Review Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

For the opportunity review of the Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 lens Many thanks to Sergey Medvedev.

Review Biometar 120mm F2.8

Review Biometar 120mm F2.8

TTX Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

Focal length: 120 mm
Diaphragm: F / 2,8-F / 22.0 with intermediate values ​​4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16
Number of aperture blades: 8 pieces
Optical design: 5 lenses in 3 groups (Biometar type circuit)
Bayonet \ thread: Pentacon Six, P6, Bayonet B
Front Filter Diameter: 67mm
The weight: 550g
MDF: 1.3m

The lens can be found in several versions of the frame. This review is presented withOld Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 Zebra with single layer coating. 'Zebra' means the focus and iris rings are black and white. Newer lens options have a classic black frame and multi-coating.

There is a version of Biometar with a shorter focal length - Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 2.8 / 80. Lens Biometar 2.8 / 120 Comes with a hood and a nice leather case.

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 Is a lens from a medium format camera. Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 can easily work on full-frame and cropped cameras, it's a pity I can't take test shots on a digital back. Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 can be easily installed on any modern digital and film camera with interchangeable lenses... This is due to the large focal length of the lens. I used Biometar F2.8 120mm on camera with no problems Nikon D700 through the adapter KP-6 / N without losing the ability to focus at infinity. This adapter is also called Pentacon SIX / Nikon. You can find how to use such old lenses on Nikon in the section Soviet optics... For Canon - old lenses at canon. Adapters to any modern cameras can be ordered in the section manual optics.

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 has excellent ratios of focal length and aperture ratio for use in portrait photography. 120mm focal length is very convenient to use on full-frame cameras as a short telephoto lens, on a 1.5x crop this lens gives EGF 180mm. By the way, the difference between 135mm, for example, in Jupiter-37A, and 120mm in Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 is not felt.

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

The Biometar 2.8 / 120 lens has a focus ring that rotates almost 360 degrees. Focusing is very convenient. On my camera Nikon D700 the green dot focus confirmation works very, very poorly, in fact, I shot all the material for the review 'blindly' or using Live View. DOF is indicated for F4, 8, 11, 16, 22.

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

Sample photo on Biometar 2.8 / 120

The aperture control ring has a nice ratchet and can only set fixed apertures. The number of diaphragm blades is quite good - 8 pieces. Biometar 2.8 / 120 has a blinking (jumping) aperture device and a dedicated switch for automatic or manual aperture control. Attention: my copy of old age could not work with closed diaphragms, since the diaphragm was stuck on it, therefore, all examples of photos in this review are made at F / 2.8.

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

Image quality

I shot only on F2.8. The lens gives a very good three-dimensional image, which is very important for a portrait. No distortion or vignetting. With contrast, the lens is not so good. The sharpness is sufficient for a number of tasks, I can not say that the sharpness is good. Auto levels when converting from RAW easily bring contrast to order. The poor contrast of old film lenses is not a problem for modern digital cameras.

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

Sample photos on Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

All sample photos in the review were shot on Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 and the APS camera Nikon D700 Full Frame FX. Without processing, conversion from RAW to JPEG Q = 80%, reduced size to 1600 * 1200 (2MP), data about settings when shooting from EXIF. Also, you can see mine photo gallery on Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120.

Personal experience

The Biometar 2.8 / 120 is a good lens. Looks unusual on camera due to its zebra-like color. The lens is heavy enough take off very simple since Biometar 2.8 / 120 has a good aperture. Many do not like the bokeh of Biometars, in particular, bokeh Vega-12B. I personally like the bokeh of this Biometar 2.8 / 120.

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

Example photo on Biometar 2.8 120

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

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Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120 is an excellent lens from medium format cameras. Easy to use on any modern interchangeable lens cameras. It can function as a good portrait lens. Recommend.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 35, on the topic: Review of Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120

  • Anton Vladimirovich

    good review!

  • Michael

    the review is gorgeous, like the lens, but why is there not a single test portrait, because a lens for portraits?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There was no time for a model, + no one complains that in the photo zone without portraits, for example Nikkor AF-S 85mm f / 1.4 G best portraiture.

