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Carl Zeiss preparing 55mm F1.4 for DSLRs and family of lenses for mirrorless

By dpreview staff on Sep 7, 2012 at 17:55 GMT

Photokina 2012: Carl Zeiss will show prototypes of a 55mm F1.4 Distagon prime lens for DSLRs and the first lenses for mirrorless system cameras. The lenses for mirrorless cameras will be autofocus designs and will become available in mid 2013. The prototypes on show will include a wide-angle prime, a standard prime and a macro lens. No details are given for which systems will be supported. The manual focus Distagon* 1.4/55 will be available in the second half of 2013 for Canon and Nikon mounts.

Press Release:

Carl Zeiss at photokina 2012

OBERKOCHEN, September 6, 2012
During photokina 2012 in Cologne (September 18-23), Carl Zeiss will present attractive new products as well as its well-known classics, all of the highest technical quality. Among them will be a new moderate telephoto lens for SLR cameras which will celebrate its world premiere at photokina and be available in stores from the end of 2012. Carl Zeiss will also unveil two new product families to the public. Carl Zeiss’s new stand concept integrates product presentations, possibilities to apply and test Carl Zeiss products, and the company’s global social media community with the hashtag #zeissphk12.

Carl Zeiss will present its entire range of camera and cine lenses, binoculars and spotting scopes during photokina. The latest Nokia smartphone models with built-in ZEISS optics will again be shown at Carl Zeiss’s stand. Visitors will be able to try out all the exhibits right on the spot, from high-quality SLR lenses, Sony cameras with ZEISS optics, ZEISS lenses for Sony system cameras to the new Nokia 808 PureView smartphone with 41-megapixel camera sensor. The VICTORY HT binoculars can also be tested. An innovative optics concept from Carl Zeiss in connection with HT glasses from SCHOTT makes VICTORY binoculars with transmission values of more than 95 percent very fast.

A must-see attraction is a high-performance, full-format SLR camera lens with manual focus. With a focal length of 55 mm and aperture of f/1.4, this lens is the first model of a new product family designed for demanding users. Thanks to a newly developed optical design, this lens is superior to conventional full-frame lenses, and it achieves with powerful full-frame, full-format cameras an image performance that until now has only been seen with medium-format systems. The first prototype of this new range will celebrate its world debut at photokina. The family of lenses is expected to be on the market in the second half of 2013 for EF bayonet (ZE) and F bayonet (ZF.2).

Another highlight will be the presentation of a design study, with which Carl Zeiss will offer a sneak preview of a new family of autofocus lenses for mirrorless system cameras (CSC) that will most likely be available in mid-2013. Due to their performance and high speed, these new lenses will be ideal for deliberate photo composition, making them perfect for more sophisticated photographers as well. Carl Zeiss plans to initially offer fixed focal lengths in the wide angle and standard range as well as a macro. „The trend toward mirrorless system cameras has accelerated since 2010 and we notice growing interest for them among ambitious photographers. We are convinced that as a result of the new and very high-quality cameras and lenses that are coming onto the scene, this market will become even more important. We see lots of potential, which is why we will offer more products for this target group in the future,” said Dr. Winfried Scherle, Vice President and General Manager of the Camera Lens Division of Carl Zeiss AG.

For fans of the Carl Zeiss family of ZM systems for rangefinder cameras, Carl Zeiss has a special surprise in store. In 2013, at least one fast lens with M bayonet will go on sale. Using lenses from the ZM series with adapters is also very popular on mirrorless system cameras.

“The market is extremely dynamic at the moment with numerous innovations across all areas. Our broad range of high-quality products and our successful partnerships with Sony, Nokia, Logitech and ARRI make us very well positioned in the market,” says Scherle. “As the world’s leading trade fair for photography approaches, we are full of optimism, especially considering the many new features and products we will present. We hope that both the public and visitors to our stand will be excited about them too.”

The “walk-in lens”, which first appeared at photokina in 2008, makes a comeback this year and promises to be the main optical eye-catcher at Carl Zeiss’s stand. Visitors are welcome to take a stroll through the oversized lens and experience the fascinating development of a ZEISS lens. Moreover, there will be an extensive applications ‘island’ at the Carl Zeiss stand where visitors can take as much time as they like to test and experiment with Carl Zeiss’s entire portfolio of lenses on different cameras and to talk to experts.

Carl Zeiss has created a special section on its website about photokina (www.zeiss.com/photo/phk12). Photography enthusiasts from around the world can use the site to get the latest news each day about the trade fair and to ask Carl Zeiss any question they want about all topics related to photokina. The website is available in various languages. Carl Zeiss will also report live from photokina on its social media channels and invites its social media community to likewise share their thoughts, ideas and suggestions about products from Carl Zeiss using the hashtag #zeissphk12.

