Zeiss hasn't left the photo business… but hasn't launched a lens in 4 years

Zeiss lens
(Image credit: Zeiss)

Hypothetical question: You used to be a basketball player in high school. Fast-forward almost half a decade, and you haven't played basketball since – but are you still a basketball player, if you never officially stated that you'd stopped playing? 

Completely unrelated topic: Legendary lens manufacturer Zeiss has insisted that it has not, in fact, left the photographic lens business – despite not launching a new photographic lens in over four years.

• What are the best camera lenses to buy?

Recently there have been widespread reports that Zeiss had left the photo lens market. These ostensibly started following a post on the Fred Miranda forums, though we've been painfully aware that Zeiss hasn't released a new photo lens since 2019 (having focused instead on cinema lenses). Either way, word made its way from Zeiss insisting that it is not, in fact, leaving the photo lens industry. 

Another completely unrelated topic: Olympus repeatedly insisted that it was not, in fact, leaving the camera industry until, shortly thereafter said insistence, it left the camera industry.

Regardless, here's what Zeiss had to say (in an incredibly roundabout way, via a statement published by Sony Alpha Rumors, via a query from inquisitive Zeiss ambassador Greg Watermann):

"Zeiss has not withdrawn from the photo lens market.

A simple look at https://www.zeiss.com/consumer-products/int/photography.html or Amazon.com shows that we are still promoting and selling our photo lenses.

But we have to face the facts. In the first months of the pandemic, the global market declined significantly and irreversibly. And companies have to adapt.

And, of course, we are bringing our unique expertise to mobile imaging. Because it is also clear that consumers, as well as ambitious and professional photographers, increasingly prefer their smartphones for all-day photography."

So, there you have it. If, by 'we're not actually making any new photo lenses but we're still selling the ones we made over four years ago' you infer 'we're still in the photo lens market', then Zeiss is still in the photo lens market. Just don't hold your breath for an actual new lens.

Looking for great Zeiss glass? Check out our reviews of the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8, the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 and the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.