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NAB 2013: Carl Zeiss – A Tradition of Innovation & Craftsmanship

If lenses were cars, then Carl Zeiss would be Mercedes-Benz.  I say this not only because both are German manufacturers who started out in the late 1800s, but because both companies have long tradition of excellence rooted in innovation and craftsmanship.  Just as Mercedes-Benz is responsible for developing the first internal combustion automobile engine and the float carburetor Zeiss is responsible for developing the lens manufacturing process from guess work to a carefully formulated science.
As a filmmaker, this is important to keep in mind when you consider what lenses to purchase.  True, you may save money in the short run by buying from companies that have taken Zeiss’s 150+ years of experience for their own products, but if you ever get a chance to work with any of the Zeiss lenses for either stills or cinema, you’ll see very clearly what you’ve lost in return. Because Zeiss invented many of the lenses we still use in modern production, the company as a whole has a deeper understanding of why a lens system works, and that understanding empowers them to build a better product. Couple that with their relentless pursuit of the best materials and extremely high standards for craftsmanship then it’s apparent why so many shooters and camera manufacturers turn to Carl Zeiss for their lenses.
In this, the second part of my three part interview with Carl Zeiss’s own Rich Schleuning, Rich discusses the history of Zeiss starting in the 1840’s. At that time, the company’s namesake, Carl Zeiss, was manufacturing microscopes, then to still lens production and finally to cinema lenses in the 1930s. As Schleuning breaks down the lineage of the Zeiss line of products, it becomes clear why companies like Arri, Sony, Hasselblad and others trust their cameras to Zeiss. Finally, Schleuning takes us through the development of the their now famous Compact Primes to further empower not just camera manufacturers but shooters and cinematographers to capture their vision with Zeiss unmatched clarity and craftsmanship.
To find out more about the Zeiss Compact Primes and Zooms and all of the other great products from Carl Zeiss, go to their website at For more information on the Zeiss CZ 28-80 and all of the other great lenses from Zeiss, go to their website at
Seeing is believing, so if you’re going to be in the Los Angeles area 5/31/13 – 6/1/13, check out the Zeiss Compact Primes and Compact Zooms at their booth 49.

Written by Clint Milby

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