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CZJ Sonnar 8.5 cm Question
Old 11-12-2016   #1
Mathieu18
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CZJ Sonnar 8.5 cm Question

Hi All,

First time poster on here, someone of FM Forums sent me this way. Recently picked up a Contax IIa lot for a good price. One of the items is a pre-war uncoated 8.5cm f/2. Mechanically it looks to be in good shape. Has some dust, and had some fungus that cleaned up pretty well. Unfortunately it has separation in the triplet.

[IMG]8.5cm Sonnar by Matt Parvin, on Flickr[/IMG]

I reached out to Henry at ZeissCamera.com and he has a 6 year wait. John from Focal Point got back to me yesterday. I think I may use him in the future for this lens, but need to save up for his repair.

So to my question: is there anything I can try in the mean time to fix or work around this? I thought about spliting and re-cementing myself, but currently can't even get the optical block removed and not sure if it's seized or there is a hidden retaining screw somewhere. Any info is appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2016   #2
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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It's a small piece of lens history and a superb optic. Not really a good candidate to jump into the deep end of lens repair with. My two cents: save your pennies and send it to Focal Point. There are plenty of less desirable and valuable lenses to practice repair skills with.
Cheers
Brett
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Old 11-12-2016   #3
jarski
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In my Jupiter 9, which should be exact copy Zeiss, optical block screws out from focus block, without any extra steps. Haven't done anything else with my lens. Been reading that these two lenses are easy to "get wrong" when trying to reassemble them at the end.
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Old 11-15-2016   #4
Cascadilla
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+1 for this not being your first repair--it's a great lens and the odds on getting it back together correctly aren't that good.
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Old 11-16-2016   #5
Mathieu18
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Thanks for the feedback all. This isn't my first repair by a long shot, but I do usually avoid separating helicoids etc due to the inherent difficulty putting them back together correctly. Since this optical block looks like it was supposed to just screw out it was worth taking a look at, but I'm not pushing my luck any more, I'll be sending it off once I save up for the repair.

Henry and John were two that I came across regularly while researching these lenses. Anyone else I should check with before servicing?

Thanks again regardless.
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Old 11-26-2016   #6
Gben
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I don't believe that any Russian lens can be counted on as being an exact copy of a Zeiss lens. For instance a lot of Ebay auctions advertise Russian Jupiter wide-angle lenses as being Biogon copies, but that is laughable as they are of much cheaper construction with fewer and different elements. A lot of people get great photos out of Jupiter lenses and I have nothing against them, but it is false advertising or ignorance to say they are all Zeiss copies.

Since you got the lens at a good price, just dump it on Ebay for whatever people feeling like bidding it up to then turn around and put the money plus some extra back into buying one that does not have separation or one of the Jupiter lenses. You will probably end up spending the same or less.
I thought I read on Henry Scherer's website that his lens repair is separate from his camera overhaul waiting list and moves faster, so are you sure about that six-year figure?

Pesonally I stay away from trendy expensive lenses and cameras unless I get them at local house sales for a song. I am pretty sure that fast lenses that are 85mm are simply a fashion trend right now and prices for them are greatly inflated. Usually in lens brochures these lenses are advertised as being useful for photographing plays and theater etc., who is doing that?? For most portrait work one of the 135mm lenses will work just as well or better and they are dirt-cheap right now, it is hard to get $50 for one and it is a Sonnar too!
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Old 11-26-2016   #7
sevo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gben View Post
I don't believe that any Russian lens can be counted on as being an exact copy of a Zeiss lens. For instance a lot of Ebay auctions advertise Russian Jupiter wide-angle lenses as being Biogon copies, but that is laughable as they are of much cheaper construction with fewer and different elements.
As a matter of fact, the "Jupiter" lens production was set up by transporting the entire Zeiss Jena factories and their engineering and administrative staff to the USSR. The lenses started out almost exactly identical copies, with exactly the same number and type of elements, in exactly the same place - indeed, for the first two or three years they were mostly assembled from spares fabricated in Jena and Saalfeld. They diverged later, but optically to their improvement (as better glass and coatings became available) - the issue with the Soviets was with quality control, and even more so with a lack in innovation (the cameras and lenses essentially remained stuck at pre-war level, the decreasing demand for these outdated designs being countered by perpetually lowering the price and quality standards).

It however is rather unlikely that a group from a Soviet lens can be used to repair a Jena lens without having access to a fully equipped lens workshop - there are enough subtle differences between Jena lenses and later, affordable Jupiters that the results are likely to be underwhelming unless you have a autocollimator and the proper spacers.
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Old 12-10-2016   #8
Gben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
The lenses started out almost exactly identical copies
Which means nothing at all because the lenses were made for decades after WWII. It is highly irresponsible to tell people seeking advice on an internet forum that the quality of Russian made lenses is equivalent to and/or interchangeable with Zeiss lenses. A lot of people get great results with Russian lenses, but there is a reason that they have never sold anywhere near the price of German lenses. Buying a Russian lens is always a gamble on quality and performance.
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Old 01-15-2017   #9
steveyork
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gben View Post
Which means nothing at all because the lenses were made for decades after WWII. It is highly irresponsible to tell people seeking advice on an internet forum that the quality of Russian made lenses is equivalent to and/or interchangeable with Zeiss lenses. A lot of people get great results with Russian lenses, but there is a reason that they have never sold anywhere near the price of German lenses. Buying a Russian lens is always a gamble on quality and performance.
I've used bunch of Jupiter 8 lenses from the 1950s and they have uniformly been quite good.
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