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Tessar lenses
Old 07-24-2017   #1
p.giannakis
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Tessar lenses

Hi everyone,

I have noticed that some Tessar lenses consist of 4 elements in 3 groups and other Tessars (i.e. XA1) are 4 elements in 4 groups.

Does this difference in groups affect the performance of the lens in any way?
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Old 07-24-2017   #2
David Hughes
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Hi,

I wouldn't describe a 4 element lens as a Tessar unless the rear two were cemented together to form a compound lens, although they may be derived from it. I just looked in the Olympus XA1 brochure and they merely describe it as "D. ZUIKO 35mm f4, 4 elements in 4 groups". Elsewhere in the brochure they add "top quality" to the description and that's about it.

Sorry I can't help more.

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Old 07-24-2017   #3
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The original Rudolph design was a cemented pair in rear, and an air spaced pair in front. I.E. 4 elements, 2 groups.

Like most designs, others come along later and make alterations. The Planar design has like 25 variations, many with different numbers of elements.

The numbers don't matter, what matters is how well the design tweaks handled what they were trying to do (reduce aberrations, increase speed, etc.)
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Old 07-24-2017   #4
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I like Tessars because they are simple lenses and have few elements.

Not the most corrected, but many have wonderful signatures.

Cal
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Old 07-24-2017   #5
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I just got a 180mm CZ Jena Apo-Tessar with a miniscule foil spacing that separates the rear group.

Phil Forrest
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Old 07-24-2017   #6
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I have two 50mm Tessars, a 3.5 and a 2.8. They are in Exakta mount. For some unknown reason they never worked very well on the Exakta. But on the Sony a7 with adapter they are marvelous. I shot a number of shots at a college graduation last year and they are some pf the best work I've ever had. Very well pleased am I.
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Old 07-24-2017   #7
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My Tessar lenses:

Nikon 45/2.8 P AIS. This lens due to the few elements and also because it has the latest NIC (Nikon Intergrated Coatings) is the most contrasty lens that Nikon ever made. The focus really pops due to the contrast.

My Fujica 100/3.5 is a Tessar and it has wonderful bokeh and OOF.

I have a Super Rokkor (Minalta) 45/2.8 in LTM. No detents for the aperture, but features a very cool heavily scalloped focus ring that is like having six focus tabs. Kinda swirly dizzy bokeh. LOL.

I had a chrome Leica 90 Macro Elmar, but I lost it in trade towards a Leica SL. This Tessar is highly corrected. Very sharp, but only F4.0.

Cal
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Old 07-24-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
Hi everyone,

I have noticed that some Tessar lenses consist of 4 elements in 3 groups and other Tessars (i.e. XA1) are 4 elements in 4 groups.

Does this difference in groups affect the performance of the lens in any way?
I think those 4e4g "Tessar" lenses in those Japanese compact cameras (Like Yashica Electro 35 FC, MC, etc..)are actually Unar. With the help of modern coating, the extra glass to air surface is not a problem anymore, and I guess they are easier to produce than Tessar. So.
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Old 07-24-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
My Tessar lenses:


I have a Super Rokkor (Minalta) 45/2.8 in LTM. No detents for the aperture, but features a very cool heavily scalloped focus ring that is like having six focus tabs. Kinda swirly dizzy bokeh. LOL.



Cal
The 45mm f2.8 Super Rokkor was neither a Tessar nor a Heliar; it was sort of in between, with a 5-element/3-group design (cemented triplet up front and two single elements behind the aperture).
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Old 07-24-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAN F View Post
The 45mm f2.8 The Super Rokkor was neither a Tessar nor a Heliar; it was sort of in between, with a 5-element/3-group design (cemented triplet up front and two single elements behind the aperture).
Pan F,

Thanks for the correction.

Cal
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Old 07-24-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
I like Tessars because they are simple lenses and have few elements.

Not the most corrected, but many have wonderful signatures.

Cal
My 135mm F4.7 Wollensak Raptor for my 4X5 is a Tessar-formula lens. Agree, a wonderful signature.

Jim B.
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Old 07-24-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
My 135mm F4.7 Wollensak Raptor for my 4X5 is a Tessar-formula lens. Agree, a wonderful signature.

Jim B.
Jim,

It seems many classic large format lenses are either Tessars or Tessar derivatives.

