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Sony to consider developing body for Contax N Mount


Active Member
Interesting comments from Sony Rep regarding Contax N Mount in article below.

"I do know that we are looking to see if the lenses will be Carl Zeiss. We haven’t come to an agreement yet, nor can I say if this will happen. One of the questions that the professionals and distributors ask us most is if we are going to think about adopting what was the Contax N mount. But I don’t know… all this has to be established. "

NTREVISTA: Juan José del Castillo, in charge of digital still cameras and video for Sony Spain and Portugal
viernes, 14 de octubre de 2005
Versión en castellano

"In principle, Sony will announce next summer two digital SLR's with Minolta mount and stabiliser"

Sony's launch in the reflex sector will be double whammy. This is what Juan José Castillo, director of Sony Spain, hinted during a chat with QUESABESDE.COM at the last Sonimagfoto. Not putting aside the brand new Cyber-shot DSC-R1, names like Konica Minolta, Carl Zeiss and Nikon also arose. Iker Morán.

Sony has stolen the show with the Cyber-shot DSC-R1.
Established photographers and companies have been to the stand (of Sony in Sonimagfoto 2005) and have loved the R1. In fact, they insist that we call it a reflex because it competes with them, as our tests have shown.

You explain its specifications to them, the 24 – 120 mm … a 24 mm, they love that … and they ask: “Why the other lens?” Everybody comments that the camera is already sufficient.

As far as I know, we haven’t had a single bad review.

Can we say that the R1 will be the successor to the Cyber-shot DSC-F828?

To all that come here to ask if it is a substitute for the F828 we explain that yes it is the successor, but they are totally different.

Del Castillo holding the new R1, during its presentation at Sonimagfoto 2005.

It’s a surprising camera, amongst other things, because it’s very light. Everybody was probably hoping for a smaller sensor, and also an RGBE four-colour filter, something steadfast in respect to the F828, and has seen a significant change. The three colour filter, for ex&le, will be kept for technical necessities.

Do we take it that Sony has decided to leave four-colour technology?

For the moment, I would say yes. I have no information at the moment on the development of any other camera filter with these characteristics. It was an idea, but at this present moment the market needs to go for another concept. I don’t know if it is because of costs, engineering or market tendencies, but I don’t believe that it is a route we will be following.

Is the R1 the beginning of a saga, or is it just a stepping stone until the arrival of the Sony reflex?

We shouldn’t forget that the reflex user is someone who takes the camera and listens to its sound … This photographer exists, but also there are those who want semi-professional cameras and a very high level of photo quality, but would prefer not to carry around lenses or have to change them and expose them to dust.

We are aware that this sector exists, and even though it continues to become smaller and is a little saturated with other makes, we have to maintain a presence. It is what we know, through experience, how to do best: the body, the sensor, the lens… For this reason, why not continue?

We are counting on the continuance of this camera; I do believe that it will be a substitute for the R1.

Why has it taken Sony so long to release a camera like the R1?

For about three years, when we began to see that we weren’t receiving any answers to the need for a reflex camera from Tokyo, all of us in the European divisions began to ask for something that was able to compete. And this is something that they began talking about when they didn’t know how to move forward or if they could buy Nikon or merge with Konica Minolta.

Buy Nikon?

Yes, buy… or merge. A wide range of possibilities were considered to see who could develop the reflex business. I believe that Nikon was one of the proposed options.

Anyway, while all these topics were being negotiated, we asked for a camera like the R1 a couple of years ago, and maybe when they had it they closed a deal with Konica Minolta. Three years ago they couldn’t over a question of prices. Time has been lost, but now we have something to compete with in this opening in the reflex sector.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1

What is known right now about the forthcoming Sony reflex?

To begin with, I believe there will be two models and they are going to be presented next summer; a professional and a standard model. But, at the moment, there is little information. For certain they will have a stabiliser on the body instead of on the optic.

A Konica Minolta mount?

Yes, I think this is certain. I don’t have it in writing, but it is what I have been led to believe during conversations about these cameras. Sony, on their part, has a lot to do with the body. I am certain that the body will be Sony all over.

So, will there be two manufacturers selling two cameras for the same mount or will Konica Minolta be able to stop making bodies and concentrate completely on lenses?

