We’ve known for years that Zeiss lenses are pretty pricey, but a rare Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is taking the cake in so many different ways–going for $15,200 on eBay. The lens is an offering from Zeiss that of course is hard to get your hands on and for many reasons is really coveted. But by today’s standards it’s probably really a foreign idea to lots of photographers. The lens is an M42 mount–which was popular back in the day. The M42 mount is a screw mount system that includes a number of really fantastic lenses. Zeiss, Schneider, Pentax and the likes of Vivitar amongst others made some really good lenses in that mount that even today really astound me. Lenses back then also had a particular character about them–with the Zeiss Jena offerings being made in East Germany.
It’s also got a bit of that swirly bokeh that some folks are really in love with for different reasons. They’re very prized in the video world but are also becoming more and more popular amongst still photographers with the Petzval look and others coming back into the fore. 75mm and 90mm lenses were also very popular back then vs 85mm offerings.
According to the eBay description for the Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5:
“This is an extremely rare old lens and should be given a good home and for someone that is a pro that knows how to take care of lenses. It’s a collectors lens. If you want a perfect sharp lens this is not it. This lens has a steep learning curve and you’ll need to learn how to make it shine. This lens is sharp in the middle and the edges are a bit soft, but if you crop the pic its fine.
The photo with the girl was taken by me with this lens, so you can get an idea of the background it can create. I used an Sony A7rii camera with a techart autofocus adapter, and a M42 to leica adapter. This lens will make you stand out from other photographers.
Please message me first, if you are interested in buying this lens. You will not find this lens anywhere else unless you wait a really long time on ebay, you might get lucky. If you are near Milwaukee, come stop by and test the lens in person.
Lens has a lot of tiny microbubbles which is normal for back in the day, I’ve shot many pics and it the microbubbles don’t seem to affect image quality. This lens is in excellent condition, I can’t see any haze or fungus.
This lens will be shipped with signature delivery confirmation.
USA SELLER!!! FREE SHIPPING!!!”
That sounds crazy, right? Why would you want a lens that isn’t so sharp? Well, character and a particular look is one. And in all honesty, a whole lot of lenses are having any sort of character engineered out of them in a pursuit of some odd sense of perfection. But this lens will let you play with that character and when you dedicate the time to it, it’s going to help you create fantastic images. That’s evident in the sample photo above from the seller taken with the Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5.
So if you’ve got an adapter for M42 glass, an M42 camera, and a whole wad of money to spend, then I guess you too should go experience the beautiful bokeh and unique look that this lens can deliver.
Sample photo from Ota via Flickr.