View Full Version : Carl Zeiss Jena 175mm Tessar

Tony Lovell
9-Jul-2005, 03:26
I recently purchased a Kodak No. 3 camera with a Carl Zeiss Jena Nr 144511 Tessar F=17,5 DRP 142294 lens. I'm planning to use the camera with 120 film by using a mask to give me 6 x 14 format (I have done this before). Can anyone give me any information on the quality of the lens. The lens is in a compound shutter which appears to be working correctly and the lens is in good condition with no marks.

Ernest Purdum
9-Jul-2005, 07:35
Although there have been improvements over the years, the basic Tessar design is one of the best ever. If you can do without coating, and don't intend to do huge blowups, it should do fine.

Paul Fitzgerald
9-Jul-2005, 10:06

If it is a Tessar IIb / 6.3 I think you will suprised at the quality of image, a good lens shade is needed. Coverage should be more then enough for 6x14.

Have fun with it

CP Goerz
9-Jul-2005, 12:21
Since you don't have the lens already you may want a quick preview of what to expect...a cheap way to do this is look through the bottom of those old Coke bottles, you'll be surprised at just how similar it is! ;-)

CP Goerz.

Tony Lovell
9-Jul-2005, 12:32
Thank you for the replies which have give me some encouragement to carry out some testing.

I had in mind doing some colour negative work and some reasonably large prints, but presumably a lens of this age may not be suitable for colour work?

Ernest Purdum
9-Jul-2005, 15:30
"a lens of this age may not be suitable for colour work?"

This is a common misconception, Photographic lenses have always had to be corrected for colour. If they were not, green would focus an image on one plane, blue on another, and so on. The result would be a very fuzzy picture. For many years, most black and white films have been panchromatic, meaning that they are sensitive to all visual colours.

Dan Fromm
9-Jul-2005, 16:25
"but presumably a lens of this age may not be suitable for colour work?"

Another canard, as you'll discover if you ever try it out with color film.

FWIW, I've recently acquired two B&L Tessar IIbs, one pre-WW1, the others from the early 1920s. I've shot both on EPP on my little 2x3 Speed Graphic. Both front mounted on a reasonably accurate Copal 1. Short answer, they're fine for color. I have slightly better lenses in their focal lengths (6 1/4", around 7"), so probably won't use 'em much, but they're very usable on 2x3.

Tony, the only way to know how a particular old lens will do is to try it out. Good reputations when new are nice, but there's know way of knowing how badly the lens has been abused since it was new. Film's not that expensive, just ask the lens politely and it will tell all it knows.

I'm puzzled about why CP Goerz so dislikes Zeiss lenses in general and Tessars in particular. He may have eaten a bad one when young and impressionable.