Dr. Winfried Scherle, head of the newly minted ZEISS business division Consumer Optics. (Images: Ralf A. Niggemann)
Dr. Winfried Scherle, head of the newly minted ZEISS business division Consumer Optics. (Images: Ralf A. Niggemann)

Carl Zeiss Sports Optics

Precision on Eye Level

Dr. Winfried Scherle is very familiar with the products of the ZEISS business divisions Sports Optics and Camera Lenses. At the corporate headquarters in Wetzlar, the head of the newly minted ZEISS business division Consumer Optics explains how they can harness the best of both worlds.

The lower edge of the ZEISS brand logo is concavely arched. Under this imaginary umbrella, a large number of corporate and business divisions famously have their long-established sites. The three business units Sports Optics in Wetzlar, Camera Lenses in Oberkochen and planetariums in Jena are now being merged into a new division of the company called Consumer Optics. True to the motto of the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the company is not intending to make everything different, but to make a lot of things better under the umbrella of this strong brand.

About a year ago, the corporate management discussed the idea of bringing the consumer divisions, in particular Sports Optics and Photography, closer together. In the months that followed, the people responsible set the course for the planned change of track behind the scenes. The first signs of closer ties between Sports Optics and the Camera Lenses business could be seen at the photokina fair: ZEISS presented a seamless and coherent display of its latest sports optics and brand-new lenses at its 800 square meter fairstand.

The strong charisma of the ZEISS brand

As Head of Consumer Optics, Dr. Winfried Scherle played a major role in promoting closer cooperation between the two divisions. “The consumer divisions of ZEISS are extremely important for brand perception. The merger will make us even stronger.” Photokina already showed that the move has given a further boost to the already strong charisma of the ZEISS brand as a heavyweight among sports optics and lens producers.

Obviously, not every new or young customer will instantly decide to buy one of ZEISS’ premium products. But it’s equally obvious that a company can only pick potential new customers up where they are with a diverse range of products. No matter whether ZEISS pitches itself as an independent lens partner for Sony, Nikon, Canon or Leica, or targets its products at the lifestyle needs of a younger group: “It ultimately depends on what and how you want to photograph or observe in individual cases. Customers don’t confine themselves to premium-range products as a matter of principle,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle, “but every product bearing the ZEISS name must have ZEISS quality inside it.”

In the company itself, Dr. Scherle is hoping for closer cooperation and a more intensive exchange of ideas and experience on cross-sectional topics to advance the development of new technologies or high-end optic solutions in the consumer divisions. “We live a shared corporate and brand culture which is reflected in our products. So it’s only natural for us to have an intensive exchange of ideas on current and future topics,” emphasizes Dr. Winfried Scherle.

Consumer divisons at very high standard

Dr. Scherle knows from his own experience that the developments of ZEISS are already of a very high standard. As a passionate photographer and nature watcher, he can always see his business from the viewpoint of the discerning customer. The weeks before photokina he spent on safari in Tanzania, equipped with the brand-new binoculars Victory SF, a Victory DiaScope and the latest generation of ZEISS camera lenses. “That was naturally a unique experience with many very special moments,” says Scherle with obvious enthusiasm.

In moments like that – whether captured through binoculars, a scope, or a photo or movie camera – optics make all the difference. That’s what ZEISS products have in common. In the fall of 2013 ZEISS launched a series of ultra high-speed premium lenses called Otus for mirrorless full-format cameras. At Photokina the Otus 1.4/85 was distinguished with the CHIP Photo Award for the best full-format DSLR lens. ZEISS also presented two brand-new lenses of the Loxia series, which integrate de-click technology to allow stepless aperture adjustment and are therefore ideal for semi-professional video recordings.

Reference class – made in Wetzlar

Word had already got around before photokina that ZEISS has the world’s brightest premium binoculars, featuring 95 per cent transmission. In its February 2014 issue, the birdwatching magazine “VÖGEL” gave the following test verdict: “The Zeiss Victory HT scores top marks for light transmission. The combination of outstanding resolving power and excellent contrast culminates in impressively sharp images.” However, the new reference class in bird and nature watching is the ZEISS Victory SF. The newly designed, highly innovative Ultra FL optics system delivers superlative image quality, even better color rendering and excellent edge-to-edge sharpness. ZEISS presented the Victory SF to the international press and public for the first time in June 2014 – in Wetzlar.

“We have to go on proving this technological expertise at our company locations for each new development,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle. That’s another reason why he sees the close cooperation between Sports Optics and Camera Lenses as a great opportunity to strengthen the brand in the long term – for both locations alike.


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