The Zoomar was not officially an Alpa lens, but some conversions
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.
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. It 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.