This is the worst „Zeiss“ camera ever made: The East German Beirette SL100N from 1988. I found it in a box while rearranging my collection. It is made of cheap plastic of the kind that would break to thousand pieces in the case of falling down. The camera was offered in different colours: pink, green, red and yellow and looks obviously like a toy-camera and was the cheaper version of the SL100, which was a cheap camera itself. “SL” means: “Schnell-Lade-System”, a quick loading system similar to the Agfa Rapid-System. The “Beirette” was a well known model series back then in the GDR, once produced by Woldemar Beier, later by “VEB Pentacon” and finally from 1985 by “VEB Carl Zeiss Jena”. The impressive technical specifications: Chromar lens 1:11 / 42, shutter: 1/30, 1/60 ( guessed, nobody knows exactly ) and T, three distance settings by symbols. The second picture shows the “Zeiss”-logo on the back. Mister Carl would turn over in his grave, if he sees this model with his name on it…
I am going to have to agree with you on that one. Looks like it was made with left over Trabant bodies or maybe they melted these down to make Trabant bodies. Not a high point in CZJ history I am sure.
Just shows you the sort of thing that happened when an old-established company with a reputation for quality became a VEB.
VEB stands for Volkseigener Betrieb, or loosely "people-owned factory" AKA owned by the state and dictated to by beaurocrats.
As well as their normal production, VEBs made what they were told to make, or else ...
... or else their supplies of raw materials seemed unaccountably to be delayed a month - or three months - or six months -
Carl Zeiss was a powerful enough economic force to resist many directives as a VEB, but the company probably turned out this "Zeiss Bierette" to keep the beaurocrats quiet.
Despite the Iron Curtain and the Cold War there were still links between Zeiss West and Carl Zeiss in Jena Many of their staff had been colleagues before Germany collapsed in 1945.
There's a story that Zeiss West sent a letter to Carl Zeiss VEB addressed to "Carl Zeiss VEB, Bierette Hersteller, Jena" (Carl Zeiss VEB, Bierette Maker, Jena). Inside it said "Glückwünsche auf Ihrer spätesten Kamera" (Congratulations on your latest camera).
Who said the Germans don't have a sense of humour?
I had, by marriage an 'uncle' who worked for Zeiss Optical in New York for many years. He was from Dresden, originally. I never asked him if he had worked in the camera/optical business pre-war: he would have been mid to late twenties when it all began, so there is a possibility. However, it's too late now as he died a few years ago.
Post by John Parry on Jul 26, 2010 16:11:39 GMT -5
Taken any pictures with the Beirette Mik? They could surprise you.
I've got a camera in my pocket (my mobile phone) with a Carl Zeiss lens on it. Wouldn't like to say whether it came from the east or the west, but it's a pretty good camera (Cybershot).
No, I should re-phrase that - I don't know if the lens came from the factory in the east or that in the west of Germany, but it wouldn't concern me either way. CZJ, Mayer-Goerlitz, or Pentacon as they all became known, didn't make much bad glass. Some of their lenses weren't as good as others (compare Domiplan with Flektogon) but as with all else, you got what you paid for. And I've found the Domiplan lenses to be pretty bomb-proof and functional.
I had (still have - in bits - I think) a Praktica LLC. Most of my photos in the early '70s would have been taken on it. I think the lens was an Orestor 50 1.8 (I shall have to check this out). It gave pretty good results. It wasn't the best build quality there has ever been. I bought the Topcon to replace it: now that has build quality.