Carl Zeiss is heralding a particularly powerful new full-frame SLR lens at photokina 2012. Dr. Michael Pollmann, Consumer Lenses Product and Program Manager in the Carl Zeiss Camera Lenses Division, is addressing strengths and technical details of the new high-end SLR lens family in a Q&A.
What is meant by “high-end SLR lens family”?
This is about lenses for full-frame (36x24mm) SLR cameras with manual focusing capability. This family of lenses is geared towards delivering uncompromising image quality for demanding users. The lenses are perfect for high-resolution, full-format digital cameras with more than 30 megapixels such as D800. The combined performance approaches that of medium format systems. If you shoot with the largest aperture, cameras with smaller number of pixels also benefit from much better image contrast.
Will it be a family or just a single lens?
It will be its own family of lenses independent of our current ZE and ZF.2 lenses.
What focal lengths will be available?
Currently, we are developing three prime lenses, with more in the planning stage. We are not ready to reveal them at this time.
How much will the lenses cost?
Since the lenses are more demanding in terms of material selection and construction than our previous ZE and ZF.2 lenses, the price level will be higher. We are expecting prices around EUR 3,000.
For which bayonets will the lenses be available?
They will be available for EF bayonet (ZE) and F bayonet (ZF.2).
Where will the lenses be made?
The lenses will be manufactured in Japan. They will be developed in close consultation with our longstanding global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry to ensure that the lenses’ actual performance corresponds to their theoretical optical design performance.
What does “uncompromising image quality” mean?
The new lenses will achieve extremely high image quality throughout the entire picture including edges even at maximum aperture. At the same time, chromatic aberration is extremely low.
How come 1.4/55 is considered a Distagon type despite its standard focal length?
Due to the high performance required, we were looking for a fresh approach. It is true that the Distagon type is predominantly found in wide-angle lenses. This is because wide-angle lenses also require additional design effort in terms of number and arrangement of lenses. Since we were aiming for the best possible imaging performance for the new family of lenses, we decided to manufacture the 1.4/55 as a Distagon. Due to the number and arrangement of lenses, this lens unit is slightly larger in size and weight but uncompromising in its performance.
When will the first lens come to market?
The expected arrival is autumn 2013.