2 times Zeiss?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Gerrit 't Hart, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were two
    Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    Which produced the better product?
    Was the lesser quality product any good?
    Are there still two companies?

    Thanks in advance.

    Gerrit
     
    Gerrit 't Hart, Mar 12, 2006
    #1
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  2. Gerrit 't Hart

    Guest

    Gerrit 't Hart wrote:

    > Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were two
    > Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    > Which produced the better product?
    > Was the lesser quality product any good?
    > Are there still two companies?
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >
    > Gerrit


    This is all from my memory of stuff read on the 'net.
    After WWII, Germany was divided between the Western Powers (which
    became West Germany) and the Soviet Union (which became East Germany).
    Zeiss Ikon was originaly located in a city (Dresden, I think) that
    ended up inside of East Germany after the war.
    As a result, most of the important people in the fled to the West to
    set up and run a new Zeiss Ikon.
    Meanwhile, in East Germany all of the production equipment, spare parts
    and most of the workforce was left behind.
    Some of it was taken back to the USSR and the Kiev Arsenal factory was
    set up to produce copies of the Contax rangefinder (the most common
    version is the "Kiev 4").
    The remains in East Germany were put back to work for the Communist
    government to produce Zeiss Ikon cameras for the Eastern Block.
    The name "Zeiss Ikon" was already in use by the West German "branch" of
    the company, so the Eastern company used the name "Carl Zeiss Jena"
    when selling the products to Western consumers.

    Have you tried Wikipedia?
     
    , Mar 12, 2006
    #2
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  3. Justus Lipsius, Mar 12, 2006
    #3
  4. Gerrit 't Hart wrote:
    > Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were
    > two Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    > Which produced the better product?
    > Was the lesser quality product any good?
    > Are there still two companies?
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >
    > Gerrit


    The famous Zeiss Ikon lenses, notably the Planar, were arguably better than
    the ones produced by Zeiss Jena, But the Russians took all the formulae back
    to Moscow, together with much of the
    famous rare earth glass, and made a very good job of copying and producing
    their own lenses.

    The 50mm Jupiter 8 was produced in huge quantites and is probably the best
    known Russian lens, and is a snip at present prices on E-bay.

    The Sonnar and Planar lenses were probably better-engineered, but they carry
    a huge premium on price, likewise Leica's Summicron 50mm F2, fetching
    £250-plus on Ebay right now.

    Other lenses such as the Zeiss Tessar and Leitz's Elmar both have excellent
    reputations too.

    I have a pair of Zeiss Jena binoculars and I challenge any modern pair to
    equal them, let alone beat them.

    I also used to own a Zeiss Ikon slide projector which was simply superb, and
    way ahead of it's time.

    If you Google for "Zeiss history" you will find it fascinating reading, but
    you will not get the answer to your questions, since each branch was proud
    of it's products.

    Dennis.
     
    Dennis Pogson, Mar 12, 2006
    #4
  5. Gerrit 't Hart

    Bob Salomon Guest

    In article <vMWQf.910$>,
    "Dennis Pogson" <> wrote:

    > The famous Zeiss Ikon lenses, notably the Planar,


    Not quite.

    Zeiss Ikon made cameras. Carl Zeiss makes lenses. Both were part of the
    Zeiss Trust.

    --
    To reply no_ HPMarketing Corp.
     
    Bob Salomon, Mar 12, 2006
    #5
  6. Bob Salomon wrote:
    > In article <vMWQf.910$>,
    > "Dennis Pogson" <> wrote:
    >
    >> The famous Zeiss Ikon lenses, notably the Planar,

    >
    > Not quite.
    >
    > Zeiss Ikon made cameras. Carl Zeiss makes lenses. Both were part of
    > the Zeiss Trust.


    Yes, The Zeiss empire reached far and wide, and was complicated by the War
    and it's after-effects. Whatever, they made some superb optics and
    photographic equipment.
     
    Dennis Pogson, Mar 12, 2006
    #6
  7. On Sun, 12 Mar 2006 21:48:28 +0800, "Gerrit 't Hart" <>
    wrote:

    >Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were two
    >Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    >Which produced the better product?
    >Was the lesser quality product any good?
    >Are there still two companies?


    After the unification of Germany. The Carl Zeiss companys where merged
    in 1990 into one. Check their own site:
    http://www.zeiss.de/C12567A100537AB9/Contents-Frame/EBF218E3833C11F041256A78003A9F0B
    and here
    http://www.zeisshistorica.org/index.html

    Peter
     
    Peter Rongsted, Mar 13, 2006
    #7
  8. Gerrit 't Hart

    Tony Cooper Guest

    On Sun, 12 Mar 2006 21:48:28 +0800, "Gerrit 't Hart" <>
    wrote:

    >Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were two
    >Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    >Which produced the better product?
    >Was the lesser quality product any good?
    >Are there still two companies?


