Lens Data Summary
East German lenses for the Pentacon Six
Two East German companies manufactured lenses for
the Pentacon Six:
Carl Zeiss Jena is justifiably considered to be
one of the best lens manufacturers in the world. The
Meyer-Optik/Pentacon lenses in the Pentacon Six mount are also
outstanding lenses that are capable of excellent results.
|Lens name||Max aperture
& focal length
|Zeiss Flektogon||f/4 / 50||FAD (2)||78||0.5||M 86 × 1||87||480 (3)|
|Zeiss Flektogon (4)||f/2.8 / 65||FAD||64||0.75||M 86 × 1||89||480|
|Zeiss Tessar (5)||f/2.8 / 80||FAD||.||1.0||M 58 × 0.75||50||240|
|Zeiss Biometar (6)||f/2.8 / 80||FAD||54||1.0||M 58 × 0.75||51||260|
|Zeiss Biometar||f/2.8 / 120||FAD||41||1.3||M 67 × 0.75||87||550|
|Zeiss Sonnar (7)||f/2.8 / 180||FAD||24.5||1.7||M 86 × 1||122||1100|
|Zeiss Sonnar (7)||f/4 / 300||FAD||15.5||4.0||M 86 × 1||224||2070 (8)|
|Zeiss Spiegelobjektiv||f/5.6 / 1000||Mirror||5||16.0||built-in||512||14000|
(1) Various versions of most of these lens have been produced. As well as cosmetic changes and addition of multi-coating, some newer versions have a different body shape and/or are lighter in weight.
To see some information on design changes, click here.
(2) FAD = fully automatic diaphragm
(3) An earlier version of the 50mm Flektogon weighed 620g.
(4) The 65mm Flektogon was based on the five-element Biometar/Planar/Xenotar design, with a deeply curved additional element added at the front.
(5) Several thousand 80mm f/2.8 Tessars were produced for the Praktisix between 1956 and 1958.
(6) Data in this table refers to the 80mm Biometar as produced for the Pentacon Six. A newer version produced for the Exakta 66 has different dimensions and weight.
(7) The final version of the 180mm and 300mm Sonnars, produced from approximately 1981 onwards, incorporates a connector for a special adaptor which transfers the aperture set on the lens to the electric metering on Praktica LLC, VLC and PLC 35mm cameras.
(8) A new version of the 300mm Sonnar produced from approximately 1981 onwards is 204mm long and weighs 1550g.
Most of this data is based on published sources. I do not have examples of all of these lenses (!), and I have not measured or weighed all those that I do have, although I can confirm the accuracy of the filter dimensions given.
For further details of the lenses – number of elements and grouping of elements, variations of the lenses, etc, I refer you to Nathan Dayton's excellent website, www.commiecameras.com
Most of these lenses are illustrated and tested in the Lens Test section of this website. To go to the lens test section, click here.
The 80mm Biometar
To see a report on how the 80mm Biometar performs at wide apertures and how it handles out-of-focus highlights (known as "bokeh"), click here.
Zeiss design variations and serial numbers
Zeiss lenses in the Praktisix/Pentacon Six mount
were produced during a period of 35 years: from 1956 to
1991. Over this period of time, various changes were made
to the lenses. Fortunately, it is possible with the help
of the serial number to date most of the lenses that Zeiss
produced. To see more information on this, click here.
Görlitz / Pentacon
Meyer-Optik, Görlitz was previously known as Hugo
Meyer, and later as Pentacon-Feinoptisches Werk Görlitz.
For more on the history of Meyer-Optik, see here.
|Lens name||Max aperture
& focal length
|Primotar E||f/3.5 / 80||4 / 3||.||0.8||49 × 0.75||47||260||(1) (2)|
|Primotar||f/3.5 / 135||4 / 3||.||.||55 × 0.75||.||.||(1) (3)|
|Primotar||f/3.5 / 180||4 / 3||.||2.2||67 × 0.75||153||800||(1) (3)|
|Telemegor||f/5.5 / 250||4 / 2||.||3.5||52mm × 0.75||135 (4)||460||(5)|
|Telemegor||f/4.5 / 300||4 / 2||16||3.3||82 × 0.75||198 (6)||1680||(1) (2)|
|Orestegor/Pentacon||f/4 / 300||5 / 4||16||3.6||95 × 1||189 (7)||2180||(8)|
|Telemegor||f/5.5 / 400||4 / 2||.||5.5||82 × 0.75||256||1580||(1) (3)|
|Orestegor/Pentacon||f/5.6 / 500||4 / 4||10||6.0||118 × 1||370||3500||(8)|
Some of the information on the Meyer-Optik lenses was obtained from Michaels_Photo at members.tripod.de (no longer available at that web address).
