thing? ;-); on the other hand, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that they were both dirt cheap; I bought both for about the price you would spend buying a Tessar 50/2.8 from the Greek guy.

I liked the Revuenon so much that I got another Pentacon 50/1.8 just for the heck of it ;-) And after playing with those, I no longer have a lust for CZJ Tessars, although Pancolars and Biotars still have an appeal that I may not be able to resist.
The Tessar design can be very sharp in the centre, not so much at the edges which is not really a problem when shooting with a crop cam.
This lens has a unique character umatched by many other modern lenses (at least my copy does).
Midori no Saru [deleted] 9 years ago
Yes, it's called softness ;)
Arkku PRO 9 years ago
I wouldn't really call the Tessar a soft lens overall. As lucispictor_photo said above, it can be very sharp in the centre (like some other simple designs). I think the somewhat strange bokeh and softer edges account for the “unique character”.
leejungyul 9 years ago
I have a CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 zebra and I modified it to use on the Pentax K10D as a manual diaphgram lens. I think Arkku's comment on this lens is appropriate; unusual bokeh and unique character.
I feel it fits better to B&W pictures. With a crop body it may become a
portrait lens--I haven't tested.
rolleiflex1955 9 years ago
I have one ithat someone in the past modified to Leica mount. It gives very nice color portraits with Reala 100 film. The images look very special with this lens.
I've got the 'aus Jena' branded version of this lens. The pictures have a 'special' look indeed.

Coffee and creamy bokeh by Victor van Dijk (Thanks for 4M views!)
el~mariachi 7 years ago
How can I take the focus ring apart to relube it? I can't take the two pieces apart...
Arkku PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Arkku (admin) 7 years ago
You probably need to remove one or two metal pegs that couple the focusing mechanism to the helicoid. However, note that if you do so and take the two pieces apart, you need to reassemble them in the exact same position to retain the same infinity focus position.

Edit: Actually, there was a disassembly guide linked above in this thread:

The peg to remove is marked #8 in the guide.
el~mariachi 7 years ago

actually I disassembled the lens for two reasons: relubing and see if anything is out of place, since I can't get infinity focus to work with it + my Praktica MTL5B (from 2m onwards I can't focus).

how can I calibrate it for infinity focus?
Arkku PRO 7 years ago
From the disassembly guide it looks like the ring marked #5 could be rotated clockwise to bring you closer to infinity (when you have the peg #8 removed). However, in a severe case where you can't focus beyond 2m, may be that something else is the matter. (One possibility is that the lens was taken apart before and put back together in the wrong position. So try screwing the focusing helicoid onto different threads when you put it back on and see how this affects infinity focus.)
Harri Salo Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Harri Salo (member) 7 years ago
It depends how old Tessar 50/f28 you can find. If it is made late 50 os early 60 and it has 12 blade apperture it is a nice peace of lens. The bokeh is realy nice. and the color shades are soft and nice. I have
Pancolar 50/f18 and Pentacon 50/f18, i rather use my Tessar 50/f28 Q1
阿 寶 7 years ago
Hi all, I have the CZJ Tessar 2,8/50 which is the zebra version.
What are the difference between the zebra version and the black version?

iliakoltsov 7 years ago
I have a revuenon 55 f1.7 , a pentacon 50.18 and helios 44 m4 in my opinion the helios is the nicest of all , i had nor experience with the zebra cannot compare but the Helios is Carl Zeiss Biotar :).
el~mariachi 7 years ago
Well I can't be more frustrated... after killing the shutter of a MTL5B (trying to get infinity focus right) I bought a MTL50 and guess what... infinity focus is still off! Infinity is set at around 2meters. That means that objects that are nearer than that are correctly focused, objects beyond that aren't.

Could someone with this lens take a snapshot of it in a way that I can see how much of the barrel is out when infinity is set? I don't know if it is supposed to stick out a bit or if it should be all inside.

Thanks, I'm really desperate here...
another ask:

does it fit on a fujica ST801 ?

Arkku PRO 7 years ago
thanks arkku! I hope to buy this lens as soon as possible for my BW photos!!!
Lars Relander 7 years ago
Has anyone documented the different versions of the Tessar? I've seen at least 6 different M42 mount versions, of which the Icarex-bundled version definitely looks sexiest, but the Biotar-looking lens presumably has the most aperture blades. I couldn't find proper faceoff review between the versions..
BeWePa PRO 7 years ago
I tried an Icarex (ie west german) version against a Zebra CZJ from 1960 (full aluminium) and a Zebra version.

