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Together with Ernst Abbe joined and Otto Schott joined he laid the foundation for today's multi-national company.
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The current company emerged from a reunification of Carl Zeiss companies in East and West Germany with a consolidation phase in the s. The Zeiss Group has its headquarters in southern Germany, in the small town Oberkochen with its second largest and founding site being Jena in eastern Germany. Carl Zeiss is one of the oldest existing optics manufacturers in the world. Carl Zeiss opened an optics workshop in Jena in By he was making microscopes full-time.
By the Zeiss workshop was considered to be among the best scientific-instrument makers in Germany with about 20 people working in the company, and business growing quickly.
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By Zeiss sold their 1, th microscope. In physicist Ernst Abbe joined Zeiss and along with Otto Schott designed greatly improved lenses for the optical instruments they were producing. By World War I ,  Zeiss was the world's largest location of camera production.
Zeiss Ikon represented a significant part of the production along with dozens of other brands and factories, and also had major works at Dresden. In Hensoldt AG was acquired by Carl Zeiss and has produced the Zeiss binoculars and riflescopes since ,  occasionally resulting in twin products being offered under both the Hensoldt and Zeiss brand names. The Hensoldt System Technology division resulting from a merger of the military optics operations of Leica and Hensoldt was continued by Zeiss under the Hensoldt name until At the end of the war, Jena was occupied by the United States Army.
This collaboration continued under Yashica's successor, Kyocera , until the latter ceased all camera production in The eastern Zeiss Jena was also well known for producing high-quality products.
In , Jenoptik Carl Zeiss Jena was split in two, with Carl Zeiss AG Oberkochen taking over the company's divisions for microscopy and other precision optics effectively reuniting the pre-war Carl Zeiss enterprise and moving its microscopy and planetarium divisions back to Jena.
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Jenoptik GmbH was split off as a specialty company in the areas of photonics , optoelectronics , and mechatronics. The companies of the Zeiss Gruppe in and around Dresden have branched into new technologies: screens and products for the automotive industry , for example. A division called Carl Zeiss Vision produces lenses for eyeglasses.
All the products will be standardized under the Zeiss brand. The Zeiss company was responsible for many innovations in optical design and engineering in each of their major fields of business. Today this becomes exemplarily visible in the latest EUV lithography systems, the equipment needed to produce the latest generations of semiconductor components.
It also includes early high performance optical microscopes up to today's electron and ion microscopes, which reach sub-nanometers resolution.
It includes technology leadership in early surgical microscopes and ophthalmic devices. It also includes high performance contact metrology systems. For many years Zeiss showed new innovations in fields as astronomical telescopes, photographic and cinematic lenses.
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Early on, Carl Zeiss realised that he needed a competent scientist so as to take the firm beyond just being another optical workshop. In , the service of Dr.
Ernst Abbe was enlisted. From then on novel products appeared in rapid succession which brought the Zeiss company to the forefront of optical technology. Abbe was instrumental in the development of the famous Jena optical glass. When he was trying to eliminate stigmatism from microscopes, he realized that the range of optical glasses available was insufficient. After some calculations, he realised that performance of optical instruments would dramatically improve if optical glasses of appropriate properties were available.
His challenge to glass manufacturers was finally answered by Dr. Otto Schott , who established the famous glassworks at Jena from which new types of optical glass began to appear from to be employed by Zeiss and other makers. The new Jena optical glass also opened up the possibility of increased performance of photographic lenses. Subsequently, the new glasses would demonstrate their value in correcting astigmatism , and in the production of apochromatic lenses.
Abbe started the design of a photographic lens of symmetrical design with five elements, but went no further. Zeiss' domination of photographic lens innovation was due to Dr Paul Rudolph. In , Rudolph designed an asymmetrical lens with a cemented group at each side of the diaphragm, appropriately named "Anastigmat". These lenses are now better known by the trademark "Protar", which was first used in At the time, single combination lenses, which occupy one side of the diaphragm only, were still popular.
Rudolph designed one with three cemented elements in , with the option of fitting two of them together in a lens barrel as a compound lens, but it was found to be the same as the Dagor by C.
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Goerz, designed by Emil von Hoegh. Rudolph then came up with a single combination with four cemented elements, which can be considered as having all the elements of the Protar stuck together in one piece. An immense range of focal lengths can thus be obtained by the various combination of Protarlinse units.
Rudolph also investigated the Double-Gauss concept of a symmetrical design with thin positive menisci enclosing negative elements. Whilst it was very sharp, it suffered from coma which limited its popularity. However, further developments of this configuration made it the design of choice for high-speed lenses of standard coverage. Due to its high speed it was used extensively on hand cameras.
