The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s. Many of the original examples were made in East Germany after WWll and in quite low volumes, so they command high prices for their rarity, but also the extraordinary swirling they create when used at wide apertures.
The new version is being redesigned by the company that owns the Meyer Optik Goerlitz brand, but as it will not be made in Germany this time a new name has been conceived—Oprema Jena, in recognition of the location of the original factory. The attempted lens resurrection launched this morning on Kickstarter:
As the Kickstarter describes, this lens is a rarity:
The Biotar 75/1.5 is probably the most legendary lens ever produced in Jena, Germany.
It is a six lens gauss type optical scheme whose design dates back to the year 1927 when famous lens designer Willi Merté developed his first Biotar which was designed for cinematography.
In the 1930th Merté continued to improve the Biotar lenses among which the 75mm/1.5 reached legendary status. The Biotar 75/1.5 was first introduced in 1938, sales began to pick up with a presentation at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1940.
But due to second world war and to its high price at the time it remained a very special lens for the selected few. Until today it has become one of the most expensive vintage lenses easily selling for over a thousand dollars – if you get a usable one.
|The original Biotar (left) next to the Oprema Jena version (right) currently being funded on Kickstarter.|
The lens is being designed by Dr Prenzel who works with Meyer Optik on its reinvented lenses, and by Andre de Winter, a former Leica engineer. All the manufacturing will be done in Japan by Tokina, so that this new line doesn’t interfere with production of the Meyer lenses.
The company’s goal is to „maintain the exact Biotar characteristics while carefully improving the mechanical aspects and making it feasible for modern Kamera equipment and different mounts.“ That means a tack-sharp center with „dramatic but not overly-aggressive“ swirly bokeh when shot wide-open.
Thanks to new lens technologies, high-quality glass, advanced coatings and more, Oprema Jena is confident they’ve avoided some of the disadvantages of the classic Biotar without sacrificing any of the lens‘ advantages.
Launched on Kickstarter this morning, the lens is already fully-funded and the total funding ($107,000 as of this writing) goes up with every page reload. Fortunately, there are still some great deals to be had if you hurry over to the Kickstarter page now.
The ‚Crazy Deal‘ earlybird special will snag you a Biotar 75mm F1.5 in any mount for $950. Once those are gone, Super Early Bird deals are $1,000, Early Bird are $1,050, and the regular Kickstarter price is $1,100. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony-E, Leica-M (rangefinder coupling supported), Fuji X, and M42 mounts.
To learn more or put down a pledge and claim your own Biotar, head over to the Kickstarter page.