The Pentacon Six System
by TRA

Publicity for Lenses for the Praktisix and the Pentacon Six
Produced by the Manufacturers and the State-owned Export Agency


One of the keys to the success of an interchangeable-lens camera is the availability of high-quality lenses in the focal lengths that are necessary for the camera to be able to achieve its potential.  In this area the Praktisix and Pentacon Six were well served.

Naturally, the publicity materials produced for the camera indicated the lenses that were then available or that were in the planning stage.  On this page, however, our focus is on the lenses themselves, normally in literature produced by the lens manufacturers.

Two companies located in East Germany produced lenses for the Praktisix and subsequently the Pentacon Six: the original Carl Zeiss works in Jena and Meyer-Optik of Görlitz, which was further east on what
after the end of World War II became the border with Poland.

1957






[57Q_Mey_as.jpg]

Meyer-Optik did not date this brochure.  However, its 60th anniversary had been in 1956, and the brochure proudly boasts that they have been building lenses “for more than 60 years”.  The style of the brochure, with complex cut-outs on one page and a fold-out page, as well as the style of the cartoon drawings and the particular lenses on offer, place this brochure firmly in the 1950s, and 1957 seems the most probable year of publication.
 

Approximate dimensions: 120mm × 210mm  10 pages
 
Click on the image here in order to see a larger copy.
 
Lens manufacturer brochures generally show a range of lenses, only some of which are available in a Praktisix mount.  Meyer had been making lenses for large format cameras for most of its history, and for 6 × 6 SLR cameras since the 1930s, so when the Praktisix was launched, offering suitable lenses in the new camera mount was relatively easy, since Meyer lenses for Medium Format cameras did not normally have any form of aperture automation.
 
The two lenses for the Praktisix that are described in this brochure are the 80mm f/3.5 Primotar E, which did automatically stop down, but had to be manually opened, and the fully-manual 300mm f/4.5 Telemegor.



[57Q_Mey_bs.jpg]

The first KW publicity on the Praktisix of which I am aware (shown here) did not name the standard lens that was supplied with the camera, but in the photographs of the camera, the Carl Zeiss Jena 80mm f/2.8 Tessar can be recognised (although its name is not seen).  It should be borne in mind that at the same time, for most world markets Hasselblad was supplying its 1000F or its new 500C medium format SLRs with a West German Zeiss 80mm f/2.8 Tessar lens.
  

It would appear that soon after the launch of the Praktisix, the decision was taken to offer a cheaper standard lens, the 80mm f/3.5 Meyer-Optik Primotar E.
 

Click on the image here in order to see a larger copy of pages 7 and 8 of this brochure.

 
(In the 1957 edition of KW’s introduction to its camera range, “Jedem seine Kamera” (“A Camera for Everyone”), the Tessar, labelled as “Jena T”, can be clearly seen – see here.)

1961




[61_50Flek_as.jpg]

This is the earliest Carl Zeiss Jena lens leaflet for a Praktisix lens that I have discovered.  It is written in German.
 
This leaflet was received in electronic format.  The dimensions are therefore assumed to be correct.  They do correspond to the dimensions of leaflets from Carl Zeiss Jena at the time.
Approximate dimensions: 150mm × 210mm per page   Single sheet folded once to create four pages.

 
Click on the image here in order to see a larger copy.
 
The front of the leaflet states “Dieses neue Weitwinkelobjektiv mit besonders großem Bildwinkel ist für die Spiegelreflexkamera „Praktisix“ 60 mm × 60 mm bestimmt.  Seine Brennweite stellt die kürzeste der, die gegenwartig für diesen Kameratyp auf dem Weltmarkt angeboten wird”, which means “This new wide-angle lens with a particularly great angle of view is intended for the “Praktisix” 60mm × 60mm medium format mirror reflex camera.  Its focal length is the shortest that presently exists that is offered world-wide for this camera type ”.  The ground-breaking nature of this new lens cannot be over-emphasised.  It was not the first wide-angle lens for the Praktisix, but it was the most important one.  It justifiably continued in production until the collapse of the whole East German system, 29 years later.




