Unique Zeiss/Russian Contax 35mm Biogon Prototype Lens

These cameras, Lenses and Accessories are available for immediate sale. If your needs are for a Contax camera that is of museum quality please inquire as it is possible to assemble a perfect camera and lens for you out of perfect parts. No camera leaves my hands until it is performing at its full potential and is completely reliable. All come with a one year guarantee that is rarely needed but is promptly and cheerfully fulfilled.

Currently there are other Contax 1 Camera outfits and some choice Contax lenses available for immediate sale. Please use these links to access the descriptions, pictures and prices.


Overhauled Contax II Three Lens Outfit

Black Enamel Contax 1 28mm Tessar Lens

Super Rare Black Enamel 28mm Contax Finder

Contax Rigid Tessar 50mm f3.5 Lens

Wonderful Contax Panflex Close Up Outift with Panflex 115mm Tessar Lens

Unique Prototype Contax 35mm f2.8 Biogon Lens


Yes, I do ship to Japan, Australia, the UK and the EU by United States Post Insured Express Mail

米国による日本への出荷は速達を保証した。 ありがとう。

Unique Zeiss/Russian Contax 35mm Biogon Prototype Lens

This is a truly unique lens. There can be only one like it and so in all this world only one person can own it. It's the rarest Biogon in the world. This lens was made in both Germany and Russia. It is the prototype lens hand manufactured by the Russians for the purpose of exploring the possibility of copying the German Biogon lens design and to manufacture copies for sale. This lens taught the Russians in Kiev that copying this lens would be too difficult and expensive and that it would be impossible to duplicate the Zeiss chrome finish.

The lens part of this lens is a genuine German made Zeiss 35mm f2.8 Biogon lens. It was obviously obtained by the Russians for the purposes of testing and measurement. The process of copying a Biogon had to start with the lens to camera mount and the focusing assembly. With a genuine Biogon lens cartridge it would be possible to fabricate the mount and focusing assembly and test it. Once it had been determined it was possible and economical to duplicate this part of the lens the project could then move onto the process of duplicating the lens cartridge. But this is as far as this project got.

This lens will fit onto any Contax camera and will produce the same optical results as any other Carl Zeiss 35mm Biogon lens. But it is contained in a Russian made prototype focusing mount that is an honest copy of the Zeiss made focusing mount. I am certain this prototype was made by the Kiev factory to explore the possibility of copying the 35mm Biogon as a Kiev product in the same way the Carl Zeiss Contax 50mm, 85mm and 135mm lenses had been copied. But this lens demonstrated to them this would be far too difficult and expensive to do and it explains why the Russian made Contax mount 35mm wide angle lens is a copy of the Zeiss Jena 35mm Biotar which is a much simpler lens both mechanically and optically.

A lot of work was expended on this prototype lens. No short cuts were taken. It has all of the parts and screws a Zeiss made lens has. All of the screws in this lens are each hand made. However, there were some material substitutions that are explained later on in this article.

If you examine this picture of this lens that is on the left, with a genuine Carl Zeiss Biogon lens on the right you can see several differences. The most obvious is that the genuine Carl Zeiss lens is much shinier:


Zeiss used a proprietary method of chrome plating that produced a unique smooth, thin and bright finish. No one has ever been able to duplicate it. The Russian lens is plated in normal chrome that appears dull in comparison. You'll also see the upper focusing ring on the Russian lens is thinner than the Zeiss lens.

This lens contains a genuine Carl Zeiss West German made 35mm f2.8 lens assembly. This lens will produce the same image and same negative quality as any other 35mm Carl Zeiss Biogon lens. It is shown in this front picture of this lens:


The external fit and finish quality of the Russian made parts of this lens is very high. But a closer examination shows it was manufactured on machines using unsharp tools that were not quite up to Carl Zeiss standards. A comparison of the mounting mark red dots shows this:


The Russian engraved red dot on the left is crude compared to the German dot on the right. The irregular shape of the Russian red dot indicates an unsharp tool mounted in a well used machine were used to make it. Notice also the general quality of the hole is not nearly as good as the German hole nor is the paint as good. It's also useful to compare the large knurled sections of both lenses:


The Russian knurls on the left are cruder, their shapes are less defined. They are less sharp and are crudely cut compared to the Zeiss knurls. The Russian chrome plating is also rough, tending to fill in the detail at the bottom of the knurls whereas the Zeiss chrome plating is uniformly thin and sharp. It's also useful to compare the latches:


The Russian latch is narrower and is less finely made than the Zeiss latch on the right.

Here are some side views of this lens showing all of its condition which I believe to be mint. Notice the skirt of the focusing mount is not marked "Made In Germany" as the Zeiss made skirt is marked.


Side 2




This is a rear view of the lens. This Russian lens has three difference that cannot be seen from a photograph.

1.This the movable latch that engages with the inner part of the camera body lens mount to engage the lens to the camera rangefinder is made of copper. In the Zeiss made Biogon it is made of brass.

2. The camera latch assembly that is held into the lens mount with three screws is made of aluminum. In the Zeiss Biogon it is made of chrome plated brass.

3. The incomplete coverage of the chrome plating on the inside of the lens mount indicates that normal chrome plating processes were used to plate this lens. A Zeiss made Biogon focusing assembly has complete inner and outer bright chrome coverage.



All of the parts of this lens, with the exception of the Biogon lens cell are one-of-a-kind and are completely hand made. Unlike a German made Biogon that is made of standardized components that are interchangeable, each screw in the focusing assembly is hand made, fitted to its screw hole and will not fit properly in any other screw hole.

This lens has been completely overhauled here and is in absolutely MINT optical condition. It also comes with Zeiss front cap and a Russian rear cap. It comes with a one year guarantee.

The serial number of this lens is 1551618

This lens has had exceptionally gentle care for all of its extremely long life. The pictures of it tell the tale of this stunning lens.

The optics are perfect mint quality. Any specks are minute particles of dust.

This lens has been overhauled and completely cleaned and properly lubricated.


These are the terms of sale:

This lens has been donated for charitable purposes. The total amount you pay for it is fully deductable as a charitable deduction on your Federal and State income taxes. Payment will not be made to Zeisscamera but to Fr. Incardona by PayPal or by a check or money order mailed directly to him. Once he receives payment he will notify me and the lens will be shipped to you fully insured.

Fr. Incardona will use the proceeds from this sale to house the poorest people in Eastern Europe who were left poverty stricken when Communism collapsed. These poor people have been left unable to cope with the new economies and economic conditions there.

Acceptable payment forms are PayPal, personal check drawn on a bank in the USA, Bank check or money order denominated in USD, wire transfer. Foreign money orders and checks require a two week wait for bank clearance. Items come with a seven day inspection period commencing at the time of delivery after which the sale is final with no refund allowed. Shipping costs for returns for a refund are at the cost of the buyer. All shipments are sent fully insured and shipments to countries where shipping insurance is not offered are at the buyer's risk of loss or damage. Customs documents are honestly prepared. All taxes or duties are the responsibility of the buyer. All deliveries in the State of California require the payment of State Sales Tax. Shipment occurs after funds are verified to be received by the bank of the camera owner. Shipment is by USPS Express mail.

The price of this lens is $999.99. Depending upon your Federal; and State tax brackets the actual out of pocket cost can be as little as 1/3 of this. Thank you for visiting.

If you would like to purchase this lens please use this convenient email link to contact me:

Zeiss/Kiev Prototype Biogon 35mm Lens Question


Zeiss IkonLegal  |  Privacy Policy  |  Henry Scherer - All Rights Reserved © 2007  |  Site Design by Tim Taylor