Distagon design for a 55/1.4 ZF.2 lens? A Zeiss prototype.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jose_angel, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Zeiss announces a new standard lens, the Distagon 55/1.4 in ZF.2 mount for DSLRs... a prototype will be shown in Photokina (press release).
    Designed to be used on AF DSLRs, looks like an AF lens, but it`s manual focus. Hopefully we`ll have this one in 2013.
    00aovl-496565584.jpg
     
  2. Definitely it has a Zeiss look :)
     
  3. My understanding is that this will be a 'no expense spared' attempt at coming out with a very highly corrected lens. Might be very interesting if the price doesn't jump into Leica territory.
     
  4. Well their earlier ZF 50/1.4 did not exactly set the world on fire. Looks like they are saving money by using the same parts as the Sony Zeiss AF series.
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A manual-focus AF lens must be a new concept. :)
    How many different 50mm/55mm lens do you need? $220 gets you a Nikon 50mm/f1.8 with AF-S. At least I am completely happy with that. I bought my first (and so far only) Leica camera and a couple of lenses when I was a teenager, a few years before I bought my first Nikon. And I have a Contax 645 and a couple of Zeiss lenses. I still own all of those Leica and Zeiss lenses, but I am totally happy with Nikon lenses except for those low-end, plastic mount ones.
     
  6. I'm lost here....... What's a manual-focus AF lens?????
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Rene, that is a new concept. :)
    I was just teasing about Jose's comment:
    Designed to be used on AF DSLRs, looks like an AF lens, but it`s manual focus.​
     
  8. It depends what they mean by "image performance that until now has only been seen with medium-format systems". If they mean "medium format lenses achieve the same depth of field/background separation at smaller relative apertures, and therefore with lesser optical aberrations" then I may actually be interested, especially if this is code for "apochromatic fast normal lens with decent bokeh" - the LoCA being the reason I've avoided every fast 50mm so far.
    But if it's just another variant of the existing 50mm Zeiss then no, I'm not interested.
    I'm also curious about the apochromatic 135 f/2, given that I've definitively resolved to stick my DC lens on eBay when I get back to the UK. I'll probably stick to my newly-acquired 150mm f/2.8, but I'll monitor reviews in case in win a lottery... (Zeiss are likely to get my money for a 21mm at some point anyway.)
     
  9. LOL. Shun&Rene, don`t pull my leg... editing times are too short! :D
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    BTW, Distagon is a retro-focus design typically used for SLR wide-angle lenses. Zeiss 50mm lenses are usually Planars. This 55mm Distagon is unusual.
     
  11. Yes, this is odd. They also have a "recent" Sonnar for RF cameras, but never seen a Distagon in this focal lenght.
    I have no clue on optics, but I have read somewhere that Distagons are something similar to a reversed telephoto lenses... it makes me think that the ligth path could be more even or perpendicular at the sensor plane... anyway, if they didn`t used this design before, it makes me think that 1. Is too expensive, 2. It must be quite complex for competitive performance, and 3. It could be only interesting for specialized applications. We`ll see.
     
  12. There's plenty wrong with the optical performance of your average 50mm lens (hence Nikon and Sigma moving on the common designs recently, and Canon's relatively advanced f/1.2 designs). I'll be interested to see what the new Zeiss can do, so I'm not going to dismiss it until I find out!
     
  13. Distagon is a retro-manual-focus lens on an AF prototype??

    Uhmmm! Now it all makes sense! :)
     
  14. Guess they're trying to make a fast 'standard' focal length lens telecentric, ie parallel light 'rays' from the rear element straight to the sensor??
    I wonder if it's got some exotic hybrid elements or aspheric pairings that were too difficult/expensive to make previously?
    However, you've got to wonder what the market is for this lens? Maybe it's been designed to perform especially well wide open? Keep the bokeh-loving, deep-pocket brigade happy:)
    I can't see an aperture ring and is that 'rubber-band' the Mandraulic Focus Grip Area?
     
