Photos & Projects

Jena BM 80mm f/2.8 – Fixed and Adapted to a Sony for Shooting Beautiful Roses – By Jordi Fradera

September 2, 2021

This is a new adventure with a Jena BM 80mm f/2.8 lens that belongs to the Praktisix. This is a lens that my friend Carles has loaned to me. The camera that has already done its work in his family and was not at its best, and neither was the lens.

Although the camera was apparently in good condition it exhibited the typical excessively dry/viscous greasing phenomenon and the textile shutter curtain failed frequently, so I decided to park it and focus on the lens.

In the first examinations of the Jena BM 80mm f/2.8 lens I saw that the focus ring was blocked and the plastic ring of the same was cracked. There was no choice but to disassemble it to regain its functionality. It resisted longer than expected, perhaps the blows of many years had deformed it. The front ring with the characteristic marks seemed glued but finally gave way at my insistence.

Once I isolated the two pieces that include the helical thread of the focus I was forced to use brute force to separate them and I won. After cleaning it well with solvent and greasing it with petroleum jelly, I could move it 95% of its travel (∞ to 1.5 m) and I didn’t insist any more. To mount it again I had to make two small holes in the front ring where to insert a wrench with two tips. I was already seeing the end of the assembly when, with misfortune, the spring of the diaphragm return device (the most delicate of the system) broke. I replaced it with a small spring with an embroidery thread system that works perfectly.

Jena BM 80mm f/2.8 repairing and adapting for Sony A37

But… what to do with the Jena BM 80mm f/2.8? It occurred to me to adapt it to my Sony A37. I got it working with a ring made of cardboard, a Sony body cap on one end and the Praktisix lens holding a ring on the other. Luckily, the camera ring screwed into the tube of cardboard.

The first tests were positive although the 80mm focal length meant for a 120mm APS equivalent and the uncoated lens on the lens produced photos lacking in contrast. I’m sure that the camera and lens did mainly work in black and white and 6x6cm format in their time, which must have been very acceptable. I made it work with a bit of processing.

It was time to go out and photograph. In the next photo you can see the problem of lack of contrast.

Sony A37 + Sony 2.8/16-50 SSM vs Sony A37 + BM JENA 2,8 F=80

My stage was the Cervantes Park in Barcelona. The park is dedicated to roses and where every year an international competition for new hybrids is held, it is a joy to see it at this time of year and here I present the results. I have seen fit to process the contrast of the images and I think the result is quite satisfactory. I hope you enjoy them.

The park keeper with an assistant

Scented roses area at the park entrance

In the pergola under the blue sky

Hybrid competition area

Group of rose lovers

There are not only roses

And also … flowers that do not fight with roses

Part of the pergola at the top of the park

They say that there are no more beautiful flowers than roses, but my opinion is that this is not true. Any flower is a jewel of nature, for example, look for the flower of the common potato. It is said that when seeing it in America they brought to Europe as an ornamental plant.

And besides, in addition to the hurtful thorns on their stems, red roses hate me as a photographer. In my photos I get good images of them, but the red of the flowers overloads the camera, and I can’t edit them to satisfaction. Any variation is worse than the original photo. I think that I am just an amateur. I photograph with the light of the moment and by hand. The image below is an example. It happens to me with any camera.

Gorgeous in (too much) red

After testing the Jena BM 80mm f/2.8 lens with the Sony A37, I still have to shoot with the Praktisix camera. Doing this would force me to disassemble the camera, clean the old grease, grease it again and if I’m lucky to bet with a roll of 120 film, it would give me 12 frames. If I make up my mind, please wish me luck. I would need do it one day when I wake up with the great humor and courage needed to dare to disassemble the Praktisix, clean it, grease it and photograph with it. I might, but… well, I doubt it.

I hope that you enjoyed this walk through the Cervantes park in Barcelona at least as much as I did. Thanks to my wife for her patience, to Carles for his kindness and to you for reading it.

Support 35mmc

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc via Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Dan Mountin
    September 2, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    What an amazingly beautiful tree…. reminiscent of Bonsai, yet nature carved and shaped it. Stunning!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.