Zeiss has stopped making photography lenses — or has it?

Reports appeared online this week claiming that Zeiss was leaving the photography world and would stop manufacturing cameras and lenses. However, no sooner than the story surfaced, another appeared to counter the claim. So, what’s actually going on?

The first rumor

The story began with a post on the online forum at the Fred Miranda website. A forum user with the name Petegh posted: “Hi all, I just had confirmation today from the Australian distributor that Zeiss is discontinuing all of their still lenses and filters: no more Loxia, Batis, etc. End of an era.” This forum post also then led to a story on The Photoblographer website.

What’s being discontinued?

Digging deeper into the initial rumor, it appears that it was only the photography lenses and filters that were allegedly being discontinued. These included Zeiss Batis, Milvus, Otus and Loxia lenses. Although they were sold for still photography, many video shooters also used these lenses. However, it’s notable that there was no mention of Zeiss’s cinematography lenses, such as the Supreme Prime or Compact Prime ranges.

What has Zeiss said?

It’s important to remind you at this point that Zeiss hasn’t officially said anything about discontinuing products. In fact, the Zeiss websites in the U.S. and the U.K. are still showcasing all the photography lenses that are supposed to be discontinued. Despite the lack of an official statement from Zeiss, however, the online community seemed resigned to the fate of some of its favorite lenses.

The second rumor

There still hasn’t been a public statement from Zeiss. However, the Sony Alpha Rumors website published an answer that photographer Greg Waterman got from Zeiss. Waterman is also a Zeiss Lens Ambassa and has contact with the company. Zeitold told Waterman: “ZEISS has not withdrawn from the photo lens market. A simple look at Zeiss.com or Amazon.com shows that we are still promoting and selling our photo lenses.”

Global market decline

In its response to Waterman, Zeiss also said: “But we have to face the facts. In the first months of the pandemic, the global market declined significantly and irreversibly. And companies have to adapt. And, of course, we are bringing our unique expertise to mobile imaging. Because it is also clear that consumers, as well as ambitious and professional photographers, increasingly prefer their smartphones for all-day photography.”

What we think

This is a story that appears to have come and gone in a matter of days and without an official statement from Zeiss. However, the company’s response to Greg Waterman does seem to indicate that Zeiss is considering its future. As well as photography and cinematography lenses, the company has supplied camera lenses to several smartphone manufacturers. The company also manufactures optical medical products such as lenses for spectacles and medical equipment. The past year has already several of companies review their photography equipment ranges as more people rely on smartphones rather than separate cameras. It would appear that Zeiss is now starting that same process. As soon as the company makes an official statement, we will bring it to you.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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