Help I'm new to Rollei - Xenotar, Tessar, Xenar, Planar?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by joe_lacy, Jan 9, 2001.

  1. I've read through the threads and there is mention of Xenotar vs
    Planar but no mention of Tessar and Xenar? Why?

    Are the Tessar & Xenar's on the same level as the Xenotar vs Planar
    with no REAL differences in sharpness?

    Tessar=Xenar
    Planar=Xenotar

    Typically what are the price points of equal condition bodies with
    these lenses.

    Thanks for helping, I bought my first Rollei today and now wondering
    if I bought the wrong thing.

    Joe (a Pentax 645 guy)
     
  2. I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, but this is what I've found. The Zeiss Planar is the "crown jewel" of the Rollei lenses; it's one of the sharpest lenses you'll ever lay hands on. The Xenotar is a copy that is said to be the Planar's near equal or is slightly superior, depending on who you to talk to. The Schnieder Xenotar is a great lens but probably has a bit looser quality control than the Zeiss.

    The Tessar is the lower cost consumer lens from Zeiss; it has fewer elements and isn't as sharp as the Planar, but stopped down, it's still a tack sharp lens (say @ f8 or better). Ditto for the Xenar (the Schneider equiv. of the Tessar).

    I own a 125$, 1953 Rolleicord IV with a Xenar; this camera with it's "modest" lens is capable of stunning results if used properly (lens hood used to reduce flare and stopped down to sharpen things up). No matter what lens you have, I think you'll find that used properly, you'll be able to astound yourself.

    Douglas M. Elick
     
  3. Joe,
    You should take a look at the Rolleiflex www page of Torbjorn Aase, a Norwegian Rolleiflex owner. It is a great site and you will find much information and comparisons of the different optics that have been installed on Rollei cameras. The url is
    http://www.foto.no/rolleiflex/Rollei-9.html
     
  4. Joe, Photographic Optics by Arthur Cox (formerly of Taylor, Taylor & Hobson) lists the Schneider Xenar 75mm f3.5 under the section, "Cooke Triplet Lenses & Allied Types." He shows it as four elements in three groups, with cemented rear doublet. Owing to an apparent typo, the only entry for the Carl Zeiss Tessar identifies it as a zoom (!) but of course it is also a classic example of a four element triplet. He does correctly reference the same schematic, though, as for the Xenar. The 75mm. f3.5 Carl Zeiss Planar is shown as a five element "symmetrical" lens (it is really not quite symmetrical--two elements on one side of the diaphragm, three on the other). The 80mm f2.8 Planar is shown as six elements, three on each side of the diaphragm, but still not very close to symmetrical. The Planar, of course, is a very highly corrected design invented by Paul Rudolph at Zeiss, around 1890. The 75mm f3.5 Schneider Xenotar is shown as a very nearly symmetrical six-element, with the classic single front and rear elements, and a cemented doublet on each side of the diaphragm. It is a Planar type lens. Owning to this more advanced design the Planar and Xenotar are more highly corrected for abberations and have lower distortion.

    Regards,
     
  5. Joe, I bought a Rolleiflex 2.8C with a Xenotar a few months back and was concerned as you are as to if I had mad a lens mistake, especially as a friend told me that I "should have got a Planar". (I use Leica and Hasselblad). But now 6 months down the line I am thrilled with the Xentotar, the colour slides it produces are really excelent and b/w has a distinct look all of its own, soft and sharp. You will not look back, well done!
     
  6. Thanks so much to all that responded. Rollei owners seem to be a nice breed. If I would have asked that question Canon VS Nikon, I would have been flamed to a burning cinder. Thank you for your patient.

    Seems to me, the legendary quality of the body and these optics should command a legendary higher price. I have NOT found that to be the case, the optics whether Tessar or Xenar, Planar or Xenotar still carry name brand of Zeiss and Schneider. We are not talking Tamrom, Vivitar or Tokina here. This is not about Ford vs. Chevy but about Ferrari vs. Lamborghini.

    The classic body style is another advantage I see. The Rollei TLR design has changed little in the way of form and pure function over time. It's hard to improve over an obvious winning design.

    I, like most of you (assuming) come from various format worlds into Rollei and do so for various reasons. I come to Rollei from a Pentax 645 world where the colors of my prints hold only two. We've all been down the 35mm path.

    My goal for my new systems are simple. Sharper, better bokeh, creamy smooth B&W images that enhance my eye for fine art photography. While my Pentax 645 is certainly capable of producing stunning images, my hopes would be something abit more as I move into the Zeiss / Schneider world, so I have made the quantive leap.

