PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux


Two small bits of Zeiss excitement

2/24mm Distagon Review

A review of the 2/24mm Distagon SSM was posted at DpReview today, and it has me shaking my head and crying : can we please get this lens in ZF.2 mount!?  Especially at that price, $1250 is a crazy low price for this lens.  Skip straight to the charts here.

New ZE/ZF Lenses in 2011 : My Analysis

Looking back at 2010, just now from memory, I can’t recall Zeiss delivering anything new for still photographers.  Both ZF and ZM lens programs went without love this year.  They did announce the 1.4/35mm Distagon ZF at Photokina but it won’t actually be delivered until early next year.

Analysis after the break...

We have some exciting new rumors for 2011 however, so let’s take them one by one:

  1. A new ultra-wide.  I think 15mm f/2.8 would do well in the marketplace.  Not because I think 15mm is a popular (or even very useful) focal length, but because 1.5x15mm = 22.5mm is a very useful and popular focal length.  This has always been one of the gaping holes in the DX lineup, there are no good 21mm-equivalent primes with good speed.  I would see this product being successful even if it was a DX-only lens, not that Zeiss would do that.
  2. A redesigned 25mm f/2.8.  I can see why there would be a rumor about this, but I don’t really see it happening.  I will associate this rumor with my own personal wish : Zeiss may bring the 2/24mm Distagon to the ZF/ZE system.  You never know.
  3. Multiple lenses above 100mm.  There’s a lot you can read into this one.  Zeiss has said multiple times that lenses above 100mm weren’t very interesting in the marketplace unless they had AF and VR.  Zeiss has also said that they wouldn’t offer such lenses unless they held licenses for the electronic protocols of the camera manufacturers.
    If you recall, the same rationale was given as the reason why Zeiss didn’t offer Canon-mount lenses concurrent with the ZF.1 line.  Given that Zeiss now offers ZE lenses, and ZF.2 lenses with electronic communication, then we might conclude that the protocol issue has been resolved.  If that is true then the most important hurdle for lenses above 100mm has been removed.  I believe it.
    We do know that Zeiss has one other line of lenses where they offer AF through electronic integration : the Sony ZA line.  I think we ought to take a long hard look at this line to form guesses as to what may be coming to ZE and ZF.  There is a perfect example for a choice of telephoto in this lineup : the extremely well-regarded 1.8/135mm Sonnar T*.  This is my first guess for a telephoto lens above 100mm.
    My second guess is a 200mm f/2.8 prime or 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom.  The name “2.8/200mm APO-Tele-Tessar T* ZF.2” rolls off the tongue – well maybe not but it still sounds just as sweet to my ears! 

We’ll find out all about these next year.

That’s it for our Zeiss fireside chat.

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  1. $1250 is a lot for that lens. Did you compare it to Canon 24mm F/1.4 II on dpreview? Canon spanks the Zeiss lens, it’s much better at every aperture, it’s a day and night difference. Canon is a $1700 lens, this Zeiss should be $800 at the most.

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