The lens manufacturers and their brands
Anyone looking for an overview of the current lens brands and their manufacturers today can easily lose track of them. Christoph Jehle took it upon himself to compile an alphabetical list of the producers and the photo and cine lens brands that are still in use today. From the tradition of the production of lenses for pictorial photography, the production of lenses for special optics and industrial image processing has developed in numerous cases.
7Artisans Photoelectric Technology Co., Ltd is based in Shenzhen. Manual fixed focal lengths such as the APS-C 35 mm F0.95 are offered. Connections are available for various camera systems. As in the case of TTArtisan, components of the 7Artisan lenses are to be produced by DJ Optical. The appearance of both brands is very similar.
DZOfilm is a cine lens manufacturer based in Shenzhen, China. The current range includes, for example, two zoom lenses 20-70mm T2.9 (Linglung) and 20-55mm T2.8 (Pictor-Zoom) for MFT, 7 fixed focal lengths (Vespid Prime) with PL or EF connection as well as various lens Adapter.
Alpa was originally and until 1990 the brand name for SLR cameras manufactured in Switzerland by Pignons SA Ballaigues. In 1996 Capaul & Weber acquired the trademark rights in order to have been manufacturing professional medium format cameras in collaboration with the Seitz company in Lustdorf.
In addition to lenses manufactured by Rodenstock for Alpa, Alpa also offers Cine Primes under the name Alpa Switar .
The Angénieux lens brand (or P. Angénieux, named after the founder Pierre Angénieux ) was founded in 1935. Angénieux was a pioneer of retrofocus constructions, supplying Alpa, Leica and Arri, among others, and later with its 10x zoom lens such as Beaulieu and Kodak. Angénieux maintained an intensive cooperation with NASA, in particular for equipping the space shuttle and equipping the Ranger, Apollo and Gemini missions as well as the Skylab. Today Angénieux is part of the Thales Group. In addition to special optics, the development and manufacture of cine lenses is now Angénieux's core business.
The film camera manufacturer can look back on many years of experience in the development, commissioning and marketing of lenses in so-called co-branding. Even Zeiss lenses were extensively tested piece by piece after their arrival in Munich. ARRI has also been an independent lens brand since 2018. The Arri Signature family consists of 16 prime lenses, four zoom lenses and an extender and covers a focal length range from 12 to 510 mm. The lenses are developed and produced according to Arri's specifications by a Japanese premium optics manufacturer. Every lens goes through an Arri internal quality control before it is delivered to the customer. In addition, Arri Rental also has cine lenses that can only be borrowed, such as newly mounted Hasselblad lenses.
The Arsat lenses for medium and 35mm format go back to the Arsenal factory in Kiev, Ukraine. The name has been used since the 1990s. With these lenses it is unclear whether and where they are currently being produced.
Brightin Star is the brand of Shenzhen Yinyao Technology Co., Ltd., which was founded in June 2018 and is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. The range mainly includes short focal length lenses, which are also marketed under other brands such as Pergear in Hong Kong.
Canon has focused more and more on fully automatic production since the AE and has also implemented this for many lenses, which has kept a considerable part of the production in Japan. Production takes place primarily in the Utsunomiya plant, which was built in 2005. Some lenses are now produced in the Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd plant, founded in 1988 in Shah Alam, Selangor on the Malaysia peninsula. Like Thailand, Malaysia has now built up an extensive supply industry for optical manufacturers. (
Cooke brand lenses have been manufactured by Cooke Optics Limited in Thurmaston, Leicester, since 1893. Large format lenses for photography as well as numerous cine lenses including anamorphic ones are produced. A bottleneck in the photographic lenses could be the required central locks.
Edmund Optics from New Jersey, which has been active since 1942, not only sells numerous brands, but also has its own production facilities in Japan, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore. The lenses are mostly used in industrial image processing and are supplied with a Nikon F bayonet, for example.
Founded in 1934, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd (later Fujifilm) began manufacturing lenses and optical systems in its main plant in Odawara in 1940 and selling them under the brand name «Fujinon». One of their technological milestones in 1972 was the electron beam coating (EBC) with which new materials could be applied to the lens surface in up to 14 layers in order to achieve better transmission. Fujifilm develops and produces photo and cine lenses for their cameras, especially for the mirrorless models of the X line, but also for large format cameras and for video and TV applications. In addition, the Zeiss Touit series is manufactured for APS-C cameras of the Sony Alpha series with E-mount. There is also a cooperation between Fujifilm and Hasselblad.
The founding of Nikon Corporation dates back to 1917 when Nikon manufactured optical glasses and turned to lens manufacturing in 1925. Nikon has been part of the Mitsubishi Group since it was founded. In addition to cameras and lenses, Nikon also produces microscopes, binoculars and steppers. The Nikon Corporation last operated three lens factories in Japan with the Nagai plant in Nagai City in the Yamagata prefecture and the Aizu plant in Tadami Town in the Fukushima prefecture, both part of the Tochigi Nikon Corporation, and a plant in Otawara City. Japanese production, mainly industrial lenses, is to be concentrated in Otawara City in 2021. Most of the Nikkor lenses have been coming from the Nikon factories in Ayutthaya / Thailand, which were built in the 1990s, for some time. in which most Nikon cameras are also manufactured.
Phenix Optics Co., Ltd is a Chinese optics manufacturer that previously produced the then Yashica FX3 for Yashica / Kyocera at times, and on this basis numerous modifications. There were also numerous zoom lenses for small images. According to recent information, lenses for video surveillance systems, industrial image processing and microscopes are mainly produced today. Phenix Optics Co., Ltd., European plant in Baiersdorf near Erlangen, has existed since 2020.
The roots of the Korean manufacturer Samyang Optical Co., Ltd go back to the 1972 founding of Korea Wako Co., Ltd. Known in the beginning for simple manual fixed focal lengths, the production has now been expanded significantly and under the name Xeen they also manufacture cine primes. In addition to manual photo optics, AF lenses have also appeared in recent years, which are also sold under the Samyang brand in the USA as Rokinon.
After the Jos. Schneider Optische Werke GmbH in Bad Kreuznach had withdrawn from the sale of photo lenses, certain lenses are still available through Schneider's trading partners. The Schneider-Kreuznach Apo Digitar 4.5 / 90 lens head is sold by Novoflex. The Schneider-Kreuznach brand enlarging lenses are sold by Kaiser Photo Technology in Buchen in the Odenwald. The Schneider Kreuznach lenses sold by Phase One are models manufactured in Japan by Phase One.
Shanghai Seagull Digital & Image Co., Ltd. was one of the largest Chinese camera manufacturers under license from Minolta in analog times. Obviously, digitization has lost touch. Finally, an optical angle finder from Seagull was on the market.
Founded in 1961, the Japanese Sigma Corporation is headquartered in Kanagawa and manufactures digital cameras, system flash units and interchangeable lenses at its Aizu plant in Fukushima Prefecture. One of the special features of the interchangeable lenses from Sigma is the option of having the connection changed in the Contemporary, Art and Sports product lines.