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How good is the Zeiss TeleTessar 4/300 really



I've read so many contradicting information on this Tele-Tessar. Is it really VERY GOOD, as the normally very critical German foto magazine Color Foto said but recently, or is it only mediocre, as some other experts say? Who of you pros is fully content with the lens?


i have had the old fat non mmx-version. it was perfect. the heavy weight of of it is better but could cause problems when using stupid plastic winder of 159mm mentioned here. lens will pull winder from the camera and contact will be lost. lack of tripod-socket is a nightmare. i dont think there is a possibility to solve this problem. there is no space on the lens.


Hi Tom,

I think that the 4/300 tele-tessar is good enough. Although I believe there are better lenses, the lens performance is really O.K. If you use good lens technique to d&en mirror vibrations, this lens can obtain really good results. I seldomly use it wide open. I often push my provia 100 1 stop to 200 asa for faster shutter speeds.

Please go to my website where you can find many photo's taken with my 300/4. Like the alpine Ibex, fiddler crab (animals section) the two opening-shots on the Mauritania page etc. Some of the mountain shots are also taken with the 300/4.

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Hi Tom,

I have owned my 300mm F4 since 1981 and won't part with it. I used it many years as a photojournalist and it blew away the Nikkor 300mm f4.5 when I compared my slides and negatives to those of my Nikon colleagues. The Nikkor 300mm f4.5 IF-ED and the 300mm f2.8 was a closer match to the Tele-

The only problem was weight. It was redesigned, but I don't know if the MM version is the same optical formula.

-Tom Palmer


I could not understand why some people post bad comments about this lens, complaining that they could not get sharp pictures with the TT300/4.
I got very sharp and contrasty slides with it. Its performance is in the same league as the Sonnar 180/2.8, if you compare their MTF curves. The VS100-300/5.6 is sharper at wide open performance because it uses low dispersion glass. BUT the TT300/4 is equally as good as the VS100-300 at aperture F8 based the MTF curves.
You can't use Mutar II and Mutar III with VS100-300 and it is one stop slower than TT300/4. In general, the TT300/4 is quite a bit cheaper than the VS100-300.


I'm struggling with this lens. I wonder if anyone has any ideas.

When I have used it on an RTSIII body, the viewfinder indicates an aperture of f3.5. It can be wobbled into f4.0 however doesn't stay there, for when I focus anticlockwise, the f3.5 then returns, forcing me to always finally fix the focus by focussing clockwise to re-establish the f4.0.

Is this a problem with the lens or the camera?

If it's a problem with the camera, excuse me for posting in the wrong thread.




Hi Everyone,

Have anybody compared the optical performance of the CANON 300 f/4 L IS and that of the CARL ZEISS 300mm f/4 in terms of sharpness and colour rendition? It's because I'm going to buy one of them for my second body, the EOS 3.



Well-Known Member
300mm from anyone isn't exactly easy to keep steady, even on a tripod. I would hazard a guess that this will effect over-all image quality more than minor superiority in sharpness (if there there is much difference). IMO, IS makes the Canon a very useable lens in general, even handheld.


Well-Known Member
I have the Zeiss 100-300mm and have always found it a slightly difficult lens to use. The 300mm end is not easy to hand hold.

I'm now trying Canon for the 20D and have the 70-200mm f2.8 IS and the 300mm f2.8 IS.
I would strongly recommend the Canon telephotos because the IS makes such a huge difference, as does the hyper-fast autofocus.

With IS I can now easily hand hold the 300mm at shutter speeds I would never have previously considered.
The optical performance is also excellent and as good as the Zeiss IMHO.
The whole package makes the Canon a much more 'useable' option.