I don’t know what Konica Minolta will do. I do know that we are looking to see if the lenses will be Carl Zeiss. We haven’t come to an agreement yet, nor can I say if this will happen. One of the questions that the professionals and distributors ask us most is if we are going to think about adopting what was the Contax N mount. But I don’t know… all this has to be established.

Getting back to the R1, is there no future for large sensors?

The war on resolution is something that has given us a lot of food for thought. What happens when 3, 4, 5 million pixels are sufficient? We go for more. That’s how you get to the point where it makes sense to continue the war on large sensors. Why not?

It’s a question of lowering the prices, to see what you can offer for the same price. Of course it would be interesting to have a slim camera with a 3” screen and a zoom, but also had a large sensor. It’s an option.

The Cyber-shot DSC-N1, for ex&le, comes with a small 8 megapixel sensor...

They are two completely different questions. There is one user profile who will not appreciate the noise factor. Although we must remember that these cameras already have a high sensitivity, etc. This is a way in which we could introduce larger sensors in other ranges.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1

Why 8 megapixels?

To offer these cameras at the same price as those with a lower resolution from last year. Why not offer 8 megapixel cameras next year, for the same price that a 4 megapixel camera costs now? It’s an advantage for the user. You have a camera with 8 megapixels, that is also one of 5, 3, etc.

8 megapixels and rising…

Yes, it’s a natural evolution. I am sure that for the second half of next year we will have compact cameras that surpass this resolution. The only limit at the moment is that we can’t lower the price any more. It won’t be the technology that sets the limit; it will be the market price.

And besides the resolution?

Tendencies talk of slim line cameras and larger screens. Whatsmore, I believe that the race should be for the optical stabiliser, wide angles, high sensitivity and noise reduction.

Does the N1’s tactile screen bring together these trends or is it a little marvel of technology?

The tactile screen has worked well for us on video cameras. This is because the moving parts inside the camera are very simple. It’s something that we should continue, maybe not at entry level, but to give the opportunity to those who are looking for something very different in the market.

It’s a mistake to discard these sectors of the market because there are those who consider these functions secondary. Whatsmore, we have to create added value to control the lowering of prices in the market.

And Wi-Fi connection?

It’s a very interesting topic, and we will have it, although I don’t know if it will be in the first or second half of next year.

Spanish to English translation by Richard Scadding


Well-Known Member
When you read in the forum so often you read about the great expectation of a good digital camera with lens from Carl Zeiss. However, life does not fit to this expectation with the downfall of Kyocera photo division.

However, I must tell everyone there is a camera which can satisfy this great expectation.

I brought myself a Sony R1. It is good enough to satisfy most of your needs.

I was thinking about buying the Canon 5D, the problem with Canon 5D and Zeiss lenses is that you don't have autofocus and autodiaphragm, which mean the combination could be slow and not suited those situations when speed is important. 5D will also depreciate a lot with time whereas R1 is only 1/3 the price of 5D so you pay less to start with. The dynamic range of these cameras are the same, with 5D giving better images at ISO 800 or above. 5D could also be better in dark areas when the noise of the Sony sensor is slightly higher.

When you hold the R1 on your hand, it feels like a mini version of the C645. The monitor can be placed on top of the camera so that you can look down for the view, it is a bit like the Hassy 5 series. Although you might say it is only an image from the monitor, it is surprising clear and you can still see the image even when the sun shines on it directly. SLR guys may not like the viewfinder because it is also a monitor. I ,myself, likes to use SLRs but the Sony monitor provides crisp images and I consider this as a good alternative to SLRs.

The lens provides images for sensor with size 21.5mm x14.4mm. At 24mm, it has no distortion and this feature is typical for Zeiss. This lens has 67mm filter size so it is relatively big. This lens reminds me of the N24-85 because it also change the f.nos in the same way. For the R1, 24mm has f2.8, f becomes 3.5 at 50mm, 4.5 at 85mm.

To me this is a 10 million pixels camera with price 1/3 of 5D.

I had the experience of using 1Ds1 and 1DsII and I must say these camera do acts quickly with autofocus. This Sony R1 do gives the same feel with fast speed of autofocus.