[61_Fl50Flek_bs.jpg]

The back of this leaflet summarises the key information on the lens and contains the printing date code.

Click on the image here to see a larger copy.

[61_Mey_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Meyer-Optik
Approximate dimensions: 205mm × 200mm
12 pages

Click on the image here in order to see the front cover full size.

The cover title, “BILDGESTALTUNG durch sinnvolle Objektivwahl”, means “IMAGE FRAMING by means of meaningful lens choice”.


This copy of the brochure has been stained by water damage, but it still provides some interesting information.


[61_Mey_8s.jpg]

Here we reproduce page 8 of the same brochure, which features Meyer’s Telemegor range of lenses.  It is clear that in 1961 the only lens from this range that had been prepared in a version to cover 6 × 6, and with the Praktisix mount, was the 300mm f/4.5 lens.
 

Click on the image here in order to see page 8 full size.
 

It is also interesting to see from the lens and camera chart on pages 10 and 11 (not reproduced here) that the Telemegor is now the only Meyer lens that is offered for the Praktisix.  So the 80mm Primotar E, while still available for various 35mm cameras, is no longer offered with the Praktisix mount.  It appears that the Praktisix was being targeted at a sector of the market that was looking for optimum quality, rather than for the lowest-possible price.  Instead of offering the cheaper Primotar as an alternative to the four-element Tessar standard lens, KW decided to offer a superior (and more expensive) 5-element lens from Carl Zeiss Jena, the Biometar, and indeed even the Tessar was soon dropped, in order to respond to the challenge from the more prestigious Zeiss West Germany Planar that was now being offered with the Hasselblad 500C.

1963






[63_Meyer_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Meyer-Optik
Approximate dimensions: 210mm × 200mm
12 pages

Click on the image here in order to see the front cover full size.



[63_Meyer_bs.jpg]

The back of this brochure reminds us that although the “Meyer Optik” name and logo are still used, in fact the company had been expropriated by the communist government of East Germany, and its official name was now “VEB FEINOPTISCHES WERK GÖRLITZ”, which means “PEOPLES OWN COMPANY FINE OPTICAL WORK GÖRLITZ”.
 
We see from the information inside the brochure that the 300mm f/4.5 Telemegor continues to be the only lens offered by Meyer in Praktisix mount.
 
Click on the image here in order to see the back cover full size.

1964






[64_Meyer_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Meyer-Optik.
Approximate dimensions: 100mm × 208mm

Single sheet folded in two places to create six narrow pages

This is the 1964 Price List for Meyer lenses.

Click on the image here to see the front of the leaflet full size.



[64_Mey_3-4s.jpg]

Here I have partially unfolded the leaflet in order to show pages three and four.  This misses out the five Meyer lenses that were presented on page 2, but it does include the only lens that is here offered for the Praktisix, still the Telemegor f/4.5 300mm.
 
Readers may be interested to see and compare the prices, which are all listed in West German “DM”, or “Deutschmarks” (in English) – even though the back page (not reproduced here) directs readers of the leaflet to the official East German government shops in various East German cities.
 
We note that various of the lenses bear the East German “1Q” symbol, which designated the highest level of quality that was destined for the country’s domestic market.
 
Click on the image in order to see pages 3 and 4 full size.

1965






[65_Zs_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate dimensions: 145mm × 210mm
.
Sixteen pages.
 

Click on the image here to see the front of the brochure full size.
 
This lists the following Zeiss lenses for the Praktisix:
Flektogon f/4 50mm and f/2.8 65mm, Biometar f/2.8 80mm and f/2.8 120mm and Sonnar f/2.8 180mm.  No 300mm Sonnar or 1000mm mirror lens is mentioned.
 
Two pages are dedicated to each lens, with data, lens diagram, photograph of the lens and a photograph taken with it.
 
Here Zeiss shows considerable commitment to the Praktisix Medium Format camera.




[65_Zs_65mms.jpg]

Here we show the first of the two pages on the 65mm Flektogon.  From the lens diagram we can see that the design is based on the 80mm Biometar design, slightly modified, with the addition of a large element at the front of the lens.
 
Click on the image here to see the page full size.
1966






[66_Meyer_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Meyer-Optik
Approximate dimensions: 149mm × 210mm
Twenty pages
 
Click on the image here to see the front of the brochure full size.
 
The emphasis of this brochure is clear from both the title and the cover photographs: “Zwischen 29 und 500” means “Between 29 and 500”.  The 29mm lens is obviously for 35mm cameras, but the new 500mm f/5.6 Orestegor lens can be used both on 35mm cameras and on the Praktisix/Pentacon Six.  This was in particular a much-needed focal length for this camera, and continued in production for next 24 years, until the collapse of East Germany and much of its industry.
 
The only 300mm lens for the Praktisix/Pentacon Six was still the f/4.5 300mm Telemegor.




[66_Meyer_bs.jpg]

The back cover of this Meyer brochure.
 
Perhaps the inspiration behind this photograph is to suggest (or affirm!) that Meyer-Optik lenses are suitable for producing professional-quality results when used by fashion photographers (or at least, by those who seek to emulate them!).
 
Click on the image here to see the back of the brochure full size.
 
We note that the GDR export body for Meyer lenses is now DEUTSCHE KAMERA- UND ORWO-FILM-EXPORT GMBH.


[66_MeyPL_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Meyer-Optik.
Approximate dimensions: 100mm × 210mm

Single sheet folded in two places to create six narrow pages
 
This is the 1966 Price List for Meyer lenses.
 
Click on the image here to see the front of the leaflet full size.

 

It seems as though Meyer was better at marking anniversaries than KW/Pentacon!  (See camera publicity page here.)



[66_MeyPL_3-4s.jpg]

Here I have again partially unfolded the leaflet in order to show pages three and four.  This misses out the four Meyer lenses that were presented on page 2 and the three that were on page 5, but it does include the new 500mm Orestegor offered for the Praktisix, as well as the Telemegor f/4.5 300mm that had been available for many years.
 
In contrast to the 1964 Price List, reproduced in part above, where the prices were given in West German “DM”, or “Deutschmarks”, this time the prices are given in East German (DDR) Marks, which at the time were known as “Deutsche Mark der Deutschen Notenbank
” or “MDN”.  This designation was subsequently simplified to “Mark der deutschen Notenbank” and eventually to “M”, meaning “Mark der DDR”.  (According to Wikipedia, here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichsmark, consulted on 12 August 2018.)
 

As before, the back page (not reproduced here) directs readers of the leaflet to the official East German government shops in various East German cities.
 

We note the continued use of the East German “1Q” quality symbol.
 

Click on the image in order to see pages 3 and 4 full size.
1967






[67_MeyDE_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Meyer-Optik
Approximate dimensions: 149mm × 210mm
Twenty-four pages

Click on the image here to see the front of the brochure full size.

This brochure lists the 500mm Orestegor that was first presented in the previous year (see above two publications) and introduces the f/4 300mm Orestegor for the first time.  This replaces the older f/4.5 300mm Telemegor, which is no longer listed.

The two Orestegors in the photographs are in the Pentacon Six mount, but through some oversight, their coverage of 6 × 6 format and their availability in this mount is nowhere mentioned!

Like the 500mm Orestegor, the new 300mm version continued in production right until the end of the GDR, indeed, beyond then.  (See here.)


[67_MeyDE_bs.jpg]

The photograph on the back page shows a ladies’ hair style that was popular in the latter years of the 1960s, and communicates happiness and friendship, as well as perhaps a hint of possible romance.
 

We note (from comments on page 2 of this brochure, not reproduce here), that Meyer-Optik continues to be very aware of its history, and proud of it, as was also observed in other company publicity illustrated above.
 

In this brochure they state that their lenses have been produced and marketed world-wide “Seit mehr als sieben Jahrzehnten”, which means “For more than seven decades”.  As the company was founded in 1896 and this brochure was published in 1967, they have, to be precise, been manufacturing and selling lenses for 71 years.  This does lend weight to our dating of the first of their brochures, reproduced near the top of this page.
 

