I finally got a free day with some dry weather to take my increasing collection of Jena primes out for a spin. This is the first time I’ve been able to shoot with them together for comparison so it’s a bit of test film more than anything else. Sorry it’s a familiar spot for me (Kensington Gardens) but since I’ve already shot this place to death with my Canon glass it made for a good location to test…
Carl Zeiss Jena
Carl Zeiss (today reunified) have historically been pioneers in the field of optics with many innovations in design carrying through to this day. Zeiss glass has an almost legendary look and while many of the most highly regarded lenses came out of the West, the East German produced lenses should not be overlooked. I’ve been building a collection of vintage primes primarily for cinematography use and have chosen a specific range of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses from the mid 1960s that were originally made for a medium format camera system called the Pentacon Six…
Characterful vs Clinical
It’s paradoxical to have spent years in the pursuit of optical excellence, carefully choosing professional grade lenses based on performance to now be selecting glass based on character and imperfection. It’s human nature to long for the greener grass on the other side but for lower contrast grass that’s less sharp and covered with flares? LOL I’m loving it!
I’ve discovered the charm and character (not to mention value) of vintage lenses. It started as a novelty having picked up a budget £20 Helios 44-2. I was looking for a lens that could better capture that filmic look particularly with regards to flares and light leaks which by design are hard to achieve with my Canon L glass. I was instantly intrigued with how a 30+ year old lens which cost less than a plastic Canon lens hood could resolve so well on a modern digital full frame sensor and produce such a signature, swirly look…