Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tevidon 1.8 / 50. Review from reader Radozhiva

Review of Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tevidon 1.8 / 50 lens specially for Radozhiva prepared Rodion Eshmakov (instagram).

Tevidon 50 / 1.8 on Sony A7s camera.

Tevidon 50 / 1.8 on Sony A7s camera. increase.

Lenses of the Tevidon series, produced in East Germany, are quite rare and are better known as optics for narrow film cameras (Vario-Tevidon 18-90 mm f / 2.0, eg). However, it is believed that some of Tevidon's discrete lenses were used as microfilm optics, which explains the high quality and reliability of the lens barrel.

The Tevidon line includes at least 7 fast lenses: wide-angle 10/2 and 16 / 1.8, standard 25 / 1.4, 35 / 1.9 and telephones 50 / 1.8, 70 / 2.8, 100 / 2.8. There are known examples both with the now-forgotten bayonet mount, and with a completely running C-mount thread.

The review presents a bayonet version of the Carl Zeiss Jena Tevidon 50 / 1.8, adapted for use with Sony mirrorless cameras (E mount).

Technical specifications

Optical design - 6 lenses in 5 groups, "Planar", view, (the sketch is very approximate - the image of the optical scheme is not published on the Web);
Focal length - 50 mm;
Relative hole - F / 1.8;
Aperture - 12 blades, F / 1.8-F / ∞ (can be closed completely);
Filters thread - 35,5 mm (?);
Diameter for smooth nozzles - 36,8 mm;
Covers frame - APS-C;
The minimum focusing distance is 0.5 m;
Fastening - three-leaf bayonet (similar in design to the P6 bayonet);
Weight - about 400 g.

Design features

The Tevidon 50 / 1.8 body is not made of aluminum, like most lenses, but of blackened brass - that is why it has such an outstanding weight, equal to about the weight of two regular "fifty kopecks".

Front view of Tevidon 50 / 1.8.

Front view of Tevidon 50 / 1.8.

Distance and aperture scales are printed in small print at the rear of the lens. Both the focusing ring and the aperture ring are notched for motorized focus and aperture control. A reduced set of scales and adaptability for an electric drive are characteristic features of filming and technical optics.

Side view of Tevidon 50 / 1.8 case.

Side view of Tevidon 50 / 1.8 case.

But it is very convenient to focus Tevidon with your hands - a wide smooth focusing ring of the lens occupies almost the entire body. During focusing, the lens unit moves only translationally, not rotating. The focusing ring travels almost a full turn (~ 270 °), and the minimum distance is 0.5 meters, which is typical for such lenses.

Change in lens length when focusing from infinity to MDF.

Change in lens length when focusing from infinity to MDF.

The lens diaphragm is unusual: due to the presence of 3 specially installed blades, it is able to close completely. In this case, the pupil of the lens acquires a nearly triangular shape from a certain aperture.

Changing the shape of the pupil of the lens with closing the aperture:

The Tevidon 50 / 1.8 diaphragm blades are shiny, which of course will not do the better for image contrast. The lens also does not have multilayer coating - the lenses have a brown-violet coating, due to which the lens turns slightly yellow in transmission.

To adapt the bayonet version to modern cameras, simply screw the C-Mount optics adapter for the desired system over the bayonet. The image below is an illustration of the proverb: "Measure seven times, cut once."

View of the adapted Tevidon 50 / 1.8 from the E-mount.

View of the adapted Tevidon 50 / 1.8 from the E-mount.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tevidon 50 / 1.8 stands out for its appearance among ordinary "fifty dollars". Structurally, it is very good, easily adaptable to mirrorless cameras, disassembled and repaired, has no weak nodes. In addition, the lens has unusual features like electric rings and a fully closing aperture. Of the obvious shortcomings, we can note the lack of blackening of the diaphragm and its strange shape.

Optical properties

There are not just a lot of six-lens 50/2 class planars, but a lot. But Tevidon is, firstly, a lens for mirrorless cameras (i.e., it has a short rear focal length), and secondly, it is designed for narrow film and covers the format no more than APS-C. Both of these factors usually allow engineers to achieve better optical performance even within this fairly simple design. In addition, the Tevidon 50 / 1.8 appears to be designed with thick lenses, which are also used to improve distortion correction.

Well, the tricks of the German opticians really paid off. The lens has high image quality from open aperture in the center of the frame and satisfactory at the edge. Of course, even in the APS-C frame, quite strong vignetting is noticeable. With F / 4-5.6, Tevidon has no complaints at all. The lens will most likely work fine with crop cameras with 12-24MP.

The contrast of the image in normal lighting is good, but in backlight it is greatly reduced due to glare and fog - a single-layer coating is not able to provide good performance in such conditions. The color rendition is close to natural, but sometimes the lens takes the picture into the yellow-green area.

Bokeh is especially pleasant in Tevidon 50 / 1.8: thanks to well-corrected spherical aberration, the circles of confusion are almost uniform, and along the edge of the frame they turn into planar "lemon" - the lens noticeably "twists" the background in the APS-C frame due to vignetting.

Tevidon 50 / 1.8 pleased me with the image quality, I don't want to shoot it even with the Sony A7s: although the image resolution in APS-C mode is slightly more than 5 MP, but what are these 5 MP!

Sample photos taken on Sony A7s (shooting in RAW with and without cropping, processing in Imaging Edge).


Carl Zeiss Jena Tevidon 50 / 1.8 is a very nice and high quality lens, a real find for owners of crop mirrorless cameras. Unfortunately, it is quite rare, therefore, in search of optics with a similar picture, you can pay attention to the Soviet RO3-3M 50/2as well as some Chinese class 50 / 1.8 (2) lenses for APS-C mirrorless cameras (Meike 50 / 2, eg).

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 12, on the topic: Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Tevidon 1.8 / 50. Review from reader Radozhiva

  • Pokemon

    Nice picture.
    It would be interesting to test it on Fuji X-T3 / X-T4.

  • Rodion

    This copy can now be found on Avito / Ebay if interested.

  • Max kotov

    Well, apart from the backlighting, I liked everything. A very nice picture. Thanks for your review!

    • Rodion

      Even if you cover it with your hand, the result becomes better. Those. a lens hood would have helped.

      • Max kotov

        Well, in most cases, blending and blackening helps in such situations. No information about the year of manufacture of this lens?

        • Rodion

          Exactly after 1975, judging by the number.

  • B. R. P.

    Interesting kid.

  • Human

    And what kind of stand you have attached to the bottom of the camera? Can I see a link to it?

    • Rodion

      It worried me that even my small hand on the camera does not fit. Therefore, I bought this overlay:
      I don’t need a batman, but with this thing it’s more convenient to hold, and protection for the camera.

  • Sv

    Is it possible in more detail - how to do this process:
    “To adapt the bayonet version to modern cameras, it is enough to screw the C-Mount optics adapter for the desired system over the bayonet. The image below is an illustration of the saying: "Measure seven times, cut once."
    that is, make a C-Mount from this bayonet.

    Thank you

    • Rodion Eshmakov

      Center the removed Tevidon bayonet and the adapter from the C-mount, then drill holes through the Tevidon bayonet holes for the bayonet mounting screws. Drill out the cones for the screw heads in the adapter. Collect.

      • Jury

        Countersinking is best done not with a drill, but with a countersink, matched in diameter and angle.

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