Sunday, July 05, 2020

Rolleiflex 35mm

200 f4 HFT Tele-Tessar



Rolleiflex 3003 brochure: 

‘The lens for long-range reportage, wildlife and sports photography. Excellent image quality. Comfortable to handle, with a build-in lens hood’ 


6 elements in 5 groups
f4 – 32
Angle of view: 13o
Close focus distance:  2.50m
Filter size: 67mm


I found two versions of the optical layout of the lens. The left one was from Rollei brochure and the other from the net. Based on my experience when dismantling one of the old lens I have it seems that the left version is the correct one.


This is a fairly long and heavy lens. The early Contax C/Y f3.5 version seems to follow this design with rear elements close to the camera body and thus the use of the Mutar II and III is not possible. For Rollei they only made a tele-convertor for all lenses. Due to its weight and the higher vibration of the Rolleiflex bodies, it is not easy to get sharp pictures for the lens at slow shutter speed, even when mounted on tripod. However, when properly used, the photos taken will not disappoint you.


Rolleiflex SL 2000 F f8 1/2-1/4 200/4 HFT Tele-Tessar Ektapress 100 


 Jardin du Luxembourg, f4 1/60-1/125 200/4 HFT Tele-Tessar , Voigtlander VSL-3E
Agfa Ultra 50 - 1 June 1999


Sun Bird, Rolleiflex SL2000F, f4 1/250, Ektapress 100, 18 May 1997.



Jui Zhai Valley China - VSL-3E - Agfa Ultra 50 - 13 Oct 1998



La Defense - SL2000F - f4 1/60 + Polarizer - Ektapress 100 - 23 May 1999







135 f2.8 HFT Sonnar


The QBM 135/2.8 Sonnar had a slightly different optical layout compared to the C/Y Sonnar. 






                                         Rolleiflex QBM                                                                                        Contax C/Y 



<p">This is one of my favourite lens and I like taking photos in the 135mm focal range. At f2.8 you still have a chance to take pictures at 1/60. The Sonnar signature is nice and sweet. This is the lens that lure me into Zeiss optics. Probably not the sharpest 135mm you can get. But Zeiss telephotos have never been the sharpest, but certainly smooth and not harsh.


Rolleiflex SL 2000 F f4 1/125 135/2.8 HFT Sonnar Ektar 25 


Rolleiflex 3003 f2.8 1/125 135/2.8 HFT Sonnar Ektar 100 



 Holland, Rolleiflex 3003, Ektar 100, 28 Oct 1995.




City Hall Singapore (Old) - SL2000F - f8 8 sec - Ektapress 100 - 2 May 1997



SL2000F - Ektapress 100 - Manfrotto 190C/168 - 2 May 1997



Parapat Indonesia - SL2000F - f8 1/250 - Ektar 100 - 29 Mar 1996


Ohau Lookout Seal Colonies NZ South Island - 3003 - Ektar 100 - 8 Dec 1997



Statue of Liberty New York - SL2000F - f8 1/125 - VC160 - 8 July 2000



Black Forest Titisee Resort Germany - 3003 - Ektar 100 - 26 Oct 1995


SL2000F - f5.6 1/15 Polarizer - Ektapress 100 - 28 May 1999



Paris - SL2000F - f5.6 1/8 Polarizer - Agfa Ultra 50 - 23 May 1999



La Defense - VSL-3E - f2.8 1/125 HFT 135/2.8 Sonnar + Polarizer - Agfa Ultra 50 - 23 May 1999           

135 f4 HFT Tele-Tessar

The Light Weight Tele





Rolleiflex 3003 Brochure: 

‘A slower, less expensive alternative to the Sonnar 135mm. Widely suitable for portrait, wildlife, sports and detailed landscape photography.’ 


4 elements in 4 groups
f4 – 32
Angle of view: 18o
Close focus distance:  1.6m
Filter size: 49mm




tele vs 650

Size comparison:  

Contax 135/2.8 Sonnar, Rolleiflex 135/2.8 Sonnar, Rolleiflex 135/4 Tele-Tessar with Heliopan hood, Carl Zeiss Jena 135/3.5.



This is a light weight, small and compact tele-photo lens. Probably will not draw too much interest by today standard where a 135 f2.8 is already quite a light package. However the tele-tessar is still a very impressive light weight alternative. I have a chance to use it again with the full frame digital Alpha 7R and found the photos very satisfactory. Mine is a made in Singapore copy with very nice purplish-reddish HFT coating.

Certainly a lens that I will bring along on a day that I feel lazy  : )



Alpha 7R - f5.6 1/500 - ISO 250 - Manfrotto 190B/054 Mg - 27 Jun 2015



This lens has been kept in the dry cabinet for a long while. I take up to use again because I found out there are CA even with the Contax 100/2.8 Makro-Planar under certain situation and also the Contax 300/4 Tele-Tessar. But surprisingly the CA of this 135/4 HFT Tele-Tessar is very low. Of course due to the lens technology and the age the resolution is not as good as the modern lenses, but frankly that can only be easily determined on computer and very tight cropping. When print the photos in 8R size the photo is very sharp and good.



 Alpha 7R - f5.6 1/250 - ISO 320 - Manfrotto 190B/054 Mg - 27 Jun 2015


Of course when come to shooting birds the 'standard' lens is 600mm f4 : D  However in a Bird Park with birds that have got used to visitors a 135mm can also take good enough close up.




Alpha 7R - f5.6 1/500 - ISO 320 - Manfrotto 190B/054 Mg - 27 Jun 2015




Alpha 7R - f5.6 1/500 - ISO 320 - Manfrotto 190B/054 Mg - 27 Jun 2015




85 f 1.4 Carl Zeiss HFT Planar



Strange enough this 85/1.4 and the 35/1.4 are the lenses that I used very little. For 35mm most of the time I would prefer the more compact and less distortion 35/2.8. For telephoto I would prefer the longer 135/2.8.  Nevertheless, this is a very beautiful lens to me just by looking at the front element. Picture wise most of the time I used this lens for taking wedding photography and the lens has so far never disappoint me. The Rollei version of the 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 has triangular aperture blades, something not found on other Zeiss lenses.



Rolleiflex SL 2000 F 85/1.4 HFT Planar Ektapress 100 


Rolleiflex 3003 85/1.4 Carl Zeiss HFT Planar Ektar 11 May 1995 



Jui Zhai Valley China - VSL-3E - Agfa Ultra 50 15 Oct 1998






85 f2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar

The optical layout of the QBM Sonnar was slightly different from the C/Y type as shown below. 


                                Rolleiflex QBM                                                                                  Contax C/Y

85mm is a focal length  I rarely used. This is the lens I bring along when I travel as it is small and compact. It is not as hard as the Planar, and has the very smooth character of Sonnars.



85/2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar Polarizer 


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