Cal
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Old 07-24-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAN F View Post
The 45mm f2.8 The Super Rokkor was neither a Tessar nor a Heliar; it was sort of in between, with a 5-element/3-group design (cemented triplet up front and two single elements behind the aperture).
I have this too and it produces fine images. The rotating aperture ring as you focus is annoying but you do get used to it. Entirely usable wide open with excellent central sharpness and very pleasing slow loss of sharpness moving to the frame's edge. It's also nice and compact.
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Old 07-24-2017   #14
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The FSU 50 to 55 mm f3.5 to f2.8 lens line-up are of a Tessar design.

I do like my I-22 and I-61 l/d lenses plus my DDR made Zeiss Jena Tessar on my Praktica LTL SLR.
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Old 07-24-2017   #15
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Darn, I was hoping the super-rokkor 45/2.8 was a tessar. Now I'm not sure if I have any. At least not in M or LTM.... I should look through "the collection" now
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Old 07-24-2017   #16
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All Tessars and Tessar-formula lenses are four element lenses in 3 groups. The first two elements (in front of the iris) are separate, thus two groups, and the last two elements (behind the iris) are cemented into a single group (the third group in the formula).

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Old 07-24-2017   #17
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I would like to know what this lens is, it is from my Olympus Stylus Infinity (35mm f3.5).

As this is somewhat a Tessar (maybe), what is the difference. I just can't believe this little lens:

Sardis by John Carter, on Flickr

Crop by John Carter, on Flickr

I have some Tessar designs and they are all great, but the Japanese went one step beyond (maybe). Especially on these cheap P&S cameras. I still own my Olympus Stylus Infinity which I bought new. Every year I run a roll through it. I has the best fill flash setting I have found.
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Old 07-24-2017   #18
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The catch is that the name "Tessar" on a lens and being Tessar formula are different things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessar

The modern meaning of "Tessar" for Zeiss is "Not very fast but quite nicely corrected" as opposed to the definition Chris Crawford gives above.
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Old 07-24-2017   #19
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Thanks, Chris. I was thinking that it had to be this format of 4 elements in 3 groups to truly be a Tessar.

Do Tele-Tessars have the same format?

- Murray


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
All Tessars and Tessar-formula lenses are four element lenses in 3 groups. The first two elements (in front of the iris) are separate, thus two groups, and the last two elements (behind the iris) are cemented into a single group (the third group in the formula).

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Old 07-24-2017   #20
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Quote:
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Thanks, Chris. I was thinking that it had to be this format of 4 elements in 3 groups to truly be a Tessar.

Do Tele-Tessars have the same format?

- Murray
See my comment above: cross-posted.
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Old 07-24-2017   #21
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As I understand it Tessars (and Skopars) were a development from earlier triplet lenses. But as they were further developed they became better corrected by having 4 elements in 3 groups (with two elements cemented). Hence they continued to be described as triplets (somewhat spuriously I always felt - but then again I am no expert). My feeling is that a lens with 4 groups would be too far removed from the definition of a Tessar. I always have had a sneaking admiration for simple lenses like this which perform surprisingly well when shot within their limits.
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Old 07-24-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
As I understand it Tessars (and Skopars) were a development from earlier triplet lenses....
That's a common mis-conception. If I may quote myself (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=156630):

"... A. Clark was the first to describe the “Double Gauss” lens design [Patent US 399,499, 1889]. In 1893, ... H. Dennis Taylor designed a 3-element lens (“triplet”) which was able to correct all 7 Seidel aberrations ... In the US this design was patented in 1895. In 1890, Paul Rudolph - while working for Zeiss - developed the Anastigmat with two cemented doublets. In 1899, he separated the doublets to produce the four element, four group Unar lens. In 1902, he improved the Unar's performance by joining the two rear elements into one cemented group, and named the result Tessar [Patent DE 142,294, 1903]. On first glance, the Tessar looks like an extended Cooke triplet, but it was indeed derived from a Double Gauss design."

Roland.
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Old 07-24-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
The catch is that the name "Tessar" on a lens and being Tessar formula are different things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessar

The modern meaning of "Tessar" for Zeiss is "Not very fast but quite nicely corrected" as opposed to the definition Chris Crawford gives above.
Thanks, Scrambler. This change in definition by Zeiss is a surprise to me and something of a disappointment.

