View Full Version : Carl Zeiss 135mm F3.5 T* Lens

25-May-2007, 20:53
I just spotted this lens being offered at a used camera store in town and it's a beauty! I'm relative new to 4x5 large format (just got a Ebony 45SU last month) and I am considering adding this lens to my collection. Anyone have any idea how much is a fair price for such a specimen circa May 2007? I tried forum searches but didn't find any information since several years ago! :confused:

Jan Pedersen
25-May-2007, 21:10
Are you sure this lens is a LF format lens? It sounds like a lens for either a Hasselblad or a Rollei MF camera.
The T* smells like an older Hasselblad lens and in case it is, will not cover 4x5
If you can get a little more information it will be easier to pinpoint the nature of this lens.

Oren Grad
25-May-2007, 21:19
Jan, there most definitely is a Zeiss 135/3.5 T*. There was a short run of these lenses with the T* coating, I think in the early '80s. My recollection is that they tend to be fairly pricey.

It's really something of a special-purpose lens, for those who want to take advantage of the f/3.5 aperture or otherwise have a preference for its particular optical signature. Other modern 135s offer greater coverage in a smaller, much less expensive package.

William Barnett-Lewis
25-May-2007, 21:30
Oren, do you have any idea what formula CZ used? I'd presume it's a symetrical lens, but, unlike some of the others, one never can be sure about Zeiss :) and that's part of why I love them so.

(Tessars and Sonnars, oh my ... ;) )


Oren Grad
25-May-2007, 21:37
There are other folks here who know much more than I do about this lens. The T* version was its last gasp in the market, but it was produced for quite a while in single coated versions. I recall the design as being different from that of the Symmar and other contemporaneous plasmats, but I don't remember exactly what it was.

I hope one of the experts can jump in with the full story or a pointer to same.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
25-May-2007, 22:52
Like the single-coated Planars and the Schneider Xenotar it is a pretty standard five element/four group Gauss design.

There are, as I recall, some details about the T* lenses on Kerry Thalmann's website. I handled one of these in Japan, it was a really beautiful lens. I would have love to purchase it, but the price (roughly $3500) was way beyond my ability to rationalize.

Oren, do you have any idea what formula CZ used? I'd presume it's a symetrical lens, but, unlike some of the others, one never can be sure about Zeiss :) and that's part of why I love them so.

(Tessars and Sonnars, oh my ... ;) )


26-May-2007, 00:32
It definitely is a large format lens, in compur 1 shutter with speeds 1 thru 500 and T. My situation is that I am consolidating my Nikon 35mm collection from 20+ lenses to only 7, and moving up to large format. I wouldn't mind paying a lot good lenses (e.g. I've owned and enjoyed such classics as the 58mm noct nikkor) but I want to make sure that I won't lose half of my money when I resell it :confused:

Jan Pedersen
26-May-2007, 07:21
Interesting, if the price is right it may be a good oportunity to grab this one.
But 3500$ is about what a Cooke cost, would it really have that much of a signature?

Sheldon N
26-May-2007, 08:58
This is the first one I've heard of or read of for sale since Kerry sold his. If you can get it for under $3,000 you are getting a fair price. If they don't know what they have, then you make be able to get quite a good deal.

If I were selling one, I probably wouldn't let it go for less than $4k. Here's some information on Kerry's site...


Lucky you! :)

Frank Petronio
26-May-2007, 09:06
Used wide open I bet it is beautiful.

28-May-2007, 04:50
I just bit the proverbial bullet... it was being offered under $3k but it wasn't cheap! (>$2500) :(
It was just so beautiful sitting on the display counter... I tried to resist but in the end I couldn't take it any more and handed them my Amex :rolleyes:


Now if someone donates me a scanner I would be more than happy to upload some files :p

David A. Goldfarb
28-May-2007, 05:11
You've made a very good deal. Now get yourself a Linhof Technika IV, V, or Master and have the lens cammed, so you can use it with the rangefinder. That's really what this lens does best, since the image circle doesn't give you much room for movements.

I have the earlier single coated version. It's pretty good wide open, but best I think around f:4-5.6. Here's a handheld rangefinder shot, pretty close to wide open--


Here's another 135 Planar shot using a 6x7 back (I'm fairly sure I used a tripod and groundglass for this one, rather than the rangefinder)--


Vick Ko
28-May-2007, 06:09
Congratulations. That lens is on my "lust list". Well done on finding it. The prices sounds about right - they are pretty rare.


Vick Ko
28-May-2007, 06:10
And if you ever want to sell it, let me know.


Steve Clark
28-May-2007, 08:59
This is the first of these I`ve seen for sale in quite a long time. The last one went for 3700.00, I`m told. Don`t know anything about condition etc. I have a slightly later version of that lens in that the shutter is all black and the serial no. indicates that it was one of the last built. In a letter from Zeiss that I have, they barely acknowledge the existance of these lenses, although they go on to say that the intended use of these is full aperature, at infinity, in effect, aerial photography. The images have a similar "feel" to the ones that I get from the 80mm 2.8 on the Hasselblad, except with more negative to work with. If you need to stop down past F/11, you might want to find something else to go with that. After about F/11 it becomes another pretty good lens, as opposed to what you`ll see at wider apertures. As others have said, coverage is little tight. I generally use it with a 6x12 back, so it`s a bit less of an issue for me.
Have fun, Steve

28-May-2007, 14:48
Thanks for all the advice and feedback! :)
I can't wait to test out this lens more!
This forum just rocks. Please look forward to some scans in the coming months ;)

Vick Ko
29-May-2007, 09:32
By the way, can you tell us what town you found this gem in?

I thought I read that it was made for a Japanese contract.


Arne Croell
29-May-2007, 10:04
By the way, can you tell us what town you found this gem in?

I thought I read that it was made for a Japanese contract.


Vick this is true for the last batch of these lenses that came in the black Compur shutters, see Bob Salomons remark in this thread: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=7460&highlight=135mm+Planar

However, this lens here is an earlier version probably from the early-mid 1980's, as the Compur shutter is different from the late black model, with a chrome ring and the white levers. A similar one was sold here a year ago: http://www.westlicht-auction.com/index.php?id=54429&acat=54429&offset=1&_ssl=off

The production lists from Zeiss (available and edited by H. Thiele as a private print in Germany) indicate that a few hundred of these T* versions were made before the batch for the Japanese Linhof importer.

30-May-2007, 04:31
By the way, can you tell us what town you found this gem in?

I thought I read that it was made for a Japanese contract.


I picked up this lens in the little town of Tokyo, Japan ;)
Which is a bit ironic, since I thought I had purchased one of the Japanese Linhof batch. I was wondering why my lens shutter didn't quite match with Ken Thalmann's pictures. Thank you Arne for pointing out that my lens is actually an older version. In fact, the serial number on mine is "Nr65785xx" making it slightly newer than the one listed in the Westlicht auction.

I wonder if there are any functional differences between this compur 1 and the newer black shutter? I find that mine does not have a "B" mode; it only has T, 500, 250, 125, 60, 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1 in that order. The shutter clicks two stops between F3.5 and F4, and in third stops between F4 and F32. There are ten aperture blades that form a beautifully round diaphram (In fact, this lens really reminds me of the 85mm F1.4 AF-D, a fine optic in itself). Can any compur shutter experts out there please advise if this is standard behavior for all compur 1 shutters of this vintage? Thanks!!

Gary Smith
30-May-2007, 04:56
In the last three months I have seen exactly 4 of these lenses here. I have been tempted to pick one up to play with, but they tend to disappear rather quickly. I can keep my eye open is anybody is interested, they seem to be more common here than anywhere else.