I’ve been a big fan of Zeiss for as long as I’ve been a camera geek. Their lenses are universally regarded as some of the best money can buy but for many its money they don’t have. However it’s an exciting time for many photographers (or filmmakers for that matter) who want to get into the Zeiss ecosystem. If you own a Sony E-Mount camera you’ll have a few more lenses to pick from.
The big news is that there will be at least two new lenses announced for FE-Mount late this year and more to come in 2017. We also know (ILHP AND ZEISS AT PHOTOPLUS EXPO 2015: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW) that Zeiss will expand the very popular Batis range. However the supply and demand has been grossly in favour of the latter with preorders for the 25mm F/2 and 85mm F1.8 still yet to stock the shelves.
I’d like to have seen Zeiss make both the 25mm and 85mm at least F/1.8 (the former only being F/2). If you're wondering about why the nit pickiness, from a photography point of view this demand seems bizarre but it has a small benefit for filmmakers when all the lenses in a series have matching maximum apertures when switching glass. Although the reality is these aren't cine lenses, but the reasons many have switched to Sony has been for video purposes and is it really asking too much to bump the maximum aperture up a fraction? Or maybe that's just such an insignificant thing to fight for... and it probably is.
I also understand that making them an F/1.4 would increase the size of the lens considerably but its a compromise I’d easily take if it meant having a faster lens. However I honestly can’t see them making their future Batis lenses any faster then 1.8.
I expect them to either release a wider option (perhaps a 14mm or more likely 18mm) or fill in the void (35mm or 50mm). At some point (if not soon) they are probably going to also release more telephoto lenses (135mm most likely).
They could very well release a zoom lens in this range. And based on Sigma's innovation in this space, possibly a 24-70mm f/2 which would be absolutely incredible (very large, very unlikely and very expensive) but I believe Zeiss will want to keep the Batis lenses consistently affordable.
Expect the Loxia and Touit family to also expand.
As a very proud owner of the Sony A7 cameras my biggest frustration has been the lack of native lenses. It’s good to see this problem being solved. However I’d really like to see more manufacturers making lenses for Sony E-Mount (I’m looking at you Sigma).
I’m also frustrated by these new lenses only being focus by wire (thankfully the Loxia family still has mechanical focus). If you’ve ever used the new FE lenses you’d notice that its a pain in the ass to manually focus which is vital for filmmakers. The benefit however is a smaller form factor and faster autofocus which for photographers makes a world of difference.
For more information on the Sony FE lens announcements by Zeiss check out ILHP AND ZEISS AT PHOTOPLUS EXPO 2015: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
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