We observe that the company logo, which is on the front of the brochure, has been replaced by the Pentacon logo on the back, and that company is now part of the State conglomerate “Kombinat VEB PENTACON DRESDEN”.
 

We also note a rubber stamp from an East German State-owned camera shop, confirming that this particular copy of the brochure, at least, was distributed in East Germany.
 

Click on the image here to see the back of the brochure full size.

[67_Meyer_as.jpg]

English-language brochure from Meyer-Optik
Approximate dimensions: 149mm × 210mm
Twenty-four pages
Printed on high-quality glossy paper
 
Click on the image here to see the front of the brochure full size.
 
This is an English-language translation of the above German edition of the same year.  There are a few changes on some pages, featuring some different lenses for 35mm cameras, and some illustrations have been changed.  As regards the two Orestegors, the above omission is corrected and the lenses are specifically stated to be for the Pentacon Six, as well as for various 35mm camera (though we notice in passing that the references to the Exakta Varex 1000 and the Exa 500 have been removed).


[67_MeyEN_2021s.jpg]

The back of this brochure is identical to the original German version, so here we reproduce pages 20 and 21, which feature the two Orestegor lenses.

Click on the image here to see these pages full size.
1968






[68_MeyPL_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Meyer-Optik.
Approximate dimensions: 99mm × 210mm

Single sheet folded in two places to create six narrow pages
 
This is the 1968 Price List for Meyer lenses.
 
Click on the image here to see the front of the leaflet full size.




[68_MeyPL_p4-5s.jpg]

Here we reproduce pages 4 and 5 of this price list (which are not printed side-by-side in the original leaflet).  The leaflet displays the 500mm Orestegor prominently, as well as the 300mm Orestegor.  (The 200mm Orestegor shown to the left of this lens does not cover 6×6, being designed for 35mm cameras only.)
 
We note the re-appearance of the Exakta and Exa 35mm camera mounts for the 300mm and 500mm Orestegors.  The page on the 500mm Orestegor shows the conical-shaped mount for M42 cameras.  This is simply swapped with the Pentacon Six mount by unscrewing a large retaining ring at the back of these two Orestegors, and the same mount can be fitted to either lens in place of the Pentacon Six mount.
 
Click on the image here to see pages 4 and 5 full size.
 
The price designation, in East German Marks, now uses the single letter “M”.

1969






[69_Zeiss_as.jpg]

German-language brochure from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate dimensions: 100mm × 205mm
.
Twenty-four pages.

Click on the image here to see the front of the brochure full size.

The 65mm Flektogon (which was soon to be discontinued) is still described and illustrated, and new to the Zeiss lens range is the 300mm Sonnar.  Like all the other Zeiss lenses for the Pentacon Six so far, this new lens has a fully-automatic diaphragm, a feature that is not offered by the Meyer 300mm and 500mm Orestegors.


[69_Zs-18-19s.jpg]

Here we reproduce pages 18 and 19 of this brochure, which present the new 300mm Sonnar lens.  The layout of the double-page spread matches that used for all the lenses in this brochure.
 

Click on the image here to see pages 18 and 19 full size.

 

The notes at the foot of the page state that two interchangeable adapters are being prepared, one of them to mount this lens on the Pentacon Super, Praktica 35mm cameras and ASAHI-PENTAX, and the other to mount it on the EXAKTA, EXA II and EXA 500 35mm cameras.  It goes on to state that these adapters can also be used to mount the 80mm and 120mm Biometars on these 35mm cameras.
 

Although the use of the name “Zeiss” and other band names claimed by West German Zeiss shows that this brochure was prepared for East Germany and possibly other countries where they were able to use these names, it is interesting to note the manufacturers’ awareness of the ASAHI-PENTAX, a camera that could not be imported into East Germany.

1970






[70_Pent_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Pentacon
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Twelve pages
, printed on good-quality light-weight paper
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.
 

