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07-08-2011, 03:50 PM   #1
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A German "Origins" Lens Club Merger?

I started thinking about an idea for merging three lens clubs after acquiring a Contax/Zeiss 28mm, seeing a thread devoted specifically to Zeiss M42 mounts, and realizing Contax discussions couldn't properly be posted there.

Represented in the Lens Clubs forum area are three big lens names of German origin. Of course, German technology was behind the first cameras, and today, though many original German brand names are now made in other places and by other companies, the optical quality philosophy seems to have survived.

I was thinking it might make for interesting comparisons and discussion if all the threads could be combined under a theme of something like "German Origin Lenses: Voigtlander, Zeiss, Leica, Contax". Presently The Leica and Zeiss clubs have about 8 pages each of posts, while the Voigtlander thread is about 37 pages long. After researching German-origin lenses that can be used with Pentax, the main ones are what I listed, with others for the most part either not the quality of the above, or not adaptable to Pentax.

Such a merger would seem to require the support of each OP, so possibly they could comment here (as well as anyone else), and make suggestions on how it might be done or why it's not a good idea (though I don’t think the Voigtlander OP, thePirate!!, is still active).


One suggestion I can offer is to kick off the new thread with a little history of each lens. The following sample histories are excerpted from the “Camerapedia”:


The oldest name in cameras is Voigtlander, an optical company founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländeran in Vienna in 1756. After 1925 after the majority of the stock was acquired by Schering, Voigtländer became the first manufacturer to introduce several new kinds of product including the first zoom lens, and the first 35mm compact camera with built-in electronic flash.

Schering sold its share of Voigtlander to the Carl Zeiss Foundation in 1956, which brings us to the second oldest photo optical company. Carl Zeiss of Germany, founded in Jena in 1856, is among the most renowned of the lens manufacturers. Carl Zeiss' scientists like Paul Rudolph created such classic lens formulae as the Tessar, Planar, Biogon, and Sonnar. From 1973, Carl Zeiss made a range of lenses with a bayonet mount; the resulting Zeiss T* lenses were made both in Germany and under license in Japan, and developed a reputation for superb optical quality.

Leica Camera AG is a leading German optical company that has been designing and developing 35 mm cameras since 1913, and manufacturing them in series production since 1925. The company, formerly Ernst Leitz GmbH, is now three companies: Leica Camera AG, which produces cameras; Leica Geosystems AG which produces geodetic equipment; and Leica Microsystems GmbH, which produces microscopes.

Contax is originally the name of the famed 35mm rangefinder camera made from 1932 by Zeiss Ikon, which subsequently became the name of a pioneering single-lens reflex camera made from 1947 by the Eastern part of Zeiss Ikon. In 1973 the Contax name was licensed to the Japanese maker Yashica by Carl Zeiss to create a prestigious brand of 35mm cameras and interchangeable Yashica / Contax lenses in cooperation with the German company. Until 1984, Contax cameras were made by Yashica in Japan, with lenses made by Carl Zeiss – some in Germany, some in Japan. The cameras were noteworthy for their advanced electronics. The Carl Zeiss T* lenses, in particular, soon gained a reputation for superb optical quality.



Last edited by les3547; 07-08-2011 at 04:15 PM.
07-08-2011, 04:00 PM   #2
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Let's begin it this way: it's not "Voightlander" but Voigtländer.
07-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zav Quote
Let's begin it this way: it's not "Voightlander" but Voigtländer.
Fixed . . . was I mixing Jon in there? Of course, I only own six of them now, you'd think I'd have the spelling down.
07-08-2011, 04:55 PM   #4
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I think that this is a wonderful idea. I have a Contax/Zeiss 28mm Distagon and have acquired a Contax/Zeiss 85mm Sonnar just yesterday.



07-08-2011, 05:42 PM   #5
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Does the club include Agfa, Enna, Kilfitt, Meyer / Pentacon, Novoflex, Rodenstock, Schacht, Schneider / Isco, Steinheil? There are probably a few other glassmakers that I missed...
07-08-2011, 05:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Does the club include Agfa, Enna, Kilfitt, Meyer / Pentacon, Novoflex, Rodenstock, Schacht, Schneider / Isco, Steinheil? There are probably a few other glassmakers that I missed...
Open to suggestions, but why not if any of them can be practically used. I reviewed most on your list and they didn't seem easily made use of. My thinking about the German-origin lenses was to limit it to those most used and revered, and those most easily adapted to Pentax. If any are readily adapted, then possibly some who know about that could include how it is done.
07-08-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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From the third party lens review, we have at least these additions...I am sure with such a resourceful group of intrepid Pentax photographers (and folks that have not let mere lens modification stand in their way), there will be additional ones. The list does include some very notable optical design houses.

07-08-2011, 10:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Open to suggestions, but why not if any of them can be practically used. I reviewed most on your list and they didn't seem easily made use of. My thinking about the German-origin lenses was to limit it to those most used and revered, and those most easily adapted to Pentax.
Except the Schacht, these are all marques I use on my K20D for general non-macro work. Some are enlarger or MF/folder lenses on extension. Many are M42. Some are Exakta-mount, very easily and non-destructively adapted. I asked, mainly to see if this was limited to those you listed. Thanks.

07-08-2011, 10:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Except the Schacht, these are all marques I use on my K20D for general non-macro work. Some are enlarger or MF/folder lenses on extension. Many are M42. Some are Exakta-mount, very easily and non-destructively adapted. I asked, mainly to see if this was limited to those you listed. Thanks.
If photographers experienced with the lenses think they would be good to include, then I'd be for it too. Mainly I was trying to let lovers of the top German lens makers (or formerly so) have a common place to post pictures and discuss the lenses without having to start a new lens club to do so. It seems a spreading things out a bit to have, for example, a different lens club for Zeiss M42 mount lenses and Contax Zeiss lenses. Anyway, just a thought.
07-08-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Fixed . . . was I mixing Jon in there? Of course, I only own six of them now, you'd think I'd have the spelling down.
I have one you don't ;-)
07-08-2011, 10:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zav Quote
I have one you don't ;-)
Lol, well, I have three you don't . . . wanna trade? Surely you must be sick of that VL 125 by now!
07-08-2011, 11:11 PM   #12
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Another option might be to have a modern Zeiss lens section, alternatively non M42 Zeiss lenses. I was tempted to start such a section myself but then laziness overcame me.
07-09-2011, 06:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
Another option might be to have a modern Zeiss lens section, alternatively non M42 Zeiss lenses. I was tempted to start such a section myself but then laziness overcame me.
The thing with that option is it creates another micro-category, whereas I was suggesting to unify if possible to attract more participation around a central theme.

So far neither OP from the Leica and Zeiss threads have answered, so I don't know what they think.
07-12-2011, 04:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Lol, well, I have three you don't . . . wanna trade? Surely you must be sick of that VL 125 by now!
You can never get sick of it!
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