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Sony to consider developing body for Contax N Mount


Well-Known Member
Dirk, I share your cautious skepticism, and for once am content to sit on the side lines and watch developments without involving my bank account : -)

Sony is no stranger to high end consumer products. Their Plasma wide screen TVs are some of the best, and the price reflects this.

One can only hope that quality mentality is transfered to the making of a DSLR. However, if they do not use Zeiss AF lenses, with some fast aperture primes, they will not penetrate the semi-pro and pro market. Why? Because switching systems is a MAJOR creative and financial decision.

Leica has managed to accomplish this on a limited scale only because current R lens owners are buying them, or a few Pros with limited DSLR needs are switching to Leica from Nikon or Canon to get at the R lenses ... which supports my point concerning the need to use an established name like Zeiss. Another ex&le is Fuji with their S series DSLRs. They've continued with limited sales because of the Nikon mount, and their cameras offering an alternative look and feel (nice skin tones for ex&le).

My fear concerning Sony is the same as yours Dirk. Like Kyocera, they are a stubborn company when it comes to listening to the consumer... and when semi-pro and pro shooters are not listened to, the word spreads quickly in these days of the web.

They indicate the use of internal stabilization. This indicates the sensor will be smaller than full frame unless there is new technology beyond the current Minolta in-camera IS. Less than full frame will be a mistake IMO, and limit their penetration into the semi-pro and pro market. The advanced amateur market is not large enough, or influential enough to sustain any DSLR camera company alone.

It is hard to convey the challenge that the future offers up to a company. Along with the Camera and Lenses, the firmware and software are now major considerations ( as we all learned with the ND, and you are experiencing now Dirk).

To give you some idea of the quantum leaps being made in firmware/software here's one I recently experienced:

Hasselblad/Imacon just released new Flexcolor software. Embedded in the software was a firmware update that automatically loaded into the camera when tethered to my computer. Now get this: it corrects any aberrations by reading what lens is mounted via the data-bus ! And it works!

Other future challenges will come from Canon IMO. While folks like Joseph love their R-1s (as well they should), a hundred thousand wedding photographers/ semi-pro / and Pro shooter have gone with with the 5D which IS a true landmark camera.

I did a professional shoot yesterday that required everything be shot available light. The light changed from only needing ISO 320 to really needing ISO 1600 and for a few shots ISO 3200.
Properly exposed, even the ISO 1600 shots are hard to tell from the ISO 400 shots at the 5X7 size the art director will be using.
Coupled with the fast Canon primes and high ISO performance, this tool was the only choice I really had.

How does this translate into practical use for the advanced amateur shooting that once in a lifetime vacation? It means you can shoot all those sun filled images like shown above, then walk into a dimly lit church and reset the ISO to 1600.

What's the point? To me it indicates the need for Sony to provide a DSLR with full frame, high ISO sensor, and relatively fast lenses that carry a pre-determined image quality like Zeiss is able to do.

Anything less will not dislodge me from my current, highly versatile system.


Hi Marc,

very interesting. Canon announced today the Canon 30D, the successor of the 20D. The 30D has the same sensor and MP like the 20D. Theer are some improvements, but not that many that a 20D user needs to upgrade:

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Canon is the "big boy" in the DSLR market. If they do not make big steps from one model to the next, who else?

I think this is an indication for the DSLR development of the rest of the industry looking forward. The MP race is over, other qualities will play a bigger role in the future.

I was surprised NOT to see the 30D with fullframe. I would have expected 8 MP, but fullframe, since Canon said one year ago in an interview, that everything except entry level will be fullframe in the future. I do not see the 30D as an entry level model

But IMHO, this has consequences for the industry. Nikon will only come out with fullframe, if they feel "forced" (by Canon) to do this. With the announcement of the 30D, teher is now less pressure on Nikon for fullframe short term.

Sony needs to get market share as fast as possible. IMHO the best way to get a significant market share is with aggressive prices and above average image quality. This means not mandatory fullframe or best image quality.