Comments

Total comments: 115
Noirist
By Noirist (Feb 16, 2013)

How is anybody going to manually focus a full frame 55mm at f1.4 except on a tripod and for a static scene?

0 upvotes
3dreal
By 3dreal (Jan 3, 2013)

One of these lens-families is called HQ, will come out in fall and will cost 3000 euro. They will reach MF-quality-as already mentioned in the news. Hopefully we will see the resurrection of the apo-pc-distagon 25/3.5 -prototype built for contax/yashica at that time. there is an image on an italian website. In an interview in a actual german magazine Zeiss said they are not allowed to offer best possible quality.

0 upvotes
Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Sep 22, 2012)

Ok, so it looks like an Alpha-mount but I actually like it! Funny... some Nikon/Canon folks want Zeiss to make an auto-focus, while some Alpha users want Zeiss to make a manual focus.

0 upvotes
Cal22
By Cal22 (Sep 16, 2012)

Why have wide angle lenses for Leica M always been a tiny bit better in image quality than the lenses for Leicaflex? Leicaflex lenses had to go together with the camera's mirror, which needs a more sophisticated construction as kind of a Distagon. This is a reversed tele lens, a Retro-Focus type with many elements, whereas Leica M wide angle lenses are comparatively simple symmetrical constructions.
Therefore you wouldn't expect the new Zeiss 1,4/55mm to be a Distagon! Why designing a normal lens like a Retro-Focus type? Furthermore, that lens with its many elements is said to providing even more image quality than the Planar type? Carl Zeiss, we are waiting for your explanation!
Anyway, the lens has a weight of 1.2 Kg (!) and, you can bet, making it yours it will cost you a fortune!

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Sep 10, 2012)

I hope they have concentrated on a very smooth BOKEH with that 55mm/1.4, that would make a perfect portrait lens in Dx-format.

0 upvotes
photoholiko
By photoholiko (Sep 10, 2012)

I have a 50/2.8 Carl Zeiss Jena, does that count?

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 10, 2012)

Think I'll stick to my Canon 50mm 1.8 MK1 lens (which cost me fully £25) for now.

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Sep 10, 2012)

This looks like an interesting development - but I hate to think how much each of these lenses will cost. Still Zeiss with AF ? Whatever next you'll be telling me that they produce lenses for Sony next.....

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Sep 10, 2012)

I'd like to think Zeiss mirrorless offering will be m4/3. It will then be interesting to compare the IQ of DSLR and m4/3 systems using lenses of the same speed and function (AF?).

If they go with Sony or Nikon, well, duh, Dr. Sherle!

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 9, 2012)

I wonder why this lens seems to look more like a ZA lens than a ZF/ZE lens.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
MarkSA
By MarkSA (Sep 10, 2012)

It looks _exactly_ like a Sony ZA lens, so my read of the article, taking this into account, is that they will release the A-mount first and then follow with the ZE and ZF lenses in the latter part of 2013. Great news for Sony users if this is the case...

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Sep 10, 2012)

The appearance makes me wonder if this will be be made in the (Cosina) factory that usually manufactures Zeiss ZF/ZE/ZM lenses or in the factory that usually makes the ZA lenses.

0 upvotes
Press Correspondent
By Press Correspondent (Sep 9, 2012)

"Distagon is a reversed telephoto lens, consisting of a large negative lens in front of an ordinary lens.  This allows it to obtain a short overall focal length with elements of a larger and more manageable size, helps design a system that is favorable for both high relative aperture and wild-angular field, and increased the back focal distance beyond it's usual magnitude, which give space for the mirror of a SLR. The downsides are that is must be physically large, and of complex construction to correct all the aberrations, making the lens more expensive to produce.    Reversed telephoto designs are rarely over 2 inches in focal length, and then it is only used for specific applications.  Compared to the Biogon, it has a larger circle of illumination at full aperture, though softer when wide open, though it is sharper when stopped down. Rear element does not interfere with mirrors in SLR's."

http://www.panix.com/~zone/photo/czlens.htm

2 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 9, 2012)

Seems like a Planar lens would be better? Like the 50/1.4 Planar.

0 upvotes
LeithQ
By LeithQ (Sep 10, 2012)

based on my experience with distagon 2.0/28 and planar 1.4/50, i think distagon is the right choice. the color is better on my 2.0/28 ZF than it is on 1.4/50 ZF.

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 9, 2012)

In case anyone is wondering (I know I was) why Zeiss don't make AF lenses for Nikon or Canon, here's the real reason-

http://www.flickr.com/groups/carlzeisslenses/discuss/72157627212760846/#comment72157627231091702

"Due to international licences, it is not possible at the moment for companies outside Japan to offer AF lenses with EF- or F - mount. So we will concentrate on high-end manual focus lenses with those mounts within the next future.

