We are live – The Biotar 58 now on Indiegogo

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An all- time legend is born

An international team of some of the world’s most renowned engineers and manufacturers join forces to return the famous Biotar 1.5/75 to the world of modern day photography – more beautiful than ever before.


The Biotar 75 was considered the fastest portrait lens of its time and not many faster ones have ben build over time. Due to its high price which would translate into something close to eight to ten thousand dollars today the lens was manufactured in relatively small numbers. But over time photographers around the world cherished the lens not only for portraiture but for so much more, especially fashion, sports, wedding, architecture and even macro.

And now an international team of some of the world’s most renowned engineers and manufacturers join forces to return the famous Biotar 75/1.5 to the world of modern day photography – more beautiful than ever before.

Legendary Characteristics of the Biotar 1.5/75

Features of a lens are one thing. The pictures which it enables the photographer to create are another.


The Biotar 75 is legendary but it was our goal to maintain the exact Biotar characteristics while carefully improving the mechanical aspects and making it feasible for modern camera equipment and different mounts. So at the center of the development was to ensure the lenses ability to produce crystal sharp images at the center of the picture with a dramatic but not overly aggressive swirling bokeh at open aperture and its crystal overall sharpness at f 5.6 or f 8.0. It took several iterations to reach this goal. But we have done it.

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Furthermore we slightly changed the design of the lens. The later versions of the Biotar had a somewhat different look and we wanted to come closer to the early versions with a straighter silhouette than the later ones. The goal was not to create a “looks like a famous vintage lens” but to follow the legendary imaging abilities of the Biotar and gently change the mechanical design of the lens and reach a more modern but still classic design that pays respect to this legend. We would call this conservative modernization – keeping what is best but improving where we think things could be improved.

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This also takes into account that by using modern glasses and hi end coating some disadvantages of the earlier Biotar lenses due to reflections on the surfaces can be avoided while maintaining all advantages.
The 15 aperture blades of the new Biotar support the creation of the swirley bokeh and are of course made from steel and with a special anti-reflective coating.

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The specific features of the lens creates an eye catching effect and the impact on the viewer is almost surrealistic

Already at f2.0 contrast goes up dramatically and at f 5.6 to 8 the optimum sharpness is obtained. It is better than many so called modern high end lenses of today. The color correction of the lens is outstanding. There is no lateral chromatic aberration as it is almost apochromatic in its effect.

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Talking to photographers they start to rave about the lens and its abilities not only in portraiture photography but also for landscaping and nature.

The Biotar 75 is much more than one of the best lenses for portraiture. It is adored by photographers in all sectors of their art: fashion, sports, wedding, architecture, landscape and nature and even macro. But see for yourselves.

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The “swirley bokeh” is an outstanding feature of this lens. This means that out-of-focus highlights in the background are subdued and at the same time rendered in a circular fashion.

Its sharpness at the center in conjunction with a dramatic swirl bokeh is legendary. At open aperture the Biotar 75 is as sharp as can be in the center of the image and it renders the famous and sought after swirling bokeh to the side. The feel of the image is somewhat delicate which generates great contrast in available light situations with clear shadows and lights in the background.

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Legendary portraits and so much more

Biotar 75

Technical Specs

  • Focal length: 75 mm
  • Aperture: f1.5 – f16
  • Optical elements / groups: 6/4
  • Aperture blades: 15
  • Angle of field: +/– 19°
  • Distortion: ≤ 1%
  • Light loss max. (f1.5): 36%
  • Min. focus: 0.8 m
  • Filter thread: 58 mm
  • Dimensions (mm): Ø 65 x 80
  • Dimensions (inch): Ø 2.56 x 3.15
  • Weight approx.: 520g / 18oz

The History

Biotar 75 introduced 1938

The Biotar 75/1.5 was first introduced in 1938, sales began to pick up with a presentation at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1940. But due to Second World War and to its high price at the time it remained a very special lens for the selected few. After the war production picked up again but only until 1960 when production was discontinued not the least because of continued legal issues between East and West. The name of the lens had always been subject to major battles legal battles between Carl Zeiss, Jena in East Germany and the West German Carl Zeiss that was founded after the war.

The Biotar was the first available light portrait lens but due to its high price remained an unfulfilled dream for many. The price was the equivalent of a two month salary of an engineer. The lens was promoted for sports, theater and reporter photography. At first portrait photography was not in the focus of the marketing activities. But soon the users realized its value for portraiture due to the extrem sharpness in the center and the swirling bokeh of the background with a small depth of field at f 1.5.

The lens was the star in combination with the most advanced cameras of its time from Ihagee(Exakta) to Zeiss (Contax) and Leica to name a few.


Some of the world’s most renowned lens designers have joined in this project under the leadership of Dr. Stefan Immes, who recently resurrected Meyer Optik, Goerlitz. Meyer Optik concentrates solely on their lenses and innovative developments of new aspherical lenses so for this ambitious project Dr. Immes formed a different team. For this project it was also necessary to create new capacities and expertise of production to ensure its success.

Dr. Wolfdieter Prenzel
Optical Engineering

The most experienced optical engineer in the field of the resurrection of classical lenses.

Dr. Wolfdieter Prenzel
Andre de Winter
Mechanical Design

André de Winter, certainly one of the most outstanding lens designers of famous German camera and lens manufacturer Leica. Engineering Award® of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Andre de Winter

Tokina represents one of the best manufacturers of lenses in the world. It is our honour to have this company on board so that we can assure that the lenses will be manufactured to the standards of quality that this lens deserves. We do not want to take any risk with a legend!


We are live – The Biotar 58 now on Indiegogo

Support us now