Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Zeiss E-mount for Sony NEX is 24mm f/1.8 Sonnar?

The long awaited Zeiss E-mount lens for Sony NEX appears to be a Sonnar f/1.8 according to the image from Sonyalpharumors.

The Sony NEX uses 1.5x crop sensor, that would put the 24mm as 36mm (in 35mm equivalent), which is still considered a wide angle. Due to design limitation, there aren't too many wide angle Sonnar's around, needless to say a fast one. I only know of the Rollei 40mm f/2.8 Sonnar in LTM mount, which isn't considered a wide angle by many, also I vaguely remember a 35mm Sonnar clone by Nikkon, but that one isn't fast either; and looking at the lens barrel, it doesn't look like it only has 5-6 elements in it. For these reasons, I don't quite believe the image yet. It doesn't mean that the Zeiss E-mount lens won't be a 24mm f/1.8, however it just doesn't sound like a Sonnar to me. Perhaps, it is a Distagon in disguise with a Sonnar branding, or perhaps smaller image circle and advance technology allow Zeiss to achieve f/1.8 as a Sonnar. (warning: personal opinion here)
Having said that, whatever spec the lens carries, it is coming soon! Announcement on August 24th.

Link: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr5-huge-sony-leak/


  1. There is a 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar in the Contax T3.

    I don't believe this will be a Distagon lens. Distagons are retrofocus lenses, and a retrofocus design makes no sense if the focal length is that much longer than the flange back distance, which is 18mm in the case of the E-mount.

    So this could either be a Biogon design (typically the design for Zeiss' wide-angle lenses for mirrorless systems), or something entirely different that only bears the name "Sonnar" to proclaim some (non-existent) heritage. (I've read the claim somewhere that the 85mm f/2 "Sonnar" ZM isn't really a Sonnar as well, but a Planar.)

  2. *Sonnar* 35mm eq. lenses have been plenty for Zeiss lenses for different compact (fixed-lens) cameras of the film age - from numerous Contax T-models(1980'es-2000'es) and Rollei 35-models (1960'es onward). For these types of cameras, the *Sonnar* designation simply tells that it is a premium, light-sensitive lens, whereas the *Tessar* brand was user on the same kind of cameras (also under the Yashica brand) for somewhat cheaper options.

  3. Well, geting appart the discussion about the internal structure of the lens I am very impressed because I have waiting for the digital replacement of the Ikon camera and this movement from Zeiss could be pointing in a different way. First, I think that a prime 35mm lens (in the 35mm standard film -24x36-), with a fast apperture, is the documentary lens for excelence (so flexible to compose in any situation). Then when I have waiting for a Digital Ikon I was waiting for a body where I could mount my ZM 35mm f2. But with the last photographic marketing show where Zeiss did share nothing new with us about his Ikon line-up, instead his 100 years of the rangefinder lens history, I was changing my mind: Fuji X100? not to pay by a unique focal distance fixed lens... a MFT system? a very limited crop factor with severe technical problems in the wide angle range of lenses. But now appear the Sony NEX 7, that has the better sensor technology in the market right now (less noise in low light, high sensitivity, good dynamic range... all acording to the numerical review of the current sensors that are the roots of this new sensor), adapted to wide angle lenses (?), and with a Zeiss lens developed to this machine. And I am sure that this lens have been optimized to that sensor, and this optimization will include the HD-video´s requeriments (the new hybrid era), and an autofocus mechanism proper to record these videos (fast and with a minimum level of noise). Sony has declares that this camera (NEX 7) is for professional (not prosumers), then we must to wait highest scores in their lens-sensor performance. My personal answer about the future of a Zeiss D-Ikon camera is: there is not reason to wait for a Digital-Ikon, and I think that Zeiss is very clear about the technical barriers that impose the evolution of current market (still and movie) and the investments that are needed to go ahead. The solution: a strong join between Zeiss and Sony. Sony develops the sensors and bodies (they bought Minolta several years ago to get mirror SLR cameras technologies -today they do not need it with the traslucent tech-) and Zeiss develops the new lenses optimized to that technology. By the way Sony will be improving their sensors to get the maximun image quality that delivers high-end lenses like Zeiss. Sorry , my english is so bad...

  4. Asdrubal, although I basically agree with you here about Zeiss Ikon versus Sony NEX, I do not recall Sony saying that NEX7 is targeted at professionals. Rather it is for 'enthusiasts', Sony's usual word describing the more advanced users.

  5. Well Sir (anonymous) you are right. Sony have never said that thing. But made the mistake because I have mixed some information that I am following. In this case I have concluded it from an especific rumor posted in the "sonyalpha rumors" website titled as "SR3 one minute hands-on report... Zeiss with leaf shutter?" (see the link bellow). In this post somebody say:
    "The one real surprising news I can share with you is that the 24mm zeiss has a leaf shutter! I was very surprised to find this out but Sony is going to market this as the modern day rangefinder for street photography. I was told they are filming a commercial showing the evolution of the rangefinder into the NEX-7. It will be posted online in the coming months. It won’t be on tv because Sony doesn’t expect the average consumer to buy this camera, they believe the 3 and 5 series is for them."
    But there is another technical information that have been leaked in these days and seem to support that rumor (links bellow).

    Sorry for my mistake and thank you for your time.

    Rumors Links:

  6. Sorry, I made a mistake, Sony never had said that thing. I mix the information provided from a rumor: "ony originally planned for the NEX to be marketed at consumers and didn’t realize it would be a hit with enthusiast too. To combat the short registration distance, they put in some micro offset lenses. All lenses will benefit from this, including legacy glass so people will see improved performance with their rangefinder lenses."
    Taken from: sonyalfarumors (SR3 A NEX-7 one minute hands-on report... Zeiss with leaf shutter?). Thanks for your time anonymous

  7. "I was told they are filming a commercial showing the evolution of the rangefinder into the NEX-7. It will be posted online in the coming months. It won’t be on tv because Sony doesn’t expect the average consumer to buy this camera, they believe the 3 and 5 series is for them."
    Taken from sonyalfarumors (post mentioned above).
    There are a lot of aditional leaked information that seems to point that NEX-7 could be a pro-camera... I hope...

  8. A Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm eq lens from the past:

  9. The Sonnar designation has been used for numerous lenses of these focal lengths:

    35mm (Contax T3),

    36mm (Sony NEX),

    37mm (Contax Tix),

    38mm (Contax T and T2) and

    40mm (Zeiss Ikon Tenax and Rollei35)

    all in 35mm eq - over a span of more than 70 years - from 1938 to date.

    The new Sonnar must be seen in this perspective. It comes with a history.

    And i think its size to a large degree reflect 1) its light sensitivity and 2) the demands of a 24mp sensor (and probably even higher resolution sensors to come).

    If this is really a Sonnar design (known for being somewhat soft wide open compared to Planars and Distagons) ... or rather a Distagon design (as the large barrel seems to imply) ... that's what I am rather intrigued by :)