View Full Version : Betting this is a fake...

02-05-2005, 19:48
This is an auction for, allegedy, a Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5. Anyone else think this looks iffy or is it good - in which case this is a fairly low price.?



EDIT: Looking again it may well be East German production, but the price still seems awfully low to me. Or is this one of those times I should stop dithering and buy?


02-05-2005, 20:04
Hi William,

The Jena part of the name means it's made in East Germany, so it's not exactly the ideal Zeiss lens (which was made in West Germany). It looks a little rough for $75, but as someone pointed out about Russian photo gear, the mint stuff probably didn't work coming out of the factory and sat on a shelf, the good stuff was used and became worn. I have absolutely no empirical data to support this, but I believe the East German stuff was better, at least in QC, than Russian gear, but that is just my impression. This lens would be comparable to a Jupiter 3, also a Sonnar copy. (I think.)

02-05-2005, 22:22
Not necessarily a fake. To my eyes, it appears to be a relatively rare coated CZJ 5cm/1.5 Sonnar from the early 1940s (c.1942-43). It also looks like it is in the heavy-duty pre-WWII-style brass & chrome mount, not the more common lightweight wartime alloy mount. I have an alloy mount 50/1.5 from the same serial # range in LTM.

02-06-2005, 02:09
Well, seems like one of our fellow members got it...


02-06-2005, 02:25
He probably has gotten a good deal, but I have avoided auctions of CZJ lenses coming out of the FSU for fear that they are fake. Apparently they unscrew the retaining ring, replace the Jupiter filter ring with a CZJ one and there you go, new Sonnar. I am really skeptical of those with KMZ lens cases like this one. Maybe the blue coating is an indicator of an original. If a Sonnar, it is a pre or during war copy with serial number less than 3,000,000.

02-06-2005, 02:26
Oh, and $75 is about the going price for a J3, so not a bad deal financially even if it is fake.

02-06-2005, 02:34
Yep, it's great to see it's in the family ! Now that I think, we could drive a study and see how many RF ebay equipment ends here :)

Back to the lens, looks no fake to me, I think that a fake J3 with replaced ring would have probably been made with a nice looking aluminium barrel Jupiter, this looks pretty well used and as Frank said, with equipment that's a testament of its hardiness. It could take a lens elements cleaning, and I'm sure we'll hear from this lens soon from our fellow Contax user Honu ;)

02-06-2005, 07:11
Aren't jupiters all made in aluminum? This one has a brass barrel definitely.

The carl zeiss jena history around the WWII is rather complicated. Coating or lack of it does not mean much neither.

Fake or not, if it works and gives great results, who should care.

02-06-2005, 07:17
I've a brass barreled CZJ, coated (HEAVY!). The coatings are dark purple, much like modern T* coatings. I don't know when it was made, but it's certainly no rebadged J-3 (Standard FSU yellow coatings on all the ones I've seen). Takes nice pictures. The exterior is pretty beat up, but then again, as it is sharp, I'd expect that for equipment heavily used.

I kinda wish it could talk, or at least tell me how it got from Germany to Spain, and what it's seen over the past 60 years!

02-06-2005, 07:33
That seller also has a terrific looking Jupiter-11 made in 1960 in Contax mount. $20 and no bids yet.