This brochure shows the disappearance of the name “Meyer-Optik”, with its proud history stretching back over more than seventy years.  The State-owned conglomerate “Kombinat VEB PENTACON DRESDEN” has asserted full control over Meyer and decided to impose its name on their lenses.  In this brochure, the lenses are called “PENTACONAR”, although I have never seen any lenses with this designation, and it was soon decided that the “Meyer-Optik” lenses would be called “PENTACON” instead, which became the case until the collapse of East Germany and the State-owned conglomerates, nearly twenty years later.
 

The title means “Pentacon Interchangeable Lenses for Single-Lens Reflex Cameras”.


[70_Pent_7s.jpg]

Most of Meyer-Optik’s lenses were for 35mm cameras, and only the 300mm and 500mm “Orestegors”, now temporarily called “PENTACONARS”, were designed for the Praktisix/Pentacon Six.  I therefore reproduce here page 7 of this brochure, which shows these two lenses.  They were always also available for 35mm cameras, and in the images of the lenses on this page, they are fitted with the M42 cone-shaped adapter for Praktica cameras and other 35mm cameras with this mount.
 

I had not previously noticed Meyer-Optik (“Pentacon”) lenses for the Pentacon Six with the so-called “zebra” finish, which was used by Zeiss lenses at the time and is here seen on the re-named 300mm Orestegor (but not on the 500mm Orestegor).
 

Other data on the lenses, including weight and filter thread size, is included in a table on page 11, not reproduced here.
 

Click on the image here to see page 7 full size.
1972






[72_Pent_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Pentacon
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Twelve pages
, printed on good-quality light-weight paper
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.
 

This brochure is a minimal revision of the 1970 version presented above.
  Close examination of the full-sized version of the front cover reveals that although the photographs from the 1970 brochure appear to have been re-used, the name “PENTACONAR” has been replaced by the word “PENTACON” on all the lenses except the last one (where no name is visible on either brochure).  It appears that the name “PENTACONAR” was abandoned soon after it was proposed.
 

On page 2 (not reproduced here), we see that the Praktica nova 1B and the Praktica super TL in the 1970 brochure have been replaced with the Praktica LLC and the Praktica L in the 1972 brochure, and that references throughout the 1970 brochure to “PENTACONAR auto” lenses are replaced in the 1972 edition by references to “PENTACON electric” lenses (for the LLC).


[72_Pent_7s.jpg]

Here we again reproduce page 7.  Comparing the full-sized versions of this brochure and the the 1970 edition we note that:
  • all references to “PENTACONAR” have been replaced by references to “PENTACON”
  • the earlier brochure had just “PENTACON six” while the newer version has “PENTACON six TL”
  • the reference to the PENTACON super 35mm camera in the 1970 brochure has been removed, with the discontinuation of this camera
  • what appears to be a “zebra” version of the 300mm lens in the 1970 brochure (never seen by me in the flesh) is now all-black
  • the reference in the 1970 brochure to the “Telemegore aus den Görlitzer Werkstätten” (“the Telemegors from the [Meyer-Optik] workshops in Görlitz”) has been removed.
Click on the image here to see page 7 full size.
1975






[75_Obj_1_as.jpg]

German-language brochure
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Sixteen pages
, printed on high-quality paper
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the brochure full size.
 

This was a joint publication by Pentacon and Carl Zeiss Jena, here called by its normal name,  “Carl Zeiss Jena”.  This is an indication that this brochure was prepared for use within East Germany and in other parts of the world where they were permitted to use the name 
“Zeiss” and certain brand names that were claimed by West German Zeiss.
 
It is clear that this brochure was produced before the one with the bright yellow cover, below.  We see this from two details:
  • the Zeiss lenses here have the famous “zebra” finish, whereas the next brochure has the newer, all-black finish;
  • the 35mm Praktica cameras here are the LLC and LTL, the version prior to the cameras shown in the next brochure.
We also note that the 35mm Exakta RTL 1000 camera is included in this photograph, as is the Pentacon Six TL, but both of them are missing from the front cover of the next brochure.