Best regards

Carl Zeiss Lenses Team"

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Sep 9, 2012)

i actually really did want to know this. what it really means as canikon will not allow anyone likely to make pre lenses agood as there do it. seeing as slrs no longer have focusing aids manual focus lenses are damn near pointless

0 upvotes
TheChefs
By TheChefs (Sep 9, 2012)

If you have a half decent DSLR, you can change the focusing screen to add the focusing aids of your liking. I've installed a cut canon screen in my K5 just for that.

0 upvotes
oneANT
By oneANT (Sep 9, 2012)

what it means kodachrome is that its not for taking pictures of your cat so yes you are right, would be pointless for you.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Sep 9, 2012)

Is this really true? AFAIK companies like Sigma, Tamron, etc never really paid any license fees to Canikon at all. They reverse engineer their own AF modules to work with these cameras. If there is a licenses agreement, the VP of licensing would have been fired a long time ago. How can they let 3rd parties to make lenses like 70-200/2.8? No way.

3 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (Sep 9, 2012)

My cat? I don't have a cat what are you talking about. If your point is that I am just a person who fools around with cameras and that is why I dont understand manual focus lenses for sales than your an idiot. You don't know the first thing about me or what I shoot. I shoot plent of manual focus work with a 4x5 camera btw. I also have been a professional photographer since before pros used autofocus (we shot mamiyas and hasselblads). And as such I can tell you these mf zeiss lenes are stupid. You will. Ever be able to focus tax sharp consistently withou focusing aids. Also since manually guided autofocus is faster and more consistent and more accurate than full autofocus there is no reason to impede your view by installing one. Also thes zeiss branded cousins lenses arent very good and are Also damn expensive they consistently fail to live up to the top first party af glass Also you can't change the focusing screen in full frame cameras.

2 upvotes
tikkonen
By tikkonen (Sep 10, 2012)

@love_them_all Sigma and Tamron are Japanese companies.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 10, 2012)

> Is this really true?

Of course it's not. It's the same sort of lie that Leica gave us about why there would never be a digital M, a lie so transparent that it's actually insulting. Hopefully, they'll do exactly what Leica did, can the managers involved, make what the last guys said couldn't be made, and survive.

Aside from decades of precedence that reverse engineering of interfaces for interoperability is legal (how do you think Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, Foxconn, and Cosina all do it?), both Nikon's and Canon's interface patents expired some five years ago.

I do love the part about "companies outside Japan", as if the "Zeiss" lenses weren't being made inside Japan.

1 upvote
WMcCann
By WMcCann (Sep 13, 2012)

Goto Sony:

1) Focus Peeking - makes manual focus really easy
2) EVF - allows focus peeking in the viewfinder
3) get the 135mm STF - probably the best bokeh of any lens available.
4) Zeiss make the top end Sony lenses so all have Auto Focus :)

W.

0 upvotes
stevepow
By stevepow (Sep 14, 2012)

@Kodachrome200

FWIW, you can change focus screens in both the 5D and 5D2 - both full frame. Additionally, while the 5D3 has a fixed screen, these lenses give focus confirmation when used with it.

0 upvotes
darinb
By darinb (Sep 8, 2012)

I don't think that anyone has commented yet on the fact that the front of this lens indicates that its filter size is...wait for it...82mm.

I want one. I need one.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
xmeda
By xmeda (Sep 8, 2012)

Pentax DA* 55/1.4 SDM works with auto-focus and cooperates with stabillised sensor since 2008....

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Sep 8, 2012)

It is sweet to see the SeeZee people finally drop their pants on their manual-focus-only vision. A presumably vegetarian of more than 150 years, is caught eating raw chicken.

Leica may be next to drop their shorts (they never wore pants) on their definition of good value.

1 upvote
summicronf2
By summicronf2 (Sep 8, 2012)

Normal lens 135 format: 47mm is diagonal of FF. Some american 35mm cameras had 47mm normal lenses. Camera industry in 50's/60's was almost all German; i.e..the 35mm inventor Leica, Contax, Voightlander etc. Until the cheap Japan made cameras took over the market. A round -up to 50mm became the,"normal, what the human eye sees", lens. Rangefinder and dual lens cameras were the standard cameras. Then a great breakthrough in camera technology came upon the scene along with, SPUDNIK! "SINGLE LENS REFLEX", TA DAN TA LA!The greatest milk cow that NIKON and CANON, "have ever invested in"! Hang on to this SPUDNIK, 50'S Era GOLD MINE AS LONG AS YOU CAN,
Because of the long "flange-back" of the SLR cameras, caused by the mirror, it became necessary to make the 55mm, the normal, 135 format lens,"Normal".
Cameras are tools. When you go to the hardware store to buy a tool to do a job, ask the pro which is the best tool!

