Carl Zeiss Jena Lens Serial Numbers
# How to Identify Carl Zeiss Jena Lenses by Their Serial Numbers
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are highly sought-after by collectors and photographers for their optical quality, historical value and mechanical craftsmanship. However, identifying the age and origin of these lenses can be tricky, as they were produced in different factories and countries over a long period of time. In this article, we will show you how to use the serial numbers on Carl Zeiss Jena lenses to determine their year of manufacture and location of production.
## What are Carl Zeiss Jena lenses?
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are lenses made by the original Carl Zeiss company in Jena, Germany, before and after World War II. Carl Zeiss was founded in 1846 by Carl Zeiss, a skilled optician who pioneered the development of precision optics and microscopes. In 1889, he partnered with Ernst Abbe, a physicist who formulated the theory of optical imaging, and Otto Schott, a chemist who invented new types of optical glass. Together, they created some of the most advanced lenses of their time, such as the Planar, Tessar and Sonnar.
During World War II, the Carl Zeiss factory in Jena was heavily bombed by the Allies, and many of the workers and equipment were evacuated to other locations. After the war, Germany was divided into East and West Germany, and the Carl Zeiss company was split into two branches: one in Jena (East Germany) and one in Oberkochen (West Germany). Both branches continued to produce lenses under the Carl Zeiss name, but with different designs, quality standards and serial number systems.
## How to read Carl Zeiss Jena serial numbers?
Carl Zeiss Jena serial numbers are usually engraved on the front or rear ring of the lens barrel, or sometimes on the side or bottom of the lens mount. They consist of six or seven digits, sometimes with a letter prefix or suffix. The serial numbers can be used to estimate the year of manufacture and the location of production of the lens.
The following table shows the approximate serial number ranges and corresponding years of manufacture for Carl Zeiss Jena lenses before and after World War II :
Years Serial Number Range
Pre-war production in Jena
Carl Zeiss Jena Lens Serial Numbers
Post-war production in Jena (East Germany)
Years Serial Number Range
Post-war production in Oberkochen (West Germany)
Years Serial Number Range
## How to distinguish between East and West German lenses?
Besides the serial numbers, there are other ways to tell apart the lenses made by Carl Zeiss Jena (East Germany) and Carl Zeiss Oberkochen (West Germany). Here are some clues to look for:
* The name on the lens. The East German lenses usually have "Carl Zeiss Jena" or "aus Jena" on them, while the West German lenses have "Carl Zeiss" or "Opton" on them. However, there are some exceptions and variations, such as "Carl Zeiss Jena DDR" or "Carl Zeiss West Germany".
* The logo on the lens. The East German lenses have a small "Z" with a line above it, while the West German lenses have a large "Z" with a line below it. However, some early West German lenses may also have the small "Z" with a line above it.
* The coating on the lens. The East German lenses have a yellowish or bluish coating, while the West German lenses have a purplish or greenish coating. However, some early West German lenses may also have a yellowish coating.
* The mount on the lens. The East German lenses have different mounts for different cameras, such as M42, Exakta, Contax or Praktica. The West German lenses have mostly Contax or Contarex mounts, but also some M42 or Rollei mounts.
## How to check the optical condition of the lenses?
The optical condition of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses can vary depending on how well they were stored and maintained over the years. Some common problems that may affect the image quality are:
* Fungus. Fungus is a type of mold that grows inside the lens elements and causes spots, haze or streaks on the glass. It can be caused by high humidity or poor ventilation. Fungus can be removed by disassembling and cleaning the lens elements, but it may leave permanent marks or damage the coating.
* Separation. Separation is when the cement that holds together two lens elements starts to break down and creates bubbles or rings on the glass. It can be caused by heat, moisture or age. Separation can be fixed by re-cementing the lens elements, but it may affect the optical alignment or performance.
* Scratches. Scratches are marks on the surface of the lens elements that can be caused by dust, dirt or improper cleaning. Scratches can reduce the contrast or sharpness of the image, or create flare or ghosting. Scratches can be polished out by a professional, but it may alter the shape or thickness of the glass.
* Cleaning marks. Cleaning marks are fine scratches on the coating of the lens elements that can be caused by abrasive or improper cleaning materials. Cleaning marks can affect the color rendition or flare resistance of the lens. Cleaning marks cannot be removed without removing the coating.
To check the optical condition of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses, you should inspect them under bright light and look for any signs of fungus, separation, scratches or cleaning marks. You should also test them on a camera and take some sample photos to see how they perform in different lighting conditions and apertures.