[75_Obj_p6s.jpg]

We are here reproducing page 6 of this brochure.  The two 1975 brochures in this format shown here, and the two from 1979 shown below, all have the same basic layout, with some changes of photographs taken with the lenses, and some changes in the photographs of the lenses and the descriptions of them, as necessary.
 
We can see that the three Zeiss wide-angle lenses on this page (the 20mm and 35mm Flektogons for 35mm cameras and the 50mm Flektogon for the Pentacon Six) all have the “zebra” finish, in contrast to those shown in the second brochure from 1975, shown next.
 
Click on the image here to see page 6 full size.


[75_Obj_as.jpg]

German-language brochure
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Sixteen pages
, printed on high-quality paper
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the brochure full size.
 
This was a joint publication by Pentacon and Carl Zeiss Jena, here called “aus JENA”.  This name was chosen to enable the brochure to be used in those countries where the East German company was not allowed to use the name “Zeiss”, nor certain brand names that were claimed by West German Zeiss.
 
Most of the Pentacon lenses, and some of the Carl Zeiss Jena lenses, were for 35mm cameras, and so it was natural to feature on the front cover the three leading Pentacon 35mm SLRs of 1975, the Praktica VLC 2, the PLC 2 and the LTL 2, even though some of the lenses in the photograph were primarily designed for the Pentacon Six.
 
This brochure describes the improvements in image quality arising from the introduction of Multi-Coating (“MC”) of the lens elements.



[75_Obj_12s.jpg]

On page 7 of the same brochure we see four lenses for the Pentacon Six (although all of them can be adapted for use on 35mm cameras): two Pentacon (Meyer-Optik) lenses and two Carl Zeiss Jena lenses.  The Pentacon lenses (bottom left and top right) are the 300mm and 500mm lenses that were previously known as “Telemegor”.  Both of these lenses have a manual (pre-set) aperture.  The other two (top left and bottom right) are Carl Zeiss Jena lenses: the 300mm Sonnar (here called “S”) and the 1000mm mirror lens.  The Sonnar has a fully automatic diaphragm or aperture.  Mirror lenses do not have an aperture.
 

(We note that both Pentacon lenses are illustrated here with the adapter cone on the end that enables them to be used on 35mm cameras with an M42 lens mount.)
 
Click on the image here to see page 7 full size.


[75_50Flek_as.jpg]

In 1975 Carl Zeiss published a new series of leaflets on their lenses for the Pentacon Six, separately from the above leaflet, which was apparently produced by VEB Pentacon, covering Pentacon and Zeiss lenses.
 
These new Zeiss leaflets were in a new, uniform size that was considerably larger than previous publications seen from Carl Zeiss Jena on lenses for the Praktisix/Pentacon Six.  They are all in German, in the version that we have seen, and use the Carl Zeiss Jena name and logo and other names, such as “Sonnar”, which were disputed by West German Zeiss.  It must therefore be presumed that these brochures, at least in this version, were destined for use in East Germany and possibly in other countries where Carl Zeiss Jena could use these names, perhaps for importers and distributors who understood German.
 

Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
This is a single sheet, folded in half to create  a 4-page leaflet.  These were printed in full colour on smart, lightly-textured paper.
 
We here present those leaflets that we have seen, in focal-length order.
 
Each leaflet has the same format: front cover, announcing lens, with logo of Carl Zeiss Jena; page 2: photograph of the lens, lens diagram and main points explained; page 3: sample image taken with the lens, compared with an image taken with a standard focal-length lens; page 4: key date on the lens, plus manufacturer contact details, etc.
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.


[75_50Fl_p2s.jpg]

We note from the photograph of the lens on page 2 of the leaflet, reproduced here, that the lens still has the so-called “zebra” finish (alternating black and chrome stripes on the focussing and aperture rings.)  The same applies with the 120mm and 300mm in the following leaflets.  (The 1000mm mirror lens never had this pattern and for most of its production was finished in light grey, white or “military” green.)

