1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR). Radozhiva Reader Review

Review of the lens 1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena specially for Radozhiva prepared Rodion Eshmakov.

1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR)

View of the 1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena lens converted for Nikon cameras (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR)

For the lens provided free of charge, I thank Varlamov Artyom.

Tessar lenses are one of the most common film camera mounts due to a combination of low cost and good optical performance. This review presents the production in the GDR. lens modification Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 period 1964-1967 years in a zebra case. This version is different from familiar zebra a six-petal diaphragm and unusual marking: the reason for the lack of a manufacturer brand at the title end is the debate between the “western” and “eastern” Zeiss about brand ownership. I got this copy without attaching it to the camera and was adapted for Nikon SLR cameras.


Optical design - 4 lenses in 3 groups, "Tessar", type of circuit;
Focal length - 50 mm;
Relative hole - F / 2.8;
The diaphragm is six-petal, F / 2.8-F / 22, with clicks on the half-stops, “jumping” (the alteration did not preserve this mechanism);
The minimum focusing distance is 0.5 m;
Thread for filters - 49 mm;
Additionally - a graph of the frequency-contrast characteristic of the lens taken here, see;
Historical Information: source.

Optical design "Tessar" today is usually considered as a development of the famous Triplet company Cooke. In fact, the development of this lens was carried out almost from the end of the 19th century under the leadership of Ernst Abbe on the basis of the well-known simplest two-lens achromat. The logic was simple: achromat provides the ability to correct chromatism and spherical aberration, but leaves field distortions (coma and astigmatism). The combination of two achromats with field distortions of different sign makes it possible to compensate them for the system as a whole, leaving spherical and chromatic aberration fixed. And that was born in 1902 under the patent of Paul Rudolph this lens - with a relative aperture of 1: 6.3.

Tessar is Zeiss’s “eagle eye”.

Tessar is Zeiss’s “eagle eye”.

Rudolph’s assistant Ernst Wandersleb was engaged in the development of the scheme, who managed to achieve an aperture ratio of 1: 3,5, unprecedented for a universal lens, and his successor Willy Merte later achieved the treasured F / 2,8 (1931 - the first Tessar 50 / 2.8), which essentially became the limit of the development of this scheme: four grades of glass, 7 radii of curvature and 2 spaces greatly limit the possibilities for distortion correction. Experiments on asphering the lens surfaces made it possible to achieve a crazy aperture of F / 1.5 (and this was in the 1940s!), However, such developments did not go into the series, and Willy Merte's war and death in 1948 prevented further research in this area.

In the post-war period, world demand for photo optics grew and Tessar became attractive due to its suitability for mass production. In East Germany, the Tessar 50 / 2.8 was recounted in 1947 by Harry Zollner, which was Zeiss's new birth in Jena. The lens was produced until 1987 with no changes in the optical design. Its latest version, MC Carl Zeiss Jena Prakticar 1: 2.8 f = 50 mm, was the only one using multilayer lens illumination.

Compared to Triplets, the Tessars had the best resolution both in the center and across the field (for this he was nicknamed the "eagle eye"). Unlike double-Gaussian lenses, Tessar did not have such a pronounced drop in resolution to the edge of the frame, although he noticeably lost them in resolution with equal apertures.

They tried to use high-speed Tessars in a medium format - that was how it was born in 1933 Carl Zeiss Tessar 80 / 2.8. Not having sufficient optical quality, this lens was subsequently replaced by five-lens Biometar and Planar.

Today, it is hardly possible to meet “the same” Tessar among modern lenses, but his name still sounds in the name of many new Zeiss fixed and zoom lenses.

Design features

1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR)

1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR)

The lens has the recognizable appearance of a typical GDR Zeiss thanks to its striped body with white and orange marks. However, the fashion is contagious - Meyer-Optik lenses, for example, had a similar design.

The case contains a complete set of scales - distance scales and depth of field (with a mark of IR shift).

View Tessar 50 / 2.8 in profile.

