Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 – M42 – Exakta – Praktina
The Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 was introduced by the East German Carl Zeiss Jena company in 1953. It is a early version of a telephoto portraiture lens. At f2.8 it is not the fastest lens but it does offer a unique bookeh. These lenses have become very collectible in recent years and the prices tend to go up for a mint version.
Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 Versions
The Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm f2.8 lens is one of the oldest M42 mount Carl Zeiss Jena lenses available and is available in the classic all metal finish (along with the Zeiss Biotar and Tessar lenses). These older versions sometimes have specific air bubbles in the lens glass (these do not affect image quality – back in the day it was very difficult to produce pure high end glass).
The Biometar was produced both for 35mm as well as for medium format cameras (click here for a review of the medium format Biometar). 35mm lenses either have a Praktina, M42 or Exa / Exakta mount. M42 lenses are more expensive. 35mm lenses are available with a silver all metal finish, the early version has a leather focusing ring.
Both coated and uncoated lenses exist. Coated lenses are marked either with a “T” or “V” or “MC”.
- Mounts available:
- Made in east Germany
- Minimum focusing distance: 80cm
- Aperture blades: 12 (later models have 6)
- Weight: 230gr
Biometar 2.8/80 – Early version with leather focusing ring
The first version of the Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 2.8 80mm lens is distinguishable by the leather focusing ring. This was also the case for the Pentacon Six medium format version of the Biometar. This version was mainly produced for the Praktina camera.
Biometar 2.8/80 – Second version with an all metal finish
The second version of the Biometar now has a completely silver finish, gone is the leather focusing ring. The optical formula of the lens itself was not changed.
Biometar 2.8/80 – Third version with bakelite focusing ring
The third version of the Biometar now has a mostly black finish. The focusing ring is made out of Bakelite. This version has 6 aperture blades (unlike earlier version which have 12 aperture blades). Images below are curtosy of J. Calwell:
Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 Review
- build quality is excellent
- unique bokeh
- produces image with a unique vintage look
The build quality of this lens is outstanding as you would expect from an all metal Zeiss lens.
The image quality of this lens is very good. While shot wide open the center of the image is very sharp, while the rest of the image creates a unique bokeh which is almost twirling and creamy. This makes this lens a great companion for portraiture and artistic photography. Even when mounted on a digital camera this vintage lens produces images with an almost analog like feel. Used on a classic 35mm camera this lens is a classic portrait lens that is highly renowned and sought after for its’ specific bokeh.
The Biometar lens has become somewhat of a collectors item for which you will have to pay a price premium. Although it is still a nice piece of glass with a distinct character and feel to it, you might also want to look into purchasing a 80mm lens with an aperture of 1.8 such as the 80mm 1.8 Pancolar or the 85mm 1.8 Pentax. These lenses are in the same price range and do not have as much vignetting and corner softness.
- very rare to find (especially in the M42 mount)
- highly collectible and quite expensive when in mint condition (300 Euros and more)
- widest aperture is only f2.8 – a lot of 80mm lenses have an aperture of f1.8
- Some vignetting
- Softness in the corners
Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80mm 2.8 Video
Here is a short example video shot using a full frame Canon – shot wide open at f2.8