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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: cayenne on September 12, 2013, 12:04:35 PM

Title: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: cayenne on September 12, 2013, 12:04:35 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Halfrack on September 12, 2013, 12:39:03 PM
Short answer, less moving parts makes for a more reliable lens.  Yes, they could make a killing, but look at the trouble Tamaron, Tokina and Sigma have had dealing with Canon and Nikon.  If you want AF on Zeiss, look at Sony.  It works well, but like anything, there is always a trade-off.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: AvTvM on September 12, 2013, 12:46:46 PM
My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Yes, they could. But the market would still be a fairly small niche.

Obviously Zeiss either is not capable to develop and implement good enough AF-drive + compatibility with proprietary and undisclosed Canon and Nikon AF-protocols and/or they are not willing because they sell some lenses at premium prices even without AF and the market niche would not be that much larger if the glass came with AF.

The only way to get Zeiss-designed (not built) AF-lenses is from and for Sony. :-)

I refuse to buy any manual focus lens ever [except possibly the Canon 17/4 Tilt Shift]. Done that, been there ... many years ago. As a matter of fact, I would be more than willing to buy lenses with hi-quality optics but without manual focus ring and manual focus gear - better sealed against dust/weather and more robust. And at a substantial discount [say -25%] because it would be quite a bit cheaper to produce 'em. :-)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: AvTvM on September 12, 2013, 12:49:14 PM
Short answer, less moving parts makes for a more reliable lens. 

I agree. That's why I would be interested to buy hi-quality lenses without manual focus ring and gears but with only a silent, fast and ultra-robust ring-type USM AF-drive. :-)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: 7enderbender on September 12, 2013, 01:27:50 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

I'm still bummed out by the fact that in order to go digital I had to go AF. Never wanted the EOS system because of the flimsiness that comes with anything AF. My dream camera remains a full frame digital version of the F1n with an updated range of FD lenses.


Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: mrsfotografie on September 12, 2013, 01:56:29 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

I'm still bummed out by the fact that in order to go digital I had to go AF. Never wanted the EOS system because of the flimsiness that comes with anything AF. My dream camera remains a full frame digital version of the F1n with an updated range of FD lenses.

Here's one reason why I'm sticking with my 5DmkII for now. Its viewfinder isn't perfect for use with MF but the EF-S screen and AF confirmation are a great help.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: surapon on September 12, 2013, 02:53:16 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

I'm still bummed out by the fact that in order to go digital I had to go AF. Never wanted the EOS system because of the flimsiness that comes with anything AF. My dream camera remains a full frame digital version of the F1n with an updated range of FD lenses.

Here's one reason why I'm sticking with my 5DmkII for now. Its viewfinder isn't perfect for use with MF but the EF-S screen and AF confirmation are a great help.

+ 1
Dear Mrspotografie.
I still use my Old 5D MK II with my Canon TS-E 24 mm. F/ 3.5 L MK II ( Manual Focus Lens)---I just set 1 point center spot Focus, and Set up the Camera sound to "Beep"  when I turn the Focus ring to the right spot of best focus. Yes, my 64 Years Old eyes are so bad, But my ears still in great shape to hear the " Beep " sound, and press the shutter.
Thanks for your comments.
Surapon
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Eclectik on September 12, 2013, 03:02:04 PM
So far I've read (I'm not expert in optic design), there is a large difference in the optic design of the lens : it's manual, due to a larger (and heavier) group of moving lenses inside the lens itself (sorry for my poor english). A lens having an AF has a smaller (and lighter) moving group, so that the AF engine CAN move it. The result is that the optical quality can be better, with such a manual lens design.
Well, I'm owning one (35mm F2), and I'll should keep it... The IQ difference is very noticeable. Not to mention the colour rendition... That should inspire other manufacturers...
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Sporgon on September 12, 2013, 03:04:38 PM
Before the days of accurate camera AF, AFMA, and precise AF mechanisms in lenses there was a niche for good manual focus lenses. Those days weren't so long ago either: about five years ago. But now with all those things the real need for manual focus lenses has all but evaporated.

It wouldn't surprise me if we did start to see some AF Zeiss for Canon in the near future.

There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Sporgon on September 12, 2013, 03:06:24 PM
So far I've read (I'm not expert in optic design), there is a large difference in the optic design of the lens : it's manual, due to a larger (and heavier) group of moving lenses inside the lens itself (sorry for my poor english). A lens having an AF has a smaller (and lighter) moving group, so that the AF engine CAN move it. The result is that the optical quality can be better, with such a manual lens design.
Well, I'm owning one (35mm F2), and I'll should keep it... The IQ difference is very noticeable. Not to mention the colour rendition... That should inspire other manufacturers...

Hmmm, not convinced on that. Whilst it may have some truth for cheap light weight lenses there are some pretty hefty elements out there being moved by AF.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: neuroanatomist on September 12, 2013, 03:09:35 PM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: RGF on September 12, 2013, 03:11:41 PM
So far I've read (I'm not expert in optic design), there is a large difference in the optic design of the lens : it's manual, due to a larger (and heavier) group of moving lenses inside the lens itself (sorry for my poor english). A lens having an AF has a smaller (and lighter) moving group, so that the AF engine CAN move it. The result is that the optical quality can be better, with such a manual lens design.
Well, