A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Started Jun 16, 2018 | Discussions
backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?
4

In the last few days I've spent some time with my Carl Zeiss Pro Tessar family (35/85/115) from the Contaflex SLR series.

Adapted Carl Zeiss Pro Tessar 4/115 on a DIY mount plus M42 helicoid.

I must say, they really do exhibit a lot of Zeiss qualities, albeit not in all categories like modern glass, but that cannot be expected from glass that is 60 years old.

On the other hand I was very much surprised how well these old gems can keep up with modern lenses.

Here are some samples:

3.2/35 wide open

3.2/35 Crop

4/115

If you're interested, you can read more in my (non commercial, amateur) blog here .

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,332
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

These front mounting Contaflex converters are rather good lenses.  However, you missed the most innovative one, the Pro-Tessar 1:1 Macro.  Wish you could find one in good condition.

Your adapter is also interesting.  Would you please share some information?  BTW, what the Contaflex lens you have?  Earlier and later Contaflex lenses are kind of different in terms of optical quality.

CK

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,469
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?
1

I donโ€™t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

hmm...

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MattParvin.com
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Lightshow
Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 7,563
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?
2

Mathieu18 wrote:

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

hmm...

Nudge...

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MattParvin.com
It’s a lot easier to post a photo than it is to write 1,000 words...
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OP backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Ching-Kuang Shene wrote:

These front mounting Contaflex converters are rather good lenses. However, you missed the most innovative one, the Pro-Tessar 1:1 Macro. Wish you could find one in good condition.

Your adapter is also interesting. Would you please share some information? BTW, what the Contaflex lens you have? Earlier and later Contaflex lenses are kind of different in terms of optical quality.

CK

Thanks CK,

I wish I could find a good 1:1 Macro too, but they're quite expensive (in comparison that is).

As you can find out in my blog article, they're all the later kind (as far as I know, because they're f/3.2 lenses not f/4 as they were initially).

Since I don't have any f/4 versions of the 35 or 85 I can't compare. I can only say that I'm very satisfied with my lenses' performance.

Rolf

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
OP backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?
1

Mathieu18 wrote:

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

hmm...

Sorry about that ;-).

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
GnarlydogOZ
GnarlydogOZ Senior Member • Posts: 1,366
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

backsidewalkaround wrote:

In the last few days I've spent some time with my Carl Zeiss Pro Tessar family (35/85/115) from the Contaflex SLR series.

Adapted Carl Zeiss Pro Tessar 4/115 on a DIY mount plus M42 helicoid.

I must say, they really do exhibit a lot of Zeiss qualities, albeit not in all categories like modern glass, but that cannot be expected from glass that is 60 years old.

On the other hand I was very much surprised how well these old gems can keep up with modern lenses.

Here are some samples:

3.2/35 wide open

3.2/35 Crop

4/115

If you're interested, you can read more in my (non commercial, amateur) blog here .

thank you again for an excellent article: not just a few random low-quality lunchtime shots. Well written, comprehensive and useful for others if they want to try themselves. And as usual the images are great, nice variety with different lighting situations.

Less measurebating (none here, actually) more compelling evidence through decent images.

OP backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

GnarlydogOZ wrote:

thank you again for an excellent article: not just a few random low-quality lunchtime shots. Well written, comprehensive and useful for others if they want to try themselves. And as usual the images are great, nice variety with different lighting situations.

Less measurebating (none here, actually) more compelling evidence through decent images.

Thanks Damiano,

I appreciate it. Especially coming from a fellow vintage lens addict ;-).

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
Travis Butler
Travis Butler Senior Member • Posts: 1,511
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Mathieu18 wrote:

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

I don’t need another project.

hmm...

I know.

I saw the 85/4 and 115/4 at a sale this morning, but they were over $80 each, with the corresponding Contaflex for $135. They looked like good glass, but I wanted to make sure I could adapt them before even thinking about buying; I'm glad I waited to check.

