Reinventing the Tessar Lens

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by davecaz, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Has anyone else run across >this< on KickStarter? Someone in Atlanta apparently has convinced 62 people that it's worth spending $600+ on a new lens that doesn't seem to be any different than the millions of Tessar lenses that already exist, aside from having modern lens mounts.

    It's still completely manual and has no electrical contacts, and it's only an f/2.8. Or, as the fundee puts it, f/2,8. Very European for someone in the Deep South.

    I"m not seeing the attraction. What am I missing?
  2. You're missing the fact that there are a lot of suckers out there.
  3. Actually existing Tessars in easy to adapt "donor" mounts (e.g., M42, M39, even NIkon) can cost as little as $20 on eBay.
    Here is a less-easily adapted M40 (Praktiflx mount) Tessar.


    Another possibility is the Soviet Industar versions of prewar Tessars.
  4. Tremendous hype...I can't say I've ever come across that snippet of information before, and I've read a heck of a lot about Tessar lenses. I'm sure the Citograph 50 will find a market with an new, less skeptical generation of photographers; after all, look at all those lovely sample photographs it's produced!
  5. Well, there are, but I just don't think there are enough people that foolish to make it worthwhile. He's only got 62 signed up and the campaign is almost over.

    I know. That's kind of my point. How can people who want to use film cameras or film camera lenses on MFT cameras be unaware of that?
    Lol, yeah I wasn't too impressed with the samples, either.
  6. and now for something entirely different. . . Some where in the back of my brain is a quote attributed to P.T. Barum, but it's not coming thru. . . Just checked Ebay & for about $81 (USD) one can get a CLA'd Fed-2 with an Industar 61 lens (Tessar I believe!) delivered. A bit under $600 for sure!. Oh, the I-61 is not a sloutch! Aloha, Bill 2k17-002-006 ces3.jpg
    Julio Fernandez and James Bryant like this.
  7. Excellent case in point.

    Would you be trying to recall the quote that "There's a sucker born every minute", by any chance?
  8. Of course, possibly the smallest Tessar design is the 50mm KMZ Industar 50-2 f/3.5 which is available for less than lunch money on Ebay. I've very fond of this tiny lens, (though one doesn't dare point it at a bright sky); it has a very distinctive way of rendering colour, and it's pretty sharp stopped down to around f/5.6, though individual copies tend to vary dramatically in quality. Here's a pic of the lens, and a sample image.

    Industar 50-2

    Industar 50-2.jpg

    Down West

    Western Lake Pnet.jpg

    Julio Fernandez likes this.
  9. Well, to be entirely correct, the Zeiss Tessar wasn't "often referred to as 'the adlerauge.'"
    It was called that once by an advertising copywriter, in a magazine ad sometime in the 1930s.
    Which would explain why you haven't run across that snippet before. :)
    To be fair, this actually looks like a nicely made lens. It's just not functionally different from the manual focus Chinese lenses available on Amazon for $150 or less.
  10. Thank you Dave. . .the words did manifest themselves several hours after my PM meds (Ginko & Prevegen). . .guess I sucked up toooo many hypo fumes over the years! Aloha, Bill
  11. That's a very cool looking lens, and I do like the look of the sample photo provided. I'm just not sure how much of the look of the photo to attribute to the lens, how much to the lighting conditions, and how much to the wizard behind the camera.
  12. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I would also give the little Industar-50-2 high marks for the money. My copy seems exceptionally good; I'd even rate it among the best standard lenses I own, if not the most convenient to use.

    The original press-on "trumpet" hood (shown below) is very effective, though the hood will vignette slightly when combined with a filter.

  13. I HAD to have the 45mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-P, and thought I was paying a lot for it at $350 or so. This lens got a lot of flack when Nikon introduced it in 2000 because it was ~$600 for a Tessar.

    For the money, though, I have a Tessar lens that's smaller and lighter than the one here made by a reputable optics manufacturer and will meter and otherwise give full compatibility with every Nikon made since 1977(except, apparently, the most recent D3x00 cameras). It can't meter with non-AI cameras as the aperture ring is too narrow for a coupling shoe.

    The 45mm 2.8 GN is only a little bigger and DOES have a coupling shoe although no CPU. Still, it will meter with all MF Nikons and with the better AF and digital cameras.

    Despite the fact that the 45mm AI-P is overpriced even on the used market, I'd still take it any day over a $600 lens of the same formula from an unknown maker.
  14. Another vote for Industar-50, but in collapsible version. Along with the Elmar it must be one of the smallest Tessar-type designs for old cameras. I understand that the Industar-22 is similar.

  15. I don't think that the Elmar is a Tessar. It is a 4/3 design, but I believe that it is arranged quite differently from what we're used to in a Tessar where the cemented doublet is the rearmost element.

    I've had my fair share of Zeiss Tessars as well as their equivalent from bunches of different makers including Schneider, Nikon, and even Kodak. I own them in coverage from 35mm up to 4x5. My Elmar(which is uncoated) has a subtly different look from comparable Tessars. Neither is bad-in fact I'd dare say that I prefer the Tessar-but I don't think it's the same design.
  16. Really like the little 45mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Tessar. When paired with the light compact Yashica Fx-3 Super 2000, it makes a coat pocket friendly package.
  17. Of course Ben. I was thinking of the classic 4 elements, 3 groups design, shared by the Elmar, Tessar and a number of other normal lenses (for instance Solinar, Xenar, Skopar). "Tessar" was propietary to Zeiss if I am not mistaken.
  18. The Elmar and Tessar are visually identical. Both have the cemented doublet at the back; BUT the Elmar's diaphragm is between the 1st and 2nd elements, while the Tessar's is between the 2nd and the doublet.
    Maybe that was just enough difference to allow Leitz to avoid paying royalties to Zeiss.

  19. @scott I am glad you provided this info as I also was about to add this, but wanted to re-read it. I read up on this last week, but my feeble brain can no longer retain info...just that it was indeed "not" the Tessar . Another interesting point was ..Barnack tested a 35mm version of the lens but it was built for 24x24 and so it was unsuitable for the desired coverage. Therefore he was "forced!" to develop the Elmar in-house.

    Stephen Gandy wrote something similar in reference to the development of the Contax. It was developed after the Leica was eating ZI's lunch for a hand held 35mm. In this article he points out how Zeiss had to make everything "different" on purpose to avoid any patent infringements etc. Think vertical shutter reverse focusing etc

    This "anything but" approach was employed in marketing with the post war Contax "a" versions to be sure the public knew their new version was the fully developed next generation in a new production not the old design...Note the tag


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