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New Member...Quick Zeiss Question...

Posted 19/10/2005 - 06:31 Link
Hello everyone...I'm new to this forum, and sort of new to the world of Pentax. After buying a new DS, I have also sprung for a near mint program I'm well on my way.

I have a quick question...I've read in a few places that there are Zeiss lenses available for some Pentax mounts? Is this a true statement and if so...which are available, and which do you all recommend?

Finally, besides this forum, where is the best place to find good info on Pentax?

Thanks so much for your time.
Posted 19/10/2005 - 08:03 Link
For Pentax info, depending on which era of Pentax you are interested in, there is this site, the Pentax User Club and magazine, and a wide variety of books that you could look at on Amazon or eBay. If you can be a bit more specific about your interests perhaps we could narrow it down to some specific suggestions.

There are plenty of Zeiss lenses for 42mm screw mount, but these are of East German origin and will not be up to the superlative standards of the West German lenses. Your Program Plus is a KA-mount Pentax and you will be well served with almost all bayonet Pentax lenses, but especially K, M and A series. Of these manual focusing lenses, the A series will allow all program modes to be used and will also be fully functional on your digital body.

You can also use all the Pentax autofocus lenses, but the latest versions with no aperture ring will only give full function on your *istDS. Also the DA lenses do not cover the full 35mm frame, so will cause vignetting (corner darkening) on your film SLR.
Best regards, John
Posted 19/10/2005 - 12:32 Link
Even Zeiss West build a few M42 lenses, in the late 60's, early 70's... for the Icarex TM/ ZeissIkon SL706 series... but too late, and to be honest, these lenses don't meet PENTAX standards at that time. At least not mechanically..

BTW, Pentax and Zeiss did a some cooperation in the early 70's. The 3.5/15mm SLR lenses of both look *very* similar..

cheers, Frank
George Lazarette
Posted 20/10/2005 - 00:04 Link
The K mount and the Yashica mount also look VERY similar, for the same reason.

Posted 26/10/2005 - 18:10 Link
Hi all,

Just to make some things a little clearer....the only 'Zeiss' lenses specifically produced to fit other camera makers products were made in the old Zeiss factory in Jena (Eastern Gremany) they were M42 screw mount and of low quality and always marked CARL ZEISS JENA.

The East German factory was run by the Russians and was an 'un-official' factory and nothing at all to do with the Carl Zeiss from before the war and nothing to do with the Contax/ Zeiss brand we now know. The Russians simply inherited the four walls of the old Zeiss factory in Jena, as the americans and british cleared out almost all of the staff, paperwork, designs, tools etc so the Russians could not use them.

When in the early 70's Zeiss were looking for a Japanese partner to make the cameras for the forthcoming Contax RTS system the first choice of Zeiss was Pentax. A relationship was started, but only lasted about a year. During this time Zeiss actually designed the Pentax K mount, which is why it looks so similar to the Contax/Yashica bayonet mount which appeared shortly after. Also the Pentax K 28mm f2 lens is remarkably similar to the Zeiss 28/2 along with one or two it seems lens design was also shared for this short time. The partnership foundered for some unknown reason and then Zeiss took up with Yashica as a second choice.

Hope this makes things clearer...cheers Steve.
Posted 27/10/2005 - 22:30 Link
bretbysteve wrote:
Hi all,

The East German factory was run by the Russians and was an 'un-official' factory and nothing at all to do with the Carl Zeiss from before the war and nothing to do with the Contax/ Zeiss brand we now know. The Russians simply inherited the four walls of the old Zeiss factory in Jena, as the americans and british cleared out almost all of the staff, paperwork, designs, tools etc so the Russians could not use them.

Sorry - I allow to disagree

Samuel Tang (Austrailia) wrote in (I cite his text with his permission):

"To recap: the East German company Carl Zeiss Jena was not, as many was led to believe, a "fake" company bearing the name of Carl Zeiss to leech off the reputation of the name; it was the original company in the original factories where all the pre-WWII lenses were made. For that matter, the company name was "Carl Zeiss", as as per the custom of the time, the location of the company was also marked on the lens: in much the same way, the company who made the Leica lenses was not "Leitz Wetzlar" but "Leitz".

