Zeiss Jena lenses

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Richard Polhill, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. I have the opportunity to obtain a Zeiss Jena 70-300 lens to fit Canon FD.

    Whilst I am drooling at the name Zeiss, can anyone confirm or deny the
    meaning of Jena and whether they are the real deal, Zeiss lenses of the
    quality we'd expect from the name?


    Richard Polhill, Oct 12, 2006
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  2. With regard to the Canon FD period, my memory of Jena after the name Zeiss
    was that you were getting a soviet quality offering with dodgy QA. Make
    sure you can return it.
    (I had very good results from a Canon FD 300 f5.6. Built heavily and
    delivered high contrast detailed images.)
    Malcolm Stewart, Oct 12, 2006
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  3. Richard Polhill

    Mark Dunn Guest

    Carl Zeiss Jena came from East Germany, from the factory the Soviets managed
    to, er, acquire after the war. Entirely separate from Carl Zeiss thereafter,
    they stayed with older designs. That's where Prakticas came from.
    Better than the Russian versions, but not as good as CZ. I wouldn't turn my
    nose up at them, though, especially not for the presumably few quid you
    Mark Dunn, Oct 12, 2006
  4. Richard Polhill

    John Bean Guest

    And to make it worse there was a flood of cheap and nasty
    Japanese lenses around in the 80s that carries the "Carl
    Zeiss Jena" name. They were generally much worse optically
    than the "real" CZJ lenses, had no connection with CZJ other
    than the label, and were sold under all sorts of other names
    as well. They have "Made in Japan" written on them and are
    probably best avoided.
    John Bean, Oct 12, 2006
  5. Richard Polhill

    Tony Polson Guest

    Beware! The Carl Zeiss Jena brand was applied to some cheap and very
    nasty Japanese-made lenses whose optical design had nothing whatsoever
    to do with Zeiss.

    That's because CZ Scientific Instruments, the UK importer of Carl
    Zeiss Jena was also the UK importer of Sigma lenses, and had the
    rights to the Carl Zeiss Jena brand name in the UK.

    So the 70-300mm is a cheap and very nasty Sigma zoom with the Carl
    Zeiss Jena name on it. Best avoided.

    [History: Carl Zeiss was based in Jena until the end of WW2. Jena
    found itself in the Soviet occupied zone of Germany, soon to become
    the German Democratic Republic - East Germany. Many Carl Zeiss
    technicians fled to the west and re-established the Carl Zeiss company
    at Oberkochen, but some remained at Jena. A small number transferred
    to the USSR with the Contax production line which was moved to Kiev.
    Until the 1990s, the two Carl Zeiss companies operated separately
    under agreements about usage of the brand names. Following the
    unification of Germany, the Carl Zeiss Jena brand became defunct and
    the remains of that company operate under the new brand Jenoptik.]
    Tony Polson, Oct 22, 2006
  6. Richard Polhill

    Tony Polson Guest

    The Carl Zeiss Jena lenses that were actually made in East Germany
    were very good indeed. I have a 20mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena lens which
    is optically superb - far superior to the much lauded Nikkor.

    The brand name was unfortunately applied by the UK importer to some
    Japanese junk lenses (made by Sigma) and it was those lenses that gave
    the brand a bad name.
    Tony Polson, Oct 22, 2006
  7. Richard Polhill

    Bandicoot Guest

    They made some excellent lenses for Medium Format too, especially the justly
    renowned 180mm f2.8 Sonnar, and also the 50mm f4 Flektogon.
    Yes, an unfortunate example of milking the name to its ultimate detriment.
    A practice that could perhaps be called "Ford-ing" these days. ;-)

    Bandicoot, Oct 22, 2006
  8. Richard Polhill wrote:

    Thanks all. Seems a minefield so I decided to avoid it and got a Canon
    FD 70-210 f/4 instead. For good or bad I know where I am with the Canon.

    Richard Polhill, Oct 22, 2006
  9. Richard Polhill

    A.Lee Guest

    For FD lenses, you can get some real bargains on ebay.
    If you follow a lot of auctions, for the same item, 1 can sell at £75,
    the other at £25.
    I bought a 50mm f1.4 for a ridiculously cheap £15 just over a year ago,
    when they were regularly selling for £50+. Just keep a watch on
    different lenses for a few weeks, and a bargain will appear.
    A.Lee, Oct 22, 2006
  10. Well quite. I have recently picked up a T90 + 85mm f/1.8, a 28mm f/2.8
    and 50mm f/1.8 for pocket money. Now I have the 70-210mm f/4. Would like
    a very long lens or tele converter for wildlife shots and maybe a wider
    lens for punchy landscapes, both of which are still pricey, but it's
    amazing how cheaply one can pick up what was state of the art when I
    first took up photography.

    Richard Polhill, Oct 22, 2006
  11. Richard Polhill

    Tony Polson Guest

    The T90 is a fine camera, a true electronic system camera, comparable
    with the contemporary EOS models but much better made and obviously
    with manual focusing.

    Make sure that you release the T90's shutter several times a month,
    preferably several times a week. The T90 has a weakness in the
    shutter mechanism that normally only manifests itself if the camera is
    stored for months on end without the shutter being used.

    There no available spares for T90 shutters other than from parts
    bodies - broken cameras. The most common reason for a T90 being
    scrapped is a failed shutter, so there are very few spare shutters
    Tony Polson, Oct 22, 2006
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