Carl Zeiss AG

Street Photography By William Murphy

Carl Zeiss AG

Carl Zeiss is a German manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices, founded in Jena, Germany in 1846 by optician Carl Zeiss. Together with Ernst Abbe (joined 1866) and Otto Schott (joined 1884) they built a base for modern optics and manufacturing. There are currently two parts of the company, Carl Zeiss AG located in Oberkochen with important subsidiaries in Aalen, Göttingen and Munich, and Carl Zeiss GmbH located in Jena.

Carl Zeiss AG is the premier company of the Zeiss Gruppe, one of the two large divisions of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung. The Zeiss Gruppe is located in Heidenheim and Jena. Also controlled by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung are the glass manufacturers Schott AG and Jenaer Glas, located in Mainz and Jena respectively. Carl Zeiss is one of the oldest existing optics manufacturers in the world.

Zeiss has licensed its name and/or technology to various other companies, including Hasselblad, Rollei, Yashica, Sony, Logitech, and Alpa. The nature of the collaboration varies, from co-branding optics designed by another firm (e.g., Sony) to complete optical design and manufacturing (e.g., Hasselblad).

On 27 April 2005, the company announced a collaboration with Nokia in the camera phone market. Cameras to emerge from this collaboration included the Nokia N90, Nokia N8 and Nokia 808 PureView.

Batis lenses

Zeiss Batis f/2.0 25 mm
Zeiss produces autofocus Batis lenses for the Sony E-mount. Like Sony "FE" lenses, they cover the 35mm format.

  • Zeiss Batis 2/25 (Distagon T 25mm ƒ/2.0) [I am considering this lens]
  • Zeiss Batis 1.8/85 (Sonnar T 85mm ƒ/1,8) [I am considering this but I may go with the Sony 90mm instead]

Loxia lenses
Zeiss produces manual focus Loxia lenses for the Sony E-mount. Like Sony "FE" lenses, they cover the 35mm format.

  • Loxia Biogon T 35mm ƒ/2.0
  • Loxia Planar T 50mm ƒ/2.0
  • Loxia Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8

Touit lenses

Zeiss produces autofocus Touit lenses for the Fujifilm X-mount and Sony E-mount. They cover the APS-C format.

  • Touit Distagon T 12mm ƒ/2.8
  • Touit Planar T 32mm ƒ/1.8
  • Touit Makro Planar T 50mm ƒ/2.8


ZA lenses

ZA ("Zeiss Alpha") lenses are designed and manufactured by Sony in Japan, and co-branded with the Zeiss name. Sony and Zeiss collaboratively set design and quality parameters for ZA lenses.

A-mount ZA-lenses fit the Sony Alpha/Konica Minolta/Minolta A-mount. They are fully dedicated autofocus lenses with eight electrical contacts, ROM-IC, and distance encoder ('(D)-function' to support ADI flash). All except for the DT lens are full-frame lenses.

  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Distagon T 1:2 24 mm ZA SSM (SAL-24F20Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Planar T 1:1.4 50 mm ZA SSM (SAL-50F14Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Planar T 1:1.4 85 mm ZA (SAL-85F14Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Sonnar T 1:1.8 135 mm ZA (SAL-135F18Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 1:2.8 16–35 mm ZA SSM (SAL-1635Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 1:2.8 24–70 mm ZA SSM (SAL-2470Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T DT 1:3.5-1:4.5 16–80 mm ZA (SAL-1680Z)

E-mount ZA-lenses are fully dedicated Sony E-mount autofocus lenses. Lenses carrying the E designation cover the APS-C format, while lenses designated FE cover 35mm format.

  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Sonnar T E 1:1.8 24 mm (SEL-24F18Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Sonnar T FE 1:2.8 35 mm ZA (SEL-35F28Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Sonnar T FE 1:1.8 55 mm ZA (SEL-55F18Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 1:4 16–35 mm ZA OSS (SEL-1635Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T FE 1:4 24–70 mm ZA OSS (SEL-2470Z)
  • Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T E 1:4 16–70 mm ZA OSS (SEL-1670Z)

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