MC CARL ZEISS JENA PRAKTICAR 1: 1.4 f = 50mm. Review from the reader Radozhiva

Overview of the Carl Carl Zeiss Jena Prakticar 1: 1.4 f = 50 mm (GDR), especially for Radozhiva, prepared Eshmakov Rodion.

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

The CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4 is a pretty rare fast lens that was produced for a short period of time in the GDR for Praktica cameras with a Praktica B mount (not to be confused with a B mount equivalent to Pentocon Six). It is assumed that the lens was designed with an eye to the older and even rarer CZJ Pancolar 55 / 1.4, but this point of view is not serious: Pankolar had radioactive glasses with thorium oxide and a significantly different optical design. Prakticar 50 / 1.4 has two structurally different subversions: presented in the review and more compact and simple, with a name on the side of the nose of the lens.

Lens Specifications:
Optical design: Planar, 7 elements in 6 groups (type of circuit);
Enlightenment: multilayer (marking "MS");
Filter thread: 52 mm;
Minimum focusing distance: 0,4 m;
Aperture device: automatic ("blinking"), fully operational in manual mode, 6 blackened blades, aperture limits - from F / 1.4 to F / 16;
Features: Praktica B (PB) mount, fully incompatible with most SLR cameras due to a working distance of 44,30 mm.

Design features of Prakticar 50 / 1.4

The lens came brand new from Germany with branded caps with the Prakticar inscription. It looks very solid: a metal case, a rubberized focus ring, a large convex front lens (which must be protected by a filter) and significant weight. The CZJ Prakticar 50 / 1.4 is similar in design to other late GDR lenses: CZJ Pancolar 80 / 1.8, Pentacon 50 / 1.8 MC, etc. Perhaps the assembly was carried out at VEB Pentacon.

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

Focusing is carried out by the translational movement of the lens block, therefore it is convenient to use polarizing and gradient filters with it. The minimum focusing distance is only 0,4 m. The lens has a protruding rear lens, so the question of working with full-frame SLR cameras remains open: if you had experience using this lens on full-frame CZKs, write in the comments if there were problems with mirror when focusing on infinity.

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

There is a full range of scales on the lens body: a distance scale with marks in feet and meters, depth of sharply depicted space (rather useless when used with digital cameras with high-resolution matrices), a mark for shooting in the IR range.

The aperture of the lens, alas, is six-petalled. Moreover, the petals have a very strange shape, as a result of which when opening aperture, the hole always has the shape of a six-pointed star. The petals themselves are blackened and matte, unlike the petals of Pancolar 80 / 1.8. The aperture is adjustable with clicks, between the marked values ​​there is an additional click, which is especially necessary when working in the range of F / 1.4-F / 2.8.

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

The lenses of the lens have a multilayer brightening of violet and amber tones, which is important: reflections from as many as 12 glass-air boundaries without bleaching would greatly reduce the image contrast.

The big problem is the Praktica B mount: because of its very short working distance (44.30 mm), lenses for Praktica cameras with PB mount are not compatible with other SLR cameras. At online auctions, you can buy adapter rings of the PB-EOS type, however, despite the seller’s statements, they do not allow focusing at infinity - the thickness of such a ring is usually about 1 mm, instead of the required 0.4 mm. Thus, I had to turn over the purchased adapter for turning, which, alas, did not go smoothly: not every machine is capable of providing a wall thickness of 0.4 mm - a breakthrough of the metal occurred. However, it was possible even to fix such an exhausted adapter with screws on the lens mount (without touching the lens itself). Despite the tearing of the metal, the remaining strength of the ring is sufficient for reliable retention of the lens on the camera.

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

CZJ MC Prakticar 50 / 1.4

Therefore, it is good that the Prakticar 50 / 1.4 is a compact and relatively light lens. For example, Zenitar-S 50 / 1.2s is much larger and much heavier.

Helios-44M-7, Practice 50 / 1.4, Zenitar-S 50 / 1.2s.

Helios-44M-7, Practice 50 / 1.4, Zenitar-S 50 / 1.2s.

I liked the Prakticar 50 / 1.4 with its design and compactness, although there are such unpleasant moments as the diaphragm, protruding rear lens and the “uncomfortable” PB mount.

