Mamiya AFD, Kodak 645 digital back & Carl Zeiss Jena 65mm Flektogon


Finally I tried ‘cross breeding’ on Kodak 645M. The base body here is Mamiya 645 AFD.

The Mamiya 645 has the shortest lens-flange-distance among 6X4.5 medium format camera.

It works like Canon, in other world of 35mm, which is a hybrid platform for excellent autofocus lenses

and plenty of manual lenses from last century.

Short in 6X4.5 format means anything from the 6X6 or 6X7 format will fit flawlessly too.

    Mamiya AFD + Kodak 645M + 65mm f2.8 DDR Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon


The Flektogon 65mm f2.8 was built for Pentacon Six, a 6X6 camera, hence big enough image circle

and plenty of space for an adapter.

The shoulder brace looks like a K1 rifle stock, if used properly, deliver the stabilization effects of 1 – 2 stops.

‘Use properly’ means you do not hold the camera like a normal picture taking posture.

You have to hold the camera as the rifle (so you can use the gun stock)

The normal picture taking is facing the subject strait and aim the camera directly.

The photographer’s body maintains 90 degree angle to the subject’s direction.

The rifle-type holding, turn body to the right about 20-30 degree while head towards the subject.

Place gun stock to right shoulder, right hand on camera grip, left hand on the lens.

While hold & aim as if a rifle, slant head a little to place right eye nicely to the viewfinder window. 

Pull the grip slightly backward to make the kit stay firm, focus and press the shutter release button.

     ISO 200 of Kodak 645M


The KODAK 645M digital back peforms excellent in high ISO performance, even though maximum sensitivity is 400.

It makes the rifle stock good enough to replace tripod in many situations. Default sensitivity is ISO 100 & it works well

in ISO 200 without apparent deterioration of the image.

On the other hand, the Leaf Valeo-22 digital back from the same era as comparision, base sensitivity is merely

ISO 25 (remember Kodachrome 25?) and delivers a superbly clear image. But it builds a lot of noise as quickly as

one or two stops higher sensitivity. 

It is entirely different world from modern digital camera which patches ISO 100,000 something…

     DDR Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 65mm f2.8


The 65mm f2.8 Flektogon is not easy to find, compare to its sibling 50mm f4.0 Flektogon.

It’s positioned in between 80mm Biometar standard lens and 50mm (true) wide angle Flektogon.

The angles of view is somewhat ambiguous in between & seems not sold much.

Personally, I use a slight wide-angle lens as a standard and also use a lot portraits.

65mm Flrektogon works like, again in terms of Canon, Samuel (35mm f1.4) lens in many ways.


In 2008, I sold entire Pentacon 6 kit out except 1 lens, 65mm Flektogon.

I decided to keep it even no idea when I can use again….







     Kodak DCS 460 + 65mm Flecktogon




With Kodak DCS 460, indeed very big 35mm digital camera body, it still looks like overgrown glass.










Original Flektogon hood is a giant square, aka dog bowl hood ….

It is not practical at all in 35mm system, so I put a round metal hood to make it

as short telephoto style.  

DDR is abbreviation of the former East Germany (Deutsche Democratic Republic).

And Carl Zeiss Jena is the origin of Carl Zeiss, unlike many believe Carl Zeiss Oberkochen is.

It was started from Jena, the city of German optical industry in 19C.

After WW2, Jena fall into eastern bloc, so engineers and managers who escaped to the West

Germany founded another Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen. As the world driven into Cold War deeply,

western countries refused to recognize Carl Zeiss Jena as Carl Zeiss & prohibit them use the name

in favor of Oberkochen refugees.




What they can do over the other side of iron curtain?

Their comrades, Russian Bolshevik brought a lot of Vodka anyway…  :- )

Carl Zeiss Jena lenses could not compete the quality of western Carl Zeiss (its name changed

to ‘Zeiss Opton’ until they finally won the court, then back to ‘Carl Zeiss’)  

The nature of communism economy, there was motivation or driving force for quality control,

performance improvement and new product development.

They just follow Soviet comrade’s plan whatever is….

Carl Zeiss Jena merged with other small companies in East Germany and became

a ‘People’s Corporation Pentacon (VEB Pentacon)’. No other choice since western countries

block the name ‘Carl Zeiss’ and they need hard currency, US dollar desperately…..

Then time flowed like a river ……

One day all the sudden, East & West Germany unified again.

The People’s Corporation which was a state-owned, released to people finally (what an irony?).

Some rush to East Germany to claim their long-lost ownership including west German Carl Zeiss.

But after a complicated jurisprudence dispute, the rights of Carl Zeiss acknowledged only a small

and the main part spun off as a new company, Jenoptics.

Now, Jenoptics continue business but not in the field of camera lenses anymore….     : -)


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