Docter Optic lenses production number query

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by arne_croell, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Some of you may know that I wrote 2 articles on Carl Zeiss Jena lenses and Docter Optic lenses for View Camera (2003), as well as a shorter previous online article on The one information that eluded me so far are the production numbers for the lenses produced by Docter in the 5 years between the time Bernhard Docter bought the Zeiss Jena plant (August 1991) and the stop of production after the bankruptcy (some time in 1995/1996). The Zeiss Jena numbers until mid-1991 are known, but not the Docter numbers. For an update of the online article I would like to have that information and ask for your help: Docters serial number system followed the model of Zeiss Jena after 1980, where each lens type had its own numbering sequence starting with 1001. Therefore it is possible to deduce the production number from the highest serial number. I would be glad if everybody who owns a Docter lens could send me the type, shutter type (or indicate barrel), and the serial number. I am not asking you to do that publicly on this site, e-mail it to me at: . I promise to not give the numbers to anybody else; I will only use them to estimate the highest number rounded up to the nearest 10, 50, or 100 (whatever appears most reasonable), and will post the results of this query here. The lenses in question are: Apo-Germinar (240, 300, 360, 450, 600, 750, 1000mm); Apo-Germinar W (150, 210, 240mm); Doctar WA 65mm;Germinar W (150, 210, 240, 305, 360mm); Germinar S (270, 600mm); Tessar/Doctar lenses for 4x5 and up (135, 180, 210, 250, 300, 360mm). In addition to lenses marked ?Docter Optic Wetzlar? please include also lenses marked ?Carl Zeiss Jena? but only those that came in a modern Copal, Compur, or Prontor shutter. Again, I am looking for type, shutter type (or barrel), and the serial number. If you have several lenses of the same type, the highest number is of course sufficient. This text will be crossposted on the forums on,,, Thanks in advance, Arne Croell
  2. You might want to find former employees and ask them. I think it is unlikely that the people who manufacture lenses lurk in a photography forum.
  3. Here is a short update on the general results for the Docter lenses so far. Thanks to everybody who has responded!

    First, I did not get any input on barrel versions. I wonder if Docter ever sold any of them.

    Fo the shuttered versions, the numbers are quite small:
    Apo Germinar and Apo-Germinar W: Most serial numbers I received are below 1050, all are below 1100. This would indicate a maximum production of not more than 100 lenses per type.

    I had no responses on the Doctar WA and Germinar S lenses. For the Germinar W lenses, there seem to be at least 150 units of the 150mm version, lower than 50 for all others.

    The Tessars are more difficult to figure out. Apparently, serial numbers are not that consistent there, since I received 4 different nominations of Tessars without any serial number at all, one or two high serial numbers that still follow the Zeiss series (8XXX, 15XX) but are marked Docter otherwise, and several following the regular numbering scheme in the low 10XX range ? those are all below 1050.

    So far the numbers indicate a very low production for the 4-5 years Docter was making these lenses, but more input is needed.

    Please keep those numbers coming!

    Michael, thanks for the suggestion. I was not expecting any former Docter employees here. Unfortunately, the existing successor company does not have anything to do with the Saalfeld plant where the old lenses were made, but I will try if anybody can be found.

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