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Thread: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

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    Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    I've been shopping for a new DSLR and the Sony FF digital cameras seem very appealing, but one thing has me puzzled: There seems to be an odd gap in the available Zeiss primes. 24mm, then 85 and 135mm. Am I missing something, because it seems odd that I could buy manual focus Zeiss primes in 21, 28, 35 and 50mm focal lengths for my Canon, but can't get them in auto focus for a Sony?

    One of the biggest draws of the Sony system to me is the availability of auto-focus Zeiss glass, but.... no 35? No 50?

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Kevin, the 24mm is the latest addition. We live in hope of a 50 Zeiss but there has been no rumors.

    That being said, the option of Manual Focus ZS mount Zeiss glass is always open to you with an adapter.

    What we do have and not to be underestimated is, two superb Zeiss zooms, 16-35 7 24-70. While not as fast as primes, their performance is excellent.

    The Sony/Zeiss partnership is relatively young with regard to DSLR lenses, I'd expect the gaps to be plugged in time, just a guess on my part.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    While I understand wanting to have the same look from the same brand of lens, in the 50mm space both the Sony f1.4 and the Sigma 1.4 are very good lenses.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    I hear what you're saying about the zooms. If I was still shooting weddings, I'd just bolt on the 24-70 and be done with it. But for my own use, I want a reasonably compact, top-quality 35/2 both because I like the focal length, and so that camera/lens size doesn't keep me from carrying the camera with me. It seems odd that that option is available to Canon and Nikon shooters, but not to Sony shooters.

    I guess the "market has spoken" though, and zoom lens development takes precedence...

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    ...I want a reasonably compact, top-quality 35/2 both because I like the focal length, and so that camera/lens size doesn't keep me from carrying the camera with me.
    Look around for a used Minolta/KM 35/2 to tide you over till they release a Zeiss alternative. I hear it is a great performer on the A900/A850 and is very compact and barely over 200gms in weight.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by roweraay View Post
    Look around for a used Minolta/KM 35/2 to tide you over till they release a Zeiss alternative. I hear it is a great performer on the A900/A850 and is very compact and barely over 200gms in weight.
    Good to know, thank you.

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    ....I guess the "market has spoken" though, and zoom lens development takes precedence...
    Not quite, Sony is finding it's feet in the DSLR market, Canon & Nikon have had years to develop a complete line up. I'm sure Sony has a long term view for this platform and will introduce Zeiss or G series as we move forward.

    I would not discount the (by all reports) elusive Minolta AF 35 f:/2 or any of the legacy or current Minolta/Sony G series lenses. While not Zeiss, they are superb in their own right.

    You are correct IMO, the general pro'sumer market preference is for zooms, it's just a little frustrating we don't have Zeiss offerings in the 35 & 50 to choose from, but we have the older legacy Minolta 35 f:/1.4 G or F/2 or the Minolta or Sony 50 f:/1.4.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    I see roweraay posted while I was composing, great minds think alike and all that stuff.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    There are rumors about 2 new ZA coming in 2011. One of them is the much awaited 200/2 the second is believed to be a 35 as the current G version is not selling well due to its rendering style that makes it a niche product.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    A little OT, but the Leica R Summilux 35mm f1.4 can be altered with the Leitax mount with no mirror interference on the A900/850 (as previously feared). Of course, it's manual focus and stop down metering but is worth the effort IMO to get the Mandler look.

    Alan

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    While I understand wanting to have the same look from the same brand of lens, in the 50mm space both the Sony f1.4 and the Sigma 1.4 are very good lenses.
    I second that.

    Some people are a bit put off by the fact that the Sony is not so sharp on the edges at F1.4 or 1.8, but I found it to be one of its strength.
    A part for shooting brick walls at wide aperture, I do not see the needs of sharp edges at f2 or below.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Yes, I guess AF is a big draw for many of us. If you can stoop to MF, there *may* be the Leica option mentioned above, but there is definitely the Elmarit option with Leitax. You'd have to check with David at Leitax.

    Much better for most will be the ZF 35mm f2 CZ, which can be had for not too much money new and is a simple remount (DIY) job, again using a Leitax mount. It's quite a lens, and one of the big three of the ZE/ZF series (21,35,100MP).

    I would probably go this way, but I keep looking at the photos over at FM/Alt forum taken with the startling good Contax 35mm f1.4. CZ have a 'modern' (read heavy like a tank, not much short of the 24-70 ZA zoom!) version coming in ZE/ZF next year I believe, but will it be as good as the oldie? Even so, it would need a custom mount.

    It's hard to improve on near perfection, but I am a self-confessed Contax lens junkie, and shamelessly use the 21/2.8 Distagon and 35-70/3.4 Vario Sonnar every chance I get!