- Murray
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Old 07-24-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
The catch is that the name "Tessar" on a lens and being Tessar formula are different things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tessar

The modern meaning of "Tessar" for Zeiss is "Not very fast but quite nicely corrected" as opposed to the definition Chris Crawford gives above.
But you are talking about a trade name, not a lens type. I agree with the definition Chris gave: a Tessar lens consists of four elements in three groups, the rear element being a cemented doublet.
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Old 07-24-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
My Tessar lenses:

Nikon 45/2.8 P AIS. This lens due to the few elements and also because it has the latest NIC (Nikon Intergrated Coatings) is the most contrasty lens that Nikon ever made. The focus really pops due to the contrast.

Cal
Cal, I, too, have this lens. I really like it for the contrast you mention, as well as its very adequate sharpness together with very small size. It's been living on my Nikon FE2 for many months now!
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Old 07-24-2017   #26
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Quote:
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But you are talking about a trade name, not a lens type. I agree with the definition Chris gave: a Tessar lens consists of four elements in three groups, the rear element being a cemented doublet.
We are not actually disagreeing, Chris. I own a few Tessar formula lenses - some branded as such and some with names in Russian.

But being able to distinguish Tessar fomula lenses branded "Tessar" and other lenses branded "Tessar" (most commonly Vario-Tessar or some other XXX-Tessar) is helpful.
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Old 07-24-2017   #27
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Are the Contaflex lenses considered 'true' Tessars?
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Old 07-24-2017   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
and other Tessars (i.e. XA1) are 4 elements in 4 groups.
I'm interested to know where you read this. Can you post a link?
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Old 07-24-2017   #29
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Quote:
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Are the Contaflex lenses considered 'true' Tessars?
The standard lens is. The pro-tessar wide and long lenses aren't, although they are at least part tessar.

There are also some four element lenses which were developed from Tessars, like the Kodak Special Anastigmat which is a 4/4 design. As well there are four element lenses which have nothing to do with Tessars, like the old Fujinon 2.2/55. ISCO also made a reversed Tessar, where the cemented group was placed at the front of the lens.
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Old 07-24-2017   #30
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The standard lens is. The pro-tessar wide and long lenses aren't, although they are at least tessar.
Thanks. That standard lens is one heckuva lens.
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Old 07-24-2017   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
That's a common mis-conception. If I may quote myself (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=156630):

"... A. Clark was the first to describe the “Double Gauss” lens design [Patent US 399,499, 1889]. In 1893, ... H. Dennis Taylor designed a 3-element lens (“triplet”) which was able to correct all 7 Seidel aberrations ... In the US this design was patented in 1895. In 1890, Paul Rudolph - while working for Zeiss - developed the Anastigmat with two cemented doublets. In 1899, he separated the doublets to produce the four element, four group Unar lens. In 1902, he improved the Unar's performance by joining the two rear elements into one cemented group, and named the result Tessar [Patent DE 142,294, 1903]. On first glance, the Tessar looks like an extended Cooke triplet, but it was indeed derived from a Double Gauss design."

Roland.
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Old 07-24-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I would like to know what this lens is, it is from my Olympus Stylus Infinity (35mm f3.5).

As this is somewhat a Tessar (maybe), what is the difference. I just can't believe this little lens:
According to the manual, a 35mm f3.5 consisting of 3 elements in 3 groups. The later Stylus Epic had 4 elements in 3 groups.
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Old 07-25-2017   #33
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Cal, I, too, have this lens. I really like it for the contrast you mention, as well as its very adequate sharpness together with very small size. It's been living on my Nikon FE2 for many months now!
Rob,

I forgot to mention that the Nikon 45/2.8P AIS has a remarkably short focus throw that makes it great for street.

I bet on a FE2 it is a very fast shooter. Almost like autofocus due to that snap.

Cal
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Old 07-25-2017   #34
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Quote:
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Rob,

I forgot to mention that the Nikon 45/2.8P AIS has a remarkably short focus throw that makes it great for street.

I bet on a FE2 it is a very fast shooter. Almost like autofocus due to that snap.

Cal
I quite like this lens, but dropped it, cracking the large front glass. It actually doesn't really affect the image quality but I am afraid to use it and have the glass fall out. Definitely not great for street...