Fullframe makes everything expensive, and it seems that the major demand for DSLR does not want mandatory fullframe, otherwise Canon would have implemented it in the 30D to kill the competition.

I do think, that Sony will try to offer in the long run fullframe in at least one DSLR. But I guess this will be the top-model of a Sony DSLR product range at the beginning.

So if I were Sony, I would start with entry level models, priced between 700-1500 USD, maybe 2 different ones and one year later a pro model. If Sony sees the current KM DSLRs as enough for this segment, this would look differently. But if I were "Mr. Sony", I would like to see only DSLRs with the Sony name on it - for the whole product range, to make the committment clear and market it better.

So my guess is APS sensors this year in Sony DSLRs, and maybe next year fullsize. But this is just an opinion and I might be wrong...

A weak point IMHO with Canon are the wideangle lenses. And I do not see any committment of Canon at the moment, to improve in this area. A fullfarme DSLR without excellent wideangles is decreasing the value of fullframe.

Depth of field and pixel quality would be the only advantages left. Normally, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality. But I would like to see this for myself in prints, not in Photoshop at 800% enlargements.

I have not made comparisons yet with Canon 5D and Nikon D200. I do not know whether there are significant differences in image quality just because the sensor is bigger.

I would be very curious to know. In the past, I always thought APS is a disadvantage, because it is harder to design good lenses in wideangle area for this.

But since I saw images of the Sony R1, I had to correct my view on this. Distortion and light fall off are so good with the R1 - and we are talking about a zoom with really large zoom range - I have to make up my mind.

So APS sensor size is not anymore a no-go for me as in the past. I have to get a better feeling now with differences in real life shootings in terms of depth of field and of course the image quality difference between APS and fullframe.

Any experiences are welcome


Well-Known Member
As we all know, N1 has a great 24-85, R1 has the advantage that, without the mirror, the lens can place very close to the sensor. It is hard to beat R1 at 24mm with SLRs.

I do like 5D and has spent much time of imagining to have one. In practice I have no choice but R1. For ex&le, I have to think about mounting the camera on the operating microscope. This instrument with Zeiss interface views at many different angles. Mounting R1 on it make sense as you can still see the monitor of R1 at different angles, whereas 5D becomes less practical.

When you are taking photos with a microscope, the absence of mirror in R1 is also an advantage.

I believe that R1 is better in focusing with the macro lens than Canon. When i was using 10D with Canon 50 2.5, sometimes it focus in the wrong direction, by which I mean when the lens should focus nearer, it go further instead. The point of focus go further and then returns to the point I want. R1 do not have this problem.

I have to think about depreciations as well, when most of my partners are using Nikon Coolpix, R1 is already an overkill. In photography, useful components do hold their values and sometimes increases their value with time. Canon 1DsI is certainly a very good camera, but it suffers from the worst depreciation. The reason behind is Canon's pricing policy, the premium is too high and it is not in line with the performance.
5D will depreciate in rate slower than 1DsI but faster than R1. Sony products do hold their value quite well, I sold my 828 weeks ago at USD580 after using it for two years, I am very pleased with this kind of price.

I can see why Canon is introducing 30D instead of a new full frame. At the moment, the market of the Canon 1.6 crop is very different from the market of the full frame. Most of the partial frame people are quite happy with their products and Canon does wish to continue the status quo of this. Introducing 30D will continue to separate these two markets and it helps to keep up the price of full frame.

So I keep my R1 at work but I feel a lot happier with my M and C-Y gears. It feels addictive when you press the shutter of Leica M. Both Leica and Zeiss are making great lenses for this system. C-Y has come to its end but theirs good lenses never fade away.


Btw, is anybody notice that Sony R1 10M Fine Jpeg file is only 75 dpi ? that is not enough for fine printing


Well-Known Member
Zhanggf, 75 ppi is enough if the image size itself is large. Most photographers use 240 or 300 ppi to print from, and convert 72 ppi to 240 or 300 that is used by ink-jet printers ... and the actual size of the image will reduce proportionately.

