Friday, June 27, 2014

Carl Zeiss Jena 10.5cm f4.5 Tessar - First Look

I have quite a few lenses with the Tessar design, but this 10.5cm f4.5 medium format lens (this focal length probably won't cover 4x5) I didn't have. When I saw this in the antique market, I wanted it. This focal length (105mm) is not as common as the 135mm, 150mm or even the 210mm and they are not as easy to find. Besides, after using the Dallmeyer 12 inch, and the Air Ministry 8 inch, I really would like to try something shorter.

As with pretty much all uncoated lenses, without a hood, this lens will capture pictures with white-out effect, even in evenly illuminated lighting. But attaching a hood to this lens proved to be difficult. In the end, I had to use electrical tape to attach the hood. Once the hood is on, the pictures come out exquisite. I like how it renders the pictures that look velvety but very sharp at the wide apertures. Stopping down to around f8, the lens is sharp as heck, but I wouldn't expect anything less from a Tessar.

I am continually surprised at these old lenses and how lovely they draw the pictures. Small, light, no coating, simple design. The front and rear elements can be unscrewed and cleaned easily. Can't say that for modern lenses. I especially like this focal length, which is very easy to work with and doesn't have a minimum focus distance of a mile. The only thing that bothers me, is that there is no T (aperture clicks to close, clicks to open) setting, only B (bulb) and timed settings. I am able to use the B setting and keep the shutter open, but a very light touch will reset it (close it). Not a real big deal, but annoying.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5. Click for larger.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5 mounted on helicoid. Click for larger.

Bokeh - Sony A7 & Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5 @ f4.5. Click for larger.

Bridge Part - Sony A7 & Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5 @ f8. Click for larger.

Water Valve - Sony A7 & Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5. Click for larger.

Rust & Paint - Sony A7 & Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 10.5cm f4.5 @ f8.


  1. The Helicoid looks like the Vivitar macro TC , but how did you get it to mount directly on the A7?? Please explain.

    1. Hi, I explained it in this post: