Great Lenses: Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50mm f2

I really enjoy using vintage lenses and this one might just be my favorite.   Vintage lenses truly have character to them.   They give your images a look that is very appealing especially when shooting portraits.  There is no question they are not as sharp as a modern lens, but that is really okay.  They weren’t meant to be.  


These lenses were made by true craftsman, often times poured, ground and polished by hand.
   This particular lens was manufactured during the beginning of World War Two.  The barrel appears to be made from nickel instead of brass, but the build quality is still first rate.  Everything works perfectly and is very smooth.  I almost always shoot this one wide open.  

 

The serial number places its build date to 1939.  To think that just a few years later the Zeiss works tooling and inventory along with most of the Zeiss craftsman would be shipped off to Russia where they would begin building cameras and lenses for the Russian market under the Juniper brand name.

 

At one time, these could be had for just a few dollars, but original Zeiss lenses are now gaining in popularity, causing their prices to inflate.

 

My example appears to have never been serviced.  The screws, mounts and retaining rings look as though they have never been touched.  The glass is clear, the blades are clean and it is a joy to use.  I have used this on my Lecia CL, Leica M6, Bessa R with great success.


 

Below are a couple shots of my daughter from 2008.