Review Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50

CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50 is quite an interesting fifty dollars. The lens does not have a large aperture, but the image quality that the TESSAR 2.8 / 50 gives is simply amazing.

Overview of Tessar 50 2.8

Overview of Tessar 50 2.8

TTX CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50
Constructive: 4 elements in 3 groups
Field of View: 45 °
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.35м
Minimum Aperture: - F / 16 in automatic and F / 22 in manual
Filter Diameter: 49 mm
The weight - 175g

The lenses of this brand have gone through a number of frame modifications. There were white frames, then Zeiss frames of the “zebra” type, then classic black frames with red and green paint on the focusing distance scale. You can see the reviews of the modifications: Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 2.8 / 50 (zebra) and Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 1: 2.8 f = 50mm T (white).

Sample photo on CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Sample photo on CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Tessar itself (namely optical circuit) was created back in 1902 by Carl Zeiss Jena. The scheme gives a sharp and contrasting image. Often the lens of the optical circuit Tessar and Industar are called "Eagle eye". The name "Tessar" comes from the Greek "tesser" - four. By the way, lenses from the USSR of the “Industar” brand were made precisely according to this optical scheme. You can see, for example, a review Industar-61 LZ

legendary CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR F2.8 50mm

legendary CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR F2.8 50mm

Legendary Features CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50:

1. Compactness. Indeed, Tessar is very comfortable and lightweight.
2. Sharpness. A distinctive feature of this lens. Tessar is very sharp.
3. It's all the same Carl Zeiss, the inscription is small but pleasant.

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

4. Can work with full-frame matrices... Of course, for film cameras these are trifles, because then there were no cropped and full-frame cameras, and, accordingly, there were different kinds of differences in lenses to cover different frame sizes. But nowadays, when marketing is trying to squeeze the maximum out of the consumer, by creating different matrices and different lenses, the ability to mount the lens on Full Frame is pretty good news.
5. When focusing, the entire lens block moves in the middle of the lens barrel. A common occurrence for such an optical design.
6. Maximum Aperture F2.8 - Of course, this is not a super fast lens, but compact and very sharp, and the size of the lenses is small.

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

7. M \ A switch for aperture setting method. The lens has two methods for setting the aperture - automatic (A) and manual (M), in an automatic camera through the diaphragm pusher closes the aperture at the time of shooting to the desired value. In manual mode, you can set the desired aperture without blocking the diaphragm pusher. A very convenient option that is lacking in many Soviet lenses. When used on a digit, the diaphragm pusher has to be blocked in different ways. In this lens, everything is concise and simple. For this, developers are highly respected.

Bokeh on CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

Bokeh on CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 50

8. Minimum focusing distance is 35cm, which allowed you to shoot small objects, of course, this is not macro, but to shoot flowers is quite interesting, you can see examples below.
9. The number of diaphragm blades - 5 pieces. This is not a lot, and you get pentahedral "nuts" if you close the diaphragm.

Bokeh view of CARL ZEISS JENA DDR TESSAR F2.8 50mm
TESSAR F2.8 50mm gives excellent bokeh with brightly defined circles in the blur zone. If you shoot scenes where there is a uniform surface in the background, then the lens gives a very even, smooth blur of the background. I understand that the taste and color of all the markers are different, but personally I really like the picture from Tessar. Perhaps this is just the psychological pressure of the inscription “CARL ZEISS JENA”, but it is likely that this is an objective reality.

Tessar 2.8 50mm, macro

Tessar 2.8 50mm, macro

A little more about the lens:
The lens is recessed in the focus ring, which creates the likeness of a small lens hood, recessed has a pyramidal structure for better work with backlight and side light. The sharpness increases with the closing of the aperture, at F8.0 the image subjectively seemed to be as sharp as possible. At F2.8, the image is also sharp, which allows you to take pictures without problems on a fully open aperture. It reproduces colors perfectly, there are bunnies on the fully open aperture in the backlight, and everything is just perfect.

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

The experience of using modern digital SLR cameras:
The lens has an M42 thread, in order to install it on modern digital-SLR cameras you will have to use an adapter. For the Canon system, it is possible to conveniently use the lens while maintaining infinity - for more details, see the article about old lenses at canon. For Nikon, when using the usual M-42 \ N adapter, focusing is not infinite, you can use an adapter with a lens, but this will contribute to the picture quality. More details in the article. Soviet optics.

