Near mint! 1939 Carl-Zeiss Jena 1.5/5cm (50mm). Sonnar Lens for Contax II & III Rangefinder cameras
Camera NOT included
The 50mm Zeiss Sonnar developed for the Contax rangefinder cameras is well known, well loved and is recognized as a master piece of design. It was the top 35mm format lens of its day, a title it held until the end of the 1950’s. This is the lens that inspired numerous copies and variations and helped launch Nikon and Cannon to greatness. For years and years it was the benchmark of speed and sharpness. But its greatness is not simply defined by high resolution. What artists and photographers love about the lens is the beautiful rendition in the fore and back ground. It’s something the Japanese refer to as bokeh. Simple said this lens has an absolutely gorgeous bokeh. Open up the lens or narrow the depth of field by getting closer and the focus rolls on and off silky smooth as cream… Soft out of focus foreground moves lovingly into sharp focus on your subject matter and then off again into gently blurred background. There are few lenses that do it as nicely as this. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, well then you’re in for a treat.
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 lens, 2553026, indicates it was produced by Carl Zeiss in Germany in 1939. It was the premium choice for the Contax II & III rangefinder cameras. It can also be used on the Contax I and Contax IIa & IIIa cameras.
The lens is in near mint condition. The aperture blades are excellent with just a light touch of oil on them, which is normal for prewar Contax lenses. The glass is exceptionally clean and clear. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks, and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, a wonderful lens with exceptionally fine rendition. Perfect for an artist or a photographer with a historical interest. If you've been looking for the very best lens of its era you've just found it!