ZEISS’ creative genes for autonomy, uniformity, integration and smoothness have for the first time been incorporated into the design of the high-end SLR family of lenses, which will be available at the end of 2013. As for the Touit lenses, these qualities have been adapted in various ways to meet the special requirements of compact system cameras. The Touit lenses are available for Sony NEX cameras with E mount and for Fujifilm cameras with X mount, namely in the focal lengths 12 and 32. A special challenge for the designers from the Stuttgart design studio Phoenix Design, which was commissioned by ZEISS to come up with the new design, was the requirement to design all four lens variations from the same modular system. In this way, the number of parts would be kept to a minimum in order to create efficiency in the production process. Fabian Kollmann, Senior Design Manager with Phoenix Design, explains: “Everything above the funnel-shaped form where the lens extends to the front is identical on the Sony and Fujifilm versions; everything below it is identical on the 12-millimeter and 32-millimeter version.” However, the proportions of the lenses are different – and here the designers also had to learn to deal with constraints. For example, the size of the logo, which should be the same on all the lenses in the family, had to be adapted to the dimensions of the smaller lens. The length of the distance setting ring on all the lenses was also determined by the length of the smaller lens in the family. The result of these efforts is convincing: When you see the lenses in this family lined up next to each other, they exude uniformity and a systematic approach. All the setting rings are located at the same height, and the ZEISS logo has the same format on each lens.
The unique requirements of autofocus cameras also confronted the designers with some challenges. The focusing ring has a different function here than on cameras with manual focusing because the signal is sent electronically, not mechanically. Designing the scales and index marks, which required a lot of attention for the high-end SLR lenses, was not applicable for the Touit lenses. The lens for the Fujifilm camera has a setting ring for the aperture next to the focusing ring; the lens for the Sony version does not.
The Touit lenses belong to another class of usage than the high-end SLR lenses. Whereas the SLR lenses have a metal iris, its counterpart on the Touit lenses is made of plastic to keep it lightweight. The Touit lens itself is made of metal, which underlines its smooth surface and sense of value, and also contributes to its durability. The stylus-engraved letters are filled with white paint.
“With the design of the Touit family, we have achieved our goal: the lenses are design objects in their own right and fulfill the highest aesthetic standards,” says Program Manager Dr. Michael Pollmann from ZEISS Camera Lenses. He continues: “Within the category of lenses for compact system cameras, the Touit family is one of the best on the market. From the necessary compromise between small size and light weight on the one hand and high imaging quality on the other, we have realized the best technical result that was possible. The new lenses are not only aesthetic and of superior quality, but also easy to operate. The new Touit design conveys the joining of highest precision and quality with manageability and ease of use from the first moment you see it.”