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Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

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1 Apr 2020 11:32AM   Views : 170 Unique : 98

Geography time!


Jena is where Carl Zeiss established his optical works in 1846: and you’ll probably have seen the name on some lenses. It’s almost as close to Prague as it is to Berlin – and if your European geography is as poor as mine, you’ll have real trouble pinning the name onto a map. Go and look it up!

The Zeiss factory in Jena dwarfs the Chance Optical Glass Works in Birmingham (which you can see it you drive south from West Bromwich on the M5, waiting to be restored), and was where many important advances in optical design were made. As well as lenses, Zeiss manufactured the Contax rangefinder camera, the most serious rival to the Leica.

At the end of the Second World War, Jena was liberated by the Americans (who promptly shipped most of the Zeiss designers and technicians off) and was then designated as part of the Russian occupation zone (and the Russians shipped most of the equipment off to what became the Kiev factory).

This left a factory, a tradition, and some staff. Until the late Nineties, manufacture of lenses and other optical equipment continued, mainly using pre-War designs. Zeiss Jena lenses graced the fronts of Prakticas and Exaktas, and were the cream of East German lens manufacture. Because they shared the nearest thing to a universal lens mount ever made (the M42/Pentax/Praktica screw mount) they were often to be found on other brands of camera.


A rival Zeiss company was established in Oberkochen (with all the designers and know-how), and produced refined and upgraded optics: maintaining the Zeiss reputation for the very highest quality, and providing lenses for Hasselblad and the Yashica-made Contax SLRs. Oberkochen is even harder to find, and is heading towards the Swiss border.

It delights me that when Germany reunified, the Zeiss companies did the same… Like a feuding family that comes to its senses.


mistere Plus
6 6 3 England
1 Apr 2020 2:02PM
Also famous for the wide variety of wild orchids that can be found there. Smile, good old Wikipedia.
It's not the most inspiring looking place. Google maps finds it Smile East of Bad Berka and west
of Bad Klosterlausnitz (among other places) https://goo.gl/maps/SareeZedF8ZVztCd9.
Somewhere new to have a look at SmileSmile.Every day's a school day.


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dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1646 England
1 Apr 2020 3:07PM
There's a saying that people who live in Walsall shouldn't throw stones...

At least, not until we've sorted out our town centre.
Jasper87 Plus
10 2.5k 158 England
1 Apr 2020 7:35PM
I was sure I'd heard of Oberkochen on ski sunday but wikiwhatsit did come up with any link. It did however say that the town is the only one in Germany without traffic lights!!!

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