Photokina 2012: Carl Zeiss Stand Report

The Carl Zeiss stand's giant walk-through lens display has become a familiar feature at trade shows, but everything else on the stand seems very contemporary.

In addition to its expensive, fast, high-precision prime lenses for stills photography, Zeiss is showing off its growing range of CP.2 Cine primes for DSLR movie shooting, including examples on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

There are also mock-ups of two of the three high-end primes Zeiss is going to build for Sony's E-mount and Fujifilm's X-mount. The lenses, a 12mm F2.8, 32mm F1.8 and 50mm F2.8 Macro will each cost around €1000 / $1300. Having licensed the lens mount protocols, Zeiss will not have to reverse-engineer the AF systems and said it will work in partnership with both camera makes, and build on the knowledge of autofocus lenses it has developed in its work with Sony.

There's also a prototype of the 55mm F1.4 manual focus SLR lens the company announced just prior to the show.

Some parts of the Zeiss stand are familiar... ...such as the walk-through lens.
But AF lenses for mirrorless cameras are definitely new. This is a prototype of the 2.8/12, which will be available for Fujifilm X-mount and Sony E-mount
This is the 1.8/32, again shown in prototype form on a Fujifilm X-Pro1. The lens will also be available for Sony NEX cameras. The 2.8/50 Makro isn't on display
A Blackmagic Cinema Camera helps demonstrate Zeiss' CP.2 Cine primes  
The Distagon 1.4/55mm is new. Here it is in ZF.2 (Nikon) mount. There's also an APO Sonnar 2/135 for both ZE (Canon) and ZF.2.
Crowds playing with pricey primes The Carl Zeiss lens in Nokia's 808 Pureview is also on show.

Comments

Total comments: 32
Gesture
By Gesture (Sep 20, 2012)

Here is a company extending its reputation while respecting and building on its heritage, not ...

1 upvote
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Sep 20, 2012)

???

5 upvotes
Ansel Spear
By Ansel Spear (Sep 20, 2012)

????????????????????

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 20, 2012)

I'm assuming it's a dig at Hasselblad.

1 upvote
PatMann
By PatMann (Sep 20, 2012)

How about some fast wide primes for Nikon DX? Even AF would be OK. Nikon's not doing it. How about an 18 f/2, a 23 f/1.4?
Customers waiting.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Sep 20, 2012)

Probably wont happen as Zeiss dont see DX as something viable for them. Remember that they do AF lens only for Sony and rest is manual focus only.

Reason for not making DX or APS-C lens is simple. OVF in DX bodies is quite small and unless you fit microprism focus screen, pretty hard to focus by hand. Unlike mirrorless which feature EVF and manual focus is easy.

Plus apparently they believe in future of mirrorless (which is completely understandable). Im quite suprised that they even make some lens for those. But truth is that they sell well and their lens will probably too (as plenty of ppl already use Zeiss lens on NEX).

They cant make AF lens for Nikon/Canon, cause that would require reverse engineering (like Sigma does).

I think reason is part practical use, part "where most money goes". And that certainly aint regular APS-C dSLRs.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Aperture Geek
By Aperture Geek (Sep 20, 2012)

I don't understand the great desire for DX lenses. The reverse would makes sense. A person with an FX wanting a lens only made in DX. A good example would be the 18-200mm DX Nikon that was finally available in an FX Nikon version in the new 28-300mm. FX lenses work great on DX bodies! Nikon makes a very sharp 24mm F1.4 (close enough to a 23mm F1.4).

It's this design logic that will bring high end (big dollar) lenses to FX and not DX. The FX version works on both!

1 upvote
Zalan
By Zalan (Sep 20, 2012)

It is simple, an FX lens on DX has different field of view, so it becomes a different lens. I would want an 20mm equivalent and not a 20mm lens for DX. There is a big difference between the two.

0 upvotes
Brad Morris
By Brad Morris (Sep 21, 2012)

55/1.4 makes a great DX portrait focal length

0 upvotes
noegd
By noegd (Sep 19, 2012)

Didn't they announce a surprise for ZM lovers? I did not read anything new in Leica M mount...

1 upvote
km25
By km25 (Sep 19, 2012)

Haaayyyy Zeiss, can you hear me, how about that 24mm f1.8 in the X-pro mount.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (Sep 19, 2012)

Zeiss with AF? Holy cow I will have to buy Fuji X-E1!!!

1 upvote
Mitch Orra
By Mitch Orra (Sep 19, 2012)

What about the promised surprise for M-mount?

0 upvotes
RubberDials
By RubberDials (Sep 19, 2012)

'The lens will also be available for Sony NEX cameras.'