    I was a Zeiss dealer for many years, and have been to the Zeiss
    facilities in Oberkochen. Over the years, I've had many conversations
    with Zeiss employees about the WWII story.

    There was one employee who I spent many evenings with - now either
    retired and/or deceased - that was in the Army in WWII and part of the
    group that raced to Jena at the end of the war to extricate Zeiss
    employees and technical materials since the US knew that Jena would be
    in the East bloc.

    The American group knew the Russians were on the same mission, and it
    was a race to pluck out the right people and paperwork. When the
    convoy of trucks got to Jena, they loaded workers in the trucks that
    they thought were skilled technicians and scientists. Some laborers
    and janitor-types claimed to be skilled technicians and managed to
    secure places on the American trucks. It was general pandemonium.

    The convoy headed towards Stuttgart, where the Americans planned to
    relocate the Zeiss facilities because they wanted to rebuild
    Stuttgart, but had to take a circuitous route because of the
    end-of-the-war conditions in Germany. Procuring gasoline for the
    convoy was a severe problem, and the convoy had to stop in several
    places enroute to wait for gasoline supplies.

    Finally, the convoy ran out of gasoline in Oberkochen and billeted
    everyone in (I think it was) a school in Oberkochen. Other matters
    were more pressing to the US military command and they sent word to
    Oberkochen for the group to just stay there. That's why Carl Zeiss's
    headquarters is now in Oberkochen. (Although they have other
    divisions in other locations)

    My acquaintance stayed in Oberkochen with the Zeiss contingent after
    the war and spent the rest of his working career with Zeiss.

    There are many websites that provide the history of the Carl Zeiss
    Foundation (it is not a company), but the above is an insight that you
    won't find on the web. A good source is
    http://www.company7.com/zeiss/history.html


    --


    Tony Cooper
    Orlando, FL
     
    Tony Cooper, Mar 13, 2006
    #8
  9. Gerrit 't Hart

    Stacey Guest

    Gerrit 't Hart wrote:

    > Some years ago (during the time Germany was two countries) there were two
    > Zeiss companies. Zeiss Ikon and Carl Zeiss Jena.
    > Which produced the better product?


    For the most part western zeiss made the better optics, mainly be virtue of
    higher quality control. Eastern zeiss had some good lenses (180mm F2.8
    sonar for example) but QC wasn't their strong suite.


    --

    Stacey
     
    Stacey, Mar 13, 2006
    #9
  10. Thanks, Tony. A wonderful story.

    JL
     
    Justus Lipsius, Mar 13, 2006
    #10
  11. In article <>, Tony Cooper
    <> writes
    >
    >I was a Zeiss dealer for many years, and have been to the Zeiss
    >facilities in Oberkochen.


    I have visited that facility many times over the years. The whole town
    is dominated by Zeiss and when I last visited them about a year ago
    there was a massive new plant being constructed just south of the town
    alongside the autobahn - I expect it is open, or close to open, now.
    >
    >There was one employee who I spent many evenings with - now either
    >retired and/or deceased - that was in the Army in WWII and part of the
    >group that raced to Jena at the end of the war to extricate Zeiss
    >employees and technical materials since the US knew that Jena would be
    >in the East bloc.
    >
    >The American group knew the Russians were on the same mission, and it
    >was a race to pluck out the right people and paperwork. When the
    >convoy of trucks got to Jena, they loaded workers in the trucks that
    >they thought were skilled technicians and scientists. Some laborers
    >and janitor-types claimed to be skilled technicians and managed to
    >secure places on the American trucks. It was general pandemonium.
    >
    >The convoy headed towards Stuttgart, where the Americans planned to
    >relocate the Zeiss facilities because they wanted to rebuild
    >Stuttgart, but had to take a circuitous route because of the
    >end-of-the-war conditions in Germany. Procuring gasoline for the
    >convoy was a severe problem, and the convoy had to stop in several
    >places enroute to wait for gasoline supplies.
    >
    >Finally, the convoy ran out of gasoline in Oberkochen and billeted
    >everyone in (I think it was) a school in Oberkochen. Other matters
    >were more pressing to the US military command and they sent word to
    >Oberkochen for the group to just stay there. That's why Carl Zeiss's
    >headquarters is now in Oberkochen. (Although they have other
    >divisions in other locations)
    >

    I had almost the same story relayed to me by a couple of the older Zeiss
    employees too, including their Technical Director who retired in the
    early-80s and was a young engineer when the events took place. An
    incredible guy who was not only skilled in optical design but spoke 5
    different languages fluently and a couple of others passably. At one
    meeting I remember we had Brits, Germans, Italians, French and Spanish
    all capable of speaking their own language and perhaps one other, where
    he effectively ran a live translation of the discussions around the
    lunch table! It wasn't just European languages either, if I recall
    correctly, his wife was Japanese and he also spoke Korean! It certainly
    impressed me, struggling to converse in my schoolbook French. ;-)

    The only substantial differences between the story I got and the version
    you have given above, is that the Zeiss staff were told they were being
    transported to Stuttgart for onward transport to the US, and many of
    them had their families with them. They reached Oberkochen in the first
    few days of May 1945, by which time rumours of the German surrender were
    already in circulation. In the version I was told. it was the church
    they were billeted in. They were effectively abandoned there because it
    would be in the western sector due to the division plans agreed at Yalta
    and VE Day was declared two days later. At the time, Oberkochen
    consisted of a couple of houses and church and a bridge over the river
    Kocher, which is where the village got its name.

