Carl Zeiss Jena
1938 Carl-Zeiss Jena 2.0/8.5cm (85mm) Sonnar Lens for Contax II
Camera not included!
The 2.0/85mm Carl Zeiss Sonnar is a popular lens and is recognized around the world as a master piece of design. Originally designed for the Contax rangefinder cameras, it was always an expensive and highly coveted item. It was especially popular with photojournalists during WWII because it was fast and it put some extra distance between you and “them”. After the war its optical design heavily influenced countless copies and variations and helped launch new companies such as Nikon and Cannon to greatness.
But its greatness is not simply defined by history or speed, or resolution. What artists and photographers love about the lens is it’s beautiful rendition. It’s something the Japanese refer to as bokeh. Simply said, this lens has a lovely rounded bokeh. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off very smoothly.
The serial number on this Zeiss lens indicates that it was produced in Germany in 1938. It was intended for use on the Contax II & III cameras however it will function correctly on the earlier Contax I and the later postwar Contax IIa & IIIa cameras.
The lens is in excellent condition with the normal signs of use that you’d expect on a lens this old. There are some dings on the filter ring but you can still fit a 49mm filter or hood on it. The aperture blades adjust smoothly with just the usual touch of oil on them. (Normal for vintage lenses. The blades on a rangefinder camera don’t need to move instantly as they do in an SLR.)
The glass is surprisingly clean with just a few specks of dust. There are no scratches, just a few light cleaning wisps marks to the front element. There are no separated elements or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, a pretty darned nice lens for an artist, a photographer with a historical interest or WWII reenactor.