Post war Contax Triotar 4/85 - opinions welcome!

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by vidom, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. In spite of me already owning two 85 Sonnars and a 85 Jupiter I
    couldn't resist buying a Triotar off eBay because it was cheap, my
    40.5 Filters will fit and I'm curious how it performs compared with my
    trusted LTM Elmar 4/90. I know what it is - a 3-Element triplet - but
    there is not much information available about real life performance.
    I'd normally suspect that a three element lens would easily be
    outperformed by a Tessar type 4-Element lens, but some enthusiastic
    rave about the Triotar (and the fact that Leitz' own 3-element Elmar
    is said to be a better performer than it's 4-element cousin) make me
    wonder. Any real life experience with the post-war Triotar in this
    forum? Anyone else actually using it?
  2. Peter, just read this and click on the link to see some postwar Triotar photos. I wonder why you haven't seen this page already !
  3. @ Nicolas: Of course I found Mike Elek's site but the link to his pics doesn't seem to work with my computer. It seems to me that the Triotar is quite a rare bird because whoever could afford a Contax wolud have the means to buy the Sonnar instead. So while I'm waiting for my one to arrive I'd still be very much interested in other user's experiences. There doesn't seem to be much consensus about this lenses performance; Ivor Matanle rates it an excellent lens, Mike Elek also seems to like his, Stephen Gandy OTOH writes about it's "so so reputatuion". OK, I'll try mine and post some results when I have it.
  4. Peter, I have owned and used a variety of Triotars, ranging from pre-war uncoated versions on Rolleicords through coated postwar versions in Contax, Praktina, and Exakta mounts.

    They have all performed well for me. They were all produced by Zeiss Jena and all fall in the range of 7.5 to 13.5 cm focal length. Most importantly, they all have a modest maximum aperture of f4 to 4.5. I think that is the key with these three element lenses- when pushed to faster f-values by other manufacturers they really fall apart optically. Triotars also seem to me to be among the most color-neutral lenses I have used.
  5. Peter, just use Firefox 1.0.7 not IE 6 as a web browser, and Mike Elek's Triotar photos slideshow will work perfectly for you too.
  6. OK, I was able to see the pics from my office pc. Impressive, as far as it can be judged from looking at the screen. Now I'm looking forward to my one to arrive even more!

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