Zeiss Ikon Contax Camera Repair
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A Counterfeit Biogon
The following two pictures are of a Russian made counterfeit 35 mm f2.8
Biogon being sold on Ebay recently.
This picture shows the front of the lens. There are a few things
- The Bezel engraving clearly shows the word "Biogon".
Biogon is not a generic name. It is the Zeiss name for the Biogon
lens, it is trademarked and in use by Zeiss today. The engraving
on this lens is a clear attempt to deceive.
- The design of the focusing ring is a reasonable facsimile of
the very highly desired and costly postwar Zeiss Ikon 35 mm f2.8 Biogon.
If one was looking at this lens front on it would be very difficult to
tell that is was not a Zeiss postwar Biogon.
- The bakelite lens case is of Russian manufacture. Zeiss
did not use bakelite lens cases.
- The rear lens cap is a Russian bakelite lens cap. Zeiss
used metal lens caps on the Biogon.
The backside of the lens is just as revealing.
- The Russian 35 mm f2.8 Contax mount wide angle lens is not
of Biogon design. It is a copy (usually a bad one) of the postwar
Carl Zeiss Jena 35 mm f2.8 Biotar. The Biotar is a very simple design
compared to the Biogon and they are not similar in any way. Looking
through the lens you can see the outer edge of the front element clearly
through the rear element. It is not possible to do this with a real
Biogon. Notice also that the diameter of the front element and the
diameter of the rear element are about the same. This is a characteristic
of the Biotar design.
- The screw holding the lower skirt onto the lens body is flat
and not chromed. Postwar Biogon lenses have raised head bright chrome
- The color difference between the focusing ring and the lower
skirt is typical of Russian Contax mount wide angle lenses. The focusing
ring is polished aluminum and the skirt is chrome plated steel and this
explains the color difference. Both parts are chrome plated on the
Zeiss Ikon Biogon.
- The "M" indicating the focusing calibration is in meters is
capitalized whereas in German made lenses it is always small case "m".
- Deep up inside the cavity of the lens, in the outer edge one
can just make out the shape of the retaining ring. This ring is only
present in Biotar type lenses.
A real postwar Zeiss Ikon Biogon is worth about $500.00. This
lens is worth about $12.00. This explains why the Russians are still
in the business of engraving fake bezels for Jupiter lenses so that they
can be sold here. The prevailing opinion of many is that the Russians
are no longer manufacturing lenses and camera bodies labeled Jupiter
and Kiev. This may be so, but it is clear that they have not stopped
manufacturing Zeiss labeled cameras and lenses. This lens looks new
and unused meaning it has been recently manufactured. We know this
because the highly polished aluminum focusing ring would begin to dull
very quickly after its initial polishing. I estimate this lens to
be no more than one year old.
My universal advice about the purchasing of Contax equipment is very
simple. BUY NOTHING FROM OUTSIDE THE USA. Buy nothing where
the enforcement of United States postal fraud law does not apply.
The postal inspectors do a good job and for the most part if you buy something
from a USA seller who is located in the USA, accepts payment in the USA,
ships from inside the USA and who has no problem accepting payment in the
form of a United States Postal money order sent by U.S. Mail, you will
have absolutely no problems that cannot be quickly resolved to your