April 16, 1945, the Soviet Union engages the last Nazi forces in what would be called later the Battle of Berlin. World War II is at an end. The American army is rushing towards the East, and enters the little town of Jena, 160 miles southwest of Berlin, heavily bombed by the allies.
Knowing the War was about to end, and anticipating what was about to follow, Americans started to gather all scientists, patents, documents, to exfiltrate German knowledge to the USA, or at least west of Berlin (Operation Paperclip). Jena hosted one of the best optical industries in the world: the Carl Zeiss factory.
Before June, all the vital documents, and the leading specialist staff was deported to Heidenheim a.d. Brenz in the west. In July, the split of Germany was decided and Soviets occupied Jena. Before 1947 came, the Soviets transferred the whole dismantled production line and the engineers and workers to USSR, to the Kiev Arsenal, an ancient factory founded in 1764, and re-established for the occasion. Kiev Arsenal started to produce lenses labelled as Carl Zeiss Jena, in Kiev, using the same material and machinery. After a few years, they introduced their own lenses, using the exact same optical formulas and global construction. The Jupiter lenses were born: the exact copy of the famous pre-war Carl Zeiss Sonnar (1930), for at least 100 times cheaper.
The one mounted on the Voigtlander Bessa R is from 1959, with the cyrillic inscription. I bought it on eBay for $30, and came with an orange filter. When I received it, I understood why it was so cheap. The focusing ring was completely stuck. I had to dismantle the lens, clean and degrease every single thread, lubricate with lithium grease, and put everything back in place. I guarantee that the process was long and frustrating. But in the end, it was worth it. Here are some pictures taken the same day as the Minox post. It is a perfect old-school lens: Really sharp, with strong vignetting and sensitive to flare.
Voigtlander Bessa R, Jupiter 8 – TMAX 100 / Dev. Caffenol C-L
Source : Carl Zeiss website