View Full Version : Carl Zeiss Tessar 150mm f4.5

14-Nov-2004, 22:26
Hi, there

I have a chance to trade in a Carl Zeiss Tessar 150mm f4.5 lense for 4x5. But there is so little information about this lense over internet.

Just wondering if anyone has experience with this lense. Could you please give some information on this lense, sharpness, color (i was told it is single coated), image circle?

Thanks for your attention


Ole Tjugen
15-Nov-2004, 00:38
If it's coated at all, it will probably be a Carl Zeiss Jena lens. These were made by the original CZ factory in Jena, which ended up in East Germany after the war. A daughter factory in Oberkochen was built up by the west, but CZ Oberkochen have produced very few LF lenses. Is there any indication on the lens which factory it's from? Most Jena lenses are marked "Carl Zeiss Jena", while the western lenses are usually not marked as such.

Anyway, a Tessar is a very fine lens of classic construction. Before super-duper-mult-coating made it possible to use many more lens elements they were among the very best lenses, and were used on hundreds of high-end cameras.

One of the easiest ways to find information about image circle and such is to look at one of the clones (yes, the Zeiss Tessar is the original): Schneider Xenar.

Emmanuel BIGLER
15-Nov-2004, 03:10

The rule of thumb to determine the usable image circle of a tessar or xenar view camera lens @f/22 is : diameter = focal length +15%. A modern 6 element quasi-symmetrical lens like the apo-Symmar or Apo-Sironar will cover in diameter its focal length plus 40%.>
So the main limitation of the tessar is an image circle smaller than more modern 6 element lenses.
Otherwise the sharpness at the centre of the field is excellent within an image diameter approximately equal to the focal length. The 15% extra circle exhibits a gradual loss in sharpness that you won't find in a more complex 6-element lens.

Anti-reflection coating exists on Carl Zeiss lenses since the 1930's. For older lenses simply avoid direct exposure of the first lens element to sun rays or bright light spots in the image field. A lens hood of ordinary screw-in type for standard lenses will be welcome. Since you are not allowed to shift more than 15%, an ordinary rigid hood for standard lenses will be OK without too much risk of vignetting.
I do not have any experience on color rendition with view camera tessars but I have my own experience about 6x6 Rolleiflex tessars and xenars made in the 1950's-1960's and coupled with modern fine grain colour slide film. I find color rendition perfect. Bad colours in colour slide films of 1960's were more due to "bad films" of the times than "bad tessar coatings" ;-);-)

J. P. Mose
15-Nov-2004, 05:46

There is also a Linhof Select Carl Zeiss 150mm Tessar (manufactured in the Oberkochen plant in West Germany) that was manufactured for a short period (1958 only). Linhof/Zeiss jacked the price up on this Tessar when the Biogon/Planar/Sonnar were introduced along with it. Literature claims the new and improved Tessar incorporates Schott glass and a recomputed formula (slight changes at the most). It didn't prove to be a big seller (less than 1000 were manufactured from the limited serial number information I have), probably due to the higher price.

I do own one and have compared it with the Linhof select 135mm Planar. While the Planar accelerates at wide open performance, the Tessar has better contrast and actually performs better than the Planar in the F/11 to F/22 range.

This lens was listed in Linhof catalogs beyond the late 1950's due to excess inventory.

J. P. Mose
15-Nov-2004, 05:51
One more note, the image circle is 165mm and uses a 49mm screw-in filter.

K. Nicolaisen
15-Nov-2004, 09:56

Yes, the 150/4,5 Oberkochen is an excellent lens, as are most of the 150/4,5 Jena, made before or after WWII.
Field of view can be anywhere between 130mm and 190mm, depending on your particular lens, your f-stop, and your desired definition.
Zeiss changed their statement from time to time, and with good reason.
I dont hesitate using some front rise in order to include some sky; but to record the tiles on a high tower, or thin branches against the sky is a rather different matter.
I will get central definition in a limited central area only. Still, it is an excellent lens.