The US forces reached Jena first and according to the agreement reached at the Yalta conference, the US occupying forces would vacate for the Soviet forces to take over administration. Thus "Operation Paperclip" was put into action: several hundred Carl Zeiss personnels were "escorted" at gunpoint, along with a huge amount of material resources, to the area destined to be under US control, so that a new optical company could be established there. The Carl Zeiss company name was registered in a hurry, and so was the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

Meanwhile, the company in Jena was pretty much left in the cold but it still tried its best to get back into business, but as the original Carl Zeiss Stiftung re-registerred with the authorities a matter of days later than the new one in the west, it lost its legitimacy as seen in many overseas countries. In much the same way, Carl Zeiss Jena did that too, for not having the rights to the name it had been using since the latter days of the 19th century.

While East Germany manufactured cameras of many types. the original Zeiss Ikon company in Dresden took little time to shift from rangefinder cameras to single-lens reflex cameras, although for a number of years afterwards, Carl Zeiss Jena still produced lenses for the West German-made Contax IIa and IIIa cameras. But Carl Zess Jena had to satisfy the demans of domestic manufacturers of cameras and other markets too, so apart from specialist photographic optics (such as the Apo-Germinar process lenses), the photographic lenses it produces were for reflex cameras, made by Exakta and KW (which later became Pentacon).

Consider the two brands 35mm single-lens reflex cameras, Carl Zeiss Jena was one of the two main supplier of lenses to them, the other being Hugo Meyer. With the exception of some short-lived detours such as Praktina and Pentina, a staggering quantity of lenses were made in Exakta, Praktica M42 screw and Praktica B mounts; the B-mount ones were of course the last made and many of completely new designs. Using a M42-mount 35mm single-lens reflex would be a good way to access these Carl Zeiss lenses (along with the many fine Meyer ones too).

But back to the CRF topic: Carl Zeiss Jena, after the way, did produce a series of 35mm compact cameras called the Werra, of various specifications; the top model, thte Werramatic, featured exposure meter, coupled rangefinder, and three interchangeable lenses: 35mm Flektogon, 50mm Tessar and 100mm Cardinar, all very fine performers, and with a Prestor leaf shutter with rotating blades which could give a marked top speed of 1/750s (although it can indeed run at 1/1000s with ease.

(..) Another thing which has a lot of people confused is that, even before the partition of Germany, there were three organizations with the name of Zeiss. Carl Zeiss Optical came first, established by Carl Zeiss, and after his death the sole ownership passed on to his partner Ernse Abbe, who established the Carl Zeiss Stiftung who acquire Carl Zeiss Optical as one of its core dividions. Carl Zeiss Stiftung grew from that and carried on acquiring other businesses and at the same tieme diversifying, and in 1926, acquired four camera manufacturers, merged them to form Zeiss Ikon, its photographic equipment division, and based in Dresden. Zeiss Ikon bought lenses from Carl Zeiss Optical for its cameras but Carl Zeiss was of course free to supply its lenses and other products to other camera makers too.

After the war, the new Carl Zeiss Stiftung, Carl Zeiss Optical and Zeiss Ikon were established in the American Zone, but only the new Zeiss Ikon in Stuttgart had any historical link with the old Zeiss Ikon, because one of the companies which was acquired to form Zeiss Ikon was the Stuttgart-based Contessa-Nettel.