SAME WITH CAMERAS.

1 upvote
Suave
By Suave (Sep 8, 2012)

Uhm, so what exactly the connection between the focal length and flange to image plane distance?

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 9, 2012)

There isn't one.

But there is a connection between "back focus", the distance from the rear element of the lens to the focal plane. On a 35mm slr, that's 39mm, to allow for a 34mm mirror and 5mm of shutter mechanism. The f1.4 Planar and double Gauss designs have focal lengths about 1.5x their thicknesses. This means the shortest one that works on a 35mm SLR is 58mm. It's some 38mm thick, with 19mm of that behind the essentially coincident "nodal points", which puts the rear element 58-19=39mm, just clearing the mirror.

To make it shorter, like the 52mm lenses that Nikon, Canon, or Pentax call 50mm, they have to break the symmetry of the high performance 58mm designs, increasing aberrations and decreasing resolution. In general, pictures from a 50mm "suck less" than pictures from a 58mm, so photogoraphers were eager to dump the 58mm in favor of a 50mm.

3 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Sep 8, 2012)

Good news for Canon and Nikon users.

1 upvote
Suave
By Suave (Sep 8, 2012)

I wonder how it will rate against classic 55/1.4(1.2) designs. I assume it will beat them soundly on flare, but other than that, how much better than FL55/1.2 or Rokkor 1.2 it is going to be?

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
1 upvote
twoeggmedia
By twoeggmedia (Sep 8, 2012)

Don't forget Pentax!

2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 10, 2012)

Is the Pen tax one of those European taxes, like the VAT, that makes camera gear cost 30% more over there?

0 upvotes
nemark
By nemark (Sep 8, 2012)

I am eager to see if there will be any compact UWA prime in the range 10-14mm. Only Fuji (14mm) and Oly (12mm) make them. No quality compact UWA prime lenses for EOS-M, NEX, or even APS-C DSLRs. Manufacturers think that their compact APS-C DSLRs are, for everybody, just a first step to full frame camera. A shame. With a compact camera, whether it is a APS-C DSLR or mirrorless, each user (or at least ME) wants a compact lens. Otherwise, what is the sense of a compact camera body?

0 upvotes
TheChefs
By TheChefs (Sep 9, 2012)

Pentax makes a 15mm prime. It's is an f4 and APSC only, but it is very compact.

0 upvotes
Henning W
By Henning W (Sep 8, 2012)

Regarding the focal length; as a Distagon design they could have made it 43mm as easily as 50 or 55. This is basically a retrofocus design useable on virtually all cameras an is probably aimed primarily at videographers as a super high quality lens. It will likely readily outperform the 50/1.4 Planar, and is possibly only offered in FF DSLR mount as there is a real shortage of lenses in this focal length range that can make good use of the D800 sensor. It might well be as good or better than the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH, but it is many times the size and probably, weight and might well cost as much or more. It's not competing with the Sigma or Nikon G.

1 upvote
Henning W
By Henning W (Sep 8, 2012)

Ha! didn't see sixby06's reply before I posted :-(

0 upvotes
sixby06
By sixby06 (Sep 8, 2012)

It's pretty simple, really. Leica recently produced "the best no-compromise-on-quality standard lens ever" with the most recent 50mm Summicron-M, which is another showcase lens for them. Zeiss competes with Leica in their market segment, and so produces their own showcase products.

The 55mm part is most likely strategic, much like choosing a Distagon design over a Planar- by countering their own established conventions, we think "ooh, that's different! Maybe there's some secret sauce in a 55mm Distagon that makes it more special than a 50mm Planar!"

I'm sure it will be a stellar performer, and that the benefits in quality will pass unnoticed by the majority of actual photographers, but that's not who this is aimed at. Despite the various international recessions, luxury goods seem to sell as well or better than before. For that reason, i'd say this is a fairly logical product launch for Zeiss.

2 upvotes
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Sep 8, 2012)

I am suspecting that you do not understand term APO well.

BTW being a Hassy shooter I might assure you that Zeiss is a pretty standard lens manufacture more standard than Nikons Canons Sonys Sigmas etc

And no neither superachromates no APO are just showcase lenses.

Zeiss & Leica are manufacturing optical instruments not toys.

And yes, optical instruments target knowledgeable pro consumer who supposed use instruments for demanding application at work. Since optical Instruments are not intended to be toys for kindergartens the price tags are not toyish as well.

1 upvote
sixby06
By sixby06 (Sep 8, 2012)

Hi lxstorm.

