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Sonnar F1.5 5cm, 1932

The origin of the name for Sonnar is based on German word "Sonne (Sun)" or it was taken from German city name . It was invented by genius Dr. Bertel, Carl Zeiss for old range-finder Zeiss-ikon Contax cameras.

The Sonnar was very fast lens when it was born in seventy years ago. The key factor to think about this is the fact that films of these days were too slow to take low-light hand held shots. It says about ISO 25 (DIN 10-15) was the high-speed films of those days.

This time, I have tried the old Sonnar-F1.5 with two versions. One is the post-war version that was manufactured at the Westside-Zeiss factory and the other is pre-war version, which was manufactured at traditional Zeiss-Jena factory.
The post-war version is T coated, it means single layer coating while the T* is multi layer coating. The pre-war version, which I tried, was non-coated, however, there are few amount of pre-war lenses with T coating exists.

The pictures below are "the old wine in a new glass" type trials. I used latest film technology to test the true performance of the famous old Sonnar F1.5. (Fuji Provia-F for color pics and Acros 100 for B/W pics)
I felt the old Sonnar F1.5 shows good performance even compared with today's lenses. It was amazing facts for me..
Have fun with this old wine!

Aug / 2001

( Original texts are written in old style Japanese language
to recreate the feeling of a half-century ago,
however, I can not write English such a way... )

Post-war version (T coat)
Camera: Contax IIa

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RDPIII , Wide-open


Pre-war version
Camera: Contax IIa

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ACR , Wide open

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RDPIII , Wide open


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Post-war type

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Pre-war type

2001, All rights reserved by Yoshihiro Sasaki