Friday, December 11, 2009
Zeiss introduced the Tessar lens design by Paul Rudolph in 1902. I have examples on cameras dating from the early days to the middle of the Twentieth Century, and all perform marvelously. Zeiss early on licensed the design to other lens makers. When the patent ran out most other major camera manufacturers produced copies including Voigtländer which called its version the Color Skopar.
The name Zeiss chose for the original design is derived from the Greek word for "four", referring to the four-element, three group configuration. There are both front focus and unit focus versions, and the post-war lenses have contrast-enhancing coatings.