Steinheil Exakta Lenses  

For the purposes of this page, I have chosen to break up the Steinheil lenses into three categories - the chrome finish lenses, the black finish lenses and the macro lenses. Steinheil's association with Ihagee in supplying lenses in Exakta mount began in the very late 1940's. Over the next 25 or so years, they produced lenses for the Exakta in focal lengths from 35mm to 300mm, as well as an uncommon monocular attachment.

Of all the German lens manufacturers that produced lenses for the Exakta, it is my opinion that those produced by Steinheil, particularly the chrome finish automatic and preset lenses, were among the most handsome ever produced. They are sometimes criticized in that they used rare-earth glass in some of their lenses that emits low level radiation. This aside, their optical performance is of very high quality.

The Chrome Automatics

Steinheil produced the following chrome finish automatic lenses:


35mm f2.8 Auto Quinaron

The 35mm f2.8 Steinheil Auto Quinaron is a very versatile optic. Not only is it a superb wide-angle lens but it also focuses as close as 4 1/2" lens to subject, making it good for close-up photography as well.

Featuring f/stops down to f/22, the last version chrome Auto Quinaron is displayed here with its proper caps and original box.



55mm f1.9 Auto Quinon

The 55mm f1.9 Auto Quinon was available in four different models. The second version lens in my collection (shown on the left in the photo) has a silver lens stopdown housing. On the third version (center), the housing was changed to black. On the final fourth version (right), a green ring was added for flash exposure calculations.

Each version focuses down to 1.35' and has f-stops down to f/22.


The earliest version shown in the second photo, has the stopdown switch located on the lens. In order for the stopdown switch to be activated, this version lens must be wide open at f1.9.


100mm f3.5 Auto Quinar

The 100mm f3.5 Steinheil Auto Quinar is an excellent lens choice for portrait photography. The diaphragm stops down to f/22 and it focuses from infinity down to 3.8'. It is the least frequently encountered lens in the chrome automatic Steinheil lens lineup and one of my favorite lenses.


135mm f2.8 Auto Tele-Quinar

The 135 F2.8 Auto Tele-Quinar is an excellent midrange telephoto lens. It features a fully automatic diaphragm and stops down to f/32. The lens is rather heavy and focuses as close as 5' . An advantage with this lens is its' built-in tripod mount which provides for a more secure setup when using this lens on a tripod.

There were two versions of this lens, the earlier version is displayed on the left and has a chrome finish stopdown plunger housing whereas on the the latter, the housing is black. The lenses are displayed with their proper caps and one lens shade.


135mm f3.5 Auto Tele-Quinar

The 135mm F3.5 Auto Tele-Quinar is a lighter alternative to the above listed f2.8 version. It doesn't focus as close as its big brother (5'), only as close as 7'. It stops down to f/32.

It is displayed on the right with its proper shade and caps..



The Chrome Presets

While I haven't actively pursued the collecting of non-automatic lenses, there are several notable exceptions in the Steinheil lens repertoire that complement the automatics:


135mm f2.8 Tele-Quinar

200mm f4.5 Tele-Quinar

The 135 and 200mm Tele-Quinars are among the best preset telephoto lenses available in Exakta mount. Each have f-stops down to f32. On the used market, nice ones can often be found at very reasonable prices. They are displayed in the photo on the left with the proper lens shade that was supplied with them by Steinheil.



85mm f2.8 Culminar

The 85mm f2.8 Culminar is a manual lens, most commonly seen in Leica screw mount. It is a nice lightweight portrait lens that occasionally can be found at bargain prices.

The 85/2.8 Culminar focuses as close as 3' and has f/stops down to f/32.




105mm f3.8 Cassar

The 105mm Steinheil Cassar is infrequently encountered. The lens head is removable from the focusing mount enabling its adaptation for use on a bellows. In the focusing mount, the Cassar focuses down to slightly under 8 feet and has f/stops down to f/22.



135mm f4.5 Culminar

Perhaps, the 135mm f4.5 Steinheil is one of the most popular lenses in the Steinheil arsenal. Produced not only in Exakta mount, but in mounts for the Leica, Pentax screw, and several others, the Culminar is a versatile optic.

It is pictured on the right with its proper cap with the head separated from the focusing tube.

One of this lenses attributes is that the head of the lens can be removed from its focusing mount for use on a bellows attachment for close-up work. The 135mm focal length provides a nice amount of lens to subject working distance. Novoflex made an adapter, code name "CULEX" to mount the lens head to an Exakta bellows.




The Black Automatics

35mm f2.8 Auto-D-Quinaron

100mm f3.5 Auto-D-Quinar (RARE)

135mm f2.8 Auto-D-Tele-Quinar

In the mid-1960's, Steinheil discontinued their chrome finish lenses and began producing lenses with black enamel finishes. The chrome 35mm Auto Quinaron was replaced by a 35mm f2.8 Auto-D- Quinaron. The chrome 100mm f3.5 Auto Quinar was replaced by the uncommon 100mm f3.5 Auto-D-Quinar and the chrome and very heavy 135mm f2.8 Auto Tele-Quinar was replaced by a much smaller and more compact 135mm f2.8 Auto-D-Tele-Quinar.

