Post War Contax Sonnar 2/85 question - Jena vs. Oberkochen

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by vidom, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. A 2/85 Sonnar is the last lens I need to complete my Contax RF
    outfit. I'd want a user. After WWII both Zeiss Jena and Zeiss
    Oberkochen made Sonnar 2/85 lenses for Contax RF. AFAIK Zeiss Jena
    didn't change the pre war design so their's is a T-coated 6 element
    lens. Zeiss Oberkochen seems to have changed the design, it's a 7
    element lens. Any difference in performance? Has anyone used both?
    What kind of "fingerprint" can be expected?

  2. I have both (also the version for Contarex & the 85/2 Nikkor-P in Nikon RF mount, which is another Sonnar variant) & haven't noticed any real difference in performance or "fingerprint," but perhaps those w/more discerning eyes can weigh in. I can certainly see a difference between the 2 post-war versions & the pre-war, but that's obviously due to the coating.
  3. FWIW, here are a couple examples that I have on-line, both taken wide-open. CZJ 8.5cm/2 (c.1946-48), Delta 400 @ 1600, 1/15th sec. @ f/2: [​IMG] CZ 85/2 (Contarex version, c. 1961-65, same formula as that for Contax RF), NPZ @ 800, 1/500th sec. @ f/2: [​IMG]
  4. I have the Opton Sonnar version (West German)which is very heavy and solidly built. Was the Jena (East German??)version made of light weight alloy which is not as durable??
  5. Yes, like (nearly) all Eastern bloc lenses, there was the unfortunate choice of aluminum. These lenses need to have a good amount of lubrication to protect the helicals.

    At one time, I had the East German version. Optically, a very fine lens, although the focus had several rough spots. In retrospect, I should have kept the lens and disassembled and relubed it.

    In general, I concur with Christopher regarding the performance of the prewar and postwar lenses. There isn't much discernible difference, although the coating of the postwar lens gives it an advantage.

    However, both benefit from a lens hood, because that huge front element is sitting right out front, just begging to flare.
  6. Per James's & Mike's posts, I have the Zeiss-Opton post-WWII version (purchased from H. Scherer, BTW), & I don't consider it to be "very heavy," @ least compared to the pre-WWII version (now *that's* a hefty lens--IME, only the chrome 8.5cm/2 Nikkor-P is comparable in mass). The W. German Zeiss-Opton & Carl Zeiss Sonnars are only slightly heavier than the E. German CZJ version. The Z-O/CZ are certainly finished in a higher-quality alloy & chrome barrel than the CZJ, but they aren't made from the same combination of brass & chrome as the pre-WWII Sonnar, which feels like it was machined out of solid lead.
  7. Compared with an early Leitz Summicron 2/90 any of the Sonnars must be a lightweight. Now I'm looking forward for a CZJ post war Sonnar I bougtht on eBay. I already have a Contax mount Jupiter 9; I had bought it hoping that it could fill the gap between 50 and 135 mm, but it's crap mechanically and I haven't succeeded getting a single sharp picture with it. Maybe I try to repair it.
  8. regarding the Jupiter lens ... maybe the problem with it is that someone already has tried to repair it.
  9. Mike, my Jupiter 9 had approx. 4mm play in the helix when I got it, so focussing was a real challenge. After I found directions for maintenance on the web I disassembled the lens last night (with my Sonnar on the way there was not much damage to be expected even when I messed up the repair); it was full of hardened gunk. After cleaning, greasing and reassembling the lens, there was no play anymore . I think it will work fine now, but there still may be some adjustment necessary to get the infinity focus right. I'll keep on experimenting.

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