I'm pretty sure neither myself or the above article mentioned the term APO, so my understanding of it is a moot point. Also, I should point out that "showcase" from a manufacturer is the one they wheel out at shows to point at and say "this product epitomises our company". I also don't think we're talking about the same meaning of the word "standard".

Prior to the victory of consumer digital SLRs over 35mm, Zeiss and Leica seeming rested on their laurels, reproducing old designs with new barrels. High resolution DSLRs, and forums like this one where people extoll the virtues of using old Zeiss lenses on DSLR bodies over the OEM lenses, have been a Godsend for Zeiss.

While I appreciate there are actual "demanding application" users, Leica and Zeiss' bills are paid by the rich, discerning amateurs who don't "need" optical instruments any more than they need designer clothing or big TVs.

5 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Sep 11, 2012)

I agree!
I like Prada suites and Zeiss lenses.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 7, 2012)

It is shocking and almost funny what passes for a "press release" these days. Why do we even have to know about this at this time? Also, lenses such as these coming out sometime next year from CZ have been out more or less for the past half century.

5 upvotes
JohnMatrix
By JohnMatrix (Sep 7, 2012)

That's what I was thinking. They're announcing what they're going to announce in 10 days lol

2 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Sep 7, 2012)

nothing can compare to Sigma 50/1.4. Why to bye this one?

7 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 8, 2012)

Sigma? Seriously?

11 upvotes
Joe Bowers
By Joe Bowers (Sep 8, 2012)

The Sigma 50 1.4 is widely considered to be the best 1.4 compared to Nikkor, Canon, Sony, or Pentax branded 50mm 1.4 lenses. I'm doubt it could best this Zeiss lens in terms of image quality, but the Zeiss lens will cost likely 5 times more than the Sigma for perhaps a 10% increase in sharpness. Not a good tradeoff for those that care about value.

Additionally, the Zeiss is manual focus. Unless you're incredibly skilled at manually focusing and you have a split prism focusing screen, you will be throwing away a LOT of blurry shots with the Zeiss, and forget ever shooting a moving subject.

People with more money than brains will buy this. Not real photographers, but posers who want others to think they know what they're doing.

2 upvotes
raizans
By raizans (Sep 8, 2012)

- live view mode
- video
- street photography/photojournalism (scale, zone, or hyperfocal).

you were saying? =)

5 upvotes
DeanAllan
By DeanAllan (Sep 8, 2012)

@Joe.....
Most 50mm lens design are derivatives of Zeiss's original planar design.
I would highly suspect, the Sigma is the same too. That being said, there are no real bad 50mm and pretty much all are on par. Most are pretty sharp, have high resolution and have good contrast. That is why before the advent of dslr(for the benefit of others, I'm sure you know this), the 50mm is the lens most beginners start with as it is also the most affordable and you go wrong with one.

The thing is, it is not about sharpness, there are other aspects of a lens that one might prefer over the other, perhaps the contrast, the saturation, the bokeh, the unsharp qualities, etc.

If somebody wants to buy a Zeiss, whatever floats their boat. The same as anyone wanting to buy a Sigma 50mm f1,4.

I could have easily as said, anybody wanting to buy FF cameras are poseurs but who am I to say right?

7 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

Joe Bowers:

Manual focusing with dslrs or even mirrorless systems isn't real hard.

Sigma can make some nice lenses, but remember there are Leica Rs out there, and then there's the Summilux 1.4 M lens. It's kind of joke to claim that Sigma beats these lenses.

0 upvotes
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Sep 11, 2012)

Come on Sigma boys! Go back to the "one dollar store".

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Sep 18, 2012)

...the Sigma 50/1.4 doesn't even beat the Nikon 50/1.4G. It might be slightly higher resolution in the very center of the frame in a very small spot, when wide open. But wide open, anything outside the middle is utter crap on the Sigma. Go try it. Or look at someone else's pics wide open on flickr or something. Or look at the many test results around the web, or even here. It's soft. And most of the current 50's from the OEMs are better.

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Sep 7, 2012)

This is a good new. But I already have the Planar T* 1,4/50 and I love him. Before the Zeiss I got the 50 f 1.4 AFS-G, the Sigma too ... but for me, the Zeiss is just superb (even if he is crafted in Japan ;) ).

0 upvotes
Apewithacamera
By Apewithacamera (Sep 7, 2012)

That is an unusually long lens barrel I can't figure out why?

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 8, 2012)

They've done something unorthodox with the distagon design probably in order to get the corners dead sharp wide open or eliminate vignetting.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Sep 7, 2012)

So Zeiss understood that they are loosing the business and are coming, finally, with an AF lens for Canon and Nikon?

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Sep 7, 2012)

No AF on the 55/1.4 for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. AF lenses will be for mirrorless only.

