Tessar, Planar, Sonnar, Biogon and Distagon. These are all examples of famous ZEISS lens names. In this article series, we reveal how these names came about and the special characteristics of each lens. Today, we take a closer look at lenses that end with “gon”: Distagon, Biogon and Hologon.
Did you know that the common suffix “gon” in Distagon, Biogon and Hologon means these are all lenses with a large angular view? “Gon” comes from the Greek word “gonia” for “angle.” Like many other manufacturers, Carl Zeiss uses a common end syllable to create consistent naming for its wide-angle lenses. One of the earliest examples of this approach is the famous “Hypergon” from Goerz which had a 130° angular view. That created lots of excitement at the beginning of the 20th century, as did the later three ZEISS lens types Distagon, Biogon and Hologon.
In the following article, Dr. Hubert Nasse, Senior Scientist at the Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division, shares deeper insight into the construction of these three lens types — how they are built and how they function. He also describes their unique strengths and the more technical subtleties. Furthermore, he recounts the most important developments in the history of camera lenses. For example, you’ll learn why the image quality of the Biogon made wide-angle lenses so popular in the 1950s, or how the Distagon type established itself as the most important blueprint for building high-performance camera lenses, especially when photographers need a large angular field and a wide aperture.
You can find the whole article of Dr. Hubert Nasse here.
Carl Zeiss Lenses Team