View Full Version : carl zeiss jena protar 315mm.how much?

gary alessi
9-Oct-2008, 12:42
any one know the value of a 315mm carl zeiss jena protar, in copal 3 shutter?....anyone ever shot with one?...thanks for any info...i havn't found out much on google....i am being offered one in trade or partial trade...and i will probably sell the lens , as i don't shoot u.l.f.....so , is this a very rare 1500.00 lens?,,,or more like a 400.00 or 500.00 ? lens... thanks ,gary alessi

Kevin Crisp
9-Oct-2008, 13:11
I am assuming that you have a single cell of a Zeiss protar, since none of the combined front and rear cell combinations seem to come out to 315mm from reviewing the old catalogues. (See the Camera Eccentric website.) 315mm does happen to be the precise focal length of what was offered as a single cell. My experience with the Zeiss single cells (as opposed to the B&L versions) has not been good. Two 29cm elements I tried were so soft on the corners even when stopped down that I could not use them for 5X7. The B&L ones have been better. Some people feel the opposite about the relative merits of B&L versus Zeiss versions, but I don't know that this is from practical experience vs. intoxication with the Zeiss mystique. I tried a total of three individual Zeiss cells and was disappointed by all of them. As combined lenses, they were marvelous.

The 13 inch B&L elements are easy to find, as the 13/11 or 13/13 combination lenses seem the most plentiful used. So I would say that single cell is not all that rare, or desirable, unless you already have other Zeiss cells and want to use it to make a double. (You should not mix, by the way, Zeiss cells marked in cm with ones marked in mm. The mm ones were older.)

The shutter is probably worth more than the lens, and there are much better performing modern lenses in that focal length. A protar (Zeiss or B&L) with both elements is, on the other hand, a fine lens for all round shooting. What is a really marginal 315mm lens in an expensive shutter worth? $300 maybe, if that?

9-Oct-2008, 14:11

I have a Zeiss Protar produced by Ross. The portrait with a link at the bottom of this page:


was made with the lens wide open in a 18 x 24 cm negative. To my view this is a good performer lens. By all means comparable to many others several decades younger. The literature I consulted also supports that. But I can tell you about price because that was a gift from friends.



Tracy Storer
13-Oct-2008, 09:37
If it is a "Series V" f/18 Protar, then it is worth good money. (PM me for more thoughts if this is the case) If it's a different series, or a single cell, then less money. The series can be determined by the f/#.