7 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 7, 2012)

Exactly ! Canon and Nikon haven't made public their AF routines so Sigma, Pentax and Tokina have to reverse engineer them. I think Zeiss doesn't wish to take this path.

However both Sony and the micro four thirds system publish fully their AF systems which means any manufacturer can easily make AF lenses for these systems.

Even Samyang (the cheap but still excellent MF manufacturer) is planning a few AF lenses for mirrorless systems.

5 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (Sep 8, 2012)

Pentax makes Pentax mount lenses... They don't reverse engineer anything

3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 8, 2012)

^^ Pentax (like Canon, Sony DSLRs and Nikon) doesn't share their AF system specs with anyone so Zeiss will have to go down the reverse engineering path which could lead to severe AF issues initially.

Only m43 system and Sony NEX system share fully their AF system specs so there is no guesswork involved and any lens manufacturer can legally make high performance AF lenses for those two systems.

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 8, 2012)

@brendon1000

Zeiss don't have to reverse engineering Sony dSLR/SLT lenses, because they have a share agreement. They do make lenses together and that's why the ZA lenses do have AF..

0 upvotes
DeanAllan
By DeanAllan (Sep 8, 2012)

@Albino
The only exception* would be the Pentax 43mm f1,9 that Pentax made in a ltm mount.

*discounting the t-mount and m42 and m39 mounts of course.

**Apologies to Albino, now that I think of it, they did not reverse engineer those mounts, it was open to begin with. So yes, your statement is correct.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 7, 2012)

55 seems like a random number for full framers.

And how is the DSLR version distinct from the existing Planar 50/1.4?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Sep 7, 2012)

I would say different optical design and AF. In other words a very different lens.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

JackM:

The current manual focus F/1.4 50mm is not the sharpest lens, the colour is great.

Then there's the AF part.

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Sep 7, 2012)

HowaboutRAW, the press release clearly states that the 55/1.4 will be manual focus.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 7, 2012)

It's a cursed number for full frame. From a physics standpoint, it's a "good" focal length. All the major camera companies made 55-58mm f1.4 lenses back in the late 50s or early 60s. It's the shortest length for a pure symmetrical f1.4 Planar or double Gauss on a FF SLR that needs to leave 39mm clear for a swinging mirror.

Photographers hated them, and stayed away in droves. It's an awkward focal length, too long to be a "normal", which is closer to 43mm for FF, and too long for a pleasing "telephoto effect". So, the camera companies "split the difference" and tried 50mm f1.4 designs. Optically, they're compromised, and inferior to 55-58mm offerings, but photography is about "photographs", not "image quality".

There was a resurgence in the 55-58mm length fueled by APS, where it's a pleasant 85mm equivalent. Voigtlander brought back a 58mm f1.4, Pentax a 55mm f1.4, and used Nikon 58mm f1.2 NOCT climbed to insane prices in the used market.

Promoting this as FF is pure fail.

11 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 7, 2012)

the super-takumar/s-m-c takumar 50mm F1.4 is not a fail.

2 upvotes
gdfthr73
By gdfthr73 (Sep 7, 2012)

Would a 55mm lens reduce the slight distortion seen in 50mm close up portraits?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

joejack951:

Yep I see my mistake in not reading to the end of the first paragraph.

And then what Octane posted right above me.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 10, 2012)

> the super-takumar/s-m-c takumar 50mm F1.4 is not a fail.

1) It's not being promoted as a FF lens.

2) 50mm is not 55mm

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Sep 7, 2012)

another highly overpriced lens for a few techno-geeks who collect that crap and never shoot?

7 upvotes
gdfthr73
By gdfthr73 (Sep 7, 2012)

Stick to your 18-55mm kit lens buddy. You have no clue what you talking about do you.

27 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Sep 7, 2012)

Do you even understand how illogical your answer is?

7 upvotes
jsis
By jsis (Sep 7, 2012)

I have to agree with him, it's about the photographer and what he or she can do with the tools and images.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 7, 2012)

ZAnton+jsis,

Ever owned Zeiss or Leica camera lenses?

8 upvotes
gdfthr73
By gdfthr73 (Sep 7, 2012)

It's easy to disregard or hate something you don't undertand ZAnton. jsis you are right. However, give a great photographer a point and shoot and you will still get great images, but give him/her a full frame camera, a fast prime lens and be amazed! Furthermore, great image quality is not only solely based in resolution charts, so don't tell me about how horrible Zeiss IQ is unless you have used one.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 7, 2012)

What you're forgetting is that consumer lenses are compromises. Even this lens is a compromise, yet it will come closer to the perfect lens to use.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (Sep 8, 2012)

You don't have to use a lens to judge IQ - you just need to view a photo/some photos taken with it.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Sep 8, 2012)

jtan163:

It's best to use the lens. It's like getting raw files.

