Review Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 zebra

For provided Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 lens (zebra) Many thanks to Igor Tihan.

Review Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 zebra

Review Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 zebra

Radozhiv already has a review of the 'black' modification Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 2.8 / 180 (MDF 2.2 meters, 8 aperture blades). This review presents a modification of the Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 'zebra'(MDF 1.7 meters, 7 petals). Zebras are old lenses in which the focus and / or aperture control rings are black and white. There is also a narrow-format analogue of Sonnar 2.8 / 180 - Soviet Jupiter-6 2.8 / 180.

My copy has the serial number 9377099 and came to my review in pretty good condition. Sonnar 2,8 / 180 is a lens from medium format cameras, the beauty of its use on modern full format or cropped DSLR cameras is that it practically does not give vignetting. I used Sonnar 2,8 / 180 on camera with no problem Nikon D700 и D40. On Nikon DX cropped cameras EGF lens will be 270mm. Due to the long working distance, the Sonnar 2,8/180 can be used without problems through an adapter on any modern digital SLR or mirrorless camera. How to use Pentacon SIX mount lenses (B mount) on modern Nikon cameras, read here, and on Canon here.

Enlightenment of the Sonnar 180 2.8 Lens

Enlightenment of the Sonnar 180 2.8 Lens

The focusing of the lens is very smooth. The focusing ring rotates a little less than 180 degrees, due to the fact that the lens is rather 'chubby', the focusing ring has a nice smooth movement. The minimum distance for such a monster is 1.7 meters... When focusing, the front lens does not rotate, and the lens trunk is extended by 3-4 centimeters. The focusing distance scale is indicated in feet and meters. Infinity 'begins' after 40 meters. The depth of field scale is small, like the depth of field of the lens itself. The depth-of-field scale shows a mark for correcting focus in the infrared spectrum.

The diaphragm consists of 7 blades. It is unfortunate that the aperture blades are not blackened, they shine like a mirror. The aperture ring allows you to set the values ​​of F / 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32. The aperture ring rotates very conveniently. The lens has a blinking aperture device for automatic operation with old cameras. There is a diaphragm repeater button on the lens. The lens can use filters with a diameter of 86 mm (the designation M86 / M95 is on the lens). The lens has a single-layer enlightenment of lilac color.

View of the Sonnar 180 2.8 Lens

Sonnar 180 2.8

The lens is weighty, but still feels great on my D700. I used Sonnar 2,8 / 180 without any problems at all D700. There is a ring with a tripod socket on the lens. Tripod socket with old large thread diameter. The ring can be rotated 360 degrees, and it is fixed with a special button-clamp.

View of the Sonnar 180 2.8 lens on the Nikon D700

View of the Sonnar 180 2.8 lens on the Nikon D700

Sample Photos

The lens boasts wonderful bokeh, good sharpness. For backlight, wear a hood. Thanks to Yana for a short photo walk.

Personal impressions

I really like the old Sonnar lenses, especially medium-sized monsters like the Sonnar 2,8 / 180. The lens may seem heavy, but I quickly got used to it. Do not worry about the fact that the lens can tear off the mount. A lens weighs about 1300 grams... I personally appreciate the Sonnar 2,8 / 180 for its impeccable control over the field of focus. With a 180mm focal length and f / 2.8 relative aperture, you can isolate your subject from the surrounding space, create fabulous portraits, and use it for many creative purposes. The transition from the zone of sharpness to the zone of unsharpness is pleasant, without a strong 'sawing' effect. If someone knows how much the MC version is better in terms of contrast, add information in the comments.

Also, I want to note that for 200-300 USD, for which Sonnar 2,8 / 180 are now being sold, it is very difficult to find something similar. For 1000 USD you can put together an excellent portrait system based on the Canon 5D and some modification of the Sonnar 2,8 / 180. For outdoor photography, nature, where there is a place to turn around, 180mm focal length can be 'made up' of other 85 and 135 mm portrait lenses. Wedding photographers know wonderfully about the 'power' of a fast telephoto lens, which is why they love 70-200mm f / 2.8 so much, because 200mm f / 2.8 can take fabulous photos.

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

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Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 is an excellent fast medium format telephoto prime. There are several modifications of the Sonnar 180mm F2.8. The lens is great for portraits. May be a little 'long' on cropped cameras. Anyway, I often recommend the Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 for leisurely portrait photography.

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

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Comments: 31, on the topic: Review of Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2,8 / 180 zebra

  • Novel

    Just super. I have been dreaming about this for a long time :)

  • Novel

    Must take

  • Eugene White

    there is one! I shot a film for them in Kiev60 for the sake of testing. the film did not dry out normally after development to scan, but if you are very interested - write

  • Igor

    The review is wonderful ... the photo and the lens are valid !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrei

    Interestingly, how is it compared to Nikkor 180 / 2,8?

  • Dmitriy

    Great shots, Arkady! 180mm 2.8 steers! I join the previous post, please describe a brief comparison with the Nikkor 180 2.8 Ai-s. Which one do you like more in terms of technical characteristics, pattern, sharpness, XA? Thanks.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The 180 2.8 is a 35mm lens, the Sonnar is a medium format lens. Ai-S is much more convenient to use because of the automatic iris, it is lighter and easier to operate, it gives better contrast than the Sonnar zebra from my mischief. The drawing in both lenses is excellent. Ai-S sometimes makes a “crumpled paper” effect in bokeh, it looks rather unusual, and the aperture is smoother than that of Sonnar. In general, Sonnar is more 'interesting' and Nikkor is more 'correct'. These are my personal conclusions, please note that I did not use Nikkor on the full frame.