  15. I wouldn't be quick to dismiss a new Zeiss lens offering.
     
  16. Dan, sorry if I gave the impression of dissing this lens, that's not what I meant. I'm interested in what Zeiss can do for the 'Standard lens.
     
  17. Well I think perhaps Zeiss want a lens that is really good for the FF market. After all there is no absolutely stellar fast 50mm available today that fits the major camera mounts (Leica M excepted). The Canon/Sony/Nikon/Sigma are all pretty good but not superb. The best one is probably the Zeiss 50/2 Macro-Planar. Perhaps this one will be as good but a stop faster? That should be the point of this lens, but I've no idea whether it will be, of course. I won't be getting it, but if it is indeed "the best" then there probably is a market of some kind for it.
     
  18. There's nothing new in fast telecentric lenses. The Ernostar of the early 1920s, made famous by Erich Salomon, was almost perfectly telecentric, and a simplified new design of Ernostar can still be bought from this company - see bottom of page "High accuracy lens unit". 90 years on and still going strong it seems.
    Edit: Not sure how well telecentricity and low geometric distortion sit with each other though.
     
  19. Um. I'm still taking "medium format quality" to mean "the look you get by shooting a medium format normal lens at a smaller aperture". Which would typically mean less LoCA (and possibly less vignetting), since those are opticaly properties particularly affected by aperture and those are aspects in which the current common 50mm lenses are notably deficient. But I may just be hopelessly optimistic as a LoCA-hater.
     
  20. I have a Zeiss 50mm f4 Distagon, and it's an excellent performer. There's also a Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 too. I still think the very best 50mm available for Nikon is the Sigma 50mm f1.5, but I'll certainly take a look when this lens is released.
    Kent in SD
     
  21. I think this thread might have decided me to butcher my pristine pre-Ai 50mm f/2 Nikkor (late model with multicoating & rubber grip). By "butcher" I mean carefully file the aperture ring down to form an Ai conversion and allow it fit on the D800. Now where's that 12" rasp?
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have a Zeiss 50mm f4 Distagon, and it's an excellent performer. There's also a Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 too.​
    Kent, are those Hasselblad (or some other medium-format) lenses? For example something like this one: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/162339-REG/Hasselblad_3020047_50mm_f_4_CFI_Distagon.html
    I have a 45mm/f2.8 Distagon for my Contax 645, which is approximately a 30mm equivalent due to the reverse "crop factor." Those 45mm, 50mm for medium format are all wide angle lenses. Again, Distagon is typically used in wide-angle design for SLRs. This new lens is a 55mm "standard" lens for the FX format with the Distagon design. That is uncommon.
     
  23. Yes, the lens is for my vintage 1964 Hasselbald 500c. An 80mm f2.8 Planar came with the camera, but I sold it to get something wider. I actively shoot many different formats so I'm familiar with the idea of lens coverage, image size, etc. The Zeiss lenses I have that were made in Germany are uniformly excellent, even the c.1904 150mm Tessar! If this new Distagon is as good as the German ones it will be worth checking out. Not sure why they can't make them AF though. The original Contax 35mm rangefinder cameras from 1930s and on used Zeiss lenses, and they too are excellent. One of the things that really excites me about the 4/3 cameras is the ability to adapt a very wide range of interesting lenses.
    Kent in SD
     
  24. While the new Zeiss lens seems to have grabbed the attention, apparently there are some other interesting lenses to be shown at Photokina. These are from Samyang. First we have a 10mm f2.8 for DX. While I doubt I'd sell my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 to buy one, it might be worth a look. Second is a 24mm t/s lens. If the coverage is designed for FX, this would be a really cool landscape lens on a DX (more coverage.) Of all the lenses announced this year, this would be one I just might buy. Having an affordable shift lens on my Nikon DSLR would allow me to take some fast shots that I can now only get with 4x5. This lens won't be AF, but AF is pretty useless on this type of lens anyway.
    Kent in SD
     
  25. Alex, very interesting. I was not aware of this.
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Alex, Jose, I am not sure I totally buy into that argument. Nikon is certainly producing AF Nikon F mount lenses in both Thailand and China, and Zeiss ZF lenses are actually made by Cosina in Japan. If such regulation indeed exists, it should not be all that difficult to set up some Zeiss Japan company to work around such restriction.
     
