Thursday December 20, 2012

NEW YORK NEW YORK – I’ve got another new old lens to fuss with. The Zeiss Jena all time favorite from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s is the 5.0 cm f1.5 Sonnar (5 cm equals 50mm). It’s a classic design with a classic look that had a very long run (primarily on Contax rangefinder cameras). I found one at a reasonable price on e-bay in a Leica screw mount which can be easily adapted to a modern Leica (and many other contemporary digital cameras). The Contax mount is much less useful because it doesn’t include a focusing capability – the focus control was part of the camera body on Contax rangefinder cameras.

When the lens arrived I noted a couple of odd things about it: it has no depth of field scale and the distance scale is denominated in feet, not meters, an oddity given that its serial number suggested a wartime provenance (the Germans weren’t making lenses to send to the UK and US at that point in history). In the course of some research I learned a lot more about the lens, which I’ll describe in a future post.

So here is an example shot with my Leica Monochrom. Note the beautiful character of the out-of-focus portion of the images – one of the real charms of this lens.

Orchid
Orchid

On this day last year: iPhone riot.

Sculpture
Sculpture