View Tessar 50 / 2.8 in profile.

The lens provided to me, as was noted, did not have its own shank. To maximize compatibility, the lens was adapted by me on the Nikon F mount.

View of the adapted lens from the side of the shank.

View of the adapted lens from the side of the shank.

The diaphragm received a completely manual control, unlike the popular Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR version in a striped case, the aus Jena version has 6 aperture blades. Although the petals are rounded, you cannot get rid of the nuts when closing the diaphragm.

The occurrence of a nut during diaphragm.

The occurrence of a nut during diaphragm.

The lens has a fairly convenient control: its rings are cobby due to the ribs and quite wide. When focusing the lens, the entire lens block moves progressively without rotation - polarization filters can be used with the lens without any problems. MDF is 0.5 meters - this is not as rosy as the Soviet Industar-61LZ, but also not bad.

Tessar 50 / 2.8 - a convenient lens, as it should be a staffer. But, in my opinion, the Soviet Industar-61LZ has several significant advantages: it has a more convenient focus ring, significantly less MDF and the front lens is more deeply buried, which protects it from excess light.

Optical properties

The lens forms a rather soft image on the open aperture - like its Soviet counterpart. We must not forget that the "eagle eye" was called Tessar, but diaphragmed. At F / 2.8, spherical aberrations and coma make the main contribution. There is a slight vignetting. Good center resolution is achieved with F / 4, and field resolution with F / 5.6-F / 8. The contrast of the lens does not cause admiration, and in the backlight Tessar "goes blind." The reason is the ineffective single-layer enlightenment of optics. The color of the lens conveys without noticeable distortion.

The lens bokeh is typical for tessars - blur circles have a pronounced border around the edge, closer to the edges of the frame circles become flattened due to vignetting and coma. Tessar is inclined to give a hard and loaded bokeh, for which not everyone loves it. But you can’t help but love him for his “soft”, moderate, uniform sharpness.

Below are examples of photos on Tessar 50 / 2.8 (“aus Jena”) and Canon 600D. I allowed myself to limit myself to so few examples, since the lens is not optically different from previously presented five-petalled tessar.


Tessar 50 / 2.8 “aus Jena” is not something unique among numerous 50 / 2.8 staff. It simply gives a picture of an acceptable level of quality and has interesting artistic properties. And this is perhaps the most affordable Carl Zeiss lens, which can bring a lot of good shots to a amateur photographer.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 11, on the topic: 1Q T 1: 2.8 f = 50 aus Jena (Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50 / 2.8 DDR). Radozhiva Reader Review

  • Arkady Shapoval

    Let me remind you that Rodion collects donation on Sony a7 to create more interesting reviews https://radojuva.com/2019/06/mir-trud-donat/ . He practically raised funds, let's finally bring his idea to the end :)

  • Serhii

    For the review of the clerk, for the portraits of tezh. True portraits of the back portraits are true in the portraits (although it is more beautiful than anything else).

    • Rodion

      Focus is everywhere through Live View, oddly enough.

  • Eugen

    The author did not mention the Carl Zeiss Tessar T * 45 mm f / 2.8 C / Y - the pinnacle of this optical design.

  • Oleg

    "This version differs from the usual" zebra "with a six-bladed diaphragm and unusual markings: the absence of a manufacturer's brand on the title end is the cause of disputes between" Western "and" Eastern "Zeiss about the ownership of the brand" - probably this would be more correct. And thanks for the informative article, Rodion.

    • Rodion

      No, it's still just a dispute about rights that causes abnormal labeling, and not vice versa)

  • Sergei

    Special thanks to Rodion for the link to a German website dedicated to photographic equipment and optics of the GDR.
    A lot of new and interesting.

  • Artem

    Well done, that did finish it :)

  • Rack

    Jupiter-8, added because the scheme is the same

    • Rodion

      I don’t know what you had in mind, but the Jupiter scheme is not Tessar at all.

  • Rack

    Didn't upload the file ...

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