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Carl Zeiss Clens


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Does anyone know the difference between the c-lens and non c-lens. They seem to be different colours, perhaps one is older but is there any effect on optics?
Thanks in advance
C - old lens style in chrome and black with (normally) interlocked shutter speed and aperture rings and self timer.

CF - updates to the C lenses with (normally) non-interlocked shutter speed and aperture rings and an F setting for focal plane cameras. No self timer. Black only.

CB - Low cost version of some lenses similar to CF but with no F mode. Black only.

CFi - updated CF lenses with improved materials and internal reflection reduction. Black only.

CFE - Updated CF lenses like the CFi's but also with electric bus to pass lens info to automated camera bodies (200 series). Black only.

F - lenses for focal plane shutter cameras (2000/200 series). Black only.

TCC/FE - as above, but with electric bus. Black only. (TPP - 300mm is chrome only)

CZ - (?) Classic chrome finish but with modern lens design. Someone can update with details.

The C's are the oldest and the CZ the newest. There was also a C version of the 80mm that had more in common with the CF and CB lenses than the C lenses. These have a B60 mount, as the older ones have a B50 mount.

In the C lenses, the general rule is the chrome lenses are older, the black newer. The lenses with T* multi-coating are more desirable to those without. Most chrome lenses are non-T* and most black are T*, but there are exceptions. WIde angle lenses got the T* coatings earlier, so there are more chrome T* wide lenses out there than longer ones. Conversely, there are more black non-T* lenses at the longer end of the telephoto range.

Only the old C lenses have the normally interlocked rings for the shutter speed and aperture. They are also the only ones with a self-timer and a choice for both electronic or bulb flash (not to be confused with the B shutter speed setting). Many users don't like the interlocked rings, but those that use the EV system may prefer it.

I'm not sure if the newest lenses are called CZ or CV, someone will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.

The ZV lenses (not CZ. ZV stands for "Z"eiss "V"-System) are the same optical design as the CF lenses.

Though the ZV 50 mm is the FLE design, the FLE mechanism is set to infinity, with no way to shift it.
Zeiss' reason for this step backwards is that we, photographers, didn't use the FLE ring properly anyway. So away with it. Right...

The ZV barrel is mostly the same as the CF barrel too.
It differs in finish (brushed aluminum - like the first generation C lenses, thus "Classic" - instead of black) and a full metal focusing ring surface where the CF lenses had a rubber grip surface (again: "Classic", because more like the first generation C lenses).

C lenses do indeed have "normally interlocked rings for the shutter speed and aperture". Later lenses do not.
But they have interlocked rings if and when you want to, so are good for people who use the EV system too.

The TPP, by the way, is not "chrome" but white.

Lens data sheets of most of them can be found here.
Thanks Q and David for the corrections,

I've always heard of the non-T* as having a single layer, but that was never from an official source. T* has more layers than non-T* will be how I describe these in the future.

I knew I remembered a Z or a V for the newest lenses, but forgot the exact designation. I guess it was both... since I haven't researched these much, they are fuzzy in my memory.

The TTP's I've seen have only been in photos, so you can excuse me if I misidentified the color. Thanks for the correction. I know it's not black, unless the photos have really bad contrast...


Does anyone know the difference between the c-lens and non c-lens>

C is for central shutter, simply a leaf shutter in the lens. The early ones were Zeiss Compur Shutters the later ones Prontor Shutters, owned by Zeiss and as I recall they also make the lens barrels, and assemble the lenses.

Generally speaking leaf shutters are precision instruments much like a mechanical watches that allow up to 1/500 flash sync very quiet and nearly vibration free operation.

FE lenses do not have a shutter in the lens.


The early ones were Zeiss Compur Shutters the later ones Prontor Shutters, owned by Zeiss and as I recall they also make the lens barrels, and assemble the lenses.

Just so it is 100% clear:

The "Synchro Compur" shutters were made by Deckel, a company owned by Zeiss. When Deckel closed shop, another company owned by Zeiss, Gauthier, had to take over where Deckel had left off, and with the help of Hasselblad developed the "Prontor CF" shutter.

The lenses themselves are made and assembled by Zeiss.
As far as i could figure out , ZEISS is going to distribute their photographic lenses , for their ZEISS-IKON and also for NIKON through their own ONLINE-SHOP . But i could not find a hint , that they will do so also for the ZV-LENSES . Does anyone out there know more about this ? ?

They will.
The ZV line is a Zeiss-only product, thought of by Zeiss, made by Zeiss, sold by Zeiss.
Seems to me that Hasselblad V system (lense / camera) was 50% Hasselblad and 50% Zeiss. Zeiss could have moved to purchase Hasselblad, or obtained partners then made a move to purchase Hasselblad franchise. That didnt happen. Does Zeiss believe that Film cameras will disappear? Does Zeiss have intentions not to support current Zeiss lenses with service in the user market?

There has been a lot of recent emails about Zeiss lenses. Exactly what are Zeiss future intentions?

