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New ZF lenseswhat lenses do you think Zeiss should make


Well-Known Member
Hiya all,

It's a bit quiet so here is a hopefully thought provoking post....would all interested posters like to say what FIVE ZF lenses they think Zeiss would be most sensible to make? ..I would just like to hear YOUR best thoughts so Zeiss actually make a success of the ZF line.
a 21mm f2 or f2.8, 28mm f2, 35mm f2, 85mm f1.4 or f2 and 100mm f2 or f2.8.

Cheers Steve.


Well-Known Member
Hi Steve,

Yes, I'd more or less go with those although I'd like the 35 and the 85 both to be f1.4 and the 100 to be f2 but no doubt it would be prohibitively expensive. Also I would like a 50 1.4 (smaller than f1.2) and I'd like both a 21 and a 28, or is that being greedy? On thinking about it, if I can only have 5 lenses, I think I would prefer a 200 to the 21 and a 24 to the 28. So that's: 24/25 f.2.8 (to keep the size down), 35 f1.4, 50 f1.2, 85 f1.4, 100 f2 and 200 f4. But that's 6, so I think I'll forgo the 85.
Can I add a teleconverter?


Well-Known Member
......mmmmmmmm... See the dilemma of Zeiss? The lenses with the hefty world wide reputations are in my opinion...21/2.8, 28/2, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4 But are those potentially the most financially viable for Zeiss? we must remember it is also Nikon users who will buy and they do not have the same background thoughts, user knowledge and pre-formed opinions as Contax users....


Hi Steve,
I remember that Zeiss produced prototype 18 f2.8 and 25 f1.4 (!!) lenses some while ago - in addition to the 25 PC 3.5 - I think if I was to suggest that one of these three would be popular, it would be the 25 1.4. Other than that, the usual suspects: 21 f2.8, 28 f2, 35 f1.4 and either the 85 f1.4 or, a little bit different, a 135 f1.8 (like my dear old UltraUnitor lens from 1977).


Well-Known Member
A 25 f1.4 would be nice but wouldn't it be gigantic?
May be Nikkor users would want zooms?
I understand that, CZ has said that prices will be reasonable which I suppose is a subjective word according to the depth of one's pocket.


Well-Known Member
Hi Graham, Those two prototypes did cross my mind, but I somehow think they would be far too expensive for Zeiss to make...and they did say they wanted 'Nikon' prices (lets hope) It will be interesting to see If Zeiss play safe, or really listen to what buyers want...but they do NEED to make money with this project. Steve.


Hi John, interestingly, the 25 1.4 was about the same size as the 21mm that we all adore - like the 28 f2,it had quite a long body for a wide-angle lens. Yes, Zeiss' understanding of affordable often appears to be at variance with that of about 99.5% of the population.


Well-Known Member
Well, a 25 f1.4 would be lovely. I have the maligned 25 f2.8 which I like and enjoy although I don't use it very often. OK, I'll go for the 25 f1.4! Pricewise though - help! I expect.


Well-Known Member
Work-horse lenses first. 35/1.4 and 85/1.4.

25/1.4 would be a blessing. Perhaps a compromise 25/1.8 to keep the size and price more manageable. IMO, neither will ever happen.

a macro of some sort and a 135/2.

All caution to the wind?

All AF lenses on an Zeiss DSLR body with full frame, 20+ meg. sensor good to ISO 3200.

21/2.8 ASPH, 24/1.4 ASPH, 35/1.2 ASPH, 85/1.2 APO, 120/2.8 APO Macro, 200/2 APO IS ... with a 1.4X APO.

I'd sell every piece of 35 mm SLR and DSLR gear I own, and a chunk of the MF stuff for such a system, and never look back.


Well-Known Member
Lovely thoughts Marc. Who knows, maybe it could happen and sweep the professional market but I expect the downside would be that it would have an enormous cost.


Well-Known Member
Actually while not probable, not impossible ... and removing the "collector" aspect from the price (like the 21/2.8 and 85/1.2), it could still be pricey, but a worthy investment.

Actually, a hefty price tag would be a good thing IMO. It would mean I could sell all my other stuff, which is pretty extensive, and still get a decent price for it. If the Zeiss gear was moderately priced, who in their right mind would buy my Canon gear instead? ; -)


mmmhhh, interesting thoughts...

I do think that Zeiss wants to achieve 2 things at the same time with teh ZF lenses

a) Renew their reputation and make the name Zeiss attractive to new costumers, who could then be willing to switch later on into a different Zeiss system

b) make money with ZF lenses

I have no fear that they will make money with ZF lenses. IMHO, if they pick the right lenses, the sales number will be a lot better than for Contax systems within the last 3-5 years. This is just a question of market share of Nikon lens mount and how many lenses they are willing to produce in one batch.

But they need to pick the right lenses, which correlates with the target to get back with great reputation. The need to offer something, that is currently not available for Nikonians. Either not inthis quality or in this range or both.

Therefore my guess will be either a 25mm/2.0 or a 28mm/2.0 plus maybe later on an extreme wideangle like 18mm or so.

I do not think that they will offer zooms. There are enough offers from Nikon there, with new DX designs. But a 24 or 25/2.0 (or even 1.4) would mean with crop factor of 1.5 to have a 36mm/2.0 (or 1.4). This would be a market niche for Nikon DSLR users. I doubt that analogue users woul buy that lens.

If Zeiss gets this right with the ZF lenses, a wider audience would look carefully on the next step of Zeiss - whatever the cooperation partner would be...


Well-Known Member
Thanks, Dick for the excellent analysis that puts the Zeiss lens talk into a clear perspective. Do you think Zeiss will offer other mounts besides Nikon?


Well-Known Member
This is such a pleasure to read your posts, guys. Since it's also about money, I'd like to ask one question - how much time does an average lens last? If I know that this 21/2.8 creature, or any other, will work even after I die, I might consider reasonable to pay $3K for it. But what if not? I have 32 years old Distagon 35/2.8 (Rollei mount) - it's OK, but focusing thread has slight drift. I don't think that it can be fixed. I recently bought a parrot - it will live longer than me. It's sad to know, but it's a fact. I'd like to have lenses with the same reliability. Please share your experiense about this matter. Thanks!



well, they do already

1. Contax RTS mount
2. Contax N-mount
3. Rollei
4. Hasselblad
5. ZF (Nikon)
6. ZM (Leica)
7. ZS (M42)

I think we can forget Hassy and Rollei in the long run. Contax (both mounts) has to bee seen, depending on whether they find a cooperation partner. The question is, what happens with Sony/KM? and will there be a Zeiss cooperation?

I find this option personally very logical and likely. Whether there will be an N-mount "adapter-compatibility" has to be seen.

If I would be Mr. Zeiss, I would offer that adapter, no matter whether I make loss with it or not. This is a question of committment & "thank you" for users who invested in the Zeiss name by buying new products and not second hand like every body else.

The manual focus Contax market was driven over the last years IMHO mainly by second hand demand and Canon users.

So to answer it shorter: Yes I do expect something new this year, announcement latest at Photokina 2006.


Carl Zeiss AG * Camera Lens News * Issue 24 * February 2006

Dear everyone,

The new ZEISS lenses for Nikon F mount have made big news worldwide since
we announced them in CLN 23.

The enthusiasm will undoubtedly continue to build as more and more
enthusiasts read about the whopping performance (see test results below)
and the quite affordable prices.

For the ZEISS IKON system we can now share with you some of our test data
using production equipment instead of prototypes. The performance, across
the board, is quite impressive - far above the capabilities of digital
cameras and scanners. This begins to explain why we are so convinced that
photography still needs silver halide film. We are pleased that the
marketplace of serious photographers agrees with us.

Here in CLN 24 we introduce to you two high-resolution films that we used
in our recent tests. These films allow every photographer to conduct his or
her own tests to determine each lens's "sweet spot", and to see just how
great the difference between film and digital photography is. We are, of
course, quite proud that the capabilities of the new ZEISS lenses meet or
exceed those of the highest resolution films on the market.

When digital catches up with film, you may be confident that your ZEISS
lenses will take you to the top of the class. Meanwhile, we wish you
"ZEISS-quality" photographic results - whether you're shooting analog or

Kornelius Mueller

Camera Lens News No. 24:
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Headlines Index:

[1] The Sharpest SLR Lenses we've ever Tested

[2] Prices for ZF-lenses Now Set

[3] Resolving Power Record with ZEISS Biogon T* 2.8/25 ZM

[4] Gourmet Food for ZEISS IKON

[5] ZEISS IKON Coming Late, Going Strong!