Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Review
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 a fast telephoto lens for medium-format cameras. This lens can be safely called a legend. First Sonnar 2.8/180 was released specially for the Olympics 1936 in Berlin. The name comes from the German word «Sonne» means the sun.
Optical design is the 5 elements in 3 groups. Initially, the design Sonnar was developed in order to create a compact fast lens, smaller in size than the Planar. Designers have turned out or not, it does not matter now. But what gave the world the firm Zeiss Sonnar lens with excellent artistic qualities, it is a fact. Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 was issued more than half a century, with practically unchangeble optical design.
There are 5 versions of this lens:
The first version, the Olympia Sonnar. It produced since 1936 and is expected before the end of the WW2. There are even versions of the lens for rangefinder cameras, despite such a large focal length.
The second version of the lens. About 1950-60 years. There was a significantly redesigned the barrel. There was a single layer coating.
The third version. About 1960-70 years. It has a new barrel design "zebra", and 18 aperture blades.
The fourth version. About 1970-75 years. Significantly reworked barrel design, 6 aperture blades.
The fifth version. After 1975. Almost no different from version 4. Add multi coating only and letters «MC» in the title. Here are the version released in the DDR (Carl Zeiss Jena DDR).
In West Germany, also produces lenses with the name Carl Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/180 for bayonet C/Y. But in these lenses, despite the name, using a different optical design, and they are designed for 35mm film format. And accordingly have smaller size.
So let us return to our copy. This lens was manufactured for the camera system Pentacon Six. It refers to the fourth version, according to the above classification. And it has a single coating. It can be mounted on any camera using an appropriate adapter. I mounted it on a Nikon using Soviet KP6/H adapter (Pentacon Six - Nikon analogue).
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Specifications
Focal length: 180mm
Aperture: f/ 2,8 - f/ 32
Weight (gr): 1350
Length (mm): 120
Filter Ø (mm.): 86
Aperture blades: 6
Min. Focus distance (m.): 1.7
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Mechanics and Handling
The lens has a huge size and the camera looks unusual and attracts attention. Due to the large diameter of the front lens, it seems short, in fact, together with the adapter is normal to telephoto
Ahead is the rubberized focus ring and has a width of about 3 cm. At MFD, the front of the lens is extended by 2 cm. The front element is not rotating. The aperture ring is placed. It is metallic. There is also a switch A/M, to switch between auto and manual aperture control. On the barrel is the ring there is tripod mount. The lens has a 6 aperture blades, which glisten in the sun.
Also included is a huge lens hood and cap.
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Example Photos
All examples are taken on Nikon D3100. RAW export, no post-processing.
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Sharpness
At wide-open, lens has good sharpness for such a focal length and aperture. It seemed to me that at short distances sharpness better.
For portraits, sharpness enough. If may seem that the weak sharpness, it is most likely associated with a very narrow depth of field on this focal length, and as a result misses to focus.
In certain scenes, at wide-open you can watch the chromatic aberration.
Of course, when you close the aperture increases the sharpness and depth of field as well.
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Character and Bokeh
Nice character is probably the strongest side of the lens. Photos obtained voluminous, airy.
The lens is intended primarily for shooting portraits. and the task it copes by 100%.
If you shoot facial portraits and busts, get the best background blur, and in certain scenes, you can get a wonderful bokeh.
However, for growth portraits of the lens good separates the background from the object.
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 Color Render and Contrast
The lens has a good contrast. I did not even use its huge hood.
Colors saturated, rich, and at the same time natural.
On the strong backlit contrast falls. In general, the lens is resistant to backlight.
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 2.8/180 is a great portrait lens. The optical quality is good. Confused, perhaps, only its size and weight.