Zeiss rumored to bring back Biotar lenses

Zeiss is rumored to bring back their Biotar lenses (specifically the Biotar 1.5/75). Recently (April 2017) there was a new trademark registration for the name Biotar:

Update #1: the Biotar name could be trademarked by Meyer Optik Görlitz (Globell Deutschland, subsidiary of the 'net SE' group, is the company behind the Meyer-Optik Görlitz venture).

Update #2: I can now confirm that a new Biotar 75mm f/1.5 lens will be announced soon.

Via LeicaRumors

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  • Jeffry De Meyer

    I hope they aren’t planning on making zeiss the next lensbaby, lomography, meyer optics BS lens brand.

    • Zos Xavius

      What if they sold it for a reasonable price? Don’t forget that many of these newer throw back lenses have super weak coatings. A biotar with modern coatings would be nice.

    • abortabort

      Zeiss could do with some ‘character’ lenses IMO. None of those lenses are RF coupled, if this was and wasn’t horrendously priced I’d be interested.

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        Leave that to lensbaby, might be fun to use once in a blue moon but but not at the insane prices that are demanded.

        That over hyped fad is going to burn out

        • Zos Xavius


          • Jeffry De Meyer

            Have you seen them in the wild?
            Have you seen them in a brick and mortar store?
            Have you seen them in a webstore that offered them not just on special order?

          • Zos Xavius

            There seems to be demand. Mostly by hipsters I would assume. And phoblographer readers. (is there a difference?) I don’t know if that will be a fad or not. There have always been cult classic lenses people have sought after for their unique abilities. The helios 44 comes to mind immediately. Lots of portrait artists right now are trying medium format film just for something different. I think there is always a market for such things. People will always seek out something that gives them an edge or allows themselves to differentiate from everyone else. I would actually be more interested in a few of these lenses if they weren’t so expensive. I guess the economies of scale force the manufacturer’s hands on pricing. I get that and its hard to fault them really. Unless its blatant rebadged lenses that are sold for far, far less. Meyer Gorlitz is the worst at this.

          • Les

            It’s not just “hipsters.” Most modern high-end lenses are designed to test well on 50+ MP sensors, and that can make them a bit sterile. A lot of pictures benefit from flare and soft corners and odd highlights.

          • Zos Xavius

            Oh for sure. I love vintage lenses for a lot of those reasons.

  • J.L. Williams

    Has anybody here actually owned and used a 75mm f/1.5 Biotar besides me? I’m guessing maybe not… anyway, like a lot of ’50s super-speed lenses, it was fairly sharp in the center even at full aperture, but flarey and smeary off-axis, even when stopped down quite a bit. Using it was frustrating: once in a while it would give you an absolutely beautiful, one-of-a-kind image; most of the time it would just be mushy and boring; and usually you couldn’t tell in advance which result you’d get!

    Build quality was pretty miserable, too, although that was because it came from the East German Carl Zeiss Jena works rather than the West German Zeiss branch (the West Germans never did make a 75/1.5; they’re all from Jena.) Presumably Zeiss will get that sorted out this time, although I’ll bet they charge plenty for it! Still, there seems to be an inexplicable trend of people being willing to pay a lot for mostly-crappy-lenses-of-the-’50s, so Zeiss might just as well get some of that money as the next guys…

    • Les

      I had one, back in the day. Unfortunately it was stolen…
      The lens was great for taming Kodachrome contrast. A multicoated version wouldn’t be as flare-prone. There
      s nothing wrong with a lens that favours a distinctive look over “perfection.”

  • TinusVerdino

    Why not, everybody else is doing it

    • Mistral75

      …including Leica and Voigtländer (Cosina), so why not Zeiss?

  • Mistral75

    Life is a constant succession of new beginnings…

    1927: Willi Merté calculated the first Biotar, a 50mm f/1.4 for cinematography
    1938: Willi Merté calculated the Biotar 75mm f/1.5
    1950: Д. С. Волосов (D. S. Volosov) calculated the Гелиос-40 (Helios-40) 85mm f/1.5 on the basis of the Carl Zeiss Biotar 75mm f/1.5
    2014: Meyer-Optik Görlitz issued the 85 mm f/1.4 Somnium, a rebadged Helios-40-2 85 mm f/1.5
    2018(?): Zeiss will resurrect the Biotar 75mm f/1.5.


    • Mistral75

      Oups, the resurrector is not Zeiss but the company behind Meyer-Optik Görlitz…

  • Les

    It occurs to me that this may be a way to keep the Planar 85 design in production, without explicitly admitting that the Milvus and Otus 85 are too sharp for portraits. Let’s hope they can have the MFD at 80cm like the later two lenses, not 1m like the Planar.

    • Mistral75

      The original Biotar 75mm f/1.5 had a minimum focussing distance of 80cm.

    • MB

      Planar and Biotar were not the same lenses …
      Planar was Paul Rudolph symmetric Gauss design and Biotar was based on newer 1925 Schneider Xenon asymmetric Gauss design …
      Although after the WW II all Gauss type lenses made by West Germany Zeiss were called Planar … for example Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 is much more similar to original Biotar than it is to Planar …
      The question is why this old/new Biotar name now?

      • Mistral75

        > The question is why this old/new Biotar name now?

        Guess who registered the Biotar brand in January 2017? The company behind Meyer-Optik Görlitz…

        • MB

          Oh shut…

  • Mistral75

    From the WIPO database: the company that registered the Biotar brand on January 23rd, 2017 is named Globell B.V.


    Does this name ring a bell? Globell Deutschland, subsidiary of the ‘net SE’ group, is the company behind the Meyer-Optik Görlitz venture…


    • oh yea, I forgot post the original link:


    • So basically Meyer Optik registered the Biotar name after Zeiss let it expire years ago. Smooth move 🙂

      • Mistral75

        More to come on Kickstarter 🙂

        • Yes, coming soon 🙂 I just don’t understand why Zeiss did not continue to pay for the trademark. Maybe I should look around and register a few expired old trademarks 🙂

          • Mistral75

            The Western Zeiss (Oberkochen) never cared about the Biotar brand name. Its registration was maintained by the Eastern Zeiss (VEB Pentacon Dresden being its last incarnation) until the collapse of the Kombinat (liquidated by the Treuhandanstalt in 1990).

      • Mistral75

        By the way, the company that registered in Glaukar brand name is… net SE.

        This is the whole same bunch in disguise!

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