I have a Sony CyberShot camera and I don't know why they use a lens in the camera. What is a Carl Zeiss lens?

up vote 12 down vote accepted

A lens is needed to focus light on imaging sensor. For example, here's an image taken without lens attached to camera:

sample image taken without lens

For comparison, same scene taken with a lens attached:

enter image description here

Carl Zeiss is a German manufacturer well known for carefully designed good quality optics; see also what makes a Carl Zeiss lens so special in a smartphone (the reasons are similar for a pocket camera).

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    Three people have starred this thread. Good job Imre :) – dpollitt Jan 17 '12 at 3:23
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    One minor detail: Carl Zeiss no longer does much manufacturing. At least in Sony's case, the design and QA are done by Zeiss, but the manufacturing is done by Sony. One other minor detail: a lens is used to focus the light but isn't truly needed (as I'm sure @Imre already knows, a small hole can do the job as well). – Jerry Coffin Jan 17 '12 at 8:09

A Carl Ziess lens refers to the name of the lens designer and manufacturer. In the days of 35mm film cameras these lenses were considered to be almost the best available. Cameras I had back then with a Carl Ziess lens certainly took great shots. Today I suspect these lenses rely on past reputation rather than being particularly superior to other top lenses.

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