View Full Version : Help on a Zeiss Jena 36cm Lens

10-Sep-2011, 10:16
I recently bumped into an unique Zeiss Jena 36 f4,5 lens. It appears the lens is on Compound shutter.

The lens is HUGE and heavy. I was wondering what the lens for: what is the covering power? I heard it can do up to 30x36 inch film.

Also, what is the market value of it? This particular lens is in near mint condition.

Really appreciate any help.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
10-Sep-2011, 10:35
A f4.5 Tessar covers roughly 62 degrees, or 17" for your 360mm lens. This is enough for 8x10 or 10x12, but not larger. You can see Schneider's stats for their equivalent 360mm Xenar here (http://www.schneideroptics.com/info/vintage_lens_data/large_format_lenses/xenar/data/4,5-360mm.html). This is a relatively common lens, however the mystery (and its potential value) is the shutter. To my knowledge the 360mm f4.5 Tessar-types were too big to fit into a shutter. Does your shutter open all the way to f4.5? It is black like a Betax, but I don't recognize the dial. If it really fits the lens it would be larger than the Betax no. 5, and thus could be valuable to the right person.

Unscrew the front or rear element and measure the throat of the shutter at its largest aperture. The Betax no. 5 was about 2.5," if yours is larger than this, it may well be unique. To fit a 360mm f4.5 Tessar properly it should be a bit larger than 3".

Louis Pacilla
10-Sep-2011, 10:45
What you have is a Zeiss tessar a 4 element two air spaced up front and a glued pair in the rear. It has a angle of coverage of around 65 degrees it is meant for 10x12 format and will cover 11x14 at small stops.

The shutter is not a Compound but instead an early Ilex shutter that does not have the best reputation for long accurate life. If working well it may be just fine.

As far as value goes here's the bad news. It may worth $100 - 150 at best. Probably even lower than that.

I for one really like the look of the plain old Tessar Ic. I would suggest you put your Tessar to use. If your use to newer vintage large format lenses you will enjoy the less clinical look of the Tessar formula and the lack of multi coating helps in this matter. You will enjoy most the smoother transitions and gentler tonal grades that the newer vintage just can't deliver.

I hope this helps

BTW the 36cm focal length will be a terrific portrait lens on 8x10. So again put it to use as the resell value will disappoint you but the images you could make with it wont.

Hey Jason you beat me to it. Take a look at the timer dial. It says Ilex. I think this is the early Ilex Universal. This one had a bad reputation if I'm not mistaken. I could be.

Dan Fromm
10-Sep-2011, 11:21
Its easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an f/4.5 Tessar is an f/4.5 Tessar is an f/4.5 Tessar. There were, however, several redesigns that, among other benefits, expanded coverage.

The OP's lens was made around 1920. According to the 1927 Zeiss catalog on cameraeccentric.com a 360/4.5 Tessar covers 7"x9". The 1929 catalog cut that back to 6.5" x 8.5". Boyer, who were usually very optimistic about coverage, claimed only 58 degrees for their 360/4.5 moderntessar type, i.e., 10x12.

The only way to find how much the lens will sell for is to put it up for auction.