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Re: [Rollei] Opton vs Planar (was 6-element planar?)

fyodor   wrote:

> Would it be possible to please enlighten a newbie on the difference
> a Planar lens vs an Opton lens? I mean, is this just a difference in
> name/trademark/whatever, or is it just two VERY different lenses,
> quality?

Roughly: Zeiss, before WW2, was (mainly) located in what after the war
became East Germany. Important parts, but not all of it, were moved to the
"west", and the Carl Zeiss subsidiary in what became West Germany declared
itself to be the successor of the original company, claiming the name "Carl
Zeiss". Headquarters were in Oberkochen.
So after the war, there were two companies that both (justifiably) claimed
to be Zeiss. Lots of law suits followed, both sides, east and west,
contesting the right to use the Carl Zeiss name.

Meanwhile Zeiss Oberkochen (West Germany) products were sold in the west as
Zeiss-Opton (Opton being a contructed name, composed of parts of *Opt*ische
werke *O*berkoche*n*). The Opton add-on however was dropped very soon, about

But only in the "west". Due to continuing litigation, all Zeiss Oberkochen
products exported to Comecon countries were not allowed to bear the Zeiss
name anywhere, and consequently were marked as "OPTON Oberkochen" lenses.
Similarly, Planar and other Zeiss lens names were and are owned by Zeiss.
Since Oberkochen was not considered to be the legitimate continuation of
Zeiss, these names could not be used on any product exported to the "east".
They used "Pl" for Planar, "Di" for Distagon, etc. instead.
And conversely in the "west", products made by "Zeiss East" had to be
designated as such, and were sold under names of "Jenoptik" and in the UK
"Carl Zeiss Jena".

So it's indeed just a difference in trademark.