I did not do head-to-head, but surprisingly, the "communist" Jena lenses seem clearly better than this sample better. The Zebra being better than the older alu one.
iliakoltsov 7 years ago
I have theCZJ 50 f2.8 Black edition what a fantastic lens :)

imgp9045 by iliakoltsov
tomzcafe 7 years ago
I have CZJ 50/2.8 too and happy with it

little plant
james loma PRO 6 years ago
excellent lens,easy to fix if you have tight focus rings
flower by james loma
C&S Designer 6 years ago
Depends what you get, a good Tessar can be a great performer from f8-16, for digital I would recomend F5.6-11 or refraction kicks in, like with all other primelenses.
I have a Tessar and some Pictures on Flicker, a 3.5/50mm, ok is slow made in 1950 but after cleaning and relube, it's works like new and the multy blades makes it a nice round DOF.
it's not a Gauss system, tessars are darn sharp at the center.
akione7 6 years ago
I've got the zebra version on a Oly E-520, I like it! My problem is (this is true for all my manual lens) getting the focus right.

these are my samples
P3161478 P3161465
bimmer1502 6 years ago
A small note towards servicing these: when you twist off the front housing of the lens to gain access to the front element, it is entirely possible to make the focusing helicoid skip a thread and be off 1/3 of a turn (no focus from about 2m to infinity). At this point, you're up for a (near) complete stripdown.

So strip the thing down even if you'd only need to access the front element unless you've been inside before and haven't tightened the thing too silly.

It did however cure the slightly stiff focusing on mine, so I think I've actually 'damaged' the helicoid.
lordminty 6 years ago
You can cure the stiff focussing easily without dismantling.
Wind the lens out to infinity and you should be able to see the helicoil when looking into the back of the lens.

Then using something like WD40 and the little plastic pipe just do a very, very, short squirt onto the helicoil. Wind the lens back and forth and it'll free up. The WD40 will get absorbed by the dried grease.

If it's still sticky then you need to do the same at the front of the lens between the focusing ring and the front filter thread.

I've used this technique on both my Tessars, an Industar and the 50mm f1.8 Pentacon (auto)/Meyer Oreston.
Midori no Saru [deleted] 6 years ago
WD40 is a de-greaser, right? Is there a chance of therefore ending up with an even stiffer helicoid?
C&S Designer 6 years ago
I dismantelt many CZJ lenses but always used sewingmachineoil. WD40 get on the lens, it's creeps everywhere you can think about.
realblades 6 years ago
WD-40 is a water displacer. Essentially a very thin and thinned still penetrating oil. It will dissolve grease to some measure and it tends to get everywhere.

