View Full Version : Zeiss, B&L Protar - what focal lengths?

Christopher Perez
14-Jun-2005, 11:44
Couple quick question regarding Protar lenses -

- Someone have a link to information on Protar lenses (I googled, but couldn't find what I was looking for)?

- Starting at 18cm (8x10), what focal lengths were available?

- Which were offered in shutters (and which shutters)?

- Were the licensed versions made by other companies more or less common than the versions made by Zeiss (and what were they)?

On-line information indicates that the Protar was superceded by "better" designs. But the Protar we tested actually did very well. Particularly when you consider the coverage of the lens. What did I miss?

Christopher Perez
14-Jun-2005, 12:19
Specifically: Protar Series V

Dan Fromm
14-Jun-2005, 12:23
Licensees included B&L (US), Ross (UK), Krauss (France). Production volumes unknown.

Chris, perhaps its time you got a copy of the Vade Mecum.



Ernest Purdum
14-Jun-2005, 13:12
In a 1908 catalogue, I find B&L listings for sizes over the 8X10 to be 10 1/2", 12 1/4", 15 3/8", 18", 24 3/4" and 37 1/4". The reason that such large sizes were made is that in the very early years these lenses were used for copying work. The largest size was rated for 22" X 25". All sizes over 8x10 are very infrequently seen on the market.

It is uncommon to find any of these lenses in shutters. The front and lrear glasses werre vry close to each other, leaving little room for a shutter. I think I remember some being offered in "Volute" shutters. In these, the shutter blades also served as the diaphragm, so they required less space than most. Occasionally, a Series V would be mounted in front of a shutter, but unless the shutter was very large in relation to the lens, vignetting would occur.

"Better" depends on your criteria. Most lenses are "better" in regards aperture. Hardly any are "better" in regards compactness, which is the main reason these ancient optics are still in demand. "Better sharpness and other image factors came about only comparatively recently

Ole Tjugen
14-Jun-2005, 14:27
From a German book (1910), all fl's in cm:

Zeiss Protar f:9 - 9.5, 12, 15, 17, 20, 23, 27, 32 - about 90 degrees coverage.

Zeiss Doppelprotar Serie VII, single elements: 18, 22, 29, 35, 41, 48, 59, 69; for comboned lengths from 10.5 to 40cm.

Slightly cheaper was
Zeiss Doppelprotar Serie IV, single elements: 15,19, 23, 25, 30, 35, 43, 50, 60, 70. One element less than Serie VII due to new glasses. So it was probably better.

And the wide-angle:
Zeiss Protar f:18: 6, 8.5, 11, 14, 18, 21, 27, 32. Angle of coverage 110 degrees. Note that Ziss Jena lenses were not marked "Serie V", I have only seen that on B&L versions!

Zeiss Jena made Apo-Tessar and Apo-Planar for reproduction work, no repro-Protars are noted.

Steve J Murray
14-Jun-2005, 14:35
I have a series V "B&L Zeiss Protar" Which has inscribed also "8x10." Its front mounted in an Ilex shutter. In use it seems to have a focal length of about 6.5 to 7 inches. I've never figured it out exactly. F stops range from 18 to 90. Needs to be at least at f22 or you get chromatic aberrations.

Jim Galli
14-Jun-2005, 14:53
From a page in my 1913 B&L Catalog:<b>


Jim Galli
14-Jun-2005, 14:56

Michael Dowdall
15-Jun-2005, 04:55

Here's a link with some older lens manufactures catalogs.



Jim Ewins
15-Jun-2005, 21:50
I think Ron Wisner has info on his web site about Protars. He thinks well of them. wisner.com I think