Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

carl=Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

I finally managed to take this lens out and have a very nice Friday morning coffee with my wife in Mission Coffee in Fremont. Though I have purchased a 1/4" to 3/8" screw mount tripod adapter, I just casually tested the lens without a tripod. Thought it is a bit big for my hands and heavy to carry around, I find it very charming to use. And in discussions with others who know about this lens, I learn that this is a very lens that are produced in Pentacon 6 mount in Germany and it was in the 1930's that the Germany used it as a telescope in the Olympic game. Some pictures of my beloved Zebra Football lens used as a telescope can be seen in

I am very impressed with this lens and after I sold my copy to my friend, i have ordered my 2nd copy that cost me more in terms of money but I am in love of this lens due to its history, character and performance. Due to its large lens hood that ends with 119mm lens cap, I can hear a very distinct shutter noise of my K10D in every picture through the viewfinder. Just that snapping noise is worth my troubles in going after the 2nd copy. I truly hope that my 2nd copy can produce pictures as good as my 1st copy. Most test shots are done in f/4.0 and f/2.8.

Test Photos:

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test Shots

Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 (M42) Test ShotsWith this lens mounted on my Pentax K10D, I stand taller and even Freckle, a 17 year female dog, slow down for me to take a shot. This is indeed a very difficult lens to use and I have given my buddies these suggestions for mounting. Due to the screw mount nature, we can think of screwing our Pentax dSLR body onto the lens where the lens is laid flat on its lens cap vertically.

Impressions & Notes:
  • Lens wide open in f/2.8 is very sharp
  • Though a big bulky and heavy, I find it comfortable to hold (for short period)
  • Shutter noise is echoed through the large lens hood and it is a sound you can't have in a limited or star lens
  • Picture quality is amazing. I see some lost of contrast in brightly lid areas. More test will tell
  • Focusing ring is big but I find it very reasonable to outstanding in focusing. A monopod with the tripod screw may help a bit in the focusing as it is non trivial to hold it steady while focusing.
  • Stop down metering is accurate in day time shooting
  • Shooting in indoor seems very adequate in daytime. I find the use of f/2.8 quite good with the lens

Mounting Suggestions Steps:
  • Have cap & lens hood on the zebra football lens
  • Place lens on vertical orientation with front cap facing down
  • mount genuine adapter on body as usual
  • Screw camera onto the big lens



sue.isham said...

You mentioned you ordered a 2nd copy. Where do you order from?
I love the test pictures and I want a copy of this lens

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