Every sensible source on optics and repair warns to never let it near your lenses, cameras, firearms, or other fine mechanisms.
MaxSinton [deleted] 6 years ago
I'll bet it's a banned substance in a place that deals with watches then haha.
i think is a good lens,very sharp
this is my first picture with this lens:
Z - Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f2,8 Tessar M42
v.leoni 6 years ago
Tessar 50/2.8 - in my opinion - is just a peculiar lens that you may love or dislike in every of its (many) versions. Personally i like it so much and i have the cheapest (i think) 5-blades DDR version, the DoF is the typical widely considered scarce because is very marked and sharp in opposition of high-standard "creamy" DoF, RGB coulours are pretty saturated, but - again - i like it!
The sharpness is average, not all that soft as i read, and most of all is a 5-10 $ lens!
transiently permanent 6 years ago
At $5 it can be considered a good buy if it's in good condition. At more usual selling prices of near to ten times that, it's a reasonable buy only if you value the look it gives. But it's fun to try, so long as you try one that works ok.
v.leoni 6 years ago
I got it in pristine condition (not even a single speck of dust inside) at €12 (around $20) along with an Exa 1b and other minor stuff. ;-)
Probably is cheaper to buy in bundle with uninteresting camera bodies... But i wouldn't suggest to pay $50-100 for a DDR post-zebra CZJ Tessar, i know it was a cheap lens even when it was brand new. Don't know the pricing for the other two versions ("aus Jena" was exactly the same of mine for foreign markets).
stragatto 6 years ago
I have two of them, but I prefer the Pentacon 50 f:1,8 (sharper and closer focusing) and the Helios 58 f:2. I have also the Russian copy of tessar (the Industar) and I like better it (although working only stop-down) than the czj tessars.
C&S Designer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by C&S Designer (member) 6 years ago
Hi V.Leoni----
some Prices New in this year.
A Exa 1a 1963 with Meyer Trioplan 2.9/50 was around DM 94.00 ($47.00)
the better one Exa 2 max speed 1/250 with Meritat more expensive around DM 110.00 ($50.00).
Praktica Nova with 2.8/50mm Domiplan 1965, DM 180.00,
with Pancolar 2/50 DM 220.00.
With Tessar 2.8/50mm DM 20.00 less than Nova.
VS :
Asahi 1964 Spotmatic with 1.4/50mm DM 250.00,
v.leoni 6 years ago
Hi C&S Designer.
Again - as i previously said - i don't know the exact pricings for the older versions, but my Tessar is certainly from the late seventies at least, the frist batch of Exa 1b - the frist one in M42 mount - was built in 1977 (Tessar was given as alternative option to Pentacon 50/1.8), i can't tell the age of mine, but both the body and lens were an outdated - for their times - design, built in Pentacon factories of Dresden, DDR (instead of Ihagee), with just five bades iris (correct me if i go wrong - Zebra version is eight blades?), top speed of body is just 1/175th and lacking of most of slow speeds. Tessar rendering is the same because elements design is the same, but DoF stopped down is markedly pentagonal.
May you tell me where did you get the original pricings? i searched many times (for different cameras i mean), but i never had success finding them.
C&S Designer 6 years ago
My "Camera Bible "over SLR is
The register of 35mm SLR Cameras from
Rudolph Lea 2. edidition 1993. Wittig Book.
Is very informativ.
all other Info, I gathert over the time from different sorces. I a Fan of CZJ and Meyer Lenses.
v.leoni 6 years ago
Cool, thanks for the info!
I have some CZJ lenses for my Pentacon Six, and a Meyer Orestor 135/2.8 in M42. Very nice lenses all.
banpei PRO 6 years ago
I used to have a Zebra Tessar (the same as Westbourne White has, with 5 blades), but a burglar nicked my camerabag including all m42 lenses.
I just purchased a Praktica FX with CZJ Tessar with 12 blades. There is only one slight problem: the aperture ring can't move further than 8. Anyone got an idea how to fix that easily without dismantling the whole lens?
banpei PRO 6 years ago
Got it to work. Probably some muck between the aperture ring and the 5th tooth of the lens...
Alf Beharie 6 years ago
My advice is throw it in a bin and get a Pentacon 50mm f1.8 instead.
experimentalist75 6 years ago
I like the 2.8/50 Tessar, although the Russian copy Industar-50 is sharper wide open.

I prefer the Pentacon 1.8/50 and the Helios-44 to the Tessar however, better bokeh and slightly sharper. The Pentacon is, I think an overlooked lens, I like it a lot.

Other 50s I'd prefer to the Tessar that are available at the same price:

Yashica ML 1.8/55
Petri CC Autio 1.8/55
Fujinon 2.2/55

All fifty's are quite good and we all have our favourites...
memories of light PRO 5 years ago

which version is this?,its M 42 mount.please help identify
SteveFE 5 years ago
I suspect with the red T and the aluminium finish it's a bit rarer and more desirable than the standard black or zebra versions. Whether it's optically any better I wouldn't know. How many aperture blades and is it a preset?
Arkku PRO 5 years ago
which version is this?,its M 42 mount.please help identify

It would help considerably in identifying the lens, especially mount, if you took the picture of the actual mount and not just the front of the lens. =)
memories of light PRO 5 years ago
It has 14 or 15 blades,as far as i can count.The lens is bit different as the aparature ring is in the front part while the focusing ring is behind.yes its made of aluminium
Merzbauer [deleted] 5 years ago
I've just completely disassembled, degreased, reassembled mech. and then done a full clean on the optics today on a 50's copy of the lens today, which I bought recently to add to my 'retirement optics' collection. I've been collecting German cameras since I was a teenager, and just like the older Zeiss stuff I have... it's a venerable thing of beauty.

The thing that gets me is why people have to be overly critical of a design that has stood the test of time since the turn of the last century. As a stage in endless development, it was really something for its time.

