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The Gateway Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f2.8 | by Dr. RawheaD
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The Gateway Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f2.8

Lens used for this project shot.


One of the first things that people doing research into tilt shift lenses these days come across is mention of a DIY tilt setup. This usually entails using a medium format lens on a (D)SLR, often in conjunction with a toilet plunger, to achieve the tilt effect.


That's how I first came across this lens with such an alluring name... Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar...ah Zeiss... I know that name... but back then, the going price for these guys ($150 and upwards) was still "expensive" so I ended up purchasing its clone, the Volna-3 80mm f2.8. Fast forward a few months, and I have my first Pentacon Six TL with a couple of lenses, including this Biometar. The allure of the Zeiss/Planar design bokeh and the possibility of adapting it to a DSLR via a tilt adapter was too strong, and if I were going to get some MF lenses, why not grab an MF body along the way, no? After all, it's usually cheaper to buy a cam/lens set than to just buy the lenses.


Fast forward another several months, and I got me pretty much the whole range of the CZJ optics, as well as a dedicated tilt/shift lens for the Pentacon Six format. And a Hasselblad kit, too. Seriously, I do feel like that Heroine addict asking myself "Now how the hell did I end up here??" :-D


The CZJ Biometar is the East German equivalent of the Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 designed for Hasselblad, et al. They're definitely not the same lenses, but really close enough, and optically speaking, they are neck to neck in performance [source].


It is a Xenotar type modified gauss/planar design, just like the Ai-Nikkor 105/2.5 from the other day [source]. The black MC version has significantly better flare control compared to the zebra version that preceded it. It is great on a Pentacon Six or a Kiev/P6 mount medium format camera, and it is great on a full frame DSLR with some help from a Hartblei tilt adapter.


It's just a damn fine lens, period.


Huh, this got explored, too... weird :-D But thanks y'all

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Taken on December 10, 2009