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Sep 8, 2012)

@ HowaboutRAW

I have heard the same ode to Canon L some years ago.
Now I have Canon L. Nothing special.

My last hope - is to see your photos in your galery made with Carl Zeiss lenses.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Sep 7, 2012)

Only m4/3 and NEX are open spec, right? If so, isn't it likely those are the only systems Zeiss will support?

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 7, 2012)

Sony has said it will make key details of the E-mount available. There's no reason to believe m4/3 is 'open' but Zeiss has joined so it's pretty likely.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 7, 2012)

u43 is the most tightly locked down system of all.

I don't know if Sony will let Zeiss have Cosina make "Zeiss" E-mount lenses, when they already pay Zeiss for the name to put on lenses built elsewhere (I believe by Tamron).

I see this announcement as a response to Canon entering the mirrorless market, and Fuji expanding their offerings.

3 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 7, 2012)

I think Sony realize they are woefully short on lenses for their NEX system which is why they have shared their AF system to third party lens manufacturer Sigma. So until they have a very large lens line up its possible they will welcome this move from Zeiss.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Sep 7, 2012)

I'm certain we'll see these in e-mount. Sony has always liked the credibility the Zeiss name confers, and even if they don't profit off the lenses, good glass makes it easier to sell bodies. Especially the higher end bodies. Besides, I'm sure the Zeiss lenses will be much more expensive so not direct competitors.

It would be nice to have mft lenses, too, but if they use the same basic designs they will be rather large. I wonder if they will try to make deals with Fuji or Samsung. Those would be technically easier, and either one could use some additional lenses, especially expensive high quality lenses to make those mounts more attractive to pros and wealthy enthusiasts.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 8, 2012)

I don't know about Fuji but the Samsung system seems to be a closed system. Even Sigma (which generally makes lenses for everyone) launched their 30mm f2.8 and 19mm f2.8 ONLY for NEX and m43 systems.

0 upvotes
Chez Wimpy
By Chez Wimpy (Sep 9, 2012)

That is because at the time Sigma launched the lenses, m43 and NEX were the ONLY mirrorless systems. Samsung doesn't exist (in Japan) nor would the Pentax Q crop factor make any sense.

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 10, 2012)

Actually Sigma announced these lenses in Jan 2012. Samsung launched the NX10 waay back in Jan 2010. In fact Sony launched their NEX series AFTER Samsung.

So if Sigma doesnt have any lenses for Samsung its probably due to the fact that Samsung is trying hard to not allow any other lens manufacturer to join their system.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 10, 2012)

Or that it's simply not a big enough market to interest them, much the same way that Tamron and Cosina Voigtlander both withdrew from the Pentax mount lens market.

Ocham's razor...

1 upvote
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (Sep 7, 2012)

Nice lens and great focal length.
Anyone who has used a 55mm on film and APS-C (such as the Takumar 55mm range and the Mamiya 55mm) will have found it a great lens to use.

The only fly in the ointment for Zeiss is the plentyfull supply of Tak 55mm's M42 lenses out there, and with an adapter, work superbly on DSLR's. Even if most are F1.8 and F2
Still, they are producing mirrorless versions of them and on an EOS-M, MFT etc, will provide the tog a great versatile lens.

Kudos to Zeiss for bringing back this focal length back.

2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 7, 2012)

Great on APS., but not on FF.

Like some people like square formats, despite over 90% of photographers avoiding them like the plague. That's what 55mm and 58mm lenses are. All the camera companies tried them in the late 50s or early 60s, and they all failed.

5 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 7, 2012)

I have to add that I have also found it a very nice length on APS-C, especially the long end of the 17-55, which I find is just enough reach in many cases, whereas for some reason 50mm falls a little short.

I used a 60mm macro on film, and not just for macro and I did find it an off length for general usage, too far from normal and not nearly portrait length. Perhaps this will have the same 'uncomfortable' length, though in a studio it may be easier to set things up, especially for product shots or reproduction, where shyness isn't an issue.

1 upvote
mgrum
By mgrum (Sep 8, 2012)

Joseph, if 55mm was such a failure why are 50mm lenses so prevalent? Canon have made six for the EF mount, before digital arrived, four of which are still in production.

55mm is awful, yet 50mm is quite popular. The fields of view are pretty similar, and I wager most lenses branded 50mm are longer.

It's not just about speed/price ratio as people are paying over a grand for the 50 f/1.2, and there are f/1.4 or faster lenses from 24mm to 85mm. 50mm is a popular focal length however you look at it.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 10, 2012)

Because 55mm ≠ 50mm.

The fields of view aren't all that similar.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 7, 2012)

Consider SONY, Fuji, Canon, Pentax and Samsung all use APS-C sensor, I am 80% certain that CZ's EVIL/mirrorless lenses will be for APS-C first. Special adapter/mount will be made for Pentax, Samsung and m4/3 as their mounts' flange distance are quite different from the common 17.7-18.0mm.

We should all hope those new lenses will be fast, small and moderately priced like Fuji lenses and less like Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA.

3 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (Sep 7, 2012)

It's highly unlikely CZ will make AF mirrorless lenses for Pentax and Samsung. Pentax mirrorless is just K-mount with DSLR flange distance. Such a lens would be too big (unnecessarily) for mirrorless cameras. CZ don't even make manual focus lenses for K-mount anymore. As for Samsung, I doubt it. No market share and the mount (AF mechanism) is closed propriety.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 7, 2012)

Considering all APS-C lenses can be used on the smaller sensor m43 format I would wager CZ would make APS-C lenses and port them to m43 mount.

It would be much more expensive to separately design m43 lenses and APS-C lenses.

2 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Sep 8, 2012)

It looks pretty big for APS-C, but it would be a very nice length. In fact, as sensors have gotten so good, the future for that format is looking quite rosy. With lenses like this, it could have more pro applications (once again).

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (Sep 8, 2012)

The lens pictured in the main article is a 35mm DSLR format lens.

The mirrorless lenses from Zeiss will be very different and they aren't announced as yet.

0 upvotes
NancyP
By NancyP (Sep 7, 2012)

kewl. Walk-in lens.....at least that beats the equivalent in my general line of work, the walk-through model COLON, a promo gimmick for colon cancer screening.

2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Sep 7, 2012)

Flashback to Patrick Stewart and "the visible rectum" on SNL many years ago.

Comment edited 8 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Rob P
By Rob P (Sep 7, 2012)

82mm filter thread on a 55mm f/1.4 lens? Ouch. How big is that beast?

3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Sep 7, 2012)

Probably needs to be that big to be sharp wide open.

5 upvotes
dmanthree
By dmanthree (Sep 7, 2012)

I was thinking the same thing; it's HUGE! And if their CSC lenses follow suit, they'll defeat the purpose of a CSC. I guess we'll see soon enough.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 7, 2012)

Most 50mm f1.4 lenses are pretty awful at the edges at max aperture and also vignette. I'm thinking maybe they decided to see what it takes to make a razor sharp f1.4 prime edge to edge at all apertures and on FF sensors.

At least I hope so, otherwise, why lug around that beast?

7 upvotes
brunobarolo
By brunobarolo (Sep 7, 2012)

"Most 50mm f1.4 lenses are pretty awful at the edges at max aperture and also vignette."

That's true. OTOH, how often are the edges within DOF at f1.4? Mostly, they are not, IMO. So, sharp corners at f1.4 are not such a big deal in real life.

5 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Sep 7, 2012)

How often are the edges within the DOF? Anytime your subject is off center. And I am not just talking about the very edge. Even at the rule of third lines, a lot of f1.4 primes suck wide open.

2 upvotes
Leichhardt
By Leichhardt (Sep 8, 2012)

It's likely to create better Bokeh off centre as well, due to minimal vignetting

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 8, 2012)

As you pointed out, this lens will be big. And this lens will be one of the many lenses among a new line for Big SLR cameras. or maybe bigger than dSLR?

0 upvotes
Fabio Amodeo
By Fabio Amodeo (Sep 9, 2012)

I think Zeiss decided for a retrofocus design because it's the only way to feed the sensor with information coming trough a perpendicular path, without making strange effects in the corners. That's something Zeiss has done before. I remember the Contax wides of film times: Zeiss lenses were monumental, while we Canon and Nikon users used to carry our wides in our pockets. Well, 30 years after that my friend viedographers are happy to use adapted Contax RTS lenses for their jobs, while my old 20 and 24 Nikons are very good to keep the paper from flying away (the 28 AIs is another story). The idea of a “definitive high quality lens) for high MP SLRs, present or future, is not bad: it's the same idea behind Apo-digital lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock, and studio photographers bought them for critical colour work. They were not cheap, either.

0 upvotes
dbateman
By dbateman (Sep 7, 2012)

Interesting to see Zeiss enter into the Mirror less market. Since there is a Zeiss labelled lens for NEX (the 24mm). I am hoping that this anouncement will be for the M43rds system and Fuji systems. As if it is just for NEX, it would not be news.

Of course unless its a new line of full frame NEX lenses for a new full frame sensor NEX camera, which is rumored.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 7, 2012)

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2011/2/7/zeissjoinsmicrfourthirds

This makes m4/3 more likely.

7 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Sep 7, 2012)

Especially the 55/1.4 looks very interesting.

1 upvote
Total comments: 115