If you consider your lens as a signal processing system. Each element in the lens imparts some unique and inherent quality to the light that passes through - It's like an Hi Fi amplifier. What comes out depends on the noise threshold and linearity with an amplifier, but the point is that in this digital age people are slavish to clinical and exact reproduction, yet some of us still like how a valve amplifier 'sounds' ...

...just the same with this and many other derivative lenses that followed in its steps.

manuchosd 5 years ago

you say exactly how the things works on this days!!!!!
A_Anything 5 years ago
Yes but the question was: will the tessar be any better of my minolta 50 1.7?
And the answer can only be: No, under any objective point of view minolta will be better.
You may find some subjective reasons, though, that may make you like this lens: these subjective reasons are called generically character, and usually character comes from "flaws", that you can like, or have any idea on how to use them in a creative way.
Ramayana X. 5 years ago
I have one, with the 12 aperture blades. I personally don't care that it's not like the Minolta 1.7 or any other lens. I don't want it to be. Which I think is the whole point of buying these old lenses. If you want clinical sharpness etc, get a lens designed for the digital machines.

The world would be boring if all lenses rendered in exactly the same way. You buy old lenses because you want their particular character. It's a bit like dating the right girl - you have to go through so many in order to find the one with a character that's right for you. If you changed them then they will no longer be the same person.
A_Anything Posted 5 years ago. Edited by A_Anything (member) 5 years ago
I completely agree on that (except that Minolta 50/1.7 can be an old lens with lot of character and great performance), but when asked "is the tessar better than..." I think the answer should be based on more or less objective considerations.
If the question was "which one has the more peculiar vintage character?" then the answer could be different, depending on what Minolta 50/1.7 the op is referring to.
I don't use old manual glass only because of the character or warmer feeling, but also because I love manually focussing, and mainly because of the iq/price ratio.
And, last thing, I think that not all modern lenses look the same, many have their own character
I enjoy the lens and agree with the recent comments. I noticed a Tiger Lilly earlier in this thread and am sharing my take on this flower with this lens.

delzky Posted 5 years ago. Edited by delzky (member) 5 years ago
I also have the aluminum version of this lens. I like its close focus abilities, very sharp wide-open, with smooth, gentle bokeh. It's surprisingly sharp wide open that I don't even stop down anymore most of the time, except for long, open view shots. (all photos SOOC)

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8
Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8
Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8
d_ihde Posted 3 years ago. Edited by d_ihde (member) 3 years ago
Too many posts to read them all. Sorry if this has been brought up already. I also realize this thread is very old. But I bought an aluminum CZJ 50mm 2.8. And sad to say that the copy I bought is actually a Russian copy of a Zeiss Jena and not a genuine Jena lens. I paid a reasonable price for it so I guess not all is lost. It a good lens design so it is a keeper, but still disappointed that so many of these "old" lenses are Russian fakes. And in my case, the lens doesn't even appear to be that old.
IHD Photography PRO 3 years ago
Worth updating to be honest.
The CZJ is an excellent lens. It is probably the most reliable lens of the three that I got for Christmas when I was 16 in the mid 80's. The other two lenses I got with my Praktica MTL-5B ended up with stuck blades, a Pentacon 29mm F2.8 and CZJ 135mm F2.8. Shame really as they were both great lenses.
Back to the Tessar, I have found it sharp and contrasty from wide open even though the focus ring has classic East European stickiness (It is the grease they used then). Blades are perfect and I do enjoy using it occasionally on both film and digital.
berangberang 3 years ago

What do you mean it's a Russian fake? Do you mean it's an Industar?
Arkku PRO 3 years ago
Why would someone fake a CZJ Tessar, when the originals are so cheap to begin with… I would think that they would fake a more expensive lens, e.g., a pre-war one (or even the Biotar would be a much better profit for a Helios-44).
d_ihde Posted 3 years ago. Edited by d_ihde (member) 3 years ago
I suppose you would have to ask the Russian company that took over the CZ Jena company. I am just the buyer and it is definitely a fake, but a decent lens and lens design.

