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Lens Experiment


Well-Known Member
Hi Guys,

In my work, I have to issue 35mm SLR cameras and lenses to staff for evidence and surveillance photography. Sometimes these cameras and lenses get dropped, lost, or trashed in other ways, and since the photos we take with them are merely record shots, they don't have to be great works of art. I buy most of these set-ups on e-bay, and get Yashica mount lenses and bodies since I have Contax for my personal camera gear.

Anyway, through this, I find myself in possession of similar lenses from various manufacturers in C/Y mount, such as 80-200 zooms from Soligor, Tamron, Tokina, Yashica, and of course, Carl Zeiss. I also have some other duplicates as well. I thought it might be a fun project to do some semi-controlled tests of these lenses side by side..same camera body, same film, same tripod and cable release, same subject and same lighting at various focal lengths and aperatures, have the film processed all at the same time by the same lab, and then post the pictures without telling which lens they were made with and get comments, preferences, etc.

I personally believe it would be interesting to see how all of these lenses compare, since none of them except the CZ of course cost over $50 USD on ebay. Does this sound nutty, or would it be fun/interesting to fellow forum members? Let me know what you think. If this sort of thing has already been done, let me know where too.




Well-Known Member
Hi Tom,

That sounds a great idea. It may show that some of these 'garbage' lenses are better than we think, or worse. I have waited a long time for someone with the opportunity to do it to show up!

Go ahead, I am sure most people will be interested in the results, or at least with your dedication!



Well-Known Member
Sounds a mammoth project Tom.
I have used various much cheaper lenses down the years and was generally satisfied with the results but when I came to CZ about 20 years ago, I more or less stopped being happy with anything else. I do have 2 Yashica lenses which I enjoy but they are not CZ, similarly with a Sigma made Zeiss East although it does make nice contrasty pictures.
It may not be possible to discern much difference on the screen from the various types, I don't know but it would be intersting to find out.
I think we would all be interested in the results though. They might dispel some myths!
I have a £15 approx, CZ Jena 135/3.5 in Practica screw thread mount which I sometimes use in stopdown mode with a Y/C adapter or usually just wide open because I usually forget to stop down after focusing. It gives very good results.


Well-Known Member
I have tried the CZ Jena 180/2.8 screw mount on my RX with adapter, it gives good results.


Well-Known Member
That's interesting Joseph. I didn't know about the 180/2.8. I'll have to look out for one.


Well-Known Member
I've found a reference to it on the on this site:
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"Carl Zeiss Jena 180mm f/2.8 Sonnar Lens Data
CZJena 180mm f2.8 Sonnar
f/stops center edge
2.8 acceptable acceptable
4 acceptable good
5.6 good very good
8 very good very good
11 excellent very good
16 excellent very good
22 excellent good
Modern Photography, January 1964, p. 92
See the original article for lens testing procedures and standards information. This lens is the Olympic Sonnar, weighs in at 3 pounds, is 3 1/2 inches in diameter, cost $185 back in 1964 (new), and covers the full 6x6cm frame. While just "acceptable" wide open, it turns in a very respectable performance when stopped down, especially by f/8 and beyond."

Sounds facinating.
P.S. Sorry I've gone off topic. It's difficult not to sometimes when something non topic interests you within the thread.