Anyone use Carl Zeiss 3.5/135 Planar? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been looking at a Linhof Technika V with Zeiss 3.5/135 Planar in a local dealer, and am wondering whether anyone can offer some info re this lens? The lens is in excellent condition for its presumed age, although the camera could use a little cleaning and attention. The deal seems to be fairly good value for a Tech V (early Tan colour), but I cannot find out much about the lens. Any opinions would be really appreciated. Does it cover basic moves well, etc? I will be using it for basic outdoors stuff - scenics, landscapes. Thanks in advance. Ross

-- Ross McLeish (, July 03, 2000


This is probably the sharpest lens ever made for 4x5 (along with its cousin the Xenotar). It has enough coverage to allow basic shifts or tilts for landscape photography, but not enough for archicture. A very few of the last lenses were multi-coated. Grab it -- it's a winner!

-- Bill Mitchell (, July 04, 2000.

See Kerry Thalmann's comments at:

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, July 04, 2000.

Hi Ross,

As Tuan mentioned, I have some comments on the 135mm Planar on my large format homepage (Future Classics section). I just wanted to point out that my comments are specific to the 135mm f3.5 Planar T*. You didn't say specifically, but I assume since it comes with an older Tech V, that the lens you are referring to is not the latest T* version. I have not used the older, single coated 135mm Planar. This lens was made from the late 1950s through some time in the mid 1960s. According to a 1958 brochure titled "Zeiss Objectives for your Linhof Super Technika 4x5 in." this lens has an image circle of 170mm (no aperture specified). It is also still listed in a Linhof "Technika - General Catalog" I have dated March, 1966. If it's in a chrome faced Compur shutter, it's probably from the late 1950s or early 1960s. If the shutter is the older style black faced Compur (1 1/2 1/5 1/10...), it's probably from the mid-1960s. The T* model I have is in an all black modern Compur (1 1/2 1/4 1/8...) and dates from approximately 1993.

I read elsewhere on this board that there were no design changes between the older 135mm Planar and the newer T* version, simply a change to the coatings. I'm not sure if this is entirely true. I know there was at least a change to the physical design of the lens. The older version takes 58mm filters, but the newer T* version takes 67mm filters. Also, although I don't have any documentaion to back it up, I recall reading that the image circle on the T* 135mm Planar is speced at 180mm.

In any case, these lenses are very sharp, even at wide stops, but are big and heavy for a 135mm lens with limited coverage. For whatever reason, as you noted, they sell for a small fortune here in the States (both the older single coated version and especially the newer T* version). It probably has something to do with the Zeiss "mystique", and also the fact that they were produced in rather small quantities. It boggles my mind when I see the older single coated models advertised for $1495 (which is cheap compared to the 75mm Biogon and 250mm Sonnar that were also part of this "set") when you can get a new APO Sironar-S for $625, or a very similar performing 135mm f3.5 Xenotar of contemporary age for $300 - $500.

So, if the price is right, go for it. If you find you you need more coverage, you could always sell it on Ebay and use the money to buy a 135mm APO Sironar-S with money left over for another lens, film, whatever.


-- Kerry Thalmann (, July 06, 2000.

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