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« From The Keppler Files: October, 1989 | Main | From The Keppler Files: October, 1964 »

September 06, 2006


Philip Ryan

Who are these European "photo poets?" And why hasn't Popular Photography done a feature about them recently?

Lotus Man

Dr. Scherle said, "Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers.."

So what happened to the huge investment made by all of Zeiss' Contax customers? Surely the sheer numbers of those customers far, far exceeds the numbers of Zeiss Ikon customers, and should correspondingly be primary concern to Carl Zeiss. What happened to protecting the investment of all your Contax custmers??

a aa

"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

As a Contax RF, Contarex SLR and Contax SLR owner, I have strong doubts about this statement.


"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

"As a Contax RF, Contarex SLR and Contax SLR owner, I have strong doubts about this statement."

BIG ditto. I still use my RX and my G2 even though they have been orphaned by the company who wants to "protect" my investment. Yeah right. Put that one in the Load of Crap file.

Jeff Lorriman

"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

"As a Contax RF and Contax SLR owner, I have strong doubts about this statement."

"Put that one in the Load of Crap file."

Add me to this list. Wish I still had support for my Contax's. Just look at the history. Great and sad.


"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

my n17-35, n24-85, n50, n85, n100, n70-300 and n400 are going to be orphans when my Contax ND eventually packs in. I feel my investment is completely unprotected, and think that these remarks are surreal. there is a guy making adapters for N glass to EOS cameras...that protects my investment more than the ZI non-digital red herring.

Steve Shortridge

re: "Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

Ditto, this being crap.

I have a G2 and 4 lenses. If you want to 'protect' me, then take them in trade at the price I paid for your new M-mount stuff. Otherwise stuff yourself...


re: "Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

yeah, right. How does Zeiss plan to "protect" my investments into the Contax SLR system?

Walter Reichert

There are many advantages to film and rangefinder cameras. Some are addressed in the article, some not. I have Leica camera and cannot imagine ever considering digital for primary capture. Yes, digital has its place, but is only one place not in all places at all times. For those who have not experienced the satifaction of using a rangefinger, their really missing a joy of photography. Maybe I'll buy a Zeiss Ikon too!!!!!


Kyrocera made Contax cameras. Zeiss made the lenses. Kyrocera decided not to make cameras. Zeiss still makes lenses. If you have a beef it's with Kyrocera.

ex Contax and Ex Zeiss customer

RE: "If you have a beef it's with Kyrocera."

what a bullshit...

Zeiss owns the brand Contax. If they allowed Kyocera to stop the business, it was in their own interest. Just face reality.

Or do you really believe they made so bad contracts with Kyocera, that they had no alternatives as the brand owner?

Protecting investments? What a joke...

Maybe licence fees Zeiss gets from Kyocera now...

Will this be the same game with Zeiss Ikon or Sony Alpha? Taking our money and in 5 years closing the brand just to protect our investments?


It will not be the same for Sony Alpha or Zeiss Ikon (which is in Leica M-mount). Zeiss does not have control over both these systems. Even if they drop out of these 2, other manufacturers will continue to supply bodies and lenses for the systems. Not so with Contax CY/N.


"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers ......."

That seems to be a new business plan, since they didn't do that up to now!

But they seem to learn: Hopefully I will see a couple of revolutionary ZM-lenses for my 1947 (or so) built CONTAX S.
Hopefully in 2036 I will be able to buy a new lens for my CONTAX ST.

... if I will survive such long.


"Carl Zeiss wants to protect the investment of its customers.."

They have abandoned the C/Y-mount, they have abandoned the G-mount, they have abandoned the N-mount.

I have a G-1 and a RX and a large dry cabinet full of Contax lenses that have lost most of their value because of their customer protection. I will abandon Zeiss.


RE: what a bullshit

First and formost Zeiss is an optics manufacturer, yes they have some degree of control over the companies that make cameras for their lenses but when these companies find it no longer profitable and close down production you can't expect Zeiss to pick up the market. Camera manufacturing is competitive. Look at Minolta/Konica, Mamiya. Zeiss has been suppling lenses for Hasselblad for decades but if Hasselblad bellied up what would you expect Zeiss to do??


I don't expect them to necessarily "pick up the market". But they can make refranchising the contax brand a higher priority than retro ZI products already well served by Leica and Cosina. They can also refrain from talking about protecting investment...when their track record contradicts the statement. Fair enough that they want to make hay for now...but there a very many Contax owners who know only too well that the "protect investment2 rhetoric sucks.


If Minolta/Konica and Mamiya couldn't make a go in the present marketplace what makes you think Kyrocera would have? Zeiss will do best as a maker of fine lenses for a specialized market. The fact that their lenses utilize the Leica M and Nikon mount attest to that.


It is rather surprising that the impending digital Leica M8 is not mentioned once, not even as a rival.


