Why 3rd-party Zooms May Be Few

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Euell Senior Member • Posts: 2,939
Why 3rd-party Zooms May Be Few
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While a number of 3rd-party fixed focal length lenses have and continue to be developed for e-mount, the third-party manufacturers have not been in a hurry to develop zoom lenses for e-mount.  Given the size of the potential market, it is unlikely this is solely a question of market economics.

Rather, Sony has a lock on in-camera correction for geometric distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration, because those correction are firmware dependent.  Because of their multiple focal lengths zoom lenses necessarily require more correction than fixed-focal-length lenses generally.  That correction can be supplied by making the lens' optical formula more complicated with more lens elements, but that increases size and cost.

For its reasonably priced zoom lenses Sony relies a good deal on electronic correction of lens faults by the camera.  The 18-105, 10-18 and 18-135 are prime examples.  Third-party manufacturers do not presently have the option rely on firmware-based in-camera corrections.  I think this helps explain why we do not see much development of third-party zoom lenses for e-mount.

Could Sony  include third-party lens corrections in its firmware?  Of course, but what would motivate Sony to do so?  This situation seems analogous to third-party licensing of technology.  That is, third party lens manufacturers could pay Sony a fee for inclusion of corrections for their lenses in Sony firmware.

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