C.Z. Jena 58mm Biotar Question

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by lou_meluso, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. With all the interesting discussion on this lens in another thread, it brought to mind a question I had about mine. Here is the front of my lens.
  2. Here is the same lens but with the front "beauty" ring removed. Clearly some of the writing was purposefully ground away and covered with the ring. Why? Same lens but two different serial numbers is unusual, no? Done at the factory or after? This lens came on an early Zeiss Ikon Hexacon that looks like a Contax D, if that helps. Thanks!
  3. Vandalism?
  4. Here's the camera it came on. It looks like a Pentacon but it's Hexacon. I would be delighted to learn if this is the long lost missing link camera that is worth a small fortune. I'm not holding my breath on that one :eek:)
  5. Replacing "Carl Zeiss" by anonymous "C.Z.", the red "T" by a red lozenge is part of the Cold War goings on that was insisted upon to allow sales of the lens in/to "the West.<br>Either done at the facory (most likely) or at the importer.<br>The camera itself started out as a Contax D(resden).
  6. "Hexacon" was the Peerless camera store's re-branded version of a Pentacon. I almost bought one as my first real camera c. 1957, but ended up with an Olympus 35S instead. IIRC the Hexacon had "Made in Germany USSR Occupied Zone" stenciled on the body.
  7. PS<br>Hexacon was, i believe, the U.S. tradename for Pentacons.
  8. This period was one of considerable confusion over who owned what trademarks, and where.
    The Hexacon was an discount export name in the mid-50s for the Contax, which at that time was also sold as Pentacon by Prakticon Co, among others, in the USA. Here is an ad from the period for the Hexacon 35 with a C.Z. lens, likely the Biotar.
    Here was the irenic cooperation of the West and East at the time:
    [referring to a Kyocera discussion of 1982 about the ground-breaking Contax S]
    Back in the fifties, however, the West German company Zeiss Ikon
    AG in Stuttgart did not regard the matter to be quite this pleasant.
    Beyond that, Zeiss Ikon of Stuttgart would generate a veritable flood of
    law suits against VEB (People's-Owned Enterprise) Zeiss Ikon within
    the VVB (Union of People's-Owned Enterprises) Mechanik Dresden.
    Clearly this was to protect the trademarks »Zeiss Ikon« and »Contax« for
    Alexander Schulz Contax S, Lindemanns Verlag p.62.​
    One way or another (C.Z. Jena, aus Jena, etc.) items meant for export to the West often were altered or rebranded. You'll note inconsistency in branding in the Peerless ad, though, perhaps reflecting exactly when the items were imported.
  9. I'm sorry to say, Louis, that what you have is a Cold War curiosity rather than a treasure, though it has some collector value to completionists.
    It is likely that if you pried off the Hexacon plate, you'd find a defaced mark although some may have been made plain for just such contingencies.
    The Contax D models are often good shooters. The original Contax S was more fragile, at least in my experience. The shutter seems to be the main problem area.

    I have only a sample of the variants, I'm afraid.
    See Dr. Mike Otto's site (link) for much more detail.
  10. I've seen the Hexacon in the old Peerless ads too. I inherited all my dad's back issues of various photo magazines dating as far back as 1952. Compared to some of the other gear advertised, the Hexacon (and other Peerless brands like Rival) were quite a bargain. Thanks for posting.
  11. There were court battles about whether the East German or West German half of Carl Zeiss would get to use the trademark, eventually the West German side won. The East German half continued to use the trademark only inside East Germany, but exports had to be re-branded.
  12. The West German side only won in 'the West'. They ('Oberkochen') had to rebrand their stuff to be allowed to sell it in 'the East'.<br>(There only was a 'winner' when the two halves of the company were reunited after the Wall had come down. But even then...)
  13. Nice find Louis; the Hexanon may not make your fortune but I'd love to have one! Thanks for initiating an interesting and revealing thread.
  14. Thank you for all the replies and information. Not the rare camera I was hoping for but an interesting curiosity none the less. And now I will have a good back story to go along with...cool.
  15. Just recently there was an article in the german camera collectors' magazine "PhotoDeal" covering lenses for the Praktisix camera and also mentioning the name plate ring issue. There were quite a few different versions, many CZJ lenses were justed marked "Jena", later "aus JENA" (from Jena) and "aus JENA (DDR)". These were name versions for the west-german market, maybe there were other versions for other export countries, the article does not mention the "CZ Jena" version on your lens.
    They also had to change the lens names, the lens names pre-war were copyrighted by Zeiss Oberkochen. In most cases they used abbreviatons like "Bm" for Biometar and "B" for Biogon, your lens does not have a name at all.
  16. As many have said.. and in the 2nd or 3rd post. Likely done in export dept or at the re-seller for all the reasons mentioned. Fear of copyright infinrgement, unsettled or recently settled international case....with fear of repercussions. East /West tensions etc. I've often read/seen all the Contax D variations. We have the no-name version, just like the Kiew no-names versions.. my fav on this theme and like all the others taking place in the 50s is the is the Fender/Gretsch fight over the name Broadcaster. Leo Fender was using this on a guitar and Gretsch used this on ther drum kit. So while this was being hashed out they simply made guitars wit hno-name. Collectors refer to these affectionaley as "Nocasters" Sorry I digress!
    I personally want one that simply says Contax without a designator D/E etc! I think the Biotar from this series is great!

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