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Thread: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

  1. #1
    alanbutler57's Avatar
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    Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    Looking through the Ikon/Ikonta groups on Flikr I notice that I click on a disproportionate number of Novar images. Despite the fact the Tessar is technically the "better" lens, I seem drawn to the less modern look of the Novar.

    Here are a few recent shots, not scientific since the settings and films are different. The first two are PanF with a Novar on a 6x9 Ikon, the other two are HP5 with a Tessar on a 532/16 Super Ikonta. A subjective thing I guess. If memory serves the first three were all shot wide open; 4.5, 4.5, 2.8 while the last one was about F11.

    Looking around I don't see many comparisons of these in the same place so thought I'd post one.








  2. #2

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    Re: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    The Novar is certainly no second rate lens, but you are comparing 6x9 to 6x6; quite a difference there in square inches of film. Also, a fast speed film vs slow speed. Just sayin...

  3. #3

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    Re: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    All my Zeiss Cameras (except the Contax IIa and Box-Tengor) have Tessar lenses, but I'm absolutely flabbergasted by the quality seen in posted images taken with Novar lenses. I would never have believed they could be so good. I wonder if I made a mistake in insisting on 4 elements when buying fine old used cameras.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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    Re: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    We have to be careful when evaluating old folding cameras since rangefinders do not always hold their calibration. When shooting folders which have no rangefinder, exact focus is even harder to achieve. I found this exasperating even with my Mamiya 7. The longer the lens, the worse it can get.

  5. #5

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    Re: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    A small accessory rangefinder can save exasperation, they can be had for very little considering how much film they'll save you. I use a Prazisa with my Novar lensed Ikonta 521.

  6. #6
    alanbutler57's Avatar
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    Re: Zeiss Folders, Novar vs Tessar

    Quote Originally Posted by greginpa View Post
    A small accessory rangefinder can save exasperation, they can be had for very little considering how much film they'll save you. I use a Prazisa with my Novar lensed Ikonta 521.
    Yep, I use a Watameter with my Ikon, screwed a cold shoe from a flip flash into the tripod socket to hold it when I shoot. I've only just gotten a "B" which I understand is very difficult to calibrate, but I periodically check the focus on my "A" and "C" super Ikontas using a ground glass and a nightlight filament. I'm much more concerned with closer in focus than infinity.

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