    PS That Minolta 35mm f2 and sibling 28mm are made of unobtainium and would almost certainly not be worth it even if you found one due to scarcity driven price levels.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Philip, the ZS 35 is exactly the same as the ZF but the price is cheaper and can be adapted with a simple cheap adapter to any of the major brands.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Some people are a bit put off by the fact that the Sony is not so sharp on the edges at F1.4 or 1.8, but I found it to be one of its strength.
    A part for shooting brick walls at wide aperture, I do not see the needs of sharp edges at f2 or below.
    You're talking about the 50mm, right? I could live with soft corners in a 35mm, too, but evidently, the Sony 35/1.4 is soft even in the center until stopped down. And it's over $1,000.

    PS That Minolta 35mm f2 and sibling 28mm are made of unobtainium and would almost certainly not be worth it even if you found one due to scarcity driven price levels.
    Yeah, I already looked and the 35/2 sells for over $500 and would, I'm guessing, be worth about 1/2 that the minute a Zeiss alternative is announced. Jeez, a MF Zeiss 35/2 on my 5D is making more sense all the time...

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Yep Kevin, the hole in the line-up is a Zeiss AF 35mm. I suspect that if Zeiss does make one, it'll be a f/2. The other missing prime is a super-duper 100 macro.

    I couldn't care less if Zeiss ever made a 50/1.4 if it's anything like the 50/1.4N which I hated. Now, if it was an AF 50/2 Macro that was optically like the ZF50/2 I used to use on a Nikon ... that would be most excellent! The Sony 50/1.4 is comparable to the Canon and Nikon 50/1.4s, except of course it's stabilized in-camera for low available light work In fact, that stabilization goes for any legacy prime from Minolta, or carry overs to Sony.

    Not even remotely interested in non-AF lenses for this camera except maybe a 100 macro ... if I were, I'd convert a Leica R 35/2 and recent 50/1.4 ASPH which would murder just about anything out there ... especially the 50/1.4R ASPH.

    If I didn't use MFD for macro work, I also bolt on a Leica R 100 APO macro ... which I wouldn't care if it was AF.

    -Marc

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    I'm thinking a small DSLR AF kit would be nice to complement my M9. So I'm peering at the A850 and thinking maybe this would work? It sure would be nicer on the wallet than a D3X and VR glass... Easier to haul around, too. How is the APO 70-200/2.8? Has anyone checked out the medium tele zooms in general? I'm thinking if it's decent an A850 + 70-200 over my shoulder (strap on tripod mount) and a M9+35/2 or WATE around my neck might make a fine pair. The 16-35 looks attractive too, but to be honest I bet the M9+WATE would take less space and probably weigh about the same!

    How's the AF?

    Edit: oops, guess I rambled on outside the subject a bit

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Interesting... I too have been waiting for Sony/Zeiss to release an updated 35/2, but we got the Sony 35/1.8 crop lens instead. I've read that its a fantastic lens, but I want a real 35/2 for my a900. I have a feeling the used prices of the Minolta 35mm f/2 will drop significantly once Sony releases an updated lens (same thing happened to the Minolta 85mm lenses). Hopefully Sony releases an Alpha lens roadmap soon, like they did for NEX a few months ago.

    Adapting a Leica R 35/2 or Zeiss 35/2 sounds tempting...

    @Jan - The Sony 70-200mm is a great performer, certainly on par with the Canon and Nikon counterparts (if not better). It was actually designed by Minolta (just before they went belly up) and replaced the old Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8. The 80-200mm is a good lens too maybe just a hair behind the Sony IQ-wise; focusing is loud though. Even better, put a ZA135 or Minolta 200mm f/2.8 on your a850 instead.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Interesting... I too have been waiting for Sony/Zeiss to release an updated 35/2, but we got the Sony 35/1.8 crop lens instead. I've read that its a fantastic lens, but I want a real 35/2 for my a900.
    I was briefly fooled when I saw the 35/1.8 on the B&H website. Got my hopes up....!

    This is such a baffling hole in the line-up I can hardly understand it, particularly when Zeiss makes 35mm primes for nearly every other DSLR out there. At this rate I'm going to end up buying a 5D Mkii with Canon's humble 35/2.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    This is such a baffling hole in the line-up I can hardly understand it, particularly when Zeiss makes 35mm primes for nearly every other DSLR out there.
    But they're not AF/SSM equipped with electrically actuated apertures and electronic interfaces. I suspect designing a lens for the Sony is a joint undertaking that is rather complex from a project and product POV...

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post

    This is such a baffling hole in the line-up I can hardly understand it, particularly when Zeiss makes 35mm primes for nearly every other DSLR out there. At this rate I'm going to end up buying a 5D Mkii with Canon's humble 35/2.
    I'm afraid it's not as simple as that. ZA lenses are designed and made by Zeiss for Sony. Sony decides what lenses it wants from Zeiss and what lenses it wants to make in-house, unlike the manual focus lines you mention where Zeiss freely decides what it wants to make and sell.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    But they're not AF/SSM equipped with electrically actuated apertures and electronic interfaces. I suspect designing a lens for the Sony is a joint undertaking that is rather complex from a project and product POV...
    Bingo ! I think you just nailed the reason right there.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    After waiting endlessly for a new FF 35 to be released, I bit the bullet and bought a "mint" Minolta 35/2 from eBay. Looks and feels new, even though I did flinch at paying over $600 for a used 35/2.....clearly somebody had bought it, and squirreled it away without using it, for it to have retained its near showroom condition (hood, caps etc and cosmetically and mechanically in perfect condition). Either way, I am happy with the performance of this approximately 200 gms lens, on the A900, and it has become my new "walkaround" lens.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post