A more accurate key measure is to look at what meg count the file itself is. When you change a large sized image from 72 ppi to 300, the measurements of the image will reduce but the meg count will stay the same.

Dirk, many interesting points. You are correct in your assertion that comparisons should be made in the prints themselves, not screen views ... unless, of course that's all you'll ever do ... at which point you don't need Zeiss OR more megs.

I have the advantage of working with digital cameras ranging from a 8 meg shirt pocket camera (Leica D-Lux 2), all the way to a H2D with a 22 meg 645 sized sensor ( will be converted to 39 meg in May). At 800 ppi, 130KB for web uploads, anyone can make any claim for any camera, and others would be hard pressed to see the difference. It is when printing one see the vast differences in digital images.

It is in printing that the men are separated from the boys. Given the same photographer, and the same shooting conditions, APS cannot hold a candle against a full frame 35mm sensor. 35mm full frame cannot hold a candle against a 645 sized sensor ... even if the meg count were the same in each one. It's really no different than film.

All the digital cameras from APS to 645 offered today do a credible job in rendering the image. Many inexperienced eyes see this as the objective, and have difficulty separating the
"men from the boys" when it comes to image performance at the print level.

I produce a minimum of 2500 ink jet prints annually ... all 8" X 10" or larger, with maybe 100+ of those being 12" X 18". In addition maybe 35% of the 8" X10" prints are crops from the originals, some of which are pretty severe. Prints are where I live or die.

As a bench mark, I use the optical prints that I used to do, some of which I did myself in my darkroom. They trained my eye, and convey the objectives of going beyond producing a "credible" print.

In my experience, the smaller the sensor, the flatter the dimensional qualities of the actual print. The subtleties that many others overlook, are actually what makes a print "sing" to the eye. This is apparent in a 5"X 7" print comparison, or a 30" X 40" print comparison.

What I find interesting, and actually funny, is that uninitiated people can see the difference ( I deal with the public doing weddings) , and seasoned pros can see the difference ( I also deal with commercial photographers and art directors) ... but many advanced amateurs can't. It just seems to escape them : -)



I like the phase "men are separated from the boys". I know an ad on TV for a Parfum with a similar phrase (did you do this ad?)

I agree with you. These subtile differences was the reason in analogue times why I liked always Leica and Contax over other brands and bigger format over smaller ones. Unfortunatley, I have not the possibility to see prints of a modern full frame DSLR vs. same print of a modern APS size DSLR at the moment.

And the worst: fullframe is currently offerd only by Canon and only very expensive. I like the Contax ND, but technology was evolving so fast over the last 5 years, that this will be probably not my solution for the rest of my life.

This is why I bought the R1, to see what is possible with modern APS-size sensor and Zeiss lens combined...

I love images from medium Format cameras. I actually owned and used for about 6 months a Rollei 6008. But I realized that I have neither the time, nor the patience to use it as it should be used to appreciate the advantages. I think I am more the "35mm guy", with a more leightweight and versatile lens equipment. So I sold it again.

If Nikon would offer fullframe, it could be combined with ZF lenses (they are designed for fullframe).

If Sony is coming with fullframe (IMHO would be possible technically), there might be also an option with new Zeiss lenses. Either new ones or Contax N adapter.

But with Canon, there is no option, except a very uncomfortable one.

Leica has no fullframe and IMHO will never have. A revival of the Contax N system, is not likely over the next 12 months. So there are not that many alternatives...


Well-Known Member
I cannot understand why Zeiss are not making ZC Canon mount lenses to go with Canon full frame sensors unless maybe it is not physically possible or there are patent issues. If they would or could make such lenses, they would be a really attractive proposition for the 5D.


Hi John,

I think Zeiss mentioned that in one of their comments. It is the patent issue.

And in case, they will offer new lenses for the upcoming Sony-KM DSLRs it would not be a good idea, to give Canon users easy access to Zeiss lenses now


Well-Known Member
Ah, I see. Thanks Dirk. That makes sense. A Sony KM DSLR might be an exciting prospect.