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Exploring the Versatility of the Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8

Updated: May 17


Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8

The 50mm focal length is a standard lens for many photographers and will allow you to shoot various genres.


Regarding 50mm focal length, the options are plentiful especially when considering a vintage lens. With that in mind, very few offer the quality the Zeiss Jena DDR Tessar has for the price. I purchased my Tessar for around 30 US dollars last year and used it on my Sony A7RIII, Contax 139Q, and Contax 167MT.


The Tessar is known as the “Eagle Eye” due to how sharp it is even wide open at f2.8. The lens is light and nimble and easy to focus on.


Be aware due to the age of the lens, they at times need repair. When I purchased mine, I took it apart and fixed the stiff focus it was suffering from. If you're handy with tools, repairing a Zeiss Tessar lens is relatively straightforward. I've included a link to my repair video in this post. However, if you're uncomfortable repairing the lens yourself, many resources are available online to help you fix it.


Check out my Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8 repair video



The lens design dates back to 1902 and was designed by German physicist Paul Rudolph.


The Tessar is an old design and uses 4 elements that work beautifully on both modern camera sensors and film cameras. There are various mounts for this lens, the most common being the exacta mount and the M42 screw mount. Since I owned an m42 to E-Mount adapter, I picked one up for my Contax mount cameras here. I also use this on my FujiFilm X-E1 and X-E2 bodies


Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8 With Rigged Camera
Zeiss Jena DDR 50mm f2.8 With Rigged Camera




Portrait on film with Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8


Portrait on film with Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8

Portrait on film with Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8



Portrait on film with Carl ZEISS Jena DDR Tessar 50mm f 2.8


The Tessar Also makes a great lens for video work


Where to find your own Zeiss Tessar


The Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 lens is an excellent option for photographers looking for a high-quality vintage lens. Its sharpness, affordability, and versatility make it a popular choice for many photographers. Whether you're shooting with a mirrorless or film camera the Zeiss Tessar lens is an excellent addition to your camera bag.

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