If I were to speculate I would go back to the seller and find out where they acquired the lens. I may do this, just to find out what they know about this particular lens. Looking at the used market for film gear, it appears to me that the "Film" look is becoming "Hot" again. Just speculating, maybe there is a demand for digital camera's with the "Retro Film Look" again, but I don't know for sure.
A_Anything 3 years ago
I'm really curious as I never heard of a fake tessar.
I know of fake zeiss rangefinder lenses and fake leicas but, as Arkku pointed out, usually it's the expensive items that attract the fakers' attention, while the Jena 2.8 tessar was a relatively cheap lens from its birth - even if a good cheap lens.
Would you mind posting some pics of it?
Arkku PRO Posted 3 years ago. Edited by Arkku (admin) 3 years ago
How are you certain that it is a fake? Or, in reference to the “Russian company that took over the CZ Jena company”, do you consider East German lenses “fakes”? Usually CZJ (Carl Zeiss Jena) refers (ambiguously) to the post-war East German lenses, which are not fakes. In particular, there is no West German or pre-war M42-mount Tessar 50mm f/2.8 in existence as far as I know (given that the M42 mount was introduced post-war by the East German Zeiss), so the East German lens is about as real as you can get for that lens.
d_ihde 3 years ago
Maybe I'm mixed up in my geography. I understood the Jena side of Zeiss to be German albeit East German. Then somewhere along the line, the Russians took over this East German company and took the manufacturing facilities and patents off to somewhere in Russia. Is this correct?

Now, if this is correct, then what I was expecting, or at least hoping for, was that this lens was from the original plant in East Germany. Since it appears to me to be relatively new and made of relatively newer materials, instead of having maybe a little bit of brass somewhere, this tells me it was manufactured after the company was brought over to Russia.

Are my logic and observations incorrect?

I will try to post some photo's tomorrow. I appreciate your expertise, but I am skeptical that this is from the old plant. If it is original, I got a heck of a deal. Thank you.
berangberang 3 years ago

You are about 100% incorrect.

Carl Zeiss Jena lenses were made in Jena, East Germany. From after the war until the early 1990s. Of course they updated them periodically, so there are rather new 1990s era CZJ tessars out there. Zeiss Jena used aluminum extensively from the start of postwar production, so there is nothing unusual about this.

The Russians did have Zeiss Jena produce drawings and tooling for the Contax rangefinder camera which they then shipped to Kiev, but this has nothing much to do with the Tessar or any of the Jena produced lenses.
Christos Theofilogiannakos Posted 3 years ago. Edited by Christos Theofilogiannakos (member) 3 years ago
There were some pre-war (late 1938, early 1939) screwmount cameras (eg Praktiflex) that used 40mm thread lenses (I don't know if any Tessar was made for them, I've seen 40mm Schneider lenses). As Arkku says, the M42 mount was introduced post-war in East Germany. Late east german CZJ Tessars used more plastic, but they were the same optically as the earlier ("zebra") aluminum ones (I have both and they perform the same) and they were made in East Germany. This does not make them "fakes". The various Industars in M39 were soviet copies of the Tessar but only optically, no way to confuse them with east german Tessars. Personally, I am a fan of the CZJ Tessar for its sharpness and good contrast, esp in B&W. Out of focus areas can be pleasing but they can also be quite distratcting depending on the background. I use mine almost exclusively stopped down to exploit its sharpness, I wouldn't trust it for portraits though. For what it's worth, here are two of my favorite shots taken with the Tessar on film, portraying good sharpness, but nervous bokeh:
d_ihde 3 years ago
Can anyone tell me if they think this lens would be considered a "fake" CZJena. I consider the original company to be the true CZ Jena's, but am not an expert.
A_Anything 3 years ago
There's no "fake" company. As written in post above, Carl Zeiss had a plant in Jena, in what would become DDR after WWII. So, after the war, CZ west (Oberkochen) and CZ east (Jena) went on as different companies - both original, though.
The russians took designs, machines, materials and engineers from Carl Zeiss Jena, and they used them as a base for their post-war production in their factories, but the lenses produced there have "new" russian names, so some of them may be "copies" of old zeiss projects, or derivates, but not fakes.
Carl Zeiss Jena continued producing "original" carl zeiss jena lenses up to the nineties, so having a "modern" CZJ lens doesn't mean it's fake.
Yours seems a normal Tessar from mid-late '50s, except for the label C.Z.Jena, which I didn't see often, but those uncommon engravings on the name plate happen on lenses intended to be exported westwards, to avoid copyright problems with the other Carl Zeiss company.
d_ihde 3 years ago
Thank you A_Anything. We are saying the same thing. Just a different opinion or interpretation as to whether Russian's should be calling their lenses CZJena, that's all. I did find a website discussing these same issues regarding the "Sonnar" design but not the "Tessar" design. I think they have the same issue's as I brought up earlier. Anyway, thank you for your valuable input.
Arkku PRO Posted 3 years ago. Edited by Arkku (admin) 3 years ago
The Carl Zeiss Jena (including “aus Jena” and “CZ Jena”) lenses are not Russian, they are made in East Germany by East Germans. Russians call their lenses e.g., Helios, Industar, Jupiter, etc., and they are made in Russia (or other parts of the former Soviet Union), and are clearly marked as such (sometimes quite prominently and proudly proclaiming their superior Soviet origin). So it is not a case of “Russians calling their lenses CZ Jena”.

