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New ZF 55mm 1.4


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#1 Erik Lund

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 15:43

Wow looks really good!

http://www.dslrmagaz...as-prestaciones

and talk about a new ZM also.....

#2 Andrea B.

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 21:01

It does look interesting. I wonder what they mean by 'double frame' and 'medium format quality' over a 24x36 frame ?? (...if I read that correctly...)

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#3 bjornthun

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 00:55

Note that the lens pictured is a Distagon (Zeiss speak for slr wide angle lens) formula, this time applied where you would traditionally have expected a Planar type. Also the filter thread is 82mm (!) so the lens will be quite large for a 55mm focal length. So my guess is that this will be a very expensive, but also an extremely optimized fast normal lens. Is it somehow a telecentric lens for full frame?
Bjørn T

#4 JohnBrew

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:32

Whoa! This baby has my attention.

#5 pluton

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:49

In the motion picture optics world, retrofocus lenses have been used by certain manufacturers (for about twenty years now) for not only the expected wide-angle focal lengths, but the "normal" focal lengths such as 50mm as well. Panavision was the pioneer of this approach as far as I know, with their early 1990's 'Primo' lens series, which were, interestingly, designed/built by the former Leitz Canada. The Primo 50mm T/1.9 was almost a foot long, very heavy, and a retrofocus design.
Why a Distagon 55? My guess: Wide angle 'normals' probably have a huge native image circle which when sampled in the center by the 35mm still frame(often referred to as 'double frame' or '8-perf' in the movie business) yield the most outstanding part of the lens' image.
Making it retrofocus is also a main path toward telecentricity.

Edited by pluton, 07 September 2012 - 01:51 .

Keith B.

#6 Alan7140

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:24

So I'm reading that this is a "proper" Zeiss lens and not a Cosina knock-off with a Zeiss label? If that is the case I am more than a little interested.

I'm seeing that smaller sensors are catching up with medium format film resolution, and to have a proper Zeiss of the ilk that I used to have attached to the front of my Hasselblads would certainly press the right buttons, although a 55mm 1.4 Distagon would promise to come with considerable weight, I'd imagine. Pity we have to wait for a year to find out, though.

#7 Akira

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 13:01

Interesting. Judging from the unusual optical design for a standard lens (for more perpendicular angle of incident light?) and rather conservative angle-of-view (again, for a standard lens), Carl Zeiss seems to be very serious about the superb image quality even "at" (not "towards") the corners. Also, the bokeh may be kept circular even in the peripheral area.
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#8 pluton

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 16:46

The styling of the sample in the supplied photo implies autofocus, a disappointing(if true) development.
Keith B.

#9 stenrasmussen

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 17:00

From Zeiss press release:

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 pro- totype of this new range will celebrate its world debut at photokina. The family of lenses is ex- pected to be on the market in the second half of 2013 for EF bayonet (ZE) and F bayonet (ZF.2).


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#10 bjornthun

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 17:17

So I'm reading that this is a "proper" Zeiss lens and not a Cosina knock-off with a Zeiss label? If that is the case I am more than a little interested.

I've had no problems with Zeiss lenses made at Cosina's factory in Japan. They are just as much Zeiss as they would have been, were they made at Zeiss' factory in Oberkochen.
Bjørn T

#11 yunfat

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 19:03

Sony has the rights to AF Zeiss lenses. This lens has the blue Zeiss logo, something exclusive to Alpha mount in the past. It looks like it's AF, but the press indicates otherwise.

Edited by yunfat, 07 September 2012 - 19:06 .


#12 pluton

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 03:24

So I'm reading that this is a "proper" Zeiss lens and not a Cosina knock-off with a Zeiss label? If that is the case I am more than a little interested.

I'm seeing that smaller sensors are catching up with medium format film resolution, and to have a proper Zeiss of the ilk that I used to have attached to the front of my Hasselblads would certainly press the right buttons, although a 55mm 1.4 Distagon would promise to come with considerable weight, I'd imagine. Pity we have to wait for a year to find out, though.


In my North American part of the English-speaking world, the term "knock off" connotes 'counterfeit'.
Call them cheap or cheapened, budget, farm-outs, or what have you, but counterfeit they certainly are not.
Keith B.

#13 Akira

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:05

According to Digital Camera Watch news in Japanese, Carl Zeiss will also release lenses designed for mirrorless cameras in the middle of 2013 which will be autofocus lenses (sorry, all in Japanese):

http://dc.watch.impr...907_558127.html
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#14 Alan7140

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:58

In my North American part of the English-speaking world, the term "knock off" connotes 'counterfeit'.
Call them cheap or cheapened, budget, farm-outs, or what have you, but counterfeit they certainly are not.


I take knock-off to mean sub-contracted, farmed out, non-original manufacturer. Which describes Cosina. So no, I did not call them counterfeit. Had I wanted to do that I would have used the words "copy" or "counterfeit".

It goes beyond mere design and construction. I already use Nikkors (and a few other Asian lenses) almost exclusively, and to be sure they are excellent lenses in all respects.

It has nothing to do with the nationality of the manufacture per se, but the location of origin, for having used Zeiss lenses extensively in the past, as well as Leitz, Schneider, Rodenstock and (German) Voigtländer, I find something beyond name and price which gives German glass (and I'm using the word glass in its literal sense, not colloquial as in "fully built lens") a distinct edge or difference. Not being a scientist I can't give the chemical or physical reasons, but the local raw materials and technologies used and developed in Jena produced superb optical glass which is evidenced by the lenses which resulted. It's not simply coincidence that Germany took to manufacturing optical glass lenses in the 1800's, nor that the German products made from this glass were, and by some (myself included) still are, considered the best you can buy.