We also note that the lens is not multi-coated.  This began to be introduced to the Zeiss range later in 1975, but at the same time the design was changed from “zebra” to all-black.

Click on the image here to see page 2 of the leaflet full size.


[75_120Bm_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
Four pages in full colour

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.

The lens featured here is the 120mm Biometar.  It is reasonable to imagine that there may have been a leaflet in this series for the standard 80mm Biometar.


[75_120Bm_p3s.jpg]

The text on this page, which is reproduced on page 3 of all the leaflets in this series (with some extra text in the 1000mm leaflet) states, “ZEISS PHOTO LENSES a term for: outstanding image performance, exemplary colour correction, perfect comfort in use, high precision, decades-long production experience”.

Click on the image here to see page 3 of the leaflet full size.

[75_300S_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
Four pages in full colour

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.

The lens featured here is the 300mm Sonnar.  It is reasonable to imagine that there may have been a leaflet in this series for the 180mm Sonnar.


[75_300S_p4s.jpg]

The leaflets on the 50mm Flektogon and the 120mm Biometar has on page 3 a picture take with the lens and a comparison picture taken with the “standard focal length 80mm lens”.  In this leaflet and the one for the 1000mm lens, below, the comparison is stated to be with the “Standard focal length 50mm lens”.  We assume that this in an error introduced by a copywriter who was not familiar with the Medium Format Pentacon Six (where the standard focal length is 80mm), especially as all the images reproduced are square, not rectangular, as would be the case with a 35mm camera.
 
On the specification page, which we reproduce here, we note that the 300mm Sonnar has six elements, its minimum aperture is f/32, its angle of view is 15.5º and its length is 218.5mm (without the adapter for 35mm cameras).  We will return to this data when we look at the 1976 leaflet on this lens.
 
Click on the image here to see the back cover of the leaflet full size
.

[75_1000_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
Four pages in full colour

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.

This is the only leaflet that I have seen that is dedicated to a description of the massive 1000mm Carl Zeiss Jena mirror lens.




[75_1000_p2s.jpg]

Here we reproduce page 2 of this leaflet, and note the interesting information on the so-called “flange distance” or “register distance” with various cameras, which is the distance from the main rear surface of the lens mount (not the part that protrudes into the camera throat) to the film plane.  The rear flange of a Pentacon Six lens needs to be 74mm from the film plane, and as this is greater than the normal distance from the rear of lenses used with 35mm cameras, there is space to position an adapter between the rear of the Pentacon Six lens and the camera mount.
 

Page 3 (not reproduced here) informs us that this lens is supplied with various interchangeable adapters.  In my experience, these have been in Praktina and M42 mounts, and there was no doubt previous an adapter for Exakta 35mm cameras.
 

We are also informed that the lens is supplied with a lens shade.  This is the massive tube that it seen on the front of the lens in this picture.  The lens is described as being supplied with “a stable transport container”.  This turns out to be a massive wooden crate, as is indeed necessary with a lens that weighs approximately 14 kilos.
 

Click on the image here to see page 2 of the leaflet full size.

1976






[76_Sonnare_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
Four pages in black and white, plus blue on the outside, red inside
 
Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.
 
This leaflet was given to me in summer 1981 in Jena by an employee of Carl Zeiss Jena (closely observed by his “minder”, who smiled exaggeratedly, poured the coffee, listened carefully to every word that each of us said, and clearly knew nothing about Carl Zeiss camera lenses!).
 
It contains information on both Sonnars, the 180mm f/2.8 and the 300mm f/4, but the emphasis is on the latter lens, which has been completely redesigned – see details in the next two columns.
 
However, the Carl Zeiss representative apologised to me, because although the technical information on pages 2 and 3 was correct and up-to-date, the photographs of both lenses on the front cover showed a version of the lenses that was no longer current in 1981.  (They are also not reproduced to the same scale, as the 180mm lens, on the right, is obviously in reality a lot smaller than the 300mm lens to the left of it.)


