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Massive telephoto lens puts Zeiss to the test

10 Oct 2006

German firm comes up with a lens weighing 256 kg to satisfy a wildlife photographer.

Carl Zeiss has developed what it claims is the world's largest telephoto lens for civilian use. Designed for long distance wildlife photography, the lens provides 21x magnification and weighs a cumbersome 256 kg.

"We had to develop a new way of operating a telephoto lens," revealed the firm. "The T*4/1700 includes servo controlled aiming and focusing systems similar to those found in large telescopes."

Assembly techniques were also pushed to the limit as the company had never cast its delicate glass in such huge dimensions before. Costing more than a luxury car, some of the lens blanks weighed more than 25 kg.

The final lens had a focal length of 1700 mm, a speed of f/4 and consisted of 15 optical elements arranged in 13 groups. It was on display at the Photokina trade show, which took place in Cologne, Germany, from 26 September - 1 October.

Author

James Tyrrell is News Editor of Optics & Laser Europe magazine and a contributor to optics.org.

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