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Sample photos:

I use this lens on the camera without any problems Nikon D90, Nikon D40, however, with the loss of infinity, because in the examples of photographs I confine myself to portraits and the likeness of macro. The working distance with such an adapter is 1.5-2 meters. All photos passed only correction at the auto level, without much additional processing.

What is really impressive - sharpness, the ability to shoot small objects (of course, this is not a real macro), lightness. The lens is not afraid of backlight and side light. Indeed, this is a high-quality and interesting lens for all occasions.

If you are interested in this lens, or any other old Soviet or GDR optics, you can purchase it by contacting the contacts in the manual optics section.

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Photo by CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50

Radozhiv has the following reviews of 'Tessar' lenses:

  1. CZJena Tessar 2,8 / 50 [M42, 8 petals, silver, GERMANY, Nr.4793092]
  2. Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2,8 / 50 [M42, 12 petals, silver, 5124425]
  3. Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 2,8 / 50 [M42, 5 petals, zebra, MDF 35 cm, 9182179]
  4. Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 2.8 / 50 [M42, 5 petals, black, MDF 35 cm]
  5. Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 1: 2.8 f = 50mm T [M42, 14 petals, silver, Nr.3376939]
  6. Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 1: 4,5 f = 4cm T [M42, 10 petals, silver, Nr. 3315266]
  7. Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar FE 4 / 24-70 ZA OSS T* (Sony SEL2470Z FE 4 / 24-70 Optical Steady Shot) [modern zoom]

Catalog of modern Carl Zeiss lenses can look at this link.


In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

Conclusion:

CZJ DDR TESSAR 2.8 / 50 - excellent fifty dollars with maximum aperture 2.8. Great for creative shooting. I recommend.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter | 500px.

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Comments: 105, on the topic: Review of Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50

  • Eugene

    Good night, I accidentally stumbled upon your "thoughts", I really liked it, even to me, a layman in photography, everything becomes clear, in such a simple and accessible language they are stated. Maybe you have tests with Pentax kr, I have just such a camera, and I'm just starting. I also found Helios 44-2 58 mm, and bought a takumar f 28-80 1: 3.5-4.5. though I still don't understand what to do with the latter, but I like Helios, but so far only at home, in daylight it does not work yet, since all the settings, almost all are turned off, maybe a simple adapter is not enough, and something does not turn on? !! !

    • Arkady Shapoval

      As far as I know, Pentax kr with a conventional adapter copes well with manual optics. takumar f 28-80 1: 3.5-4.5 is also a good lens. If you describe the problem in more detail, we will try to solve it.

  • Eugene

    The biggest problem is the lack of knowledge, experience and awl in one place, I want everything at once. I bought a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2.8 / 50 on the occasion, and right away the question is, how does the iris switch work? Should it be fixed, or not? If I press and hold it, does the aperture adjustment work, as soon as I throw it, it automatically drops to its original position, and the aperture opens, so I adjust and take pictures when the aperture is fully open? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The switch from A to M must be fixed. Yes, when fully open.

  • Eugene

    Arkady, can you tell me how to fix it? Or you have to disassemble ... (((

    • Arkady Shapoval

      As you like, you can just do it harshly - and simply stick it with cardboard.

  • Danil

    Good afternoon.
    I have already mastered Helios 44-2 quite well, but how much better and more interesting will the picture be through Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 2.8?
    Thank..

    • Arkady Shapoval

      See for yourself and compare. For each person “more interesting” and “better” will be different.

    • Nicholas

      Helios’s box is soft, but the tessar’s often doesn’t have the same color reproduction.
      Helios is much more convenient than tessar.
      Yes, and it was possible to compare Tessar with Nikor 50-1.4 on diaphragm 8 on the forehead, tessar soap compared to Nikor.

  • Danil

    Is it possible to purchase one from you?