It can be said as a combination of the front half of the Unar with the rear half of the Protar. This proved to be a most valuable and flexible design, with tremendous development potential. It is probable that every lens manufacturer has produced lenses of the Tessar configurations.
One of the most significant designer was the ex-Ernemann man Dr Ludwig Bertele , famed for his Ernostar high-speed lens. Bertele's Sonnar series of lenses designed for the Contax were the match in every respect for the Leica for at least two decades.
The last important Zeiss innovation before World War II was the technique of applying anti-reflective coating to lens surfaces invented by Olexander Smakula in After the partitioning of Germany, a new Carl Zeiss optical company was established in Oberkochen, while the original Zeiss firm in Jena continued to operate.
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At first, both firms produced very similar lines of products, and extensively cooperated in product-sharing, but they drifted apart as time progressed. Since the beginning of Zeiss as a photographic lens manufacturer, it has had a licensing programme, allowing other manufacturers to produce its lenses. In the s, the western operation of Zeiss-Ikon collaborated with Yashica to produce the new Contax cameras, and many of the Zeiss lenses for this camera, among others, were produced by Yashica's optical arm, Tomioka.
As Yashica's owner Kyocera ended camera production in , and Yashica lenses were then made by Cosina , who also manufactured most of the new Zeiss designs for the new Zeiss Ikon coupled rangefinder camera.
Another licensee active today is Sony who uses the Zeiss name on lenses on its video and digital still cameras. The nature of the collaboration varies, from co-branding optics designed by another firm e.
On 27 April , the company announced a collaboration with Nokia in the camera phone market, with Zeiss providing camera optics. Zeiss Ikon is a camera brand related to Carl Zeiss, but was an independent company formed by the merger of four camera makers Contessa-Nettel, Ernemann, Goerz and Ica in Much of the capital came from Zeiss which also provided most of the lenses and shutters for the cameras.
Among the founders was August Nagel of Contessa-Nettel, who left the company in to form the Nagel Works, and in , his company was bought by Kodak.
The earliest Zeiss Ikon cameras were a range of medium and large format folding cameras, for film and glass plate photography. The most expensive was the Universal Juwel Jewel an Ica-designed glass plate camera with origins in This was a favorite of both Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange.
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In Zeiss Ikon introduced the Contax line of 35mm rangefinder cameras, in an attempt to compete with the Leica series, from Leitz, another giant in German optics. Though it had more features, the first Contax, the Contax I, was overly complicated and had problems with quality. However, in , the Contax II upstaged the Leica in many ways and became the favorite of many renowned photographers and journalists, including Robert Capa and Margaret Bourke-White. A second 35mm camera, the Contax III, was mechanically identical with a light meter grafted to the top of the camera.
The first Kiev cameras were identical except for logos, thus Zeiss Ikon was forced to redesign their cameras to be competitive. But by the time the IIa and IIIa hit the market, they faced strong competition from many European and Asian brands, notably the visually similar Nikon which was a high quality camera sharing the same lens-mount and most of the features. By the mids, Zeiss Ikon was focusing on single-lens reflex cameras and while offering rangefinders, they were not adding features and became uncompetitive with Japanese brands including Canon, Yashica, Minolta, and Nikon.
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The Zeiss Ikon Contaflex single-lens reflex cameras were viable in the mid s, but soon lost market share to the Japanese brands. More recent 35mm rangefinder cameras are simply named "Zeiss Ikon.
Carl Zeiss AG has long been renowned for its motion picture lenses. Zeiss manufactures prime and zoom lenses for 35mm, 16mm, and 65mm film production. They also make lenses for digital cinema and high definition video. Zeiss is mainly known in the trade for their association with the German camera manufacturer Arri for whom they currently produce lenses.
Zeiss has produced lenses for large format and press cameras, including:. Zeiss has departed the large-format optics field along with Nikon , leaving Schneider and Rodenstock as the primary makers of such lenses today. Lenses designated "C" are considered compact or classic lenses. ZF series lenses fit the Nikon F-mount. Four design variations are designated ZF , ZF. All are manual-focus designs with Nikon AI-S type aperture indexing.
ZE lenses fit the Canon EF lens mount. They feature electronic contacts allowing for focus-confirmation, and electric aperture operation as with standard Canon EF lenses.
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ZK lenses fit the Pentax K-mount. They have no electronics, are manual focus only, K A couplers. Zeiss announced the discontinuation of the ZK line in September Otus lenses are complex no-compromise designs which Zeiss refers to as the "best in the world" in the normal lens and short telephoto categories. They cover the 35 mm format. Zeiss produces autofocus Batis lenses for the Sony E-mount.
Like Sony "FE" lenses, they cover the 35mm format.