[75_Sonnare_p3s.jpg]

Comparing the information on the new version of the 300mm Sonnar with the previous version, we note the following changes of specification:
 


Up to 1975 incl
From 1976
Nº of elements
6
5
Angle of view
15.5º
15º
Minimum aperture
f/32
f/45
Length
218.5mm
204 mm
Weight
2000 g
1550 g
 
The leaflet states that the image quality remains the same as previously.  What it does not state is that the automatic correction of lens apertures, which automatically opened up the lens as one focussed closer, has now been removed.  In an age of TTL metering, it was probably no longer considered necessary.
 

The Carl Zeiss representative also pointed out to me that on the newever version the little metal lever to stop down the aperture manually (for instance, to check depth of field) has been replaced with a “Schieber”, a slider that can be moved between two positions, Automatic and Manual (aperture stop-down).
 

Click on the image here to see page 3 of the leaflet full size.

1977






[77_180_as.jpg]

German-language leaflet from Carl Zeiss Jena
Approximate page dimensions: 205mm × 270mm
Four pages, two of them in full colour
 
We note that this brochure is designed for use in countries (such as West Germany!) where Carl Zeiss Jena was not allowed to use the name “Zeiss” nor lens names such as “Sonnar”.  The lens is therefore described as being “aus Jena” (“from Jena”) and it has the name “S” instead of “Sonnar”.  We note that it is now multi-coated.
 
Click on the image here to see the front cover of the leaflet full size.
 
The technical information in this leaflet is the same as that which is presented in the 1976 leaflet, above.  Likewise, the same photograph of the lens appears to have been used.


[77_180_p2s.jpg]

Here we reproduce page 2 of this leaflet.
 
Amongst other things, this page states, “The high sharpness of a lens for 35mm cameras stretches right into the corners of Medium Format.”  The multi-coating is also emphasised, as well as the fact that there are adapters for 35mm cameras with M42 lens thread with electric contacts such as the Praktica LLC, VLC, PLC 2, VLC 2 and EE 2 (here called mount “M 42/E”), for all other cameras with M42 lens mounts, and for Exakta 35mm cameras.
 
Click on the image here to see page 2 of the leaflet full size.

1979






[79_Obj_as.jpg]

German-language brochure.
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Sixteen pages, printed on high-quality paper.

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the brochure full size.

Largely based on the bright yellow 1975 Pentacon / aus Jena brochureshown above, although this time the name “Carl Zeiss Jena” is used, along with other disputed model names like “Sonnar”. The only real difference is the font size on page two and a different content on page 3.  (The 1975 brochure had a cut-away drawing of a lens, explaining its construction; the 1979 version has a photograph of a deer.)


[79_D_p15s.jpg]


The chart on page 15 of the brochure summarises the key information on all the lenses featured.  For us, the key colum is the final one on the right.  A “+” here shows that the lens on that line is available for the Pentacon Six TL and the Praktisix.

Click on the image here to see page 15 full size.


[79_lenses_as.jpg]

English-language version of the above German-language brochure
Approximate dimensions: 200mm × 190mm
Sixteen pages, printed on high-quality paper.
 

Click on the image here to see the front cover of the brochure full size.


[79_E_p12s.jpg]

Note the new shape of the 300mm Sonnar, compared with the photograph of it in the 1975 brochure.  The rear section is no longer conical in shape, gradually reducing in diameter, but steps down from the larger diameter of the central section to the smaller diameter at the back.  The optical design has not been changed, but its use with the 35mm Praktica LLC, PLC and VLC cameras has been improved, as a fork has been introduced inside the rear of the lens.  This is moved by the aperture ring and engages with a pin in the new Pentacon Six lens to Praktica M42 “electric” adapter, to transfer the lens aperture value to the camera’s metering system.  This fork can be seen here.
 

The design changes also enabled the weight of this lens to be reduced from 2070 g to 1550 g.  Unfortunately, in both the German version of this brochure (above) and the English version (here) the original chart has been reproduced unchanged from page 15 of the 1975 brochure – even though Carl Zeiss had published the new specifications in 1976, in a brochure that is reproduced above.

Click on the image here to see page 12 full size.








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