Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar Lens???? (help) : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I need some help and info about a lens that I recently bought.
I have just purchased my first large format camera, though I've been a shooter for many years (using 35 and 2-1/4).

While at a flea market, I picked up a 4X5 enlarger for parts (it cost me a whomping $10). and I found this lens on it:

it is a ring-mount lens; and I'm pretty sure its for a 4X5 camera, but I could be wrong.

It's marking are "COMPUR" on the name plate; "Contessa" and "Nettel" on the top, and it has a numbering of "D.R.P. No 258646 D.R.G.M." on it. What does any of this mean?

The barrel of the lens itself has the following info:

Tessar 1=6.3 f=16.5 cm (which of course makes it a 165mm ƒ/6.3) But what does "tessar" mean?

It is a Carl Zeiss Jena. What does "jena" mean?

Sorry to seem so ignorant on most of this; I'm new to the large format game; and I'd love to find out if this lens was a lucky treasure or just a nice paperweight...

Please Drop me an email at if you can help with any info on this!


-- Bob Cooley (, September 09, 1998


Re: tessar . The Tessar is a 4 element formula in three groups. Acoording to Roger Hicks in a recent View Camera article the Tessars with f6.3 max aperture are fine lenses. If uncoated it will be somewhat more prone to flare in backlight and deliver somewhat lower contrast than a more modern coated lens. The coverage should be more than adequate for 4x5. Compur is the shutter manufacturer. Contessa, Nettel was a folding plate and sheet film camera, probably 9x12cm(31/3x41/4) DRP stands for Deutsches Reichs Patent -German Imperial patent. Sorry don't recall what the DRGM stans for. Jena was the city where Carl Zeiss company manufatured the lens. I'd say yopu got a very good deal. Enjoy. Eric Lohse

-- eric lohse (, September 09, 1998.

I used to have a Speed Graphic camera (4 x 5) with a 150mm Zeiss Tessar in that same Dial Set Compur shutter. It was an uncoated lens, but was one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. It should do fine on a 4 x 5 camera. You stole it.

-- Tony Brent (, September 09, 1998.

The original Carl Zeiss factory was in Jena. After WWII, because Jena was located in East Germany, US law prohibited lenses made in the original factory from bearing the name "Zeiss." Instead, they were just labeled "Jena." Lenses from that era which do bear the name Zeiss were made at another factory in West Germany.

Since your lens, which was made in Jena, is labelled Zeiss, it must have been made before the war.

-- Rob Rothman (, September 09, 1998.

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