Keppler’s Vault 28: The German Camera Industry Part 2

This week, I bring to you the second part of a large 42 page special section in the May 1956 issue of Popular Photography where they took a look at the state of the German Camera Industry.  You can read the first part here.

The May 1956 issue of Pop Photo.

Like the previous part, this entire section is made up entirely of 1-2 page short articles about various German optics companies telling a brief history of the company and what they were up to at the time.  Interspersed in between the articles are a selection of wonderful period advertisements showing cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment that was available at the time.  Whether you enjoy reading the history of the various companies or browsing through the ads, there’s certainly something here for everyone.

The beginning of part two starts off with a one-two punch of two of Germany’s biggest names, the Carl Zeiss Foundation and Voigtländer.  Both articles focus (pun intended) on the optical lens aspect of both companies, with a later article about Zeiss-Ikon cameras later in the section.  As I continue to collect and use old cameras, the thing that never ceases to amaze me is how good lenses were back then.  The sharpness of digital sensors today on DSLR and mirrorless cameras are resolving detail in classic lenses that guys like Abbe and Petzval could have never imagined!

I wonder if any of the lenses being completed in this image taken at the Schneider-Kreuznach factory are in my collection.

Not to be outdone, the third article is dedicated to Schneider-Kreuznach, a company responsible for some of the highest quality lenses of the 20th century.  You don’t have to collect cameras for long to come across one of their Xenar or Xenon lenses.  Schneider lenses were found on some of the most basic folding cameras along with professional press and studio cameras.

Not to be outdone by the bigger German companies, there’s also information in here about Linhof, Diax, King, Steinheil, Balda and more.  Take some time and look through the rest of this special section and there’s bound to be something interesting worth reading.

Here is the gallery below.  Last week, I had someone contact me saying the article text was very small and very hard to read.  Each of these images are scanned in at a resolution of at least 3000 pixels.  Once you have the gallery open, there should be a link on each page to open it up full size and easily read the text.  Please let me know if that’s not working.

All scans used with permission by Marc Bergman, 2019.

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