(The link you posted about fake lenses is a different thing altogether, it is Soviet lenses made to look like old Zeiss ones, e.g., by taking a Jupiter lens and replacing the nameplate with that of a Sonnar. These fakes were not done by the Soviet factories that built the lenses.)
berangberang 3 years ago

Yours is a regular Jena lens. Has nothing to do with Russia by any stretch of the imagination.
d_ihde Posted 3 years ago. Edited by d_ihde (member) 3 years ago
Thank you all for your expertise. That clears it up for me. I'm happy to know I have a legit lens as I had just written it off as a fake. Usually it works the other way around, someone thinks they have a genuine item, when it really isn't. Thanks again.
Steffen Kamprath 1 year ago
I also love the Tessar for its unique rendering and small size. I also have a Pancolar, a Planar f/1.7 CY and a Biotar 58/2 ... and although those lenses are technically sharper and faster, the Tessar's rendering strikes out most. That being said, the only downside with my 80's copy is it's heavy veiling haze on bright surfaces until f/4-5.6. Because of the great character, I'm looking for a different copy that might be better wide open.

Just recently, I stumbled upon the 12-blade silver version, which has better bokeh rendering stopped down. But the focus distance was way off. E.g. I focused on a subject 1m away and I had to set focus distance to about 2m. I couldn't focus to infinity at all! The seller told me, that this version only works on pre-60's M42 cameras. I couldn't believe it because M42 is a standard, right? I'm using my M42 on a A6000 and A77 and never had problems with my adapter. Does anyone know something about this? Or is my copy just badly assembled and I should get a different one?

Furthermore, does anyone know which version of the Tessar is the best by today's standards? Should I go for a newer or older version? Should I go for the "Aus Jena"-brand or Carl Zeiss Jena? For the one with red or green marks? For a export-version? And will the veiling haze be reduced on a different version or is it a design issue that affects all Tessars?

Help would be appreciated. Thank you.
MBPhoto_2.8 1 year ago
Need to clean the helicoid of mine too.. it's completely stuck now..

Because it was such a cheap lens, I will try to do it myself. (servicing to relubricate the focusing mechanism costs 120 USD here)
The Limbo Connection PRO Posted 1 year ago. Edited by The Limbo Connection (member) 1 year ago
It's seven years since the OP asked if the CZJ 50mm f/2.8 Tessar was likely to be better than a much faster Minolta standard lens. I don't know if he ever tried the two side-by-side and made an assessment. I doubt the Tessar would be 'better' but it would surely be different. I bought one on a whim, a couple of years ago, together with an elderly Canon EOS 20D, simply to try out M42 legacy lenses for fun. I like this lens. It is light in weight and responds well to aperture changes and focussing. I like the long focus throw and close focus ability. In my hand I enjoy its tactile quality: I don't have an explanation for this, it's only plastic, after all. Fidelity seems quite decent and contrast is acceptable. It's a bit slow, of course, but that isn't a big problem when you can easily compensate by increasing ISO. I prefer it to the Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 but I'm not sure why. I think the Tomioka-made 55mm Chinon lenses, especially the f/1.4, offer more possibilities but occasionally I still make pictures with the Tessar and seldom are the results unacceptable. I paid £12 and I can't think offhand of any better way to get as much entertainment.
The Mystery by The Limbo Connection
berangberang 1 year ago
That lens isn't plastic, but aluminum. It feels plasticy because of the thick paint, but I have had two where the paint was worn off in areas and they were aluminum underneath. I have found the tessars to be much better/sharper when used for close up work or macro photography than lots of "better lenses", stopped down to f/5.6 there's barely a thing out there that's sharper. Really!
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