Pentacon Carl Zeiss Jena lenses: the Flektogon

A camera cannot perform without quality glass in front of it. For the Pentacon SIX there are a number of dedicated (medium format) lenses, with as well known frontrunner the indisputable high quality Flektogon from Carl Zeiss Jena.

With an aperture of F4 the flektogon cannot be considered as a fast lens. But that is the only downside of this remarkable sharp lens. It has 8 blades and a minimum focus distance of 50 cm. The most noticable is the huge front element that holds a filter treat of 86 mm. It means also that the camera can focus most on the sharpest, center area which is ideal for the large 6×6 negative. Of course, with 480 gram is also not a lightweight lens and adds another pound to the already heavy Pentacon.

It’s aperture ring is clickable and the focus ring has a very long throw (almost 1,5 around it’s own axe), meaning you have a lot of room to focus extremely sharp. It has the typical Pentacon mount system, meaning a bajonet that is inserted into the camera body and fastened by a large ring. You need to turn it clockwise to attach and secure the lens on the body. It’s aperture will be locked to F4 and you have to preset the desired aperture manually. It will although not change visually when you look in the lens. Only when the shutter is released it will adjust the aperture blades and return to wide open in order to use the waist finder.

The focal distance is quite interesting for a medium format. Because it is 50 mm it means the focal range gets reduced by a factor 0,55 , meaning the Flektogon becomes a real wide angle 27,5 mm lens which makes it suitable for street and landscape photography.

The Flektogon is a sharp lens and I took it out with the Pentacon for a photoshoot of an old shaft building, ued in the mining industry. Here are some examples (edited with Eurora HDR).

Shooting with the Carl Zeiss Jena 4/50 Flektogon on the Pentacon SIX feels just right, the results are sharp, colorful and by all means rewarding. It’s a big lens and yes, it can be adapted to modern DSLR camera’s. On ebay it can still be found around Euro 250. But make sure it has no fungus or haze, the (red) MC versions date from 1976-1980.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *