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aus JENA (Carl Zeiss) "S" (Sonnar) 135mm f3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
4 22,481 Fri August 30, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $41.00 8.75
aus JENA (Carl Zeiss) "S" (Sonnar) 135mm f3.5

"aus JENA" was apparently an "export brand name" for Carl Zeiss lens ... "S" is an abbreviation for Sonnar

6 blades
f3.5 to f22
M42 mount
49mm filter
"Auto" plus exterior engagement lever function

If you're curious about "sonnar" lenses this web page is a comprehensive discussion (mostly in Italian but the diagrams are clear). However, as mflenses contributor Gerald comments in this thread, these days "sonnar" aplied to a recent lens is really just a branding rather than a technical descriptor.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very good but not as good as some exaggerated reviews
Cons: Over-rated
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

Mine was the black Sonnar "S" version with the "Aus" lettering in very good, not mint condition. Who knows what "Aus" means? Just added carl Zeiss jena lens confusion trying to identify what you are looking at or buying. Generally good all-round lens with nice mid-range f-stop quality. Not so good at low aperture numbers, nor at high numbers. Feels superb on a Pentax SP-type film SLR. Beautiful to use. Looks good.

As with many "cult" lenses that have linguistically-constructed mystique in many online reviews it just does not live up to the hype and the giddy cliché repetition that you often find online. A Takumar 135mm f3.5, despite not being the finest 135mm in the world, is just as good and it has a greater infinity focus and you can get one generally cheaper than this Carl Zeiss Jena. Sadly, as with today's digital technology-swamped crowd who paid a huge bomb for a camera and want to save a buck by buying cheap old lenses, a lot of people rate a lens as solely responsible for the quality of a picture when it's their sensor and processor and software systems that are actually producing the image in conjunction with the lens. Sharpness (a very dull term) and chromatic aberration and distortion are all influenced by the camera as well as the lens in digital photography. So some camera users give giddy reviews for this lens without realising how a digital camera works.

The bokeh is good. I would not recommend it for long distance or landscape photography. But that's often the case with these old used 135mm lenses as they are nothing like the superb mid-focal length telephoto or zoom digital lenses from the giants of the DSLR world. Good for mid-distance work, though. Close focus is lovely and it's superb how close you can get with this lens.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Paris
Posts: 1,930
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, IQ, IQ
Cons: MF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

nice lens, IQ is top notch, the MF make this lens a "not to buy right now" for me
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $38.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: really very sharp, stopped down at f 8
Cons: very few CA's wide open, in bokeh sometimes visible
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used:,MZ-10 sf-x etc.   

my lens is a few dusty in the interior. very similar to tele-tessar 4/135 of west german zeiss.

wide open sharpness 8, but stopped down to f8-11 sharpness 9, and with one of my macro tubes with integrated bi-convex achromate as focal reductor the sharpness is incredible 10+.

the optical base construction is 5/4. but my jena S has been improved by special fitting into a small M42 ring and using of an achromatic front lens of a binocular 8x30 to an excellent 7/5 element building. these achromates are very important for macro shootings. excellent results and 10 points !!!

I don't want to miss this lens. One of my best ones 135 mm.

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,006
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build, long throw, sharp, stop down lever, auto ...
Cons: Hefty, tendency to have sticky focus throws ...


Picked up an decent copy of this "aus Jena" lens at Poitiers' swap and had to service a slightly stiff focus ring. This lens is exactly the same as a Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135/3.5, since I have both and compared them together, only very minor exterior markings differences.

My CZ Sonnar developed a problem with its external stop down lever, so I dissembled both lens side by side to find the problem with the CZ Sonnar. Inside, both lens are identical mechanically and I repaired the CZ Sonnar thanks to the "aus Jena" copy; also cleaned up/out some minor haze/fungus upon the rear element block on the "aus Jena".

Some sample shots to come later ... quite happy with this acquisition.

Allez et salut, J
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