      • The

        Apparently the fact is that there strictly for the publication of each portrait it is necessary to draw up documents. A plastic woman in such cases is also nothing))

  • Glory

    This lens draws on a 24 × 36mm frame, of course, weakly. Yes, it is sharp, the colors are saturated, the bokeh is peculiar. Vega-12V is an exact copy of the picture, only the colors are not so saturated, and it is inexpensive in the secondary market. Nevertheless, Jupiter-9, which Krasnogorsk, will definitely revive the picture even on a cloudy autumn day!

    • YURI


  • Dmitriy

    I am faced with the choice of Jupiter 9 white or Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120, Andrey, what do you recommend for portraits with a three-dimensional picture and a beautiful bokeh on a crop camera?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I didn’t find Andrey here, so I’ll answer instead of him - the Ju-9 is more suitable for the crop.

  • Dmitriy

    Sorry Arkady, but thanks a lot anyway for the answer

  • Denis

    There is another zebra without marking DDR, what kind of animal is it?

  • Gregor

    Tresting a lens for a medium format frame on a matrix with a diagonal of a bee's ass, while talking about its pattern and sharpness is the highest degree of idiocy.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      narrow-format film or full-format matrix, this is not a bee's ass :)

      • Igor

        You work with 4x5, or at least 67 Pentax. 35mm film is so - fun for children. Well, or for spies :)

        • Arkady Shapoval

          It is very surprising that a huge number of prof. Photographers are actually children of spies.

    • AlekK

      Here the Germans from Zeiss would have laughed. Zeiss lenses were often produced for various systems, and not always the first series went under the medium format, this version of Biometar has four options, three of them for 35mm systems.

      • Sergei

        Good day. Can you tell me which systems this lens was made for? There is the same it is not clear from which camera

        • Jury

          Take a picture of the mount and attach a photo to the message, so someone will prompt faster

          • Sergei

            Less than bayonet B

          • Sergei


          • Sergei


          • Sergei


      • Alexander

        Name Biometar
        It was for medium format.
        Name a 35mm lens
        With the name Biometar?
        I do not know.
        This is
        Portrait lens
        under average
        With a beautiful design...

        • Rodion

          Lol, there was even a biometar 35/2.8 wide rangefinder. And biometar 80 was also made under M42.

          • B. R. P.


  • Igor

    And prof. who are the photographers, Leibovitz? Or maybe all the same to Gregor Krudson, for example?

  • Maksim

    Thank you for the review. I like the reviews of Arkady, very useful for an amateur with free time for experiments on a ridiculous budget. I think that for Gregory Crewdson and Leibovitz, the Carl Zeiss Jena review is definitely not needed, but it is useful to us. Before being clever, do something useful for people and is free. And then the bee ass…. Respect and respect to Arkady again :)

  • Artem

    Recently acquired Meyer-Optik-Orestogor 135 / 2.8, transferred to NIKON.
    If interested, the photo can be viewed here:
    Filmed on D90, immediately in jpg without any correction.

  • Kirill

    He became the owner of this lens, but not the zebra. I'm not a pro, but the difference compared to my 18-105 mm Kit is huge! Thanks for the review!

  • Roma

    Dobry vechor pidskazhit shcho more beautiful, kaylenar 5 chi Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Biometar 2.8 / 120
    on ff.

  • Eugene

    Lj hs

  • Eugene

    Good day. Please tell me, in the camera settings, there is no 120 distance, what is better to choose 105 or 135 and how much then the metering will work correctly with the camera?

    • Dmitriy

      Exposure metering will work without a lens at all :) This is more critical for the flash to work in TTL mode. Bet 135.

  • Dmitriy

    I want to sell such an asset

  • Primary

    Displayed below and on the right are 2 uncommon Carl Zeiss Jena lens brochures detailing the lenses available for the Exakta and Exa cameras.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Nice review, thanks. It is interesting to see how it is in size (visually) when compared with 120mm water which is. Vega is probably more compact, but how much?

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