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Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8 (Preset)

Reviews Views Date of last review
5 17,449 Thu April 1, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $18.33 8.60
Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8  (Preset)

Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8  (Preset)
Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8  (Preset)
Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8  (Preset)

M42 mount
8 blade iris
49 mm filter
Preset - f/2.8 to f/16
MFD = 0.5 m
No Auto/Man clutch
Mount Type:
Price History:

Add Review of Carl Zeiss Jena - Tessar 50mm f/2.8  (Preset)
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New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Location: Southern California
Posts: 10
Lens Review Date: April 1, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: rendering and bokeh
Cons: a bit clunky old style lens
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 9   

I picked this lens up along with a Pentax 35mm f3.5 Takumar for $30. The Tessar has stiff focusing (likely old grease), but does work. I tested it recently on a Fujica STL 705W, and the manual operation was a bit clunky; though that was to be expected. I like some of the results, and especially the bokeh. It is an inexpensive, but really nice lens, and I am somewhat intrigued with Tessars, as they were the standard for decades and produced some amazing images. The only thing that killed them was really the desire for faster lenses. Here are a few images captured on ADOX CHS 100 II B&W film (developed in Rodinal 1:25). First two are bokeh examples. The first was at f2.8, and the second was f5.6 or f8. The third one is just a representative photo. This was hand held at likely 1/60th of a second.

Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2017
Location: Lancaster
Posts: 2,494
Lens Review Date: November 7, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness
Cons: Non as such

I bought this lens off a Portuguese seller on eBay. It was one of my first M42 lenses and is a stunner to look at. My copy requires a flanged adapter, otherwise it stays wide open and it took me a while to realise this at which point I realised its true potential. As the preset ring is spring loaded there are times when you could do with a third hand. It is slightly soft wide open and my copy doesn't suffer massively from abberations or fringing although they are present but this is a vintage 30 lens so we have to be realistic. I love this lens and now I have done the review I can't wait to get it out again

Carl Zeiss Jenna Tessar 50mm by Peter Kay, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: February, 2017
Location: amsterdam
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 27, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: super sharp, colortrue and nice contrast
Cons: the rings are a bit tiny to dial. Very soft on 2,8
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

A friend gave me an old Praktica German camera from the 60ies. it was rubbish, he said, but would make a good prop. I decided to check out the attached lens. It was so dirty, I worked on it for quite some time to clear the glass. With my 8 dollar Pentax K to M42 ring I attached it to my K-1. I was absolutely stunned when I shot with it. We shoot for our clients all over the globe and I took a huge risk to only bring a set of analog lenses with me for a 4 week gig. The shots with the Tessar 2,8/50 turned out stunning, pretty sharp and in great color. But with that analog feeling. You should dial it up to 8 and stay away from the 2.8. It gets really soft on 2,8.
So, if you want to make your clients happy with your photography, consider an analog lens for your next project. I own a bunch and love my Carl Zeiss Jena 2,8/50. btw, I never told my friend I use his lens. He's a photographer as well (married to Nikon). Some secrets are best kept from those you love ;-)

New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp "eagle eye" by zeiss
Cons: very few CA's in the edges
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: fuji x-e1 and x-t100   

comparted with Domiplan 2,8/50 (3/3): another world (4/3 elements)

so called "Cooksches Triplet" with achromatic rear element

my first item for exa, but with adapter suitable to x-e1 = excellent sharpness, x t-100 = extreme sharpness

my second item for pentax k-x k-5 k200d k-s1 with M42 screw mount = very good sharpness

++ at f5,6-11 very sharp (eagles eye )

++ very good contrast

++ excellent neutral color rendition

++ excellent corner sharpness

++/+ very few CA's in the corners wide open, disappear totally at f 5.6-11

with an additional achromatic macro lens in front of this lens: phantastic results

9.5 points and very highly recommended (because there is no weakness in the corners as usually, stopped down a few) - one of my best standard lenses, tested by ephotozine with result 3.500 x 5.250 lines = 18,4 MP at f5.6-11 (only to reach with APC-C Fuji x-t100 (100-1000 iso) or K-1 (full frame at 100-400 iso)


Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,005
Lens Review Date: May 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Build, Close focus
Cons: No Auto/Man clutch


Found this CZJ at the bottom of a bin at the thrift store and purchased it for 2. The glass is OK, but the lens exterior is heavily marked, filter ring damaged, some markings on aperture preset ring illegible and the focus ring was seizing and very stiff near infinity. Pulled the lens apart (only one screw to remove on back base mount), cleaned and re-lubed ... focus ring now rotates normally. Super-glued the pin to have a full-time working aperture ...

I have only tested indoors and with marginal results ... also I have to pull the lens apart (again) because it will not focus at infinity. Giving it a "7" across the board rating until I can try to regain infinity and test outdoors ...

Here's what it looks like on the K-5 using a Pentax M42 adapter ... J

EDIT: Here's some quick snaps in the garden ... no PP.
Also, pulled apart for a second time and still do not have infinity.

f 2.8

f 8
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