  • Boris

    A. Shapovalu: I just came across a description of your tests of TESSARA. Memories flooded in ... Once upon a time I had the pleasure of shooting PRACTICE-LTL-2 with TESSAR for a short time. Probably, a knowledgeable person would have seen the difference between manufacturers in Jena and Oberkochen, but I, young and not spoiled by the optical assortment of even Soviet technology, was shocked by the harsh properties of the “German”, and this is not so much sharpness as detail. A real reporter and macro lens! No compromise! Moreover, the Soviet repro-rings did not affect the image quality in any way. In addition, shooting with a fully open aperture with Soviet lenses is problematic: in most cases, "daub". And then there is a beautiful picture! Very flexible! Although, for portrait work, it is not very suitable - it is excessively contrasting and borderline sharp, it pulls out textures even microscopic. For a portrait, you need something draining ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Anatoly

    Good time!
    Is the aus Jena DDR T 2.8 / 50 lens the same Tessar or some other modification, another company?
    Showed as for me pretty good image quality, but not quite sharp. Again, if I understand correctly ...
    Thank you.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Made not by Zeiss, but by the factory in Jena.

      • johnqsbf

        it is known that it was in Jena that the original CZ plant was located, the objectives are identical, the only issue is copyright: those who moved to West Germany and founded a new plant disputed the use of the name Carl Zeiss by the eastern (original) plant, so the products of this plant went to the west under "aus Jena"

  • george737577

    Hello! I will add a thought - this is one of the best lenses in the history of photography in general and 35mm photography in particular. I don’t know how anyone, but I have been delighted with the “plasticity” of the image of this lens for 30 years. If used correctly, this lens will surely compete with the best modern designs. Of the shortcomings of the Tessars released in the GDR, I can name the not entirely successful design of the mechanism of the “jumping” diaphragm, based on the use of not one, but two springs that equalize the position of the wings. Their amortization was uneven, which created problems either with full opening of the diaphragm when sighting, or with timely closing during shooting ... But this is a common "sore spot" of most Jena lenses for M42 thread with automatic diaphragm, alas. As for this particular "glass" - my score is 10 out of 10. Sincerely, George.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you for sharing the information.

  • Roman

    I bought this one, I really regret it 500 UAH. (((Even Helios 44 makes it sharp, the canon 550d camera, the big-is adapter with the EMF chip. At full frame it can be nice, but on the crop it’s completely disappointing. I’ll collect the thread over time I’ll post a test on one of the photo sites. Compare with Helios, whale and manual Tamron SP adaptall-2 35-210mm. Do not be offended, people! I did not expect

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Consider the success / failure of the instance.

  • Roman

    Maybe you're right here. Outwardly, it simply didn’t sit on it. without traces of a screwdriver and use, outwardly exactly like yours before the letter) number 368888. In the live view mode x10 I do not see a sharp picture (or rather a picture that would be better than that of Helios). By the way, how correct is it that I have infinity on all lenses not at infinity but about numbers from 3 to 10, depending on the lens and aperture. those. in the extreme position of the soap. Well, I don’t see infinity, of course) but the opposite bank of the Dnieper is clearly at the number 10 and according to the DOF calculator it should be at infinity, taking into account the aperture and distance. Maybe this is a feature of the crop? even the whale in the extreme position at 35mm and aperture of 20 soap shows in perspective that, as he wrote, it cannot be according to the depth of field calculator. Autofocus works correctly.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Which camera adapter?

  • Roman

    canon rabel T2i (550d) Big-is M42-EOS adapter. I have 2 different adapters, the second one is pixco (china). The adapters I can imagine can "walk" and the whale 18-55 behaves the same way. Infinity is not in an extreme position.
    I bought a samyang 14mm lens, infinity on it between the infinity sign and the 3m digit (with aperture of 2,8). But with aperture of 5,6, infinity moves between the numbers 2 and 1. And so on, the more the aperture is clamped, the infinity smoothly moves to 1m on the scale. I looked at the living sight for the long term. And so everything seems to be ok. how to understand this phenomenon?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is a common thing for lenses, called "flying over infinity". Some lenses have a very huge span.

  • Roman

    Thanks for the answers and reviews of the technology, I read it with great interest!
    Helios just multiplies everything by 0, and my test results are, to put it mildly, surprising. I compared it with the Tamron SP 35-210 Adaptall-2 manual and a whale. Helios already on aperture 4 is just super sharp (compared to these 2). The whale at 5,6 is already sharp but some kind of balcony rough image. There are very good reviews about tamron. Everything is of course in the center of the frame, at the edges the tamron is more uniform and the helios falls in, which is good for the portrait. I share the conclusion that for crop very, very. It seems to me that crop is more demanding on the resolution of the lens in the center (it is not difficult to calculate how many megapixels FF would have with

    • Arkady Shapoval

      YES, FF with grief in half calmly “eats” simple optics, and crop needs sharp lenses. Therefore, after cropping on a full frame, the lenses play in a completely different way, which makes me very happy.