Does anyone know if this is something that can be easily fixed at a reasonable price?
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Old 07-25-2017   #35
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Quote:
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Jim,

It seems many classic large format lenses are either Tessars or Tessar derivatives.

Cal
The famous Kodak commercial ektar, Ilex paragon, Wollensak raptar, Congo commercial, Schneider debar are just a few. Almost every view camera lens maker made a tessar formula lens. Good lenses but the have smaller image circles compared to plasmats and tend to be softer at the edges.

One post above revered to a 4 element 4 group tessar. If it's symmetrical it's a Dyalite design not a tessar. The famous Kodak 203mm f7.7 is a good example as are the Goerz Artar process lenses and Schneider repro clarons. This design has been very popular for highly corrected process lenses. They're exceptionally sharp especially at close distances with flat fields, low to no distortion and apochromatic. The trade off is a smaller image circle compared to plasmats.
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Old 07-25-2017   #36
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Quote:
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According to the manual, a 35mm f3.5 consisting of 3 elements in 3 groups. The later Stylus Epic had 4 elements in 3 groups.
Thanks for that information. Simple enough for me to lookup in the manual. I've always tried Google which is a goose chase.
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Old 07-25-2017   #37
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Schneider's rare Jsogon 40mm f/4.5 SLR lens is another tessar design rarely mentioned as it was only made in Exakta or M42 mount in small numbers. The Xenar on the other hand was widely used across various formats and focal lengths.

The Contaflex and Contaflex II 45mm f/2.8 lenses are a front cell focus Zeiss Tessar. The 50mm f/2.8 lenses used in the Contaflex III, IV, Super, Rapid, Super new, Super B, and Super BC/S are a unitary focus Tessar. All coated. The Pro Tessar lenses utilise all but the front lens cell of the standard 50mm Tessar which is removed to attach them. Early and late front 50mm mounts and M1:1 Pro Tessars are not interchangeable, (slight variation in bayonet size for intentional incompatibility) although any 35mm, 85mm or 115mm Pro Tessar will fit any Contaflex III or later Contaflex (excluding Alpha, Beta or Prima Pantar lens models, of course).

I'm not sure how many Zeiss Tessars I have or in how many mounts. Haven't tried a few yet such as the one on my Pentina, but I've never used a Tessar I didn't like personally. My late Contaflex ones have probably been sharpest but a good Skopar or Xenar is not to be overlooked either.
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Old 07-25-2017   #38
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The ones I often wonder about are the "Triplet-43" lenses on the Smena 8M's and "Symbol" but that's mostly because I wonder about "43" meaning 4 lens in 3 groups, which might just make sense.

Anyway, they are nice 40mm lenses and dirt cheap even with the camera thrown in...

Regards, David
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Old 07-25-2017   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Thanks for that information. Simple enough for me to lookup in the manual. I've always tried Google which is a goose chase.
Well actually, i had a look on the Stulys Epic manual and according to it, the lens is a 4 elements in 4 groups arrangement - no mention about it being Tessar. Looked on the Konica Big-Mini manual, same arrangement (4/4).

All this time i thought these were Tessar lenses - am i correct to assume that they aren't?

Edit: Just had a look on the Yashica T3 manual - it is branded as a Tessar 35 f/2.8 4 elements in 4 groups....
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Old 07-25-2017   #40
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Quote:
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Well actually, i had a look on the Stulys Epic manual and according to it, the lens is a 4 elements in 4 groups arrangement - no mention about it being Tessar. Looked on the Konica Big-Mini manual, same arrangement (4/4).

All this time i thought these were Tessar lenses - am i correct to assume that they aren't?

Edit: Just had a look on the Yashica T3 manual - it is branded as a Tessar 35 f/2.8 4 elements in 4 groups....
Hi,

The Tessar is a famous and well documented lens, four lenses in 3 groups; two at the front and a compound at the back. The compound lens is two glued together. There's a picture of one at post 16 and thousands all over the internet labelled in every language under the sun.

Here's one in bits;-



I hope it shows clearly that the rear one is two cemented together; this one was made in Jena home of a famous maker, designer, university and glass works: although I've no idea if they are all still there.

So, obviously I hope, only a 4 in 3 can be a Tessar, not a 4 in 4.

The confusion probably arises as lenses evolve over the years as materials improve and so on. Anyway, there's only one Tessar...

Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 07-26-2017 at 06:11. Reason: Photo and comments added.
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