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Voigtländer Zoomar 1:2.8 f=36mm.....82mm


The first zoom lens ever made for the 35mm SLR camera format!

I read all the horror stories. You don't want to take pictures with it but it's a damned fine collectors item if you can get one.

Excerpts from www.cameraquest.com

Designed by Dr. Frank G. Back of Zoomar in Long Island New York and produced by Voigtlander in Germany, the 1959 36-82/2.8 Zoomar was the world's first production zoom for 35mm still cameras. Dr. Back and Zoomar had previously produced Zooms for TV and movie cameras.

Looking back today, it's amazing how much he got right from the start. Dr. Back succeeded in obtaining a very useful wide to short tele zoom range, with a fast 2.8 aperture and a convenient single zoom control ring. He not only invented the lens, he invented the term "Zoom" as it applies to 35mm lenses.

Prophetically, the 36-82 was introduced to America at the Philadelphia camera show that also introduced the Nikon F and Canon Canonflex to the American public. Who would have guessed?? Today collectors usually associate the 36-82/2.8 Zoomar with Voigtlander's excellent leaf shutter Bessamatic SLR. Actually the Zoomar was introduced from day one in both Voigtlander Bessamatic and Exakta mounts. Later it was also produced in other mounts, including 42mm screw Contax mount, which would later become known as Pentax Screw Mount, and for the Kodak Retina SLR. The Zoomar 36-82 was introduced in May 1959, but not generally available until 1960. Optically, the Zoomar 36-82 was a great breakthrough, made possible according to Dr. Back by new rare earth element glasses and computer aided optical designs.

The 36-82/2.8 used 14 elements in 5 groups (3 movable and 2 fixed). Focusing done by moving the front group of a single element. Standard close focus is 4 1/2 feet, but two close up lenses were available -- the Focar A and B -- which provided focus as close as 10 inches. How did it perform? Not as well as single focal length lenses, but very adequately for its general purpose intentions.

Some user group comments about this lens ...

"I think it's rather a collector's item than a really usable lens. It was the very first zoom lens for format 135 and was called "Gummilinse" (=rubber lens)."

"The lens gives a poor performance but it looks awesome! I would love one just for the eye candy."

"I thought that my copy was a bad ones, I bought another. Well, both were bad lenses. I didn't like this lens. Aberrations. It's a luminous kaleidoscope."

I definitely wanted this in my lens collection. But I'm going to try, or at least give it a try to shoot with every lens I have as well. So here are some pics .. the first pics I've taken after receiving a very nice copy of my very own Voigtländer Zoomar 1:2.8 f=36mm.....82mm.

The Voigtländer Zoomar 1:2.8 f=36mm.....82mm

This pic belies how large this front element is. It's a whopping 95mm filter thread. And very beautifully made. Much more like an old television or cine lens than a still camera lens.

Sandy. Patiently being my willing model once again!

55mm, f4, 1/160th sec, ISO 200

Yeah! You shouldn't take pictures with this lens!!


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