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are valuable and delicate pieces of equipment that require proper care and maintenance to preserve their optical and mechanical condition. Here are some tips on how to care for these lenses:
* Store them in a dry, cool and dark place. Avoid exposure to high humidity, heat or sunlight, as they can cause fungus, separation or fading of the coating.
* Use a lens cap or case when not in use. Protect the lens from dust, dirt or scratches by covering it with a lens cap or storing it in a padded case.
* Clean them gently and carefully. Use a soft brush or blower to remove any loose dust or dirt from the lens surface. Use a microfiber cloth or lens tissue moistened with a mild lens cleaner to wipe the lens gently in a circular motion. Avoid using abrasive or improper materials that can scratch or damage the coating.
* Avoid touching the glass with your fingers. The oil and dirt from your fingers can leave marks or smudges on the glass that can affect the image quality or flare resistance. Use a lens cloth or tissue to handle the lens if necessary.
* Check them regularly for any signs of fungus, separation, scratches or cleaning marks. Inspect the lens under bright light and look for any spots, haze, streaks, bubbles, rings or marks on the glass. Test the lens on a camera and take some sample photos to see how they perform in different lighting conditions and apertures.
## How to compare these lenses with other brands?
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are known for their optical quality, historical value and mechanical craftsmanship, but they are not the only lenses that can offer these qualities. There are many other brands and models of lenses that can compete with or surpass Carl Zeiss Jena lenses in terms of performance, features or price. Here are some factors to consider when comparing these lenses with other brands:
* The focal length and aperture of the lens. The focal length and aperture of the lens determine the angle of view, depth of field and low-light capability of the lens. Depending on your photographic needs and preferences, you may want a wide-angle, normal, telephoto or zoom lens with a fast or slow aperture.
* The optical design and construction of the lens. The optical design and construction of the lens affect the sharpness, contrast, color rendition, distortion, vignetting, coma, astigmatism, chromatic aberration and bokeh of the lens. Depending on your photographic style and standards, you may want a simple or complex lens with few or many elements and groups, made of glass or plastic, coated or uncoated.
* The mechanical design and construction of the lens. The mechanical design and construction of the lens affect the durability, reliability, usability and compatibility of the lens. Depending on your photographic habits and equipment, you may want a metal or plastic lens with manual or automatic focus and aperture control, with a fixed or interchangeable mount.
* The availability and price of the lens. The availability and price of the lens depend on the supply and demand of the lens in the market. Depending on your budget and patience, you may want a new or used lens that is easy or hard to find at a cheap or expensive price.
## How to find these lenses online or offline?
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are not widely available in retail stores or online shops anymore, as they are mostly discontinued or out of production. However, there are still some ways to find these lenses online or offline:
* Online auctions or marketplaces. You can search for Carl Zeiss Jena lenses on online platforms such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy or Craigslist. You can browse through various listings from different sellers around the world, compare prices and conditions, bid on auctions or buy directly from sellers. However, you should be careful about scams, frauds or fakes, check the seller's feedback and reputation, ask for detailed photos and descriptions of the item, verify the authenticity and condition of the item before buying it.
* Online forums or groups. You can join online communities such as MFlenses.com , Flickr.com , Facebook.com or Reddit.com that are dedicated to vintage lenses, photography or Carl Zeiss Jena lenses specifically. You can interact with other members who share your interest and passion for these lenses, ask for advice or recommendations, share your experiences or photos taken with these lenses, buy or sell these lenses from other members directly.
* Offline shops or dealers. You can visit offline places such as antique shops, flea markets, thrift stores or pawn shops that may have Carl Zeiss Jena lenses for sale. You can inspect the item in person before buying it, negotiate the price with the seller directly,
test the item on your camera if possible. However,
you should be aware of
the market value
the item carefully,
Carl Zeiss Jena lenses are lenses made by the original Carl Zeiss company in Jena, Germany, before and after World War II. They are highly sought-after by collectors and photographers for their optical quality, historical value and mechanical craftsmanship. However, identifying the age and origin of these lenses can be tricky, as they were produced in different factories and countries over a long period of time. In this article, we have shown you how to use the serial numbers on Carl Zeiss Jena lenses to determine their year of manufacture and location of production. We have also given you some tips on how to distinguish between East and West German lenses, how to check the optical condition of the lenses, how to compare these lenses with other brands and how to find these lenses online or offline. We hope that this article has been helpful and informative for you, and that you have enjoyed learning more about these fascinating lenses. Thank you for reading! ? d282676c82