(1) For the Praktisix (the predecessor of the Pentacon Six)
(2) For the Praktisix II
(3) Only at the beginning of the production of the Praktisix
(4) 135mm without lens hood (measured from base of P6 mount). 165mm with factory lens hood attached
(5) This lens was apparently first available for Medium Format cameras in the 1930s, but was not produced for many years in the Praktisix mount. It would appear to have been available in the Praktisix mount from 1957, but by the time of the 1963 Meyer lens catalogue it is no longer listed. Filter data by my measurement, not checked with a filter.
(6) Michael’s website said 196mm. This dimension can be found in some Meyer literature. My 300mm f/4.5 Telemegor is 198mm long. This is without the lens shade that was normally supplied with the lens. Adding that results in an overall length of 252mm, according to Meyer literature from the 1960s.
(7) Michael’s website said 198mm. I think that this was a transposing error. My Orestegor is 217mm long with the hood, which is normally left in place, but 189mm without the hood.
(8) For Praktisix, Pentacon Six and Pentacon Six TL. Produced until 1990.
All of these lenses except the 80mm Primotar
E were manual pre-set lenses only, having no
automatic-aperture pin. The Primotar had an FAD pin, plus
a pre-set ring on the front of the lens.
Michaels_Photo also listed another version of the Primotar, an
f/3.5 85mm lens with 4 elements in 3 groups and a filter size of
40 × 0.5. This lens can be seen on a Praktisix on the cover
of the book “Mittelformat Ost”. However, the serial number
of that lens pre-dates the introduction of the Praktisix, so
it is obviously a privately-made adaptation of an older lens,
possibly from a Meister Korelle mount.
older lenses: the Telemegors
introduction of the Orestegors, Meyer produced other
telephoto lenses with the name “Telemegor”.
These are of an older and different design from the
Orestegors. The oldest Meyer-Optik brochure
that I have, which is also labelled “VEB
FEINOPTISCHES WERK GÖRLITZ”, appears to be from
1957. Some pages from it can be seen here. It
lists four Telemegor lenses:
We note the older German notation
style, putting a “1:” before the indication of the
maximum aperture. This style was subsequently
abandoned in East Germany, but generally retained by
West German manufacturers. We also note the
comma, instead of the dot between the first and the
second part of the aperture designation.
All four of these are listed for 24 ×
36 (35mm) format, but only one of them, the 300mm
Telemegor, is also listed as being for 6 × 6
format. In spite of this, there is evidence that
some other Telemegors were occasionally available for
6 × 6 cameras, including the Praktisix and
subsequently the Pentacon Six.
|The 250mm Meyer-Optik
I am grateful to Kenneth Loen for these pictures of the seldom-found 250mm Telemegor in the Praktisix (or Pentacon Six) mount.
|The 400mm Telemegor|
Telemegors were last listed in the Meyer catalogue in 1966. Michaels_Photo said that only the two Orestegor/Pentacon lenses are significant for users. “They are excellent telephoto lenses what were built until 1990 in several versions”.
newer lenses: the Orestegors
As indicated above, the Telemegor was discontinued after the production run(s) for the Praktisix and Praktisix II. It was replaced by the Orestegor, which was half a stop faster. Later on, the Orestegor was re-named “Pentacon” when the Hugo Meyer factory, which was already under State control, was absorbed into the State-owned Pentacon organisation.
The 300mm f/4 Orestegor is first listed by Meyer in 1967. See the cover of the brochure and the relevant page here.
To the right I reproduce an image taken recently with a 300mm Orestegor. Like the older Telemegor, above, it clearly fully covers the 6 × 6 format without vignetting, and the image has excellent sharpness. Click on the image to the right to see it larger. It is possible to see examples of pictures of the same scene taken with lenses of other focal lengths here.
The 500mm Orestegor appears to have been first listed by Meyer in 1966. See the cover of the brochure here. This lens was produced until at least 1990, and possibly for a year or two after that. See the lens tests for 500mm lenses, starting here, and the page on lenses “Made in Germany” here. A similar test picture taken with the 500mm Orestegor can be seen near the bottom of this page.
in German on Meyer-Optik, Görlitz
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© TRA May 2002
Latest revision, December 2019 Minor improvement September 2022