Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by mtc photography, Dec 13, 2012.
Sad. Same thing saw the discontinuation of the excellent Konica RF camera and optics (with the Konica company), but hopefully the Zeiss optics out of Cosina will continue.
I doubt we have to worry about Zeiss optics being discontinued, most stores can't keep them in stock. I think the reason behind the discontinue of the Zeiss Ikon was the overly complicated design, and cost of maintaining such a design.
I always thought they were odd looking cameras with neither the elegance of the Leicas nor the workman like simplicity of the Bessas. Perhaps the target market agreed with me.
"Film enthusiasts who couldn’t afford a Leica found themselves with a high-quality alternative that was still fully compatible with all of their favorite M-Mount lenses."
Well, I think this has it all wrong. People of limited means, such myself, can afford Leica bodies. There are plenty of used ones out there. What is unaffordable are Leica M mount lenses--for the most part. So this camera wasn't really responding to market demands (just a guess).
Yes, a bit hard to see what the market is now. Even a Bessa, bought new, isn't much less than a nice secondhand M6. With the Zeiss, you'll be paying well over 50% more (though you do get a very long rangefinder base). Film photography is a small enough niche as it is, RF film photography a small segment of that. Of course a reasonably priced Zeiss-branded digital M-mount RF camera might be a different story...
In two years, one can hope that full-frame Sony CMOS sensors will be cheap enough that Zeiss and Cosina can team up on a digital model. Hmm, but I can't imagine either of them having the software skill set needed. Maybe Epson will dip their toe in again?
As Richard and John have said, an RF digital system camera, perhaps with the long RF base Z-I body, may make sense. It might be made to equal the IQ of a Nikon D800 and not cost more. Cosina would have the manufacturing facilities for that. There are sensor manufacturers that have the sensors and firmware capabilities to complement that, but some have their own competing line of camera systems, and it is not certain that Cosina sees their future in that larger field, even though it might give a more secure future for their lens-making group. But, as an amateur on-looker, I have never been able to second guess the industry, although my former blue sky desires, like a monochrome camera (alas for me, the unaffordable Leica Monochrom) or the reappearance of the Elmar 50mm collapsible (bought, before it was unfortunately discontinued) have come true. Has Epson kept up with the digi cam technology flow to be able to re-enter? It might still be the best bet.
The Zeiss faced an uphill battle since the day it was introduced. The camera came onto the scene just as digital photography was taking off big-time, plus it was a gauranteed-low production rangefinder. Fairly or not, it was also considered to be a poor second cousin to the Leica M. I'm not surprised Zeiss finally threw in the towel.
I believe there is a market for a full frame digital "rangefinder", meaning a camera with the advantages of the rangefinder physical format that can use the highest quality lenses, meaning M-mount without the need for adapters. "Rangefinder" does not necessarily mean an optical rangefinder system like Leica's but an electronic viewfinder that can use optical electronic sensors working with software algorithms to provide greater manual focusing accuracy than the optical rangefinder ever could. Video capabilities are best left to video cameras in my opinion, so no video required on this camera. Do I think that it will ever be produced? No. The initial investment in technology is to great to justify. Look how long it took Leica to get to the M9, and of course they are not telling the vast fortunes they spent to get to this point
Jim, lets be frank about it. The Zeiss rangefinder was cheaply built (and overpriced for its quality). It was Cosina Voigtlander quality and not Zeiss quality. The Contax G2 was better built than the Zeiss and while it had its quirks, it was a real match for its very high quality lenses. The Zeiss RF was nowhere near the quality of the Zeiss M lenses of which I have several and consider them a real value alternative to Leica glass, of which I also have several. On the other hand if they had built a rangefinder to match the quality of the lenses, they would not have had the need to discontinue it.
This is a tragedy. This is (or was) the best auto exposure camera on the market. I love mine better than my M7, which I love too. Well, watch the prices shoot up for this like gem.