Just to clarify, neither the F nor the FE lenses have a leaf shutter, and as such, they are not meant for use on the 500 series cameras. They were designed for the 2000 and 200 series, respectively. These cameras had focal plane shutters. The 500 series bodies generally rely on the lens shutter for exposure control.

Now there is nothing preventing one from mounting the lens and using i with those bodies, but there is no fine control over shutter speeds, and this would only be practical for long-ish exposures.


Robby - I hope that this isn't too much information

They (Sony) wish...


Zeiss/Hasselblad lenses were bought from Zeiss, by Hasselblad, to sell on to us.
There's nothing to prevent Zeiss making lenses to sell directly to us.

They even started doing so years ago when they made and sold the 300 mm TPP. They sold these (not in large numbers) directly, before Hasselblad decided to buy them all (That, "Hasselblad bought them all", was a headline in Zeiss' Camera Lens News) and market them themselves.

Hasselblad's intention with the V-System is clear: it is going to dissappear. Most of it already has.
That means Hasselblad will not be ordering Zeiss lenses anymore.

With Contax disappearing, Rollei's future being very uncertain, Hasselblad moving away from Zeiss too, Zeiss has seen most of their major sales vehicles vanish.
So they decided to take the fate of their Camera Lens Division into their own hands, and start marketing these things themselves.

That, surviving, by no longer depending on 'third parties', and even though the film market is disappearing, is what Zeiss intention for their Camera Lens Division is.
So they started marketing the Zeiss name by selling lenses to Sony (so that Sony can pretend to be selling 'top class' items, instead of mass produced consumer goods); reviving the Zeiss Ikon name and produce and market a new camera that will take Zeiss lenses (and compete with Leica, making it possible for the very many Leica cameras in the world to use Zeiss lenses again); offering lenses to the very many Nikon users in the world; offering the MF lenses for use on "open systems" like the Sinar products; and tap into the huge market of Hasselblad users, aiming directly at the non-trivial collectors market by introducing a "Classic" line.
Just so it is 100% clear: >

There is always more light! The following is only a synopsis from an interview from the Zeiss Website. I included this excerpt as the link did not work.


K. Müller: When a shutter is located between the lens elements, the complete shutter casing and the shutter mechanism become part of the lens mechanism and thus affect the precision of the lens. Zeiss realized this and for this reason the company acquired a minority share in the Prontor plant in the of the last century. Through this strategic move Zeiss always knew how accurately the shutters were manufactured. This also enabled Zeiss to control the manufacturing accuracy in such a way that the shutters did not impair the high performance of the Zeiss lenses.

Online editorial staff: The result was one single product.

K. Müller: Quite right. The lens and the shutter became one product to the user. Then the sum of the product properties counted and not the properties of the individual components.
Zeiss never made this known, because the Prontor plant wanted to supply shutters to all lens manufacturers, including the competitors of Carl Zeiss. If it had been known that Zeiss was the owner, they probably wouldn't have bought that make. That's why Zeiss remained a dormant partner.

Online editorial staff: It was the Gauthier make which enjoyed worldwide esteem and renown.

K. Müller: The shutters were named after Gauthier for many decades. Alfred Gauthier was the "technical genius" of the founding brothers. He retired from active business around 1930. Since then, the company has been known as the Prontor Werk.

Online editorial staff: As far as I can remember, the Prontor "S" model was the post-war model and the fully synchronized "SV" model was the shutter in which Gauthier caught up with the research and advances made abroad and in particular the USA.

K. Müller: As far as I know Prontor SV was a shutter which emerged after World War II. The events which I have just discussed date back to the 1930s, that is they occurred much earlier. As I said, Zeiss already held a majority share in the Prontor Werk around the year 1930. Carl Zeiss, the lens manufacturer, was the main supplier of lenses for Zeiss-Ikon cameras. The Zeiss-Ikon cameras used, of course, very many Prontor shutters. At the time, there were quite a few shutter manufacturers in Germany
. In the 1960s, when the German industry was overrun by Japanese competitors and the Germans lost their share in the consumer camera market – these were the cameras which mostly featured lens shutters – Zeiss merged the two shutter manufacturers it owned – namely Prontor and Compur – at the location of the Prontor Werk.


Sounds like another load of BS from the Man-Who-Switches-Names-At-Will, dr. Fleischer/Müller, head of "Strategic Marketing".

It never (!) was a secret that Gauthier was part of the Zeiss conglomerate.
To get this thread back on topic, the T* coating is supposed to offer better contrast by maximizing light transmission through the air to glass surfaces. How much this is detectable to an untrained eye is debatable. That said, the T* lenses are more sought after, and one one may find bargains on those without the T* coating.

Thanks for all your feedback. I just bought a 500mm lens and i'm trying to work out which model i have. it says carl zeiss Nr 4543159 tele-tessar synchro compur. Any ideas which one I have?
Thanks again, I'm really grateful