As far as a black 55mm f1.9 Auto-D-Quinon lens is concerned, I have never encountered one in Exakta mount but have seen several in M42 screw mount. If it does exist, it is very uncommon.



135mm f3.5 Auto-D-Tele-Quinar (VERY RARE)

The Auto-D 135mm f3.5 design was discontinued shortly after its release and is quite uncommon. This lens focuses as close as 1.7 meters and has f/stops down to f/32.



35mm f3.5 Auto Culmigon

The 35mm Auto Culmigon was introduced by Steinheil as an inexpensive alternative to the faster f2.8 Auto Quinarons. They are however, less frequently encountered than the faster Steinheil wide angles.


100mm f3.5 Auto Cassarit

Introduced in 1966 as an inexpensive alternative to the 100mm f3.5 Auto-D-Quinar, the 100mm f3.5 Auto Cassarit is infrequently encountered.


Unusual & Rare 135mm f3.8 Auto-Tele-Quinar

Two years ago, I acquired a very unusual Steinheil 135 Automatic Lens. It is a 135mm f3.8 oddity that I never encountered before. It has f-stops from f3.8 down to f32 and focuses from infinity down to 1.2 meters. It is pictured below with its proper lens shade and caps. A close-up is also presented where you can see the f3.8 engravings on the aperture ring and the depth-of-field scale.


The Black Presets

Steinheil also produced three gorgeous telephoto lenses in black, two in glossy black enamel and a 300mm f4.5 in satin, black chrome finish.


135mm f2.8 Tele-Quinar

200mm f4.0 Tele-Quinar

The less common black Steinheil presets often command a substantial premium over their chrome counterparts. The finish on these lenses is superlative and the photo shows the proper lens shade and caps.


300mm F4.5 Tele-Quinar

The 300mm Steinheil has f-stops down to f32 and focuses as close as 7 feet. It is pictured with its correct lens shade and cap.



The Automatic Steinheil Macro Lenses

Paralleling the introduction of the black automatic Auto-D lenses in 1965, Steinheil also introduced automatic diaphragm macro lenses in four different focal lengths. These have become among the most sought after lenses for the Exakta. Each focuses to extraordinarily close distances using a dual focusing helicoid mount. The 35mm Macro focuses so close that the front element will actually touch the subject upon which it is focused.

The four macro lens models included:

35mm f2.8 Auto-Macro-Quinaron

55mm f1.9 Auto-Macro-Quinon

100mm f2.8 Auto-Macro-Quinar

135mm f2.8 Auto-Macro-Tele Quinar

Some variations in the nomenclature on the lens rings of these lenses exist. I also have a 55mm f1.9 Auto Macro-S-Quinon lens. It appears to be identical to the one without the "S" designation, most likely just a later released lens.


The Steinheil Macros are my lenses of choice for macrophotography. Their automatic diaphragms make them very user-friendly as you do not have to take your eye off the subject to stop down the lens as you must when using manual or preset lenses.

The 50mm f3.5 Makro-Cassarit

In addition to the Automatic Macro Lens series, Steinheil also produced a 50mm sunken-mount macro lens for specific use on a Bellows, the 50mm f3.5 Makro-Cassarit. It should also be noted that the lens head from several other Steinheil lenses, for example the 135mm Culminar can similarly be used on bellows attachments for macrophotography.

Infrequently encountered.



Unusual Variations

Prior to the release of the Steinheil black automatic "Auto-D" series lenses, Steinheil released in very small quantities, three lenses marked "Ihagee", the 35mm f2.8 Auto Exagon, the 100mm f3.5 Auto Tele-Exaktar and the 135mm Auto Tele-Exaktar. Quite uncommon, all three rare lenses are pictured below.



RARE Steinheil 6x30 Monocular

One of the more unusual items that Steinheil Optik produced is the elusive 6x30 Monocular attachment. When mounted on the front of a 50-58mm lens via the 40.5mm or 49mm adapter rings supplied, the monocular converts the normal lens into a long telephoto.

The monocular is pictured on the right with its proper fitted case and diffuser rings mounted on a Steinheil 55mm f1.9 Auto Quinar lens. It can easily be adapted for use with other lenses via readily available step-down or step up rings.

The Steinheil 6x30 monocular is most frequently encountered without the camera adapter ring and diffuser rings. The set displayed here is complete and in Mint Condition as well!


Steinheil Lens Hoods

Steinheil produced a high quality line of metal lens hoods for use with their lenses. The hoods for the lenses 100mm and shorter were sold as options while the hoods for the 135mm lenses and longer were furnished with the lens. The photo on the left shows the hood for the black 135/200mm Tele-Quinar, the chrome 100mm Auto Quinar and the black 35mm Auto-D-Quinaron.  

Steinheil Lens Brochures

Two essential Steinheil lens brochures are shown. The orange & black brochure below, details the specifications and pricing for each of the satin chrome automatic and preset lenses in the Steinheil lens lineup. The other rarer brochure on the right, details the four Steinheil automatic macro lenses.


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