On a whim, I called the Zeiss people up. Luckily, the Kyocera folks were in town for a skull session. They gladly let me in on their plans for their entire line of cameras and lenses for the next five years! Apparently, digital backs for the RTS III and 645 are not in the plans, but they might try a hybrid for the G2!!!
After putting in my two cents (I asked for a digital back for my RX -- they won't do a digital back for the RTS III as it will interfere with the vaccuum system), I asked why they allowed me into the meeting. They said that anyone was welcome, but noone had tried to call in before! I will be using this forum at every available opportunity!
Mark Maxon's message made me very curious: did you call the Zeiss people in Germany?
1) Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a "skull session"?
2) What sort of "meeting" was it about, and when did it take place?
3) What forum do you mean to use at every available opportunity?
> I vote for a digital G2. I think it would be a real winner. If, on the other hand, they announce it and then don't deliver, the way they didn't with the N Digital, I may completely give up on Kyocera. The whole N1 thing (I own one) was just stringing people along. The G2 is already AF and the lenses are great. Get on with it!!
Stan Parry: "I vote for a digital G2. I think it would be a real winner. If, onthe other hand, they announce it and then don't deliver, the way they didn't with the N Digital, I may completely give up on Kyocera. The whole N1 thing (I own one) was just stringing people along. The G2 is already AF and the lenses are great. Get on with it!!"
I think a digital G would be a born loser. The strength of the G-system resides in the wideangle lenses. Owing to the short distance between the exit pupil and the sensor plane, the Biogons and the Hologon wouldn't = work well with a digital sensor. Perhaps there will be a chip in the future than can handle light at small grazing angles, but the current generation of CCD's cannot.
No digital backs for their pro lines (RTS III and 645) because of interference with vacuum back system? If their R&D can't figure this out does it mean we won't be seeing a full size CCD in the G2 hybrid? (probably solve the wide angle lens issue)
A digital back for the manual focus line would keep it alive; not to mention perks for us who already have a load of lenses we need (and love)
> This has been discussed nearly to death on another maillinglist. It is technically nearly Impossible to produce a full frame back with satisfying results as a) The distance between the Bayonet mount and the film plane is to short (don't know why this is a problem) b) the Bayonet mount should have a larger diameter (again, don't know why this is problem) I think they mentioned more reasons. And Zeiss claims, that you need to optimize Lenses differently for Digital and analog
For the G-Series the problem seems also to be that the lenses are too close to the sensor (must have to do with the fact, that the light sensitive area of a sensor is "thicker" (and narrow like a tube) compared to the flatness of film.
So it's pretty unlikely to see digital backs on the older Y/C stuff.
I recommend checking Alexanders Maillist archives for details.
let me ask you this provokative: If you look at what has been introduced already for the N-system and what is in the pipeline for this year - why do you think that there is really an interest of Contax to keep the manual focus system alive?
What has already been introduced for the N-System? Contax released the N1 then the NX. Then they released new AF lenses which seem only to overlap the current lineup (24-85mm then 28-80mm, 70-300mm then 70-200mm, both new lenses offered at a lower cost). There are no consumer grade lenses they say? They created the lower priced series to allow it to be more affordable to the Contax user who prefers Zeiss glass. Great, but are they compromised and does it give us a competitive choice in the market of AF? It has been mentioned in various other discussion forums that the NX and even N1 has been a disappointment in the AF speed dept; though the N1 was not intended to be the RTS of AF. Then they jump to the N-Digital which appears to be the professional's choice; and I should hope so since only paid professional's are able to afford it. And with rumors of a digital T3 in the pipeline as well?
So where's the top 35mm AF? You can't leave the MF market until you have something to replace it in AF. It just seems there are better values in the other brands for AF at this time. MF, an interest or a need?
I do not want to repeat things, that are already discussed in depth in this forum (Look in N-system). Regarding the N-lens-line, I find it already well covered: 17-35, 28-80, 24-85, 70-200, 70-300, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, soon 400/4.0 and some faster zooms and a faster wideangle. Do not look at the NUMBERS, look at the covered lens RANGE: With all lenses now available you cover 17mm 'til 300mm (400mm). This is enough for 99% of the costumers. If you need faster zooms, you will get them this year
Do not make the mistake and just look at FFL. The new N-Zeiss-zooms are really good and almost always at par with the FFL of the manual focus line, sometimes even better. Of course there are some exceptions, but exactly for these exceptions Zeiss is introducing new FFL for the N-systen (28/50/85 etc.).
This is the way the whole industry goes: more zooms less FFL. Why? Because nobody wants to buy the FFL anymore, except a few costumers. Contax is selling what the majority is demanding.They have to make PROFIT not lenses for the collector. This niche is already occupied from Leica.
AND look now at the manual focus line. There are 2 bodies left: the Aria and the 12 years old RTS III. So not more bodies then the N-system! One MM-lens after the other is fading away. There are NOT so much FFL-lens left! Just follow this Forum and you can make your own calculations...
If Zeiss would come out wth a C/Y-mount 24-85, I would go back to the old system, because I love manual focussing, otherwise not. I do not care whether other companies offer this or that feature additionnally. I do not need more then what I have already. Otherwise I just would buy a Nikon F100, which is a great camera, but no Zeiss lenses...
Kodak sells a digital back for the Contax645 right now. Older SLRs need to have to have the proper types of electronic communication, and the proper information communicated for there to be an easy transition to digital. If that interface does not exist, the original camera needs to be redesigned to allow for it. The Mamiya 645d is an ex&le