It was a good camera and frankly I don't really know how Cosina manages to continue to produce their RF cameras. They are probably thanking the stars for the success of the Leica M digitals as this assures a market for their lenses.
Cosina to discontinue Zeiss Ikon rangefinderYou won't find me all broken up about it. As much as some boasted of its 'large bright' rangefinder I thought it was a joke (no offence intended).
But those ZM lenses are fantastic. In some cases, on par with their Leica branded counterparts - ZM 18 f/4, 24 f/2.8, 35 f/2, 50 f/2, just to name a few.
". . . lets be frank about it. The Zeiss rangefinder was cheaply built (and overpriced for its quality)."
"As much as some boasted of its 'large bright' rangefinder I thought it was a joke (no offence intended).
No offense intended and none taken, but I was surprised by the expressions of hostility and not knowing anything about the Ikon I looked into it. I found immediately an ostensibly "favorable" review that manages to advance dismissive criticisms, starting with an interesting bit of pedantry about the "meaninglessness" of the camera's name (lol). Then I came to this.
"It has AE with exposure compensation. The control arrangement of the shutter-speed dial, AE setting, ISO settings, and exposure compensation settings (which incidentally I suspect Steven Gandy might have had a hand in suggesting—I might be wrong) is a further elaboration on that of the CLE, and similar to that on some of the Voigtländer rangerfinders, and is about the most elegant, logical control layout I can think of for these functions. I like this aspect of the ZI."
An icon to the glories of Zeiss's past with automatic exposure added for good measure, along with a bit of intrigue attributed to Cosina's American distributor and marketer.
My negative opinion of the Zeiss Ikon (“ZM”) comes from first-hand experience with the camera. While at first glance, the RF appears very nice and bright, the RF patch easily whites out (it's completely useless) unless your eye is exactly centered in the eyepiece. And the first time I held one in my hands the shutter jammed while test firing; the camera store owner had to return it to the distributor.
Add this to the fact a freshly CLA’d Leica M6 could be had for about the same price, or less, compared to that of a new ZM. If you absolutely need AE, but can’t afford an M7, then try an R3/2a, which has essentially the same shutter mechanism, and could be had for half the price of a ZM (and I can’t claim to have busted one of those).
Thanks for the information, Bill. Just to clarify in case I am misunderstood: the last thing I would want in a RF camera is AE.
It was foreseeable, that the ZI without an digitial sensor could not survive! But the new liaison between Zeiss and Fujifilm let expect some very good camera ans lens news in the future! After the Photokina, is before the Photokina!
Indeed, without a digital version an end of an era.
You can see now that only the original has survived.
Owners of the ZEISS IKON bodies have no reason to get nervous, I have the info, that the camera bodies will be serviced furtheron at Oberkochen.
talking to a onsultant to ziess, in another optical field, he told me agreed wih me that ziess is a grat company, but sometimes suffer from NIH (not invented here) syndrome, to play catch-up, is not there histotical modus operandi. - the are innovators. maybe germany's senior optical brand/company,most of leica lenses, were leitz takes on ziess optical formula, elmar = tessar, planar = summicron. sonnar = elmarits.sfter the 1972 contarex electronic, there failed negotiations with asahi, sucess with yashica - the latter, were one of the few producers of optical glass and increasingly expert in electronics technology for integration into cameras,
as of november, 2016, nothing for ziess enthusiasts, other than buying ziess lenses with popular mounts.
contax ended in 2005. boils down to whether ziess will do what leica did with panasonic, ask sony to make a body - A7 with upgraded features? - sony always keeps to using its own name, tho, on products, to take advantage of its brand power .with plenty of used leicas arund, demand for a top-grade 35mm film body is not really there, never was. sony has sensor technology.I doubt if ziess would view the return on auge launch cost as worthwile even with a digital body. too late methinks.I hope not, timed with the next global economic upturn., when that can be predicted.
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