Repair: Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2

Hello, everybody! Do you like Haribo? The tasty little bears are a classic, even grown-ups enjoy a mouthful of the fruity treats. I could eat a whole tub in a single sitting, they’re sweet but they’re not as sweet as a Creme Egg so I prefer these at every occasion. Gummi bears, sausages and beer aren’t the only German products that I couldn’t live without. There is also a German lens that is valuable to me and just like Haribo, it’s now approaching its centennial soon but of course, the delicious German candies are just a bit older.

Introduction:

The Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 is known to every person who has an interest in vintage lenses. There are several versions made, from the original one made around 1936 to the last one made until the early 1960s. We will talk about the 2nd post-war version in this article which was made from the early 1950s up until 1959 where it was succeeded by the short-lived last version of this amazing optic.

It’s a huge lens for its time, making the Zeiss Ikon Contax D look tiny. The barrel is all-metal, this is heavy despite using aluminum alloy. Handling is excellent due to the large focusing ring. The iris is of the preset-type much like what you’d see from many lenses made in that era. It has a limiter which allows you to constrain the range of the aperture ring, it’s something that I only see with post-war Zeiss lenses. Engraved in the bezel is a red “T” denoting that it’s coated and it means “transparentz“, a war-time secret developed by Zeiss. In fact, they were the first ones to master this deposition-type method which is effective but not as durable as what Nikon developed during the war that is the reason why the coating in Nikkors are tougher than what the Germans had since it was developed for use with submarine periscopes.

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Shopping: Gokurakudo (Shinjuku)

Hello, everybody! I will give you a tour around one of my favorite shops. I seldom come here in recent years due to its location being a bit inaccessible to me. Despite that I always find myself buying stuff from them each time I visit, their inventory is certainly impressive by local standards.

Introduction:

Gokurakudo (極楽堂) has been in business for some time now. The owner is known by everyone in the hobby, he could speak good English so it’s not hard for many non-Japanese speakers to communicate with him. I told him that I would make an article about the shop but it took me years to do so since I left my old job some years ago which was located close to them. It was started in celebration of everything “Contax“, from Carl Zeiss to the Japanese “Contax” brand by Yashica/Kyocera. It also specializes in screw-mount lenses from every manufacturer. They’re one of the shops that have transitioned well into the current online economy which helps a lot in the current pandemic situation.

This is shopfront, it’s difficult to miss because of the blue sign. When the shop is close, the shutter has a sign that says “Only Contax” in big, bold lettering. The shop itself is small but it is packed with goodies.

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