He is obviously trying to rationalize a market. Leica has missed the boat so many times in the last 25 plus years, it is a miracle that they are still in business. I think only a very small percentage of real pros use their cameras in the field. They carved out a niche market for themselves, their main customers are people with high income that appreciate the thought of having a superior camera and collectors.

As for protecting their customers investment, that is just some condescending crap - if they really wanted to protect their customers investment they should have introduced a real alternative to the current Digital SLR line up, so that those of us who are still holding on to our R and M lenses could use them in todays working environment.

Volker Hett

It was Kyocera who bought Yashica who had a deal with Zeiss to use the brand name Contax.
And Kyocera stopped the production of those camera bodies which left Zeiss with lenses for an abandoned camera mount. So they start building lenses for two very popular mounts which didn't change much (Nikon F) or not at all (Leica M), and not to forget they make some for M42 mount, too.
Since they have good ties to Sony they expand to the Minolta mount Konica-Minolta abandoned just recently and which would be gone without Sony.

So do what I do and tell Kyocera why you don't buy a Kyocera Laserprinter, but don't blame Zeiss. They don't own the blueprints for Yashica and Kyocera Kameras, they just provided a well known name and very good lenses.

And to protecting my investment, there may be a different understandig what that means in germany.
We invest in a tool and if it's well made it will take very long until it is not usable anymore. The ROI is not in the resale value but in what you produce with this tool.

My Zeiss Contessa from 1962 is still fine, pretty good investment made by my grandfather.

And since so many want a body to use Zeiss Contax RF lenses on it, those must have been a very good investment as well, they can't be much younger than 50 years now.

Just my 0.4 eurocents :-)

Ellis Vener

"Zeiss has been suppling lenses for Hasselblad for decades but if Hasselblad bellied up what would you expect Zeiss to do??"

I expect them to keep scrambling because Hasselblad has already discontinued manfacturing the square format "V" camera and has moved on to the equally fine Fujinon optics for the H series of cameras.


There seem to be a lot of people posting here that don't understand anything about business or who don't even understand the difference between a lens manufacturer and a camera manufacturer. Do you people realise what a real pile of crap is, paying thousands for a digital camera only for it to be way beyond obsolete in a few years. Oh hang on, let me get angry at Michelin because Ford stopped making such and such a car. What planet are you people from!!?? Zeiss make Superior quality optics that last longer than the cameras they go on, now that IS protecting an investment, in the product you bought, which is not a camera, it is a lens, say it now, L-E-N-S. Why do you all need protecting from cameras and lenses that still work!!! Not supported? What, the lens manufacture doesn't service your camera, shame on them!! But still you feel better now you got all angry about nothing! Now Zeiss make a camera it will probably last longer than any other camera on the market, excluding Leica.

enrique racpan

oh yea, then buy back my rts's and g2 if zeiss wants to protect contax users.


It is hard to know where to start with the list of fallacies in this article.

10,000 exposures in the field is 278 rolls of film. Alternatively, I can take 10 pre-charged batteries for my Canon 5D's and 2 or 3 compact flash cards. The batteries and cards are cheaper, smaller, lighter, and reusable as well as remaining undamaged by x-ray and heat. What's easier to find in the wild: a good film shop or an electrical socket? I once took 200 rolls of 120 on a trip. The cost of film and development alone would buy a competitive digital outfit today.

I have used 3200 iso 135 rollfilm extensively. My 5D's destroy it in delivered image quality.

With the Canon 5D, 1DsMkII, and Leica DMR, film is now losing on cost, practicality AND quality. I really don't understand why Zeiss is sticking its head in the sand over this. 12 iso film is not the answer. Few other companies have so much to gain from the increased effective resolution of 16bit sensors. Look at all the Canon / 21mm Distagon users. I have bought 15 Contax C/Y lenses in the last year.

I hope Scherle's fantasy market analysis is disingenuous. Sony is not making competitive sensors. Even if they eventually do, do you think Zeiss will persuade them to produce N-mount bodies? It is all a great shame, and a missed opportunity because Zeiss has failed to capitalise on a market in which lens quality has just doubled in importance. If Bo-ming of Conurus can reverse engineer a Contax N to EOS converter, why couldn't Zeiss? After all, Sigma does it.


I use the Zeiss ZF 50mm 1.4 on my Nikon D200 and it produces beautiful images. The combination of a digital camera with manual focus and great glass makes the DSLR experience slower and more enjoyable. At some point, one must choose a format and workflow and master that. Beautiful images come from cameras and lenses pointed at interesting subjects by an artist. Like they say on Project Runway: "Make it work". While an interesting conversation, this thread begins to sound like a Leica user group with PMS. For me, I look forward to purchasing some of the new ZF lenses that have just come out and making wicked-good photographs that I can process in Lightzone and print beautiful pictures and show to many, many interested people.

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