Oprema Jena announces their plans for a new Biotar 75 f/1.5 lens

The previously rumored new Biotar 75 f/1.5 lens (first reported on LeicaRumors) is now officially announced and as already reported, it will be sold under the Meyer Optik Goerlitz Oprema Jena brand (net SE is behind the Oprema Jena and Meyer Optik brands). The lens funding will start soon on Kickstarter.

The Biotar 1.5/75 lens is very sharp in the center and is known for its 3D-like effect - see this first sample pictures from the new lens:

Oprema Jena is planning to bring back also the Biotar 58 and Flektogon lenses.

Here is the full email that got sent out today:

Global All-Star Team Joins to Resurrect Legends - Biotar 75/1.5 first Oprema Jena project on Kickstarter

You might have read in the news that I am involved in some activities to return the legendary Biotar 75 to the market. This is true. I have put together a fantastic team for this venture. It consists of Andre de Winter, an award-winning former Leica lens designer, Wolfdieter Prenzel, the leading specialist in the field of optical design of classic lenses and Kenko Tokina, global maker of high-performance camera lenses. We have come together under the brand name Oprema Jena. The brand is part of net SE, which is led by myself and which is also responsible for Meyer Optik. But apart from this “umbrella” there is no direct connection between the two projects.

Meyer Optik’s mission is to continue building our own production in Germany and deliver lenses that are “Made in Germany.” All our Meyer lenses are ones that we try to “reengineer” with the same imaging capabilities as the original or vintage lenses. In addition, we are working on designing some modern versions of Meyer lenses and will introduce aspherical technology in our lenses very soon. So, while we are full of ideas and have lots of developments under way, we have to be careful not to overstretch our production capacities. Also, the management issues involved in such a production are not without limits. Therefore, I have decided to keep Meyer and Oprema as separate units and have secured Tokina’s cooperation for this initiative. The different players in this group have bundled their activities under the name of Oprema Jena, thus paying tribute to the city where the Biotar was born and to the East German optical traditions. The cooperation with Tokina was very important because this way we can assure a smooth production process by working together with such an experienced lens manufacturer; and we did not want to overstretch our own production.

Oprema Jena’s first project will be the resurrection of one of the most famous lenses of all times, the Biotar 75 designed in 1938 by Willy Merté for Carl Zeiss and only produced in small quantities until 1960.

The lens is known for its famous, swirley bokeh at f1.5 in conjunction with an extreme sharpness in the center. Photographers also rave about an almost 3D-like effect with the object in the center seeming to be separated from the background and moving towards the viewer.

With the aperture at f5.6 or 8, the lens becomes a very sharp piece of equipment with great contrast, especially taking into consideration that it is a design dating back to the 30s of the last century. The Biotar 75 is a lens that proves that it has a surprising sharpness but also characteristics unknown among modern lenses. Its sharpness and swirl is legendary, vintage lenses of this kind are extremely hard to get and sell over a thousand dollars if in good condition.

We will present the Biotar to the photography community with the help of a Kickstarter project, which will be announced soon.

We are excited to see this lens come to life and very happy that we have been able to join Wolfdieter, Andre and Tokina for this exciting resurrection. Be assured, this is not a one off but the beginning of a bigger project that will back the Biotar 58, as well as the famous Flektogon lenses. The team has a great spirit and we think those lenses should not be forgotten.

None of this will interfere with our activities at Meyer Optik. We have to keep our focus there and will continue to successfully rebuild Meyer Optik Goerlitz. The company has just delivered -- and is delivering -- past Kickstarter projects. We are proving that we deliver on our promises even if it took longer than we thought. Please keep in mind that Kickstarter is an entrepreneurial exercise and that overcoming such problems is often just part of the process.

Meyer Optik lenses are finding an ever growing community of fans throughout the globe. But for the future Oprema Jena projects, I wanted to build a new, powerful brand so that the Meyer story will continue to be put into reality with the total focus we have always given it.

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  • Fiatlux

    Actually, if I understand well, Meyer Optik Görlitz would remain focused on the revival of its former classic lenses while the new Oprema Jena would work on the Biotar and later the Flektogon.

    Quite confusing, especially as the new Meyer Optik Görlitz already “produced” (rebadged?) more than historical MOG lenses. The Somnium 85 1.5, for instance, looks suspiciously close to the Helios 40…. itself a Russian clone of the Zeiss Biotar!!!

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    Working on making modern version of the meyer lenses.
    Means inventing a new order of maginitude to be able to price an auto focusing trioplan

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      Felt so motivated to post that that you didn’t bother trying to find out what I was writing about?

      If it is just my name having meyer in it, meyer is the name of an occupation like smith, baker, cook… I have no connection to the brand meyer optic.

  • Mistral75

    Admin, who is the “I” in the email you have quoted, if I may ask?

    • Sorry, Dr. Stefan Immes from the Meyer-Optik team.

      • Mistral75

        Thank you.

        • Yes, sorry – I did my post without seeing the official email – the lens is all not branded under the Meyer brand, but under the Opera Jena – I already updated my post.

          • Mistral75

            By the way, Dr Stefan Immes is the CEO of the net SE group (Vorstandsvorsitzender = chairman of the management board).

          • Makes sense.

  • Luboš

    I don’t know about you guys, but the picture is not sharp in the center at all. And they use higher ISO, and then perhaps some kind of sharpenning tool. but the picture is really bad.

  • J L Williams

    The original 75/1.5 Biotar DID NOT have the exaggerated “swirly bokeh” effect shown in the first example photo. It was flarey and smeary around the center zone, but in a smoother, more naturalistic way. I almost wish now I hadn’t sold mine, so I could refute some of the stuff Oprema is putting out…

    • Oz Baz

      What mount was your original lens

      • M42 I believe

      • J L Williams

        Mine was the super-rare LTM version. I later sold it. I believe it’s much more common in the Exakta mount, although the optics were identical…?

  • Brett Monroe

    Will this be an m-mount only lens or offered in other mounts?

  • Oz Baz

    I love what this company are doing. For the full retro experience will they release it in Exakta and contax RF mounts?

  • andrei ioan

    didn’t zeiss register the name biotar recently?

    • Yes, but it was not Zeiss.

    • Mistral75

      Not Zeiss but Globell BV, a subsidiary of the net SE group.

  • Licheus

    Mediocre performing plain, vintage designs that will sell for a bloated price, while the excellent ZM line is dying. Pity.

    • Licheus

      The price, my friend. Let’s watch its price tag first.

      Good for anyone buying these at the $$$$ they’re gonna charge, while we already have the tonnes of Helioses to choose from.

    • Licheus

      The price, my friend. Let’s watch its price tag first and see if you buy into that.

      Sure it’s a new lens with warranty, but since they charge €1,499 for a “new” triplet, imagine how much a “new” 6/4 lens will cost. For the $$$$, I’d rather go grab a Helios just for the mediocre performance (or, “unique signature”).

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