Zeiss AF lenses for Nikon?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by dgh3, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. dgh3

    dgh3

    366
    Mar 13, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Why doesn't Zeiss decide to generate some extra profit and offer autofocus 50mmm, 85mm, etc., lenses for Nikon as they do for Sony? (I suspect that Sony's permission is required for this - but, heck, why not? I don't think it will lose them too many customers, as what person in their right mind is going to spring for such glass, only to hang it off of that camera? I know: A majorly improved pro model is coming??) The MF versions they make to fit Nikon are very "retro" and cute, and I am certain that they take reazor sharp, artistic, stunning pictures. But I'm not biting - the practical ergonomics suck. Who wants to fool around with f/1.4 in low light - with that kind of razor-thin DOF - you have to be kidding. Low light=uncertain focus, which, unfortunately is exactly when you need the maximum prcision the most, that is, wide open, thin DOF because you have no choice when there is no light to shoot by. And, it's one of the things everyone wants and mentions about such fast glass. But, really, can you imagine going to a gym and shooting some sports or gymnastics? I know about focusing on a spot in advance ... BS!! I want to track action and shoot opportunistically - not where I have to pre plan. Tyr that in low light, MF.

    In contrast, I can AF in the dark with my current Nikon lenses!! I even calibrate my eyepiece diopters by starting with a high contrast target, AF'ng it, then adjusting the diopter for sharpest image at that focus setting. Of course, I check it, and it works great! Point is -I want my AF! I can track a squirrel running across my yard in the shade at 400mm, I can track flying birds. Who wants MF?? More politely put, who doesn't want AF? Preferably AFS - can we say, even, VR (to really, really, take advantage of fast glass and low light), as long as I'm asking.

    I also want some AF Zeiss lens because I personally know that they they are great. Also, makes makes great ones, as seen from the Sony lenses. In the bad old film days I had a 50mm f/1.7 Zeiss/Contax on my Yashica FR1 for about 30 years, and I still love the pics from that lens. Especially, pictures of people and portraits - it's just unreal how lifelike and generally gorgeous they are. I know, someone is going to point out that I got those pics with MF - yeah - and I had a very bright screne, split imaging, and, God forbid my having to shoot quickly - I was dead then. I don't want to go back to that, not even for Zeiss.

    I'm motivated to rant right now because I just finished reading the article about the Sony/Zeiss lenses, again. I've read it several times now, and if I keep drooling on it, the pages will start sticking together, and then I guess I'll have to stop. If Sony issues a pro camera and it looks as good at ISO 6400 as my D200 looks at, say, 800, I think there may be some very nice Nikon gear available on the seondary market. I hope some Nikon marketing types actually pays attention to these forums. Maybe my wish could be fulfilled with updated Nikon glass. Right.
     
  2. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Write to Zeiss and ask. They probably perceive that Zeiss lenses for Nikon are a niche market, because they do not have a large advantage over Nikkors. As manual focus lenses, however, they fulfill an area that is being left behind by Nikon's advances.
     
  3. dgh3

    dgh3

    366
    Mar 13, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    You make a good point. But, consider that if Nikon is a niche market, what is the Nikon MF market like? Yes, not much competition, but there may be a good reason for that; no demand. I think Zeiss offering such esoteric lenses, of admittedly high quality for which I have sincere admiration, primarily helps Nikon compete for the dollars of Leicaphiles and Leica Wannabes. I'm certain some pros have a real use for this glass as well, and prefer MF and do wonderful things with it. I'm just not that good, or patient.

    My point is that they have a terrific brand image, the MF lenses are very well respected for their quality. I think Nikon is falling behind in not updating their fast portrait glass and I would really appreciate a modern top-notch lens in this class, like a Zeiss. I've bought and then sold two Nikon 85mm's, one D and one not. I've shot the f/1.4 also, and find it just too soft. I think new designs and lens coatings, with AFS and VR, would really be something worth paying good money for.
     
  4. ckdamascus

    ckdamascus

    928
    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    From what I heard, it is mostly a licensing issue and a refusal to reverse engineer the Nikon systems like the way Sigma has done.

    Also, the Carl Zeiss 85/1.4 is softer than the Nikkor AF 85/1.4 wide open. I agree that I would like an AF-S VR version of the 85 with hopefully an improved formula.

    Personally, I think I might still try to get the Carl Zeiss 85/1.4 anyway (there is more to life than wide open performance).
     
  5. cotdt

    cotdt

    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    Are these lenses designed for film or digital? Reason I ask is because the color rendition of older film lenses on my DSLR is not quite right. Especially on the wide angle lenses I notice that I am missing some red. The digital-optimized lenses don't have this problem.
     
  6. weiran

    weiran

    966
    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    They'll probably be tested on both, but any older lens made before the DSLR era might have performance issues with digital sensors. The Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 I know suffers from this, very good film performance but mediocre digital performance,
     
  7. Weiran, I do not agree with you. I always get very good results from te use of ny 20 f/2.8 Ais. Please see my recent thread on it in this same forum:


    Best Regards
     
  8. weiran

    weiran

    966
    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    Not sure about the AI-S, but the AF-D defiantly has CA and sharpness issues. It's what prevented me from getting that lens.
     
  9. ckdamascus

    ckdamascus

    928
    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    I thought it was because the higher end DSLRs were able to outresolve film (that is why there is a discrepency?). I suppose it is also possible that stray light at the wide angles could cause more problems since the sensor is not big enough to fit the image circle.

    From my understanding, these lens are full frame and therefore not optimized for digital. In which case, if the problem is indeed "stray light bouncing", it would be difficult to be resolved with a full-frame lens, but not impossible.

    My impression is that these lens are the same formula on the contax.... no improvements, just a new mount.
     
  10. cotdt

    cotdt

    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    Most of the pre-digital FF lenses seem to be fine in terms of sharpness (I think my 6MP sensor is the limitation for the better lenses) but the digital-optimized lenses have more contrast and better color rendition. The coatings on the lenses are different for film and digital. Digital sensors reflect light unlike film, so the digital lenses account for this and get the colors better.
     
  11. weiran

    weiran

    966
    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    Digital sensors are very reflective, which is probably why the older lenses don't do as well with them, although it does depend on the lens.
     
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