By the way, some of the earlier lenses by the new Carl Zeiss Optical (then using the Zeiss-Opton name) in Oberkochen were of extremely poor quality; while the glass parts might be acceptable, the mounting was very badly designed and would indeed disintegrate after some years; I do feel that many Zeiss-Opton Tessars were affected by this problem but not sure if those lenses made for the Contax Iia and IIIa suffered similar issues."

cheers, Frank
Posted 28/10/2005 - 12:53 Link

I am a little confused how Sonnar can disagree, since the article by Samuel Tang proves my point. I did not say the Carl Zeiss Jena factory was 'fake' I said it was un-official and it is true that it was. However Samuel Tang is wholly incorrect on one important point, he says Carl Zeiss Jena was 'the original company in the original factory'..this is incorrect and his own article proves why :

A company is not bricks and mortar, a company is made up of people and designs and this is especially true of an optical company. As Samuel Tang himself says (and I said in my original post) before the Russians got their hands on the Jena factory, all the Zeiss management, designers, most of the workers, almost all of the machinery, all the designs and paperwork were taken to the US part of Germany, hence the russians were left with just a virtually empty Jena factory..this clearly does not constitute 'the original company', since the original company in essence had now been moved by the americans.

To quote the book 'On the trail of Contax vol 2' by Hans Jurgen Kuc : The americans took " the entire Zeiss board of directors and all the key personnel : scientists, designers, engineers, technicians and managers - 84 persons in total and another 41 skilled workers from the Schott glassworks also many family members who did not want to be under russian occupation. All the laboratory equipment was moved and 80,000 blueprints. Between the war end until the Berlin wall went up, over 1,600 Zeiss workers fled from Jena to the west. Bearing all this in mind, it is clear the Carl Zeiss factory in Jena was in no way the original company.

It is also worth stating that the Jena factory was one of several Zeiss facories and certainly not it's only one, as some people seem to think. Also Jena was heavily damaged by bombing in the war and so the russians not only had no Zeiss designers, no machines, virtually no workers they also had a bombed out building!!

When the russians did inherit the Jena factory, they stripped what was left of the machinery : 94 percent was dismantled and sent to the soviet union !! also over 250 Zeiss workers that were still in Jena were sent to Russia to run the soviet optical industry.

A court case between ' the peoples factory Carl Zeiss Jena' and the new but 'true' Carl Zeiss in West Germany began in 1954 and was settled in 1971. The East German authorities did not want to admit their factory in Jena was not the legal heir of the Carl Zeiss foundation, which the West German factory clearly was.

The whole and correct story is in the superb book : ON THE TRAIL OF THE CONTAX VOL 1 & 2 by HANS-JURGEN KUC ( WITTIG BOOKS, Germany)

Cheers all, sorry for the history lesson, but the whole Contax & Zeiss story is a fascinating read...Steve.M
Saso E.
Posted 01/11/2005 - 10:07 Link
This is very interesting reading... In fact this Zeiss thing totally confused me when I bought my first Pentax camera, SF7 with Carl Zeiss Jena lens. To be precise the lens is: CARL ZEISS JENA, 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 MC MACRO JENAZOOM SUPER. It's AF lens with serial no. 3133004. On the side of the lens is the sign: Lens made in Japan under licence from VEB Carl Zeiss Jena. It has a life time warranty but here comes the puzzle. Where could I claim this warranty if the lens break up? I was searching the internet for the answers and contacted (unsuccessfully) some factories for the information about the lens. In short - zero. Does anybody have an idea where to claim the warranty if I need it??? :

Thanks so much-Regards, Saso

BTW - the lens is very good, optically and mechanically with very fast and accurate AF.
Posted 01/11/2005 - 13:42 Link
Hi Steve,

since the "cold war" is over and Germany re-unified (maybe some people -even Germans - didn't noticed) there is no discussion worth which is the "true", "original" Zeiss and which is not, neither in kind of designs, nor staff, nor quality of output (which marketing aspects was the hidden reason why this argument was taken by CZ Oberkochen)
There were two Carl Zeiss between 1945 and 1991. This cannot be denied in terms of history. At least Hans Harting remained at Carl Zeiss Jena after 1945, so there is no point management move. There were good and bad lenses of Carl Zeiss Jena and Oberkochen as well.
AND a lot of people lost their jobs at Carl Zeiss Jena after reunification of both works.
What Kuc is written may be right or not. I know his book about the Contarex - not a bad book, but he missed any critical distance to his object which makes not just a book-writing "fan" but a good Journalist.

cheers, Frank

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