View Full Version : 135mm f2.8 tessars?

13-May-2009, 15:33
Does anybody know if these things exist? There seems to be plenty of 135mm f3.5 tessars type lenses made for 35mm format, but did they ever make them in f2.8?

And I know there is 120mm f2.7 tessar.. I'm looking something made for 35mm that would preferably be coated. My purpose would be taking the lens part off and use it on speed graphic.

Dan Fromm
13-May-2009, 16:40
What are you trying to accomplish?

If you're trying to find a cheap reasonably fast lens in barrel that will cover 4x5, there's no such thing. There are reasonably fast lenses in barrel that will cover 4x5, but the bokehnuts and digidiots have bid them way up. See, for example, this recently concluded eBay auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/LEICA-LEITZ-ELCAN-6-F-2-8-BARREL-LENS-USED_W0QQitemZ170330019054QQihZ007QQcategoryZ3323QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem I have one, it cost $19 delivered. But that was then, this is now. Then and now it was made to cover 56 mm x 56 mm and won't come close to covering 4x5. As I said, nuts and idiots.

There are cheap lenses in barrel, also in shutter, that will cover 4x5 but they won't be really fast. Look for, for example, f/3.5, f/4.5 and f/4.7 Tessars, Xenars, Raptars, Optars Lustrars, ... If post-WWII, all will be coated.

The lenses for 35 mm that you're thinking of have to cover 43 mm. Lenses for 4x5 have to cover 150 mm. Really long lenses, mostly achromatic doublets in long tubes, for 35 mm cameras will cover 4x5 but short ones like 135s probably won't.

Now, if you had the extremely rare Micro Speed Graphic you'd have a chance ...

Ken Lee
13-May-2009, 16:44
If there were any f/2.8 Tessars in that length, my guess is they would be rare and therefore expensive, unless you found one in a flea market. Meanwhile, the difference of 1/2 a stop, may not be worth a special premium.

I have an uncoated 135 f/3.5 Tessar, and it's lovely. At close range, it covers 5x7 nicely. And it's sharp.


Jason Greenberg Motamedi
13-May-2009, 17:38
There are 165mm f2.7 Tessars....

14-May-2009, 05:36
I already have a coated xenar 135mm f3.5, i was just thinking of maybe getting a better one... mine is a bit old. And as these things are a bit soft wide open, it would be good if the lens would be flawless.

So my first choice would be Meyer Primotar, you can get these really cheap in 180mm/3.5 and 135mm/3.5 focal lengths coated for 35mm cameras.

These things are just like my 135mm xenar, a lens attached to and end of a long focus tube. Or are there really a tessar type lens, in these focal lengths, that would not cover 4x5? And I don't mean the mechanical vignetting caused by the long focus tube.

But then i of course got in my head, if I could get even a faster tessar... as it seems all the modern tessars are f2.8.

I'm not so much in to the whole bokeh thing, and f3.5 lens seems to be already really hard to focus with the rangefinder, but in some situations the small advance in speed would be beneficial.

Dan Fromm
14-May-2009, 06:39
Thanks for the reply. So you're another bottom-feeding opportunist. I'm one too. Welcome to the club.

You raise an interesting question. For which format are longish tessar types for use on 35 mm and 6x6 cameras optimized? I'd guess that the ones sold only for 35 mm are optimized for 35 mm, the ones sold for both 35 mm and 6x6 for 6x6. But the question is empirical and I've never done the experiment.

Your idea of using one of these confections on a Speed Graphic raises another question. You're not the only cheapskate that's ever used a Speed. Why are no users of, e.g., 180 Primotars on 4x5 Speeds, visible? I mean, good news travels.

Why don't you spend a little money to find the answers?



14-May-2009, 07:18
I have a 150mm f2.8 projection lens that covers 4x5. Don't know if it's a tessar.

15-May-2009, 01:27
Looking at a 1935 Zeiss Advertisement in the British Journal of Photography Zeiss state that the Tessar is a Universal Objective available as f4.5, f3.5 and f6.3, and for smaller formats an f2.8 is available. On a separate page they state the 2.8 cells will fit into the shutter of an equivalent focal length f3.5 in a Compur shutter with no loss of aperture.

In 1935 the f2.8 Tessar was available up to 75mm, Zeiss list more specialist high speed lenses in two other categories.

For special rapid action work with Press & Reflex cameras with Focal Plane shutters - Biotessar f2.8, and for the small size cameras - Biotar f2, Sonnar f1.5, f2 & f4. The Biotessar's were available as 135mm and 165mm and later available in Compur shutters, they are a 6 element derivative of the Tessar design and the 165mm doesn't quite cover 5x4.

These aren't Zeiss fastest lenses as they also offered an R-Biotar f0.85 and a Biotar f1.4 for specialist cine work.

The f2.7 Tessar's are listed as being for for Cinema work and cover up to 35mm.