So I have a couple of shelves full of Japanese and even Korean lenses here, and if I'm going to blow $2,000+ on a prime 135mm f2.0 lens or $1,200+ on a 55/1.4 I see little point in adding yet another Asian origin item to the collection even if the name and optical design is of German origin. I dearly miss my Hasselblad German-origin Zeiss lenses, and really want an original German glass lens of the same characteristics and glass quality that those lenses displayed to use on my current Japanese cameras. I did try to use the Hasselblad lenses on the D3 & D3s with an adapter, but they were too big, too heavy, and simply not designed for use in such a way, so the optical performance was not as good as I'd hoped. If I can get a lens which is made from the same glass but designed to be used with a smaller digital sensor, then I will do so. Made from Asian-origin raw materials? - not much point, really. Already well represented in that regard.

Edited by Fred Nirque, 08 September 2012 - 06:14 .


#15 Akira

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:52

One of the reason for the speciality of German optical elements may be the use of very toxic heavy metal.

I remember reading articles by a Japanese lens designer who used to work at Canon. When he was explaining about the design of fast standard lenses and referring to the first version of Leica Noctilux f1.0, he mentioned that a very special high-index glass was used for the lens and the glass is very difficult to produce "without" using cadmium.

It is known fact that even the radioactive thorium was used for some optical glasses used in Kodak Ektar 80/2.8 for Hasselblad 1600/1000F or in the earliest version of Nikkor 35/1.4. I'm not sure whether thorium glass used in 35/1.4 is made in Japan or Germany. But considering the "fact" that the ED glass used in the very first non-IF Nikkor 300/2.8 (1972?) was made by Schott, I wouldn't be surprised if the the thorium glass was also made by Schott.

Today, because of RoHS, cadmium glass might have been obsolete, but before that German manufactures could have been more aggressive in using heavy metal for their optical glasses.

Edited by Akira, 08 September 2012 - 06:53 .

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#16 bjornthun

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 11:56

Leica R lenses can be adapted to Nikon F and Leica M lenses can be used with adapter on Sony NEX, Fuji X-mount etc. so German glass is readily available to try out. But I don't know where Leica get their raw materials.

I think that Nikon vs. Zeiss etc. is about design philosophy, priorities being made when optimizing a lens formula etc., and not between German or Japanese or any other country. The same manufacturing standards can be realized both in Japan and in Germany.
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#17 bjornthun

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 12:00

Back to topic:

It will be interesting to see what performance the Zeiss 55/1.4 will give. Also Zeiss indicated that this is the first in a series of high-performance lenses. Wonder what will follow. Will we see Superachromats in Nikon and Canon mount?

And how will the Zeiss 55/1.4 compare to the Noct-Nikkor? Which will be the most loved one?
Bjørn T

#18 JohnBrew

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 18:20

Don't know if anyone saw that Zeiss is also releasing a 135/2 in ZF.2.

#19 Erik Lund

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 20:50

Back to topic:

It will be interesting to see what performance the Zeiss 55/1.4 will give. Also Zeiss indicated that this is the first in a series of high-performance lenses. Wonder what will follow. Will we see Superachromats in Nikon and Canon mount?

And how will the Zeiss 55/1.4 compare to the Noct-Nikkor? Which will be the most loved one?

+1 will be interesting!!!

#20 longzoom

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 21:44

I take knock-off to mean sub-contracted, farmed out, non-original manufacturer. Which describes Cosina. So no, I did not call them counterfeit. Had I wanted to do that I would have used the words "copy" or "counterfeit".

It goes beyond mere design and construction. I already use Nikkors (and a few other Asian lenses) almost exclusively, and to be sure they are excellent lenses in all respects.

It has nothing to do with the nationality of the manufacture per se, but the location of origin, for having used Zeiss lenses extensively in the past, as well as Leitz, Schneider, Rodenstock and (German) Voigtländer, I find something beyond name and price which gives German glass (and I'm using the word glass in its literal sense, not colloquial as in "fully built lens") a distinct edge or difference. Not being a scientist I can't give the chemical or physical reasons, but the local raw materials and technologies used and developed in Jena produced superb optical glass which is evidenced by the lenses which resulted. It's not simply coincidence that Germany took to manufacturing optical glass lenses in the 1800's, nor that the German products made from this glass were, and by some (myself included) still are, considered the best you can buy.

So I have a couple of shelves full of Japanese and even Korean lenses here, and if I'm going to blow $2,000+ on a prime 135mm f2.0 lens or $1,200+ on a 55/1.4 I see little point in adding yet another Asian origin item to the collection even if the name and optical design is of German origin. I dearly miss my Hasselblad German-origin Zeiss lenses, and really want an original German glass lens of the same characteristics and glass quality that those lenses displayed to use on my current Japanese cameras. I did try to use the Hasselblad lenses on the D3 & D3s with an adapter, but they were too big, too heavy, and simply not designed for use in such a way, so the optical performance was not as good as I'd hoped. If I can get a lens which is made from the same glass but designed to be used with a smaller digital sensor, then I will do so. Made from Asian-origin raw materials? - not much point, really. Already well represented in that regard.

From the one side, I have to admit that you have a point. I remember my Nikon F2R with 5 Leica's lenses for it - magnificent combo was there, about 35 years ago. From the other one, the same Cosina lenses made in Germany may cost 2x, at least. There is no market for new 135/2 APO for $4000, while manufacturing such the glass cost dozens of million $$. So most of customers will accept Zeiss from Japan, I think. THX. Dimitri.




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