    Unless we met the same folks, which is unlikely but not impossible, the
    story we were told would seem to have some historical accuracy.
    --
    Kennedy
    Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.
    Python Philosophers (replace 'nospam' with 'kennedym' when replying)
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Mar 14, 2006
    #11
  12. Gerrit 't Hart

    Tony Cooper Guest

    On Tue, 14 Mar 2006 20:56:24 +0000, Kennedy McEwen
    <> wrote:

    >>Finally, the convoy ran out of gasoline in Oberkochen and billeted
    >>everyone in (I think it was) a school in Oberkochen. Other matters
    >>were more pressing to the US military command and they sent word to
    >>Oberkochen for the group to just stay there. That's why Carl Zeiss's
    >>headquarters is now in Oberkochen. (Although they have other
    >>divisions in other locations)


    >The only substantial differences between the story I got and the version
    >you have given above, is that the Zeiss staff were told they were being
    >transported to Stuttgart for onward transport to the US, and many of
    >them had their families with them.


    My source did not mention that. He was the non-com in charge of the
    transport, and might not have been aware what the Zeiss people were
    told.

    You also have to remember that reminiscences like this are usually
    acquired in the bar after a meeting. It was technical stuff during
    the day, and war stories at night. The later at night the story is
    told, the fuzzier the details become.

    >They reached Oberkochen in the first
    >few days of May 1945, by which time rumours of the German surrender were
    >already in circulation. In the version I was told. it was the church
    >they were billeted in.


    I put (I think it was) in front of "school" because I'm not sure what
    the building was. I'm leaning to school because a larger facility
    than a church would have been required to house the people. I
    remember being driven by the building when I was in Oberkochen, but I
    just can't remember what it was.

    >Unless we met the same folks, which is unlikely but not impossible, the
    >story we were told would seem to have some historical accuracy.


    I met the Zeiss people in Oberkochen, of course, but I also visited
    Zeiss (US) many, many times in their old location in New York City
    and in their new location in Thornwood.

    I'm struggling to remember the name of the person I've referred to
    above (the American non com), but can't remember the name. Peter
    something, I believe.



    --


    Tony Cooper
    Orlando, FL
     
    Tony Cooper, Mar 14, 2006
    #12
  13. In article <>, Tony Cooper
    <> writes
    >
    >You also have to remember that reminiscences like this are usually
    >acquired in the bar after a meeting.


    Not much else to do in Oberkochen, is there? ;-)

    >It was technical stuff during
    >the day, and war stories at night. The later at night the story is
    >told, the fuzzier the details become.
    >

    Sorry Tony, I wasn't disputing your reminiscences, but rather adding
    credence to them, since I was told more or less the same thing by the
    people involved.

    Obviously different individuals will have slightly different memories of
    events so long ago and put a different emphasis on various aspects
    depending on how they were directly affected by them. And, of course,
    these were all young graduates at the time and near retirement when they
    relayed the tales of their youth to me (and you too I guess) - and that
    was almost 25 years ago.
    >
    >>Unless we met the same folks, which is unlikely but not impossible, the
    >>story we were told would seem to have some historical accuracy.

    >
    >I met the Zeiss people in Oberkochen, of course


    Did you stay in the town? Some nightlife eh? Last time I was there it
    was the middle of winter and about 10-15C below freezing. As I arrived
    at the hotel, *the* hotel, I opened the door to see a nice big blazing
    log fire in front of me and walked towards it to warm up a little. Only
    then did I realise the log fire was just a TV in the wall playing a
    looped video! ;-)
    >
    >I'm struggling to remember the name of the person I've referred to
    >above (the American non com), but can't remember the name. Peter
    >something, I believe.
    >

    Sounds like a completely different source then, as I am not very
    familiar with the US side of their business. I know the names of the
    guys I heard it from, but I wouldn't post them on a public forum like
    this - none of them were called Peter, though. Either way, some of the
    things that happened to those people were quite amazing - starting a
    major optics company from nothing, literally in the middle of nowhere
    and in the state that Germany was in after the war was no mean feat.
    --
    Kennedy
    Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.
    Python Philosophers (replace 'nospam' with 'kennedym' when replying)
     
    Kennedy McEwen, Mar 14, 2006
    #13
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