Thread: Zeiss Jena

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  1. #1 Zeiss Jena 
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    After watching Paul Thomas Anderson using old Jena lenses and so many great things written about them (and myself being a fan of how vintage glass works with these modern sensors), I started investigating these lenses.

    I read an article Frank wrote about them, but I have a few questions. First, the zebra is the best of the four types ever made of these lenses, right? And second, why is the pentacon 6 mount a better choice than the m42? If I'd get m42, at least I could use the adapter for other lenses. Anyway, if pentacon is the way to go, then it's the way to go

    Thanks!
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  2. #2  
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    Yes, Frank mentions the Zebra set was the newest and bites of the lot. These are Medium Firmat lenses, and not a lot of choice in lens mounts, with the Pentax being the easiest to convert or adapt.
    Cheers
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Frank Glencairn's Avatar
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    Well....

    The Zebras still using the older formula (of glass) and have virtually no coating.
    They are sharp and soft at the same time - I don't know how to describe it otherwise.
    They flare as hell, which is a good thing, if you are into that. Otherwise you can always use a mattebox.

    The newer Jenas, have a better coating, but lesser glass (due to environmental laws/different process).

    Since they are medium format, a 50mm is already considered very wide.
    So I sometimes use a speedbooster under the Pentacon adapter, which works surprisingly good.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Glencairn View Post
    Well....

    The Zebras still using the older formula (of glass) and have virtually no coating.
    They are sharp and soft at the same time - I don't know how to describe it otherwise.
    They flare as hell, which is a good thing, if you are into that. Otherwise you can always use a mattebox.

    The newer Jenas, have a better coating, but lesser glass (due to environmental laws/different process).

    Since they are medium format, a 50mm is already considered very wide.
    So I sometimes use a speedbooster under the Pentacon adapter, which works surprisingly good.
    Thanks Frank. Above all, I like lenses with character and, most of the times, it feels as if all the coatings seem to strip modern lenses out of their mojo. What would be the reason to go for the pentacon mount instead of M42? Or is it the same thing? I was kind of hoping to able to use the m42 adapter on other lenses.

    Btw have you tried the Jenas on the UM4.6k? How did they perform?

    Thanks
    Last edited by david evans; 06-07-2018 at 04:38 AM.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Frank Glencairn's Avatar
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    The Penta mount is medium format, the m42 is for 35mm.
    You want the Penta, cause you are using only the sweet spot of the lens.

    Also the Penta/Kiev mount is like a mini PL mount, solid/no play and all - I like that.

    Works like a charm on the Ursa (and all other BM cameras).
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  6. #6  
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    A discussion of this nature shouldn't overlook the larger coverage circle of these medium format lenses, and the fact that tilt/shift adaptors exist to be able to convert any one of them into incredible effects, architectural and/or tabletop lenses.
    Also, to give that toy-like effect when shooting real landscapes, etc., by reducing the focus plane, essentially a stills photo effect that's very cool in video too!
    I've had a standard 80mm (standard for MF, portrait for DX, long tele for FX, etc) for many years, which started off as a standard lens when I was running a Pentacon Six, then became a go-to lens for 35mm and FX portraiture, and now also excellent with a tilt-shift adaptor.
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  7. #7  
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    Pentacon 6 mount is very easy to adapt to PL, which may explain the popularity. M42 can be adapted to PL, but because the flange distance of M42 is less than PL the lens has to sit down inside the adapter, which limits the number of M42 lenses that can work on PL. The primary limitation being the diameter of the lens at its base. The Helios 58mm is a popular lens to adapt from M42 to PL because it's narrow enough to work, but other M42 lenses don't fit the physical space. For more info there's this article.

    Pentacon 6 flange distance is slightly more than PL so it's an easier lens to adapt with fewer limitations/issues.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member david evans's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. My Ursa Mini, however, is Ef mount. Any advantage to using pentacon 6? Frank, you said the pentacon was better because I want to use those lenses's sweet spot. I didn't quite understand what you mean. Sweet spot to me is the ideal Fstop of a certain lens. How does the mount affects that? Sorry if it's a dumb question but medium format is not really my area of expertise
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  9. #9  
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    I think %Frank was refectory the lens projected image circle, center area being the sweet spot when used in a smaller sensor camera like the UM, the lens was designed for a 6x6 CM film gate.
    Cheers
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by david evans View Post
    Thanks guys. My Ursa Mini, however, is Ef mount. Any advantage to using pentacon 6? Frank, you said the pentacon was better because I want to use those lenses's sweet spot. I didn't quite understand what you mean. Sweet spot to me is the ideal Fstop of a certain lens. How does the mount affects that? Sorry if it's a dumb question but medium format is not really my area of expertise
    EF mount also has a larger flange distance than M42. So Pentacon to EF is an easy adaptation without limitation. M42 to EF still faces similar size restrictions of M42 to PL. So if I were in your shoes I'd go with the Pentacon lenses because they're super simple to adapt to EF.

    If you were to go from largest flange distance to smallest it would be Pentacon, PL, EF, M42. Going from a larger flange distance t a smaller one is easy. Smaller to larger requires more complicated solutions, and even then you can't always get them all to work.
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