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Zeiss Protar 105mm f/6.3 convertible
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:17 am    Post subject: Zeiss Protar 105mm f/6.3 convertible Reply with quote

HI all,

I just picked up this sweet little Zeiss Protar 105mm f/6.3 in shutter. I am familiar with the Protar lens in general, but nothing about this specific incarnation. It looks like it might have been on a folder and/or small plate camera, maybe a tropical. I estimate the date at sometime prior to 1912 based on the low serial number., but I really don't know. What series is this? Usually the Protars were marked Series I, or IV or similar. I also think this is a convertible lens, as many Protars were, plus there are three sets of f-stops. I am interested to find out if anyone has ever seen one of these on a camera, and if so, what kind? And if this is a convertible lens, does anyone know the various focal lengths and lens configurations (eg. front and rear, front only, rear only, etc.).

Thanks for any help!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. Per P-H Pont's chronology, the lens serial number is pre-1905.

The ICA shutter it is in probably isn't the lens' native shutter. Note that the aperture scale for the complete lens (both cells in the shutter) goes to 3.5. The cells should be identical 183/12.5. Again, this isn't consistent with the engraved aperture scale.

For some reason the site won't let me reply to the OP's reply to this post. So here's a reply out of order.

Protar nomenclature confuses everyone. Until proven otherwise -- sorry, I don't have H. Thiele's Fachbuch -- y'r lens seems to be a double Protar and the individual cells can be used alone. This information from the 1901 Zeiss London catalog. That catalog also lists an f/8 Protar Ser. IIa that has a doublet in front and a triplet in the rear and an f/9 Protar without series number that contains a pair of doublets, not symmetrical. Not all double Protars are f/6.3, but some, including the 4 1/8 inch are.


Last edited by danfromm on Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

danfromm wrote:
Interesting. Per P-H Pont's chronology, the lens serial number is pre-1905.

The ICA shutter it is in probably isn't the lens' native shutter. Note that the aperture scale for the complete lens (both cells in the shutter) goes to 3.5. The cells should be identical 183/12.5. Again, this isn't consistent with the engraved aperture scale.


HI Dan,

Thanks for the great info! I hadn't noticed the discrepancy in the aperture scale. Your observations line up perfectly with information I received a few days ago from David Silver:

"Appears to be a Series II, and it came out of the factory in 1902. The II was not marketed as a convertible (which doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't be used that way...it's not a symmetrical formula), and I have a feeling that your lens is not original to that shutter."

If the lens element spacing and the diaphragm placement is consistent with the lens' original mounting, it'll be interesting to see how it performs. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet - hopefully this weekend!

Thanks again for the help,

Paul