[rollei_list] Tessar vs Tessar; Xenar vs. Xenar

  • From: Jerry Friedman <tinycameraco@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 16:57:04 -0700 (PDT)

I thought Richard K's explanation summarized my experience with these lenses
very well. What has always amazed me--perhaps from my own ignorance-- is how
often lenses specified as Tessar on other cameras can differ. As an example,
several Franka camera have actual Tessars as do several other minor name
folding cameras like Balda. I have owned several over the years and have found
that even when carrying the name Tessar (no, NOT Tessar type) the results could
be really variable. Perhaps Zeiss sold lesser quality glass to off-brands for
less money?
I wonder if it comes down to attention to detail in initial construction.
Franka, for instance, usually used three element lenses but offered Tessars and
Xenars on small runs of different models as a luxe camera of sorts. Yet, I was
told that Franka aligned their lenses in the camera in quite primitive manner,
often by simply shining a flashlight through the lens, as did many small
Japanese camera manufacturers also catering to the lower end of the market.  

The Tesars on the Rollei Ts that I have are significantly better than any I
have used on other cameras, and this includes earlier Rolleis with a Tessar. I
can understand that lens coating can be very important but perhaps also that
the  Rollei T is simply a later camera and therefore less susceptible to "the
infelicities of time."  

Jerry F. 

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