Photographica Pages

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75/1.5 Zeiss Biotar for Contax

In 1940 Zeiss hadno reason to believe that the war Germany was involved in would end up drawing in most of the nations of the world, and result in much of Europe (and more so Germany) being laid to ruin, and both Germany and Zeiss divided for centuries.

Against that backdrop, Zeiss developed an asounding new lens, the 75/1.5 Biotar. Although slightly shorter, this lens is almost a full stop faster than the renowned 85/2 Sonnar. One batch of about 100 examples ws produced, serial numbers 2759801 to 2759900. It had six elements in four groups, and would be monuted in a heavy chrome over brass barrel. The flange to film distance was long enough that it could be fitted to reflex cameras, and was offered in Exakta mount before the war as well. Alas, it never saw widespread production before the war, and events would consire against it afterwards.

It was offerd by Jena after the war, in aluminum barrel. By the time it was ready, political events made it difficult for Jena to sell lenses to Zeiss Ikon, and also made it hard for Zeiss Ikon to buy lenses from Jena. The lens was sold in Exakta and M42 mount as cameras with those mounts were being built in East Germany.

Meanwhile, in Wetzlar, Leitz had developed the 85/1.5 Summarex in 1943 for the Leica. The lead that Zeiss had over their smaller competitor was disappearing.

Although Zeiss did offer finders for a 75mm lens, these were not designed for the Biotar. They ar for the 75mm Pantar when used on the Contina III.