Optical Properties Prakticar 50 / 1.4

The lens forms a contrasting, but rather soft image with noticeable chromatic aberrations on the open aperture - longitudinal HA and spherochromatism corrected not well enough. Naturally, the sharpness drops sharply around the edge of the frame due to a coma. Vignetting is also noticeable. Of course, a bouquet of aberrations is reflected in the side of the lens: the circle of confusion has a bright edging, closer to the edge of the frame it turns into a somewhat asymmetric lemon.

Aperture of only 1 half-stop eliminates excess software and chromatism with virtually no effect on the picture, at 2.8 sharpness evens along the edge of the APS-C frame, at 5.6 the lens is sharp throughout the APS-C frame. Apparently, at the full frame, sharpness at the edges will be achievable with F / 8-F / 11.

The optical quality of the Prakticar 50 / 1.4 is much higher than, for example, Helios-44 (when compared on equal diaphragms) - especially when it comes to field aberrations. However, when compared with Zenitar-S 50 / 1.2s, the Praktikar has no chance up to F / 8.

Workshop 50 / 1.4 has a natural color rendition, one of the reasons for this is correctly selected enlightenment: the lenses do not yellow, they do not "cool" into the lumen. Again, the contrast of the lens is also very good.

In Germany, at the same time, Carl Zeiss Planar 50 / 1.4 T * was produced. An informative comparison of two aperture German fifty dollars is given here.

Spoiler: Western Zeiss optically better.


I liked the Prakticar 50 / 1.4 with its nice picture on the open aperture and “landscape” sharpness with F / 5.6 on my camera. They are pleased to take pictures, and the result rarely needs serious processing. On the other hand, the cost of this lens is very high and approaches the price of the Zeiss Planar 50 / 1.4 or the new Zenitar-C 50 / 1.2s (which, however, is for APS-C), and the optical quality is much worse. In addition, things are not going so smoothly with the use of the lens on modern central controllers, especially full-frame ones.

Thank you for your attention, Eshmakov Rodion.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 10, on the topic: MC CARL ZEISS JENA PRAKTICAR 1: 1.4 f = 50mm. Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Ilyas

    Optically weak, but the color is really good

    • NE

      Yes, the colors of the 600d are good ...

  • Michael

    In the camera settings or something, the contrast is overestimated, the picture directly cuts the eyes. The background is in strong defocus. Helios-44 does not bother like that.

    • Rodion

      Contrast in DPP development was +1 in fact. Perhaps this measure was unnecessary for the practitioner. Perception strongly depends on the monitor (on four of my devices, the photos look different), not to mention the subjectivity of the person himself. The background is heavily blurred - this is natural for a 36mm lens. Although the 1.4 bokeh nature is really defiant against a variegated background, many lenses love it for just that. In contrast to these “many” practitioners, they still have a pretty good optical quality, especially from the first half-stop.

  • ACM

    Thanks to Radion for being curious and not looking for easy ways! Don’t feed him bread; let some lens or glass be screwed to the camera. (^_^)

    • Rodion

      Well, sometimes I also want bread, actually)

  • anonym

    Thank you very much for the site and for the reviews !! very interesting!

  • Elena

    Can it be used on canon crop? Or do not bother and take Helios 44? I really like this bokeh 😍😍😍

  • mr.swar

    Buv on test Carl Zeiss Jena Prakticar 1.4/50 mm MC, I don't know the release date.
    Distribution building close to 65-70 lines/mm
    Sharpness starts from 2.8.
    Vidminna sharpness starts from 5.6.
    The sphere has been redirected.
    There is no twist.
    Some people climb HA.

    The Japanese kintsya of the 70s are richly cyanotic.

    Too many people write about enlightenment “(MS) - rich chemistry”. Tse is absolute nonsense without knowing, in the absence of evidence and that no one was on the syllabus.

  • Oleksandr

    As far as transitions, then everything is much simpler, you can “adjust” the focusing of the lens itself, then the range will be 0.45 meters (0.4 to infinity). The course of the lens block itself is sufficient for that. Robiv so on usіh lenses. If you turn it back to the original camera, then just the inconsistency stands on the cob of the inconsistency mark and not on the wrapper

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