Carl Zeiss

One stop shop for all things from your favorite brand

Basic Information About Carl Zeiss Jena Vintage Camera Lenses

Carl Zeiss, a company based in Germany, was founded in 1846. Since it started, the company has been engaged in the development of optical technology and devices for a varied market. As a photography pioneer, Carl Zeiss first issued the Jena photo lenses in 1884.

What are Carl Zeiss Jena camera lenses?

The Carl Zeiss Jena vintage camera lenses are a range of thermal resistant optical components. The Jena name is engraved on the shell of the camera. These lenses were first developed for a pair of eyeglasses designed to address astigmatism. Their application was later expanded for photography. The company issued the Anastigmat model for cameras just before the end of the 19th century.

When can you use a Zeiss lens?

Photographers use these optical tools to produce a distinct bokeh, a blurring of the out-of-focus parts of a picture, that is found only in vintage images. Each model has its particular advantage. The Sonnar and Tessar have the right aperture size and lens feature to reduce color fringing in the images. The Planar model produces sharper pictures with controlled color issues due to its flat-field curvature.

What is an M42 mount?

In comparison to a built-in lens, an M42 is a screw-type mounting system found in some Carl Zeiss lenses. Typically used with 35mm Zeiss cameras, this mount connects the camera lens to the device. The Zeiss Biotar and the Tessar are two examples of photography lenses with this type of mount.

What are the different Zeiss lenses in the series?

Carl Zeiss issued the following lenses in the Jena series:

  • Biotar - The first Biotar Zeiss was introduced in the 1930s, then reissued a decade later. The Biotar comes in a 75mm, f-1.5, and a 58mm, f-2 version. The 75mm version has a red T lens with a mounting system.
  • Tessar - This is a 50mm lens with a f-2.8 aperture. It was one of the first Carl Zeiss models introduced in the market in the 1900s. It can be mounted using an M42 and Exa mount.
  • Flektogon - This is a device with a wide-angle format and an aperture size of f-2.4 or f-2.8 for the 20mm model. It has a short focal range of just 19 cm. The Flektogon has a 35mm version with a built-in M42 or Praktica mount system. The lenses are multicoated and come with a distinct red branding in some models.
  • Pancolar - This is a 50mm lens with an aperture size of f-1.8. At a minimum, the Zeiss camera lens has a focal distance of around 35 cm. It's described as a “zebra” with its black and silver striped shell. Some Pancolar models are now issued with a black finish.
  • Protar - Also known as the Anastigmat lens, the Protar is an 86mm wide-angle lens with a f-16 aperture size. An earlier version of the Anastigmat was released with a f-18 aperture.
Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Carl Zeiss.