CZJ Black Biotar 5,8cm f2 M42

Started 3 months ago | Photos thread
fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,943
Re: CZJ Black Biotar 5,8cm f2 M42

RMGoodLight wrote:

I'm no expert but what I have read the story of east German photo industry is quite a bitter one.

With the beginning of the 20th century the later eastern part of Germany became something like the biggest and most important hotspot for camera and lens making. A lot of small business gathered there, f.e. Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer-Görlitz or Ernemann-Werken. Germany was that spot that Japan is today as manufacturer and designer. A lot of camera and lens patents and ground breaking designs where created in Germany. After WWII Zeiss emigrated to west Germany and moved to Oberkochern. The remaining factory in the eastern part was (in Jena) was stripped by the Russian military as reparation. Most machines, camera and lens designs and even engineers where brought to the new Soviet union and used to produce the later Helios lenses and Zorki cameras.

The remaining employees of Carl Zeiss Jena worked hard to rebuild the fabrication and succeeded. They produced new cameras, lenses, new designs and patents that where groundbreaking of the time. But a lot of lenses based on designs that where created before WWII.

With losing WWII all German camera and lens patents where freed and could be used by other manufacturers. That hurt the German photo industry and was the basement of the rise of Japans photo industry. Japan used the patents and build up new companies that produced lenses. Later with the creation of zoom lenses Japans photo industry outrun the east German industry that never produced a single zoom lens. Until then east German photo industry could compete with the west (til the early 70th). Most of the east German photo makers where put together to one (Praktika) at this time. But instead producing more and better lenses the output shrinked. Some major developments on the worlds photo marked where addressed to late (Zoom, SLRs) and so east Germany lost his top spot. Some lens production was transfered to Bulgaria and lens makers as Sigma produced own rebranded lenses under the eastern Praktika brand.

After 1990 the east German photo industry was finished. Most fabrication was closed. A lot of people lost their jobs and never returned. West Carl Zeiss got the best bites from Carl Zeiss Jena but never moved back to Jena. The rest is history. From the former hot spot only Zeiss and Leica are there.

Yes, it's very normal, as these shifts are economic processes, but in this case, all patents, research, everything was sacked. It's ironic that most of this industry shifted to Japan, an ally to Germany in WWII.

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