In terms of images quality, it is excellent from ISO 160 to 400. You might find in the dark areas that there could be slightly more digital noise than the Canon counterpart. Otherwise, the images are comparable to the big boys.

The flash socket has been in the middle of the camera, the tradition could be started by Leica. R1 has the flash socket at the top of the right hand handle. This new way of holding the flash actually gives the camera more stability.

In conclusion, if you want a good digital camera with fast focusing Carl Zeiss lens, I strongly recommend R1.


Active Member
I appreciate your comments regarding the
R1 and would like to see your portfolio as well as your observations regarding the camera over time. You indicate that the R1 costs 1/3 of the cost of the 5D, but the 1/3 fails to take into consideration the cost of purchasing quality lenses after one purchases the 5D body. Another factor is true that once the 5D is replaced, one still has the lenses, whereas once the R1's useful life is over, you must replace the entire camera. Since the 5D has a full frame sensor and the R1 is APS size, I think it would be more accurate to compare the R1 to the 20D, whose body is only approximately $1,500 (or less) plus the cost of the lenses.

One reviewer indicated, for the R1, you buy the excellent Zeiss lens and the camera is thrown in for free. The reviewer indicated that the R1 is an excellent start for Sony and a landmark camera.


Well-Known Member
Last week there were only two cameras that I was thinking about buying, either R1 or 5D.

20D was out of the question. I had a 10D, despite fitting it with Zeiss and Leica lenses, its results were inferior to my Sony 717. Lenses for 35mm negatives do not give good results in partial frame. On the other hand, EF-S lenses designed solely for smaller frames could give good results. The other reason I dislike the smaller frame cameras is a limited viewfinder.

Although you said 20D is only approximately $1500 plus the cost of the lenses, to me this price is expensive and this is particularly true with the introduction of R1. I brought my R1 with $900. You might need to pay tax in your country, even with the addition of tax, R1 is cheaper than 20D. I think R1 is definitely a better buy than 20D as it has more pixels and a much better lens. There are two situations that I might consider the 20D to R1. If you do lots of night shoots, Canon sensor is superior in this respect. If you do a lot of macro work, I believe 20D with EF-S 60 2.8 is a superior choice to R1 with filter like macro lens.

Last week I was spending much time on deciding either 5D or R1. In the end , I choose R1 with reasons I explained earlier.


Well-Known Member
Hi Joseph,
How do you get on with the internal electronic viewfinder on the R1? I tried an R1 in a shop today and it seems a lovely camera and surprisingly light which is to be welcomed. It costs about £600 here in the UK.
Like you, I thought the external LCD was excellent but I had some doubts about the EVF as it is a bit small and dark. I think it might be difficult to use for grab shots too. Probably it is a question of getting used to an EVF.


Well-Known Member
Hello John,

As a regular user of manual focus Contax SLRs, I use them to focus in tricky situations. I have been using Sony DSC717 and DSC828 as part of my work.

I find the new generation of Sony camera like R1 have excellent electronic images in the viewfinder. The external and internal images have improved a lot compared to the previous 717 and 828. The images looks more real to me. I test the external monitor by using manual focus at 40cm with the 120mm lens. You can see some of my results in the G system panel. I must say it was not easy but at least it works. If you compare the view of R1 with Contax S2b, you will find the view looks bigger and more real in S2b. However, the brightness of view in R1 depends on the f. no, so that when you lower the in manual mode, the view becomes brighter.
The external monitor in the R1 could be easier to look at than the S2b, as you can still see the image even under direct sunlight.

Canon used to hate Sony and I think she hates her even more now. A few years ago Sony took a big bite of Canon sale with DSC717. I certainly can see why, 717 is cheaper and better than Canon 10D. I am sure R1 will take another huge bite from Canon. It makes 350D and 20D redundant. It also stops me from buying 5D even though I have 22 Zeiss and Leica lenses to go with 5D. R1 can do most of the job for 5D but with only 1/3 of its price. Well done Sony.


Well-Known Member
The following is not meant to be a personal challenge to anyone's preferences. Just a reality check, because many people come here to read posts other than the few contributers.

I'm sure the Sony R1 is a fine camera. I would only say keep it real folks. It cannot defy the laws of physics inherent in current technological levels as implied by some of the posts here. It has a 10 meg sensor, but the sensor is APS sized. IMO, and in fact, comparisons to the full frame, full featured 35mm sized 12.7 meg. 5D are hyperbolic wishful thinking.