  27. Hmmm. That might possibly explain why Samyang, a Korean company, is the other maker that doesn't have AF. Tokina, Tamron, Sigma all do. It does seem that they could either team up with a Tokina etc. or create a Japanese office or something.
    Kent in SD
     
  28. Shun, it is Nikon of Japan who produces lenses in Thailand and China. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to believe that a company would need to be headquartered in Japan in order to license Pentax, Nikon, or Canon autofocus technology. OTOH, it could simply be posturing by Zeiss.
    The only part that doesn't sit right with me is this: if one can license the technology needed to properly implement F and EOS mount lenses , why have companies like Sigma done such a comparatively poor job?
     
  29. This is what I was thinking about after reading your post. Looks like the "license" is only for making "lower level" lenses. I have never seen a third party lens better than the Nikon ones, and if so, it has been almost impossible to find, and astronomically priced. Certain ZF lenses looks to be on pair or with better specs than the Nikon ones, but they are MF. They are quite expensive, but people like to buy them even being MF. Nobody will question the capacity of Zeiss for making very good lenses, specially if they can sell at a higher price than Nikon.
    Imagine Zeiss making their ZF lenses in an AFS equivalent version. It`d be an enormous problem for Nikon.
     
  30. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The only part that doesn't sit right with me is this: if one can license the technology needed to properly implement F and EOS mount lenses , why have companies like Sigma done such a comparatively poor job?​
    Alex, if "license the technology" means Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, etc. are getting the cooperation from Canon and Nikon to produce lenses for their mounts, I can assure you that Canon and Nikon are not helping those 3rd-party lens manufacturers to compete against Canon and Nikon lenses. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. reverse-engineer those mount designs (including the electronic protocol) and that is why they sometimes have protocol issues. For example, when Nikon's first FX DSLR the D3 was introduced, some full-frame Sigma lenses would trigger the auto DX crop on the D3 while some Sigma DX lenses wouldn't.
    What Zeiss is doing with their ZF lens line for the Nikon F mount (and ZE for Canon EOS) is re-introducing AI-S type lenses from 3 decades ago. Recall that the first-generation ZF lenses did not even include a CPU, which Nikon started adding to their manual-focus lenses as early as 1990 (e.g. the 500mm/f4 P). That is why there is now the newer ZF.2 lens with CPU:
    • ZE and ZF lenses all have fixed focal lengths; there is no ZE or ZF zoom lens. Zooms domonate modern Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony lenses.
    • There are no EF-S or DX type ZE and ZF lenses. Today, a lot of DSLR lenses sold are designed for APS-C sensors.
    • Focal lengths for ZE and ZF are restricted from 15mm to 135mm. 15mm was not very popular 30 years ago, but today, we have lots of 55-200mm, 70-300mm zooms.
    To me, ZF lenses are very 1980's. Optically and mechanically those lenses are very good, but they only serve a small niche market that is willing to pay a high price for quality (with a lot of limitations) and the Zeiss brand name.
    Imagine Zeiss making their ZF lenses in an AFS equivalent version. It`d be an enormous problem for Nikon.​
    I think the bigger competition for Nikon lenses come from Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron. They make popular lenses such as a lot of zooms, DX type lenses, etc. at affordable prices that are frequently cheaper than their Nikon equivalent. I have tested a few of those lenses and some of them are very good nowadays.
     
  31. Dunno about cooperation, but perhaps there are patents involved that neither Nikon nor Canon want to license to non-Japanese companies.
    Honestly, I don't think the competition is an issue at all. There are Canon lenses (like the 85L) that I'm sure some Nikon folks would love to have use of, and some Nikon lenses (like the 14-24) that are popular with some Canon folks. Even if there were a standard lens mount (hey, look at the 4/3 cameras…), there is still enough differentiation that I doubt market share would change much. At the very least, I'd expect Zeiss glass to carry a hefty premium over even top-shelf Nikon glass.
     

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