They look intriguing, and it seems possible to adapt - all the parts are there. But it looks way more involved than I currently have the time/energy for.

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Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,332
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

For historical reasons, the Contaflex Pro-Tessar 1:1 macro is one of the very first 1:1 capable macro lens for 35mm SLR's, earlier than most if not all Japanese lenses.  I have a post of this lens here.  If I recall correctly, the first 1:1 macro lens for 35mm SLR was the Nikon Micro-Nikkor 5.5cm f/3.5.

CK

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Lou Lenslover New Member • Posts: 2
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

I have a Carl Zeiss 29mm made for a contaflex camera.  Have you any idea if there is an adapter for this lens to micro four thirds?

Heritage Cameras
Heritage Cameras Senior Member • Posts: 1,847
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Lou Lenslover wrote:

I have a Carl Zeiss 29mm made for a contaflex camera. Have you any idea if there is an adapter for this lens to micro four thirds?

I don't think there was ever a 29mm lens made for the Contaflex cameras... do you mean Jenaflex, by any chance? If your lens looks like this:

Carl Zeiss Jena 28mm f/2.8 wide angle lens for Praktica B and Jenaflex cameras

...then it's Praktica B fitting, and manual adapters are widly available for Micro Four Thirds. If it's a different lens, then a picture will help to identify it.

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Dave, HCL

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Lou Lenslover New Member • Posts: 2
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Great Pictures.  I would be interested in your DIY MOUNT.  How did you come up with it? Do you have instructions somewhere?

OP backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

Lou Lenslover wrote:

Great Pictures. I would be interested in your DIY MOUNT. How did you come up with it? Do you have instructions somewhere?

In the first post of this thread is a link to an article I wrote about the whole thing, including some hints to how to make an adapter.

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,905
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

I have a 25/50/85 set but never had enough energy to try to start to adapt them. The photos look pretty. I will have to come back to it later!

OP backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 202
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

fferreres wrote:

I have a 25/50/85 set but never had enough energy to try to start to adapt them. The photos look pretty. I will have to come back to it later!

I don't think there is a 25 and a 50 for the ContaFLEX series. I think you got it mixed up with the Contarex - in this case you won't get 3 lenses for 60 bucks ;-\, more like 2000. Also adaption isn't a problem. You can buy adapters on ebay for a few dollars. 
The Contaflex lenses cerainly aren't as good as the Contarex ones, but they're good enough to be interesting, especially for the price. No one wants to bother with adaption.

 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,905
Re: A Trinity of Zeiss lenses for 60 bucks?

backsidewalkaround wrote:

fferreres wrote:

I have a 25/50/85 set but never had enough energy to try to start to adapt them. The photos look pretty. I will have to come back to it later!

I don't think there is a 25 and a 50 for the ContaFLEX series. I think you got it mixed up with the Contarex - in this case you won't get 3 lenses for 60 bucks ;-\, more like 2000.

25 was a typo. Isn’t the 50mm attaches to the camera? I bough one broken as I’d require the rear element part anyway for all 3. Can it be possible I also have a 135mm one?

Also adaption isn't a problem. You can buy adapters on ebay for a few dollars.

I have two Contarex lenses. One came as I put a purchase for a Contax 85/2, and a Contarex 85/2 arrived in place of it. The other is a 135/2.8 “Olympia”.

The Contaflex lenses cerainly aren't as good as the Contarex ones, but they're good enough to be interesting, especially for the price. No one wants to bother with adaption.

๐Ÿ˜‚ I did. I have the lenses. One of them has some minor separation. I like that they are big chunks of glass. They may not be better, but they certainly are distinct from the 155,000 other Planar, Flektogon, Biogon, Sonnar, Tessar, Pancolar, etc. The images are definitely vintage looking, in a very good way.

Right now I have a Robot Biogon sitting, which arrived with all the apertures mangled and stiff and other issues, that was a huge challenge as some screws rot or were so brittle I had to remove them by slowly making them dust. I still haven’t figured out how the lens works, being very old it’s an odd logic.

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