Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

85/4 Zeiss Triotar for Contax

The second version of the 85mm Triotar, which is black and nickel.

This is a lens that Zeiss really didn't need to make. Like the less expensive version of the 35mm lens (and to soem extent the 50mm Tessar lenses), it was never popular because people who were willing to spend the enorous amount of money to buy a Contax were not likely to buy a less expensive extra lens. On top of that, it was not regarded very highly for sharpness wide open. It was a three element/three group design.

Originally constructed in 1932, it was a black and nicek construction. Initially it had a nickel focusing ring and aperture ring, and accepted 37mm slip on filters and hoods. Later tha same year it was changed so that only the focus and apertures scales were nickel, the grip parts were black paint. The filter size was changed to 42mm. On both versions the front edge of the lens mount and the front rikm were also nickel.

In 1934 the first of the chrome lenses appeared, somewhere near 1504400. It is estimated that it was a batch of 200 lenses, and may have included both lenses for the Contaflex, and the Contax. These were possibly to test the appearnace of chrome on the lens.

The change to chrome lenses came at about serial number 1890301 in 1936. The lens was fitted with a 40.5mm filter thread.

After the war the lens was recomputed and had a larger front element, and was coated. The barrel was aluminum, and it was marked Zeiss-Opton. Postwar, this lens was not made in Jena. A total of 2400 lenses were built in two batches, 853401-855200 and 958301-958900.

Once the lawsuits had been settled with Jena over trademarks, the lenses were marked Carl Zeiss, and the red T was dropped. Only 1600 of this final version were produced in batches 1452001-1453000, 1885001-1885200 and 2285701-2286200.

The chrome version of the 85/4 Triotar from 1941.