Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f3.5 T Tessar

This came attached to an Exa (See:New Acquisitions – Exakta Varex/VX IIa and Exa August 10, 2015) that I acquired in 2015, but had never used. I decided to give it a try right after I had tried out the Ludwig Peronar I mentioned in an earlier post (See: Ernst Ludwig 50mm f2.9 Peronar). The two lenses are very similar, both in appearance and in size. But in most other respects they are light years apart. Where the peronar was extremely soft and difficult to focus, the Tessar is remarkably sharp.

It’s a solid, metal lens with four elements in three groups. Quite small (of course the adapter for the NEX makes it much larger. I’d guess about twice as large), it focuses down to about two and a quarter feet. It’s comfortable in the hand and smooth to focus. Apertures range from f3.5 to f22 without defined stop intervals. I also found the out of focus areas to be appealing and was impressed by the color rendition.

I really liked this lens. It’s still on my NEX.

Taken with the above lens on a Sony NEX 5N.

Arthurium and blue and white cat.


Old Trunk.

Model Locomotive.

For other posts related this lens see:

Hopewell Junction Depot
Vernal Pond
Blue and Red Hydrant
First Day of Spring

Hopewell Junction Depot

I came across these old photographs of the Depot at Hopewell Junction. I could tell that they were old because Anthony Musso in his book Hidden Treasures of the Hudson Valley Vol. II mentions that the original depot originally had doors with rounded tops. Apparently it was hard to insulate properly so all but one were replaced with square topped doors. In the pictures you can clearly see that the doors all have rounded tops so the pictures must pre-date the change. Right?

Actually no. I took these pictures about a month ago and decided that this “aged” look was appropriate. Mr. Russo’s book is now a few years old and it seems that the restoration efforts have proceeded well, with the doors having been changed back to their original tops. For additional information on the restoration efforts see here.

For a good, short, illustrated history of the depot see here.

The depot is now a vistor’s centre/museum located at the beginning of the Dutchess County Rail Trail. I’ve walked on a number of these converted rail trails and don’t usually like them. They’re also used by cyclists who go whizzing by at high speed, often without giving you any warning that they’re coming. This one is, however, different: The old railway had two tracks so there was room to separate the walkers and the cyclists. In fact there are two trails: one of packed earth for walkers and another one paved for cyclists so there is no likelihood of collision.

Taken with a Sony Nex 5N and Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f3.5 T Tessar

Vernal Pond

I came across this scene near Whortlekill Creek in Dutchess County, NY. I’d like to say that I was taken by tonal contrasts, the shiny water and the textures of the trees/grasses sticking out of the water. And that would be partly true. However, I mostly wanted to use the words ‘Whortlekill Creek’. I just like the sound of it.

Incidentally there’s quite a bit of redundancy here. I took the words “Whortlekill Creek” from a nearby sign. The Dutch word ‘kill’ means ‘Creek’ so the sign essentially read: ‘Whortle Creek Creek’.

Taken with a Sony NEX 5N and Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm T Tessar.


I came across these lichen (if indeed that’s what they are) at a nearby beach. There’s a rack where people put their rowboats, canoes and kayaks when they’re not actually in the water. The first picture was taken on one side of the canoe and the second on the other.

According to the US Dept. of Agriculture:

Lichens are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus and an alga. The dominant partner is the fungus, which gives the lichen the majority of its characteristics, from its thallus shape to its fruiting bodies. The alga can be either a green alga or a blue-green alga, otherwise known as cyanobacteria. Many lichens will have both types of algae.

I liked the bright colors and the color contrasts as well as the organic, and often repeating forms.

Taken with a Sony NEX 5N and Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f3.5 T coated Tessar lens.

Blue and Red Hydrant

I came across a number of these hydrants (all with different numbers) while walking along a nearby trail. I liked the bold red and blue colors. I’d taken a picture of one of them already, but I liked the background more on this one: the contrast between the colorful hydrant and the much more subdued, almost monochrome background; and the way the sticks in the background seem to swirl around and frame the hydrant.

This picture also shows how sharp this about 1952 vintage Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f3.5 T coated Tessar is.

Taken with a Sony NEX 5N and the above mentioned lens.