    I have decided rather than to wage a war on which it better, to view the results first hand. Yesterday I purchased a
    Rollei with a serial number of 1268xxx. I am assuming it is the Rolleiflex 3,5 A Automat Rolleiflex Model 4 Rolleiflex MX (type 1) with the Xenar. Also, this camera I believe has Rolleikin option which allows for switching easily from 35mm roll film to cine film. While most of what I produce in the studio and location is shot at F8 or greater. It will very interesting to see the final prints in comparison to P645. Ultimately, the proof is in the final print, not in the name the body/lens carries. The astonishing low cost of $150.00 USD obviously understates the elegance and optics of such a fine instrument.

    My plans include a second purchase this week. I have located a low cost near mint Model C with a 2.8 Planar #1467xxx. My tests will include this body/lens combination as well f8, tripod, my personal E.I. from my Pentax. I will be very interested in the results. The Xenar obviously is 1/2 the costs of the Planar. I doubt, though I'm open to see, double the image quality for over double the cost. After all is said and done, it's really about the final image out of the fixer, not whether the lens carries an X, T, or P on the lens.


    Joe
     
  7. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like."
    The rest is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  8. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  9. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  10. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  11. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  12. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  13. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  14. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  15. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  16. Joe,

    I just got home with my latest batch of b&w prints taken with the old trusty Rolleiflex C, 2.8 Planar. The lens is wonderful. I found that
    people are blown away by the contrast, colours, tones and detail of this Zeiss lens. The Schneider lenses are right up there too. Really no
    huge difference. I think Marc James Small (Zeiss Historical Society) said it best; "I have never met a ZEISS lens I did not like." The rest
    is up to you. Go for the "C".
     
  17. Yikes Joe. Sorry. Did not mean to have this post show up often.
    Apologies to everyone. I thought it was not going through. Now I know better.
     
  18. I have owned and tried these lenses on Rollei's: Triotar 4,5 - 3,8 - 3,5. Tessar 4,5 - 3,8 - 3,5. Xenar 3,5 - Xenotar 3,5 (6 element version) Planar 3,5 (6 element version)- 2,8. All of them are sharp lenses of high quality, even the cheaper Triotar.

    The Planars and Xenotars are a little sharper than the Tessar and Xenar fully open. If you step down to 8-11 I don't think you can see a difference between them. The Planar is not better than the Xenotar, in fact, some people think that the Xenotar gives better contrast and more beautiful bokéh than the Planar.
     
  19. I found a thread from Pop Photo in 1956. Seems like they say it all there. Whew!

    http://www.listquest.com/lq/view.cgi?ln=rollei&mid=1764&sp=&q=rolleiflex+%22c%22&b=1&s=1&o=0&x=26&y=12
     
  20. I realize that the Planar vs. Xenotar debate will rage on forever, but I was told by a tech who used to work for Rollei USA in the 70's that there is no question that Schneider glass (Xenotar) is superior to Zeiss (Planar). He told me that everyone at Rollei knew it, but Zeiss glass was more popular in the US, so Zeiss kept getting the long term contracts.

    He said that time and again Rollei would bait Schneider with a short-term bid for a few thousand lenses, and Schneider knew that they had to outperform Zeiss in order to win a long-term contract. So the Xenotar lenses were manufactured with higher quality glass and had better quality in regards to lens pairing. But Schneider didn't sell as well as Zeiss in the US so more Planar lenses were produced and Schneider never got any long-term contracts (In Europe however, Schneider is favored).

    He said that all you have to do is put the lenses up to a collameter and the difference is obvious.
     
  21. This is a very funny old thread..

    Photography Magazine on page 24 May 1953; has a tools and techniques page by Norman C Lipton... It details the introduction of the New Rolleiglex 2.8C with its "electronic brain calculatored" advanced lens design of the Xenotar 80mm F2.8 lens; which only took 2 years to compute.. ; versus a pre war time of 10 years....

    Thus the debut of the 80mm F2.8 was the Xenotar.....Later the Planar from Zeiss was brought into the Rollie as a second source lens ; ie a 2nd source for the Xenotar in the Rollei......Kelly
     
  22. I have used each of the Rollei lenses over the past 40 years. They are all superb quality. The Xenar is very good but lacks the old world
    quality if the Tessar. I love the Tessar's presentation of black and white portraits. There is a reason the Xenar is the lens of the cord.
    When it comes to Xenotar and planar there such little difference in resolution it is not worth argument. For my preference or is the Xenotar
    because it is a bit more contrasty. I like using it in outdoor black and white scenes and get amazing results. Presently I own six of these
    cameras including the FX and my choice remains with the 1961 F3 with the Xenotar 80mm
     

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