      • Ivan

        Tell me how sharp is this lens on a fully open aperture? Especially in comparison with the Nikkor Ai 180 / 2.8 ED.

  • Egor

    Great review and super lens! It’s great when there are so many portrait photographs in the review, and not only portrait ones, when you can see the lens in different genres. Thanks! But it seems to me that the lens will fully justify itself in a full frame; for a crop, it will be a little uncomfortable due to fr, and even so heavy weight and size. Yet it is more for professional use.
    Ps Please tell me, at least in a nutshell, what is the “mark for correcting focusing in the infrared spectrum”, I understand what it is about, I saw more than once on the lenses, usually the red mark “R”, but I don’t know the meaning and application of this. thanks

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This mark shows how much you need to shift the focus ring in order to get a sharp shot in the infrared spectrum. For example, when shooting on infrared film. Infrared rays and visible light rays have different degrees of refraction, and therefore, when focusing, the sharpness zone is different.

      • Egor

        Thanks, now it’s clear. And can an infrared image be obtained only on film, or is it real on a digital too?

  • Ivan

    Good lens, interesting drawing.
    Perhaps only the weight and thread for the 86 mm filter are confusing. Such filters are not easy to buy, and there are no lowering rings by such a diameter.

    • anonym

      Ivan, why do you need a filter and especially lowering rings on it !? In rain and mud you still can not use it, it is not intended for this. Conventional filters have worse illumination than on this lens, so it is better without them!

      • Ivan

        Yes, the filter itself, however, is not so needed as a lowering ring, which acts as a hood to limit the ingress of excess light.

        The lens is medium format, it means only a small part of the lens is working, the rest works with spurious illumination. By setting the damper in front, we increase the contrast. It works, tested on World 3.

        Just a ring is a more reliable solution, but you can get by cut out of black cardboard.

  • anonym

    Nikkor which is not AF, made according to the sonar scheme, sharper than this striped and black Zeiss DDR. I love all the lenses, there is still the Isco-Gottingen Tele-Iscaron 180 mm f / 2.8, the same sonar, but it softens from side light in the open. But the picture is simply amazing from all these sonars! Take not regret it!

  • Egor

    Arkady, I still have a question about macro. Tell me how you calculate the ability of the lens to shoot macro, in the form of 1:53 for example. The value of this indicator is clear to me, but how to calculate it? Thanks in advance.

    • Fedor

      Already probably not relevant, but maybe someone will come in handy.
      We photograph the ruler at the minimum focusing distance. We look at how many millimeters fit in the photo and divide by the width of the matrix. For example, if your camera has a 35 mm wide matrix and 185 mm fits on the photo, divide 185 by 35. Here you have a scale of 1:53

  • Alexander

    I didn't like this lens. I bought it NEW! He is not that afraid of backlight, he is afraid of light in principle. Any source of bright light with the slightest reflections (even, for example, bounced light from a bright wall) in the focus field and a picture with hares / overexposure! Indoors - good, very good. In low light, the street is also good. Used with adapter + dandelion on full frame 5D3. Pre-adjusted. I'm thinking of selling it ... well, or leaving it for the future for the medium format.

  • Kostya

    please tell me. Which of these 180 sonars is better in the picture? thank you so much

  • Dmitriy

    Arkady, I am now faced with the choice of this monster and Nikon 180mm f2.8 Ais. Question: on an open hole f2.8 which of them will be sharper ??? Very important))) I love razor sharpness!

    • Andrei

      The sharpness is better than Nikkor 180 / 2,8 ED.

  • Bee

    I did not find the zebra. I contacted Zonnar 300 to 4 for regattas, to rent yachts. It turned out to be technical. That is, for a spy plane, redone manually. And he has rearranged the focus ring. Perineum turned out. I understand how to rearrange, but just afraid. He has a distant focus on more than 200. And the near focus is not less than 5 meters. Terribly heavy. I don’t know if I can handle him at all. Something is wrong.

  • Stepan

    I had such a Zeiss. By his stupidity, he sold it. I am very sorry about that now. Held on Helios 40 t. Helios is good. But the result is unpredictable, then it is densely empty. And with Zeiss 180th photos were always super! Sold because of weight, although now I think that it was not critical. In principle, I advise this lens. He is really good!

  • Shreib

    You look at the girl's photos and think - how wonderful youth is! Many thanks to the author for his unselfish work. Sincerely.

  • Alexey

    Personally, I like the contrast, where the MC coating (for enlightenment * T, the contrast is too strong is not soft) - compared 135 mm zonnars.

  • Ingvarr

    “Wedding photographers wonderfully know about 'power'” - wonderful miracles)))

  • Marina

    Someone is dreaming, but someone has this treasure well, completely unnecessary. Who needs ??? Write, WhatsApp 89624422671

    • Leonid

      Marina, on the building there are two richazhka, yake їkh sign.
      Save the dear.

      • Rodion

        One is for attaching the tripod foot, the other is for manually closing the jump rope. If my memory serves me, of course.

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