  • Roman

    I’ll figure it out over time and draw up a test, I will indicate a link in this thread.
    Goodnight!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks. I still need to take some photos.

  • Daria

    I have such a lens with EXACTA mount. left from grandfather. which is typical - without an appropriate camera. do not tell me if there is a chance to put him on nikon or zenith (ET)
    Thank you!

    • Alexey

      Buy your own "carcass" - EXACTA has a convenient sighting - from above - for reportage and street photography - a sweetie!

  • anonym

    a lot of typos, and thanks so much)

  • Rada

    Thanks for all the reviews! Very good and understandable. Of all the read-viewed reviews, here are the most amazingly colored photos! I just can't stop it! Tell me - is this the merit of the lens ??? If so - I want it myself !!! And how much will it depend on a particular instance? And another question - what is the difference between Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar 2.8 / 50 and Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 2,8 / 50? I started looking for this lens on sale today, there are both options ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There were just a lot of modifications, which is written about in the review. Optically, no difference. The colors are due to the lens and location.

  • Rada

    Thanks! I realized about the modifications, I was interested in the specifics - are there any objective differences. That is, the difference is purely subjective, do I understand correctly? And one more clarification: are colors a merit of this particular lens, or is this color rendition typical for them?

  • Andrei

    Hello!
    I have a question about locking the diaphragm switch. How to lock it. Only the switch or pusher, too, I can’t understand how this technique works.
    Thank you.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If there is a switch on the lens, then nothing needs to be done with the pusher spindle.

  • Andrei

    Those. in any way I fix the switch in the right position and use it?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The switch was created to work either in manual mode (like yours) or in automatic mode, like on old cameras. Some lenses can only work in automatic mode, so I write for the blinking aperture and its blocking.

  • Andrei

    Yes, but my switch is loose, and it goes into some middle position and nothing is regulated, and in manual mode it doesn't close as much as possible, and if you turn it on automatically, set 22 and switch it on manually, then the aperture is closed. It’s not clear.

    • Nicholas

      If you remove the threaded cover, which is on 3 bolts, you can see the "gate" into which the diaphragm adjustment tab enters, there is an adjusting screw on the side (which pushes the bracket that pushes the diaphragm mechanism itself), you need to drown it a little, and everything will close, so - even if in manual mode the lens squints when open, you need to unscrew it a little.

  • Andrei

    ((((

  • anonym

    Hello!
    I have a question about the progress of the focus ring.
    If it then scrolls, then it suddenly goes very tight, is this a removable flaw? I just can’t decide whether to take a lens with such a problem.
    Thank you.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Better not to risk it.

    • takman

      There was such a problem with my copy. From effort, it could easily spin from an adapter. But a simple washing of the thread of the heliocoid, followed by lubrication with silicot, made the stroke very easy, and smooth.
      When using this lens on a kenon, sometimes, and constantly have to reduce the exposure to -1ev, in order to get a non-overexposed picture even in the “M” mode. And this is despite the Chinese confirmation chip programmed with the desired aperture and focal length. In addition, despite the 2.8 aperture, the lens has a very small grip, at a shooting distance of 35 cm, only 4 mm,
      On the crop at 400D it will be 2 times narrower. And so the aperture preset lens is sorely missed.

  • Andrei

    I used to ask questions about the aperture switch, etc., it turned out that the lens was disassembled and was not correctly assembled, now everything is in order. The question is different. You write in the review that it is possible to use an adapter with a lens. Error in due to the fact that when focusing, the rear lens block moves inside, it turns out that when approaching the mark between 5 and 10 on the scale, the lens block rests on the adapter lens. I tried on two different adapters. If the adapter is not twisted 1,5-2 turns to the end then you can still talk about some kind of skonechnosti, but it is inconvenient, all loose, though cud take krepi.V general use without a lens, up to 1,5 m.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There is no mistake. You can use it, but with the limitations that you wrote about.

  • Andrey

    and what is the difference between etim Tessar and a similar zebra Tessar?

  • Vova

    Enlightenment at the zebra bolie is an early version of the release with single-layer enlightenment. Sorry that wedged ..

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