This spring I shot a little backyard test with this lens, I would like to test more extensively in a near future. Finally I got time to edit and share with you. The lens was modded, an EOS mount was attached to the original mount (again Jose nailed it), and I used a bellows to achieve infinity focus and also macro shots. My first attempts in EOS Full Frame did not satisfied me, no contrast in the image and a lot of flaring. Months later I gave it a try with my GH2 and the results were better than expected. I found that this lens could give incredible sharpness and also a natural flat soft image, very suitable for portrait work. I shot always wide open, cause I like the DOF it has. The sharpness could be improved stopping down the lens, but I found it enough sharp wide open (f/6.3). I could not use ND filters cause the lens has not filter thread and that’s why the shutter is quite high, a thing I do not like and I should solve. This lens was intended for Black & White photography and my early tests prove that, the colors were un-natural with the usual color temperatures (Daylight 5600, etc....). In my last attempts I cool down the image and the images were closer to reality.
Luckily I had loaded the Driftwood’s “Moon” setting for the test. This setting was essential to the lens because there were a lot banding situations that “Moon” resolve it well. I was tempted to grade the footage, but after seing the results, the magic of the lens was gone. So I decided to keep it straight from camera, also due the excellent transcode work done by 5DtoRGB.
I called the video “The Bokeh Gem” because I fall in love with the out of focus areas that have this lens. I have never saw anything like that in other lenses. I suposse that´s due the 13 blades in the aperture, but even with more blades other lenses do not show that creamy soft pictorical bokeh that Protar shows.
The Protar lens was an incredible advance in Zeiss lens design. It’s sharpness was beyond many lenses of his time. Zeiss share the patent with others lens makers: E.Krauss (France) and Bausch and Lomb (USA). Although it was made in 1890 it remained as a favourite lens for professional photographers during a few decades more. There were a lot of versions depending of the camera design, the one I have was made by E.Krauss for the the french camera company Gaumont to suit to his Gaumont Spido for 9x12cm plates. It has a focusing heliocoid, because this camera did not use a bellows system.
I found this lens a year ago in a backyard sale. It was inside a box with a lot of old large format lenses. I did not know the Protars at that time, but now I can say I did a GREAT deal for 30$.
Lens: E.Krauss Protar Zeiss 13,3cm f/6,3
Camera Settings: Driftwood “Moon” setting with Standard profile (all-2)
Music: “Europa” by Tuck Andress