While I do not dispute the obvious value of the Sony, and it's ability to fulfill many photographer's demands, it's small sensor and high meg count has it's limits ... least of which is the digital color fringing and ISO limiting noise issues.

However, for a nice, compact travel camera or all around digital camera I'm sure it is a top choice and one I'd certainly consider.
At 1/3rd the price of a 5D body alone, it well could be the more prudent choice if you don't need all that resolution and tonal spread that comes with a larger sensor ... or all the lens choices, flash control and D accessories of an DSLR like the D5.

As to doing most of the job of a D5, I'd say it depends on the job to be done. I shoot weddings and the R-1 would not be on the list for doing that job at all. In contrast to that, the 5D is the hottest camera in wedding photography today.

Again, not disputing the value and qualities of a fine camera. Just keeping it real.


Well-Known Member
OK, Marc, different people have different thought.

Another question, why the hell Zeiss is going for Nikon F mount ?


Well-Known Member
Thanks Joseph and Marc -interesting comments. I need large files as I contribute to a library and they don't generally like interpolated images. I use Genuine Fractals. I use film at the moment and may continue to do so as I keep looking for my ideal digital which no doubt does not yet exist. I am quite keen to change when I find it because scanning is such a pain even if I do like to have a physical original in my hands. It will be interesting to see what comes from the CZ/Nikon tie up if that it what it is.


Well-Known Member
Yes Joseph, that is an interesting development. It may be nothing more than a way to amortize the investment in C/Y glass already existing huh? Change the mount and aperture controls to F mount and sell Zeiss to Nikon owners of which (as Zeiss says) there are millions of photographers.

The image of cameras shown are both film Nikons if I am seeing correctly. Full frame coverage is the implication.

Are there currently C/Y to Nikon adapters? I thought the F mount was to small.

Anyway, If these lenses are AF, Nikon will have a Canon killer on it's hands IMO. At least with picky photographers and professionals.


I feel I've been double-crossed by Zeiss - they do the F-mount and not the EOS mount? Who has been buying all their old Contax stock but us Canon users, and this is how they repay us our appreciation?

Thanks a bunch, Uncle Carl!

That's it. I'm selling all my Zeiss lenses right now ... OK, maybe not right away, but pretty soon anyway ... oh, who the hell am I kidding ...


Well-Known Member
Let us get the issue of R1 clear.

Here is a large corp of a photo of a head only portrait produced by Sony 717. Here is what I mean by digital noise.


You can see small dots noise artifacts all over the place.


Well-Known Member
Here is another large corp. This time the camera is Canon 10D with
C-Y 100 2.


This image is crisp and for practical purposes it is noise free.


Well-Known Member
Here is another large corp from R1 at


All three images are corp directly from the file of the camera.

To me , I would say the image from R1 is also crisp and practically free from noise artefacts.


Well-Known Member
This photo is produced by R1 with original file size >10M.


It has critical lighting condition. Let us look at a direct corp from the original file.


This small corp at the dark area of the photo will show up noise if there is any, but to me it is alright.


The next corp is near the sun, it will show fringing if there is any, but it doesn't.


Well-Known Member
These are just a few pieces of evidence to suggest R1 is relatively free from fringing and noise compared to 828 and 717.

828 has CCD 8.8mmx6.6mm, it suffers from noise and colour fringing. R1 has CMOS 21.5mmx14.4mm, it is relatively free from those problems.


Well-Known Member
Hi John,

I have read the full review in dpreview before I brought my R1. I agree with Phil Askey with most of what he said in the review. He found the external LCD monitor difficult to get used to.

I like the LCD monitor. It is clear and allows you to see the view in different angles. It makes R1 works like Hassy. It is a great idea.

Any more obstacles in front ?


Well-Known Member
Hi Joseph,
Yes, thanks, the R1 pictures are pretty impressive.
I think the external viewfinder is a very good idea. I would like a magnifier for it like on my old TLR or can you do that electronically? I still don't really like internal EVF's though. I expect they will get better.


Well-Known Member
I think I may buy an R1 when I have recovered from Christmas (which may be a while at this rate!)