Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 is a classic Tessar made by Carl Zeiss Jena. This specimen came with the Praktica Super TL camera, and was assembled in a "bicyclic" zebra case, characteristic of that time.

April 25, 2022 - 120th Anniversary of the Lens Circuitry. In 1902, Paul Rudolph patented a scheme that is still used today, and is no less common than simple triplets, however, giving, with its simplicity, high sharpness and image contrast. The scheme is so popular that many other lenses have been made from it. Such as Industars, or Nikkor. In modern mobile optics, you can also often find microscopic lenses tessar... The basic design of the lens and the production of ordinary glass gives an aperture of f / 3.5, however, with the introduction of super-heavy crowns, the design already gives out f / 2.8.

therefore Tessar 50mm f / 2.8 can be considered more advanced than its earlier variations. By the way, the same is with the Soviet Industars - the basic models Industar-22, Industar-50 and Industar 50-2 have aperture ratio of f / 3.5. After the start of the production of super-heavy types of glass and their use in optics, Industars with a maximum aperture of f / 2.8 appeared and began to be mass-produced in the USSR.

czj tessar

Carl Zeiss Jena produced a lot of optics and the proposals were not limited only Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50... Sonnar, Pancolar and some other developments were on sale. After the division of Germany into West and East, Zeiss Jena released lenses under the name "aus Jena" while litigation with Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH over the Carl Zeiss Jena brand lasted. The Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 in the bicyclic zebra case has been replaced on the market by the Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 in the black case. In total, you can find several modifications of this lens:

  • Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 mm f / 2.8
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 mm f / 2.8 semiautomatic
  • Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 50 mm f / 2.8 - zebra
  • Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 50 mm f / 2.8 - Black
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar T 50 mm f / 2.8 - coated
  • Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 mm f / 2.8 - zebra
  • Early versions of the Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f / 3.5

DDR Tessar was produced in the occupation zone of the allies of the anti-Hitler coalition, and optics were produced in Jena under the auspices of the Soviet Union. Which lens of them is considered original, I think, is not important - both were made by the Germans, using German technologies. In general, the lens is not bad, sharp, as expected by the scheme. Collected neatly, it looks quite graceful. The lenses are not large, the front one is recessed in the body, the body around it forms a hood. There are only five blades of the lens diaphragm; when clamped, it forms a pentagon. The petals are dark gray, glare in the sun. The diaphragm is controlled by the ring closest to the camera, the ratchet is soft and almost silent.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50

Tessar 2.8 / 50 zebra was produced for threaded connections M42, Exacta. This version with blinking aperture, under M42, from the Praktica Super TL camera. To preview the depth of field, a plate is displayed on the side of the lens. Many do not like the lens because of the strange and illogical design of the diaphragm. It is so capricious that the slightest contamination of the mechanism causes the petals to slow down, or even completely, their suspension. The issue with the diaphragm is solved quite simply, if not for one thing - you need to be very careful not to bend the details of the mechanism. In more detail, the issue of servicing the diaphragm assembly, as well as disassembling the lens, is shown in the following article:

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50

If it weren't for the idiotic diaphragm actuator, the Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 would be a great tool for every day. But in addition to the jumper assembly, the very design of the helicoid drive can also play a trick in this lens. It consists of three parts, two of which are connected by an intermediate ring. Over time, the ring loosens, and the transfer of force to the helicoid no longer occurs. The ring simply scrolls around its axis. In general, the diaphragm and focus rings move smoothly and accurately, the thread for this is very thin under the rings, but therefore it is also demanding on lubrication.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50

Tessar 2.8 / 50 can be adjusted to slightly decrease the focusing distance, if you are not afraid of the fact that the helicoid thread will open at a minimum distance, since the skirt of the body with the optical block extends 3-5mm. The lens has a slight overshoot to infinity, the values ​​on the depth-of-field scale are approximate. Basically, this lens can be used for hip-type street photography. The minimum focusing distance allows you to take pictures from closer distances than, for example, those of the Industar-50 SLR from the USSR.

Tessar 50mm f / 2.8

A 50mm lens, such as this Tessara, has a focal length that gives approximately the same picture as what we see with our own eyes. A versatile focal length that will allow you to shoot a portrait and shoot something specific. However, I find 35mm or 40mm more versatile. The coverage is greater. Vkusovschina)

czj tessar


Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 shots from the open aperture in the center, sharpness rises to f / 4 at the edges. In general, color rendering does not suffer, and it is pleasant to shoot with this glass. Blurring the out-of-focus area is not the most artistic, even harsh, but this scheme gained its popularity primarily because it offers an extremely sharp solution at the lowest cost (only four lenses).

Tessar 2.8 / 50

The front lens does not rotate when focusing. The front cover fits from Helios 44-2. For use on modern cameras, the diaphragm pusher must be removed or clamped. Both Canon and Sony have flange adapters, with which you can save yourself from this procedure. Read the article about adapters.

Sample photo Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 zebra

Shot with Sony A7 and A7MII, processed in Capture One.


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