Why don't zeiss manufacture cameras themselves?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by RobC, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. RobC

    RobC Member

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    I'm just curious to know why zeiss don't manufacture cameras themselves.
    I realise they are primarily an optics company but it seems as though they prefer to design the cameras and contract out manufacturing and assembly to someone else. Why is that do you think?
     
  2. JPD

    JPD Member

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    Cost, I think. Zeiss don't have a camera factory, and it would cost a lot to start one and make new tools. Cosina already have their factories.
     
  3. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Doesn't Cosina make their lenses too?
     
  4. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Some, not all!


    André
     
  5. RobC

    RobC Member

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    Yes the ZM 15 and 85 are made in Germany but is not clear to me whether Zeiss make all the glass and Cosina make the barrels and assemble them or whether cosina also make the glass for the other lenses.

    I just found some more info on the zeiss web site which basically says Consina already the facilities to bring the camera to market quickly which I think is the Zeiss way of saying they didn't want to invest in their own manufacturing plant for camera bodies.
     
  6. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    Zeiss used to manufacture their own cameras. My Zeiss Contax IIa was made in Germany during the late 1950's. Pics are in the classified section, if anyone is interested.
     
  7. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    You've made me wonder how nice it would be if Cosina started making a new Contax/Yashica SLR camera. Something like the 139Q or S2b but cheaper would suffice. Maybe the Bessaflex could be a good starting piont? Sadly, competition from used bodies probably makes this impossible.
     
  8. RobC

    RobC Member

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    Zeiss still has an existing contract with Kyocera so at present I think Zeiss are not free to use the Contax name. I suspect that is one reason why the Zeiss Ikon came into being.
     
  9. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Let's not forget that Zeiss from the very beggining, was mainly a manufacturer of high precision optical devices, and that's the field they should keep working hard.



    André
     
  10. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    zeiss makes a lot of cool stuff, from planetariums to operating microscopes and research optical instruments, and ... stuff.

    they left the camera building behind long ago to concentrate on the things they were uniquely good at.

    ( zeiss has ALWAYS licensed the manufacture of their designs, to their specs, and often using their machines, glass, and QC personnel )

    CZ has done a very good job over the years keeping their 'production capacity' to a minimum while make excellent goods, and being a healthy firm for it's employees.
     
  11. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    There's no doubt that you are right about the Zeiss Ikon. I thought that the Kyocera contract has now expired, though, so thanks for informing me.
     
  12. RobC

    RobC Member

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  13. elekm

    elekm Member

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    At the time the Zeiss Ikon was under development, I believe that Kyocera still held the rights to the Contax name, even though there were no new products on the market.

    Next, Zeiss doesn't have camera manufacturing facilities. To build cameras is no easy task. In addition to manufacturing space, there also is the investment in equipment, training, additional employees, raw materials, etc.

    That's a hefty investment.

    It made great sense to go to another company that already had all of this in place, including a track record in making rangefinders.

    Remember, Zeiss Ikon made cameras but not lenses. Carl Zeiss made lenses but not cameras. And although the new camera is branded Zeiss, Zeiss still doesn't actually make the camera.
     
  14. haris

    haris Guest

  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    There are no real secrets today to building cameras and lenses,
    the principle issues are the price point in the marketplace,
    and how much profit the builder wants to get.
    We are familiar with the notion that 80% of perfection can be achieved with 20% of the cost.
    Just how close a firm wants to come to perfection is an interesting choice for the makers.

    Comparing the policies of, say, Cosina and Leica, my own feeling is that the mechanics of Leica have become
    too much a self destructive obsession while Cosina's Voigtlander brand falls short by the narrowest of margins.
    The gap between C-V & Leica is great, and the Zeiss commitment to place products in that middle range makes me happy.


    Zeiss has over a century's experience with joint ventures. In today's world, it isn't enough to sketch out a lens design on the back of an envelope, you engineer the lens together with the manufacturing process: it is impossible to design a lens without designing the means of making it. THIS is the genius of Zeiss, and the Zeiss-Ikon brand is a testament to the passion and capability of CZ & C-V. Everything that comes from Zeiss-Ikon manufacture meets the criteria of CZ and C-V. It doesn't matter WHERE the manufacturing takes place.

    Camera-snobbery is too often a socially tolerated form of bigotry and racism. Design and manufacturing excellence - across political and cultural borders - rely on wisdom and passion, qualities inherent to our species and NOT related to melanin levels or blood type.
     
  16. RobC

    RobC Member

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  17. Seele

    Seele Member

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    Zeiss who?

    The main thing: we need to know that Zeiss is not one company: it started out as Carl Zeiss Optical, in Jena; after Carl Zeiss's death, the owner was its designer Ernest Abbe, who founded the Carl Zeiss Foundation to run it. The Foundation also had many interests, and it organised the amalgamation and acquisition of four camera manufacturers to form Zeiss-Ikon, what can be considered the camera division, but a separate corporate entity.

    Zeiss Ikon basically closed up shops in the 1970s, although the Carl Zeiss Foundation still owns the names. Carl Zeiss Optical keeps on going as it is profitable, but it would not be at all economically viable for the Foundation to pour money to start making cameras again: with a lapse of decades they would have to start with a clean sheet of paper and that would be commercially absurd if Cosina already has what 's needed.