History of ZEISS Photo and Cine Lenses

  • How it all started

    How it all started

    Every photographer wants the perfect lens for each situation. For over 100 years, ZEISS has been offering the camera lenses of choice across a broad product spectrum. The story started with the renowned Planar® from 1896. ZEISS is now the world's leading company in the development and production of high-performance camera lenses for all areas of photography and cinematography. Whether it be for architecture or sport, fashion or portraits, landscapes or nature, still-life or scientific applications, ZEISS offers the right lens for every purpose. Hollywood knows their value too: ZEISS camera lenses have won three Academy Awards in the category of Science and Engineering (1987, 1999 and 2012).

  • 1890 – 1901

    1890

    With the invention of the first anastigmatic lens with distortion-free imaging (later: Protar®) by Paul Rudolph, Carl Zeiss launches a new era of camera lens development.


    1896

    Paul Rudolph develops the prototype of the Planar® lens, the Planar f/3.6.


  • 1902 – 1945

    1902

    Tessar® lens, the "eagle eye of the camera".


    1931

    High-speed Sonnar® f/2 lens for the Contax® cameras, which increases the range of use of 35 mm cameras considerably.


    Topogon 4/25 for Contax

    1933

    Robert Richter develops the topogon, the first boosted, distortion-free lens with a 90° image angle. This lens revolutionizes the technology of photogrammetry.

    1935

    Alexander Smakula develops anti-reflection coating for glass surfaces (Carl Zeiss T-coating). These provide the optical designer with totally new possibilities for the development of multi-element lenses.

     

  • 1946 – 1989

    1954

    Biogon® lens f/4.5 based on Ludwig Bertele’s design expands the possibilities of 90° wide-angle photography.


    1966

    The world's fastest lens: Planar® 0.7/50.


    1969

    Photos of the first lunar landing were taken with Zeiss lenses.


    New Contarex lens F-Distagon 2.8/16 for Contarex, 1972.

    1972

    The super wide-angle F-Distagon lens, a fisheye-type lens, is launched.


    1972

    The first camera lens with perfect chromatic correction: Sonnar Superachromat® f/5.6/250 for Hasselblad® camera systems.


    1983

    Start of the partnership with Kyocera, which by this time has acquired camera manufacturer Yashica (Contax)


  • 1990 – 1999
    In 1987, 1999, and 2012, Carl Zeiss receives the Ampas Scientific and Engineering Award.

    1993

    Carl Zeiss develops Vario zoom lenses with exceptional imaging performance (Variable Primes) for Arri® 35 mm movie cameras.


    1996

    The first Carl Zeiss lens for a SONY camcorder marks the beginning of a long-lasting partnership.


    1999

    First lens for a consumer digital camera (Sony DSC-F55E) is introduced: the Distagon 2.8/6.85 marks the first venture into amateur digital photography.


  • 2000 – today

    2002

    DigiPrime® lenses – extremely powerful and with hitherto unparalleled quality – are used in the film industry.


    2005

    Beginning of partnership with Nokia. The Nokia N90 device marks the beginning of Nseries.


    2006

    ZEISS SLR-lenses for F-Bajonett (ZF).


    2006

    Interchangeable lenses (ZA) for Sony alpha cameras are launched on the market.


    2006

    Start of the partnership with Logitech.


    The VPL-VW200 is equipped with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens.

    2007

    Collaboration with Sony on lenses for projector (VW200).


    2009

    ZEISS SLR-lenses for EF-Bajonett (ZE).


    2012

    Compact Zoom CZ.2 70-200/T2.9: Unique Cine-Zoom lens for current and future HD video and cine cameras.


We use cookies on this site. Cookies are small text files that are stored on your computer by websites. Cookies are widely used and help to optimize the pages that you view. By using this site, you agree to their use. more