    Yeah, I already looked and the 35/2 sells for over $500 and would, I'm guessing, be worth about 1/2 that the minute a Zeiss alternative is announced. Jeez, a MF Zeiss 35/2 on my 5D is making more sense all the time...
    An even better solution would be a ZS 35/2 on an A900. It is one of my favorite lenses.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Not even remotely interested in non-AF lenses for this camera....
    Agree totally. No interest whatsoever, in manual focus lenses, after getting used to the convenience of AF.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Tony Beach
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    ...the 35/2 sells for over $500 and would, I'm guessing, be worth about 1/2 that the minute a Zeiss alternative is announced.
    Not necessarily. The Zeiss 24/2 sells for $1200 (USD), so if a Zeiss 35/2 cost that much then there would still be a market for the old Minolta 35/2 and at half the price of the Zeiss that would still be a bargain price considering that the Minolta version is no slouch.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    I'm afraid it's not as simple as that.
    I understand what you're saying about the increased complexity of making an AF version for Sony, but from my POV as a dumb consumer, it really is as simple as that: With this camera I want a 35mm Zeiss auto focus lens, and Sony doesn't offer one. I'm flexible, I'd even be happy with a Zeiss 50mm, but they don't offer that either. If I'm going to kludge around that gap with adapters, manual focus or old Minolta lenses that are priced according to their rarity rather than their performance, then I'll stick with my Canon. If I'm going to go to the trouble and expense of switching systems, there has to be a bit of a 'wow' factor, and Zeiss primes are the 'wow' factor for me.

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post
    I would probably go this way, but I keep looking at the photos over at FM/Alt forum taken with the startling good Contax 35mm f1.4. CZ have a 'modern' (read heavy like a tank, not much short of the 24-70 ZA zoom!) version coming in ZE/ZF next year I believe, but will it be as good as the oldie? Even so, it would need a custom mount.
    I too kept looking at the Contax 35/1.4 thread at FM/Alt until I finally succumbed and bought one. It's one of the best lenses I've ever owned (and over the years I've owned hundreds of lenses). Sharp wide open, gorgeous bokeh, excellent build quality, 67mm filter thread, not too heavy (600 grams). I use it on a Canon 1Ds Mark II with a HappyPageHK adapter. If Sony were to release a successor to the A900/A850 with reasonable high ISO performance, I'd put Leitax mounts on all my Leica R and Contax C/Y lenses and switch to Sony.

    Given that most of the time I shoot with the Contax 35/1.4 at f/2, stop-down metering is not really a problem, so the upcoming Zeiss ZE 35/1.4 would have to be way better before I could be persuaded to replace the Contax lens, given that the new Zeiss is huge by comparison (82mm filter thread) and weighs nearly 40% more (830 grams).

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Correction: I'm not sure where I got the idea that the new Zeiss 35/1.4 has an 82mm filter thread. It's actually 72mm, so the lens is significantly heavier but not as physically large as I'd thought. Tempting. But I wouldn't be able to use the ZE version on a Sony and the ZF holds no interest because the aperture and focusing rings turn the "wrong" way.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    Correction: I'm not sure where I got the idea that the new Zeiss 35/1.4 has an 82mm filter thread. It's actually 72mm, so the lens is significantly heavier but not as physically large as I'd thought. Tempting. But I wouldn't be able to use the ZE version on a Sony and the ZF holds no interest because the aperture and focusing rings turn the "wrong" way.
    I know what you mean. I have been using my ZS lenses for several months now and can't get used to the focusing ring yet.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Wow, at 120mm, the Zeiss ZE 35 1.4 is actually 5mm longer than the ZA 135mm f1.8!

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    Jonathon,

    I have a lens with David Llado at the moment for which I am patiently waiting...a Contax VS 100-300 getting a custom mount...I am so tempted to ask him nicely if he can do a custom mount for the Contax 1/4.35mm after that, so sweet is it.

    AF/MF is very personal, of course. I love MF after using medium format film lenses for a (maybe too) long time. The tactile nature of a good focus ring, the throw that is just right in rotation and resistance, the feeling that the lens can take a little more impact which is inevitable over time. Good ones feel crafted rather than assembled.

    I wil do so, and will post his reply - might take a few weeks, I hate asking craftsmen for too much at a time! - and I have the VS 35-70 for my main work, so I also feel like I am moving into a GAS problem. Eek.

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    Re: Where are the Zeiss primes for Sony?

    @philip_pj,

    Can I ask how you're using the 35-70 on the Sony? Via Leitax adapter? Is David willing to do those himself? I've looked at the pictures he shows of the conversion and they make me nervous... The Leica R, I could handle fine, but not what he shows for the 35-70!

    Thanks,
    Mark.

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