What are Zeiss manual lenses? Looks like they're coming for FE mount

Started Apr 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,532
Re: Nonsense...

tn1krr wrote:

dbm305 wrote:

Hi Henry

I hope you are right: where does your expectation that they'll be modified zm come from? The thought that it makes sense, or an actual rumor??

And personally I disagree with this reasoning. While the upcoming Zeiss lenses will obviously be based on well-known designs (Sonnar, Distagon...) I do not think we are gonna see "modified ZM" lenses.


- these lenses will have to be very very good optically. At the time Zeiss ZM line was originally designed there was not same level of sharpness etc requirements in place as we have today. Say Zeiss comes out with manual 50ish; it is gonna have to perform between FE 55 and Otus; anything less than that will not do.

- exif (and maybe aperture control like in ZE mount) will put their own requirement on design. Personally I hope they have electronic aperture since it enables automatic wide open or stopped down focusing depending on Live View Setting effect configuration

- we have already seen that many ZM designs perform rather badly on A7(R) due to chief ray angle issues; at least one or two of the upcoming lenses is gonna land in focal length (I expect one 18-24 or so mm distagon and maybe another lens below 50 mm) where there really is not really high-performing (when put in front of Sony sensor) ZM design available. I've seen a lot of beautiful picture taken with WA RF glass + A7(R), but from technical point of view nearly all RF lenses below 35 mm focal length do not perform that well with A7(R) sensor

Zeiss has been bringing out very very good lenses lately; the Touits, 135/2, Otus etc. I Expect them to keep up with this and since they have already done Touits they have very good understanding of E Mount and will bring something optimized purely for that. My proof for this? None, whatsoever. So as much proof as with the lenses being based on ZM lenses

It will be either ZM or FE, I really don't see other choices.

The ZM is a Mirrorless Mount, get that? Not a lens design. It is widely used in RF cameras and adapted to all mirrorless cameras. Why in the world would Zeiss invent a new Mirrorless Mount?

Zeiss hinted that their lenses would be manual, so that implies that they would be fully operational with existing adapters and cameras.

As to EXIF? This is a nebulous question. It would require a new adapter, and more electronics in the lens. Sure, a FE Mount lens would be obvious, but they are already doing this with Sony Zeiss. I am not ruling it out, as Zeiss has developed lenses directly for Sony E and Fuji X APS-C mounts, rather than going the adapter route.

Pushing back the exit pupil does require a new lens design, but isn't that what Zeiss does? The problem with Biogon designs is that you cannot really do this - you end up with a retrofocal lens, and may as well go Distagon, Sonnar or Planar, depending on lens focal length and aperture.

If Zeiss produces a fully automatic AF/AE/EXIF lens, it will be like a Touit lens for FE, and will most likely require software correction profiles to keep the lens compact.

If not, I can imagine a ZM lens with contacts to mate with a future adapter.

ZM lenses perform poorer on the A7r than on the A7, as the A7r sensor smaller pixel size is both more prone to magenta cast and edge pixel blurring, but also because Zeiss traditionally has had exit pupils very close to the sensor. E.g. the simpler Voigtlander designs fare a little better.

Zeiss already has a lot of experience with Sony and the digital sensors, and I am sure that they know how to circumvent the problem.

ZM or FE mount? I guess it all depends on how much electronics the lens will carry. Full electronics, expect FE, limited electronics expect ZM.

ZM lenses will outlast the camera, something to keep in mind.

As to resolving power - by reputation, the ZM lenses are among the highest resolving lenses ever produced. It is just their edge performance on digital FF sensors that spoils the party.

The ZE/ZF mount is for mirror cameras - applied this to wide angle lens design and it makes for unnecessarily large lenses, and it doesn't make sense to start there. Perhaps the Otus was derived from a ZE mount: look at its size. Sure, it solves the magenta cast and edge blurring issues, but it also defeats the compactness of mirrorless cameras.

FWIW, the Touit lenses are derived from ZM designs, whereas the E24Z was derived from a Sonnar design. As good as the E24Z is, look at its size - compare it with the FE35, another ZM derived design.

(And for good measure, I consider ZM an evolution of Contax-G lens designs).

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