LOL

How many X-pro users are there? You mean: 'The lens will also be available for the Fuji X-Pro 1. '

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 19, 2012)

Given the picture is of the X-mount version, the E-mount version has to be the 'also.'

And these lenses will be relatively expensive - it may be the case that it's only the users of higher-end NEXs that buy them - at which point that number may not dwarf the X-mount crowd by as much as you think.

1 upvote
Roberts_J
By Roberts_J (Sep 19, 2012)

But there is another question: How many NEX users will buy expensive prime lenses and how many X-PRO1/X-E1 users will buy these ZEISS lenses. And I think relationship there will not be the same as relationship between Fuji Xmount users amd NEX users. I will not be surprised if ZEISS will sell lenses for X mount in the same quantity as for E mount.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Sep 19, 2012)

The Flickr group for the X-Pro1 has over 2,000 users, and with the addition of the new X-E1, expect the number of X-Mount users to grow exponentially. I've pre-ordered the X-E1 which should offer the same class leading IQ as the X-Pro1. So, you're probably one of the only who finds humor in Zeiss targeting the exciting new X-Mount cameras.

2 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Sep 19, 2012)

Leica owners like retro. Guess what, a lot of them would dig the xp1. So it is not that huge of a difference. It's not all one sided, until the ff nex is here...

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

To back Roberts_J
The question is: how many NEX users are there that would care to buy expensive primes? The only people I can think of are NEX7 users. On the other hand, Fuji has two cameras aimed squarely at the serious photogs who could more readily spend money on expensive glass.
I would bet Zeiss will sell more XF lenses than E.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
RubberDials
By RubberDials (Sep 20, 2012)

To R Butler and others: There are four photos of the X-Pro with the Zeiss lenses - if there were no demo lenses on a NEX fine, otherwise it's curious, especially since Zeiss is Sony's lens partner and there has famously been great hunger amongst NEX users for monofocal lenses.

E-mount is also a pro video mount. There will never be even a tenth as many X mount users as E mount, however 'exponentially ' it grows.

To Gully Foyle - Read Alfred Bester when I was teenager - great writer!

0 upvotes
Aperture Geek
By Aperture Geek (Sep 20, 2012)

I'm a long time Nikon user and have an XPro1. I would love to pick up a Zeiss lens and perhaps a Leica lens for my Fuji! I think the growing interest in the X camera line is great. I'm sure there are more Sony owners out there but that shouldn't matter to Zeiss who already owns that market. I think there is demand for fine optics in many camera mounts. Glad the X mount is next up!

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 20, 2012)

Gully Foyle - Sony has 2 cameras as well. NEX6 suers will surely be interested in them as well.

Besides: NEX7 users outnumber all users of Fuji system in ratio 10:1, lol

2 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 20, 2012)

Considering the Sony Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens is practically out of stock most of the time I would wager a lot of Sony users would buy these Zeiss lenses.

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 21, 2012)

We'll probably never know how many M mount lenses have been or will be sold to NEX users. From what I've seen, I conclude that the E mount has serious design flaws. Even the best glass produces only acceptable results at the edges of the 7's sensor. I would expect worse performance on the FF, *if* it makes it to NEX. The Fuji is on another (higher) level altogether. That alone is reason enough for Fuji users to invest in good glass. Although I respect SONY, I think the E mount focuses mainly on consumers rather than enthusiasts. Else why produce so many bodies with such obvious lack of good lenses in a lineup? Video is another matter. That's MY opinion.

Glad you've read Bester a couple of yeas ago, RubberDials...

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 19, 2012)

hehe, I love how this 55 f/1.4 is a gigantic lens.

1 upvote
Tristan Tripp
By Tristan Tripp (Sep 19, 2012)

It's also a Distagon rather then a Planar like the current 50mm f1.4, I think that this would be the fastest distagon released?

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (Sep 19, 2012)

What about m4/3? Any lenses forecast for this sensor?

0 upvotes
hiepphotog
By hiepphotog (Sep 19, 2012)

Sorry mate, too small of a sensor for Zeiss to bother.

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 19, 2012)

But too big a mirrorless player.

1 upvote
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 19, 2012)

Sorry, they're only interested right now on the biggest sensor available for mirrorless (aka, APS-C) but no mention of Samsung or Canon though.

0 upvotes
Aperture Geek
By Aperture Geek (Sep 20, 2012)

Schneider will be making lenses in the m43 mount and will continue to make lenses for Samsung. Not saying they are better than Zeiss, just saying the m43 market is large enough to be worth the RnD cost, so why not expand the Zeiss market...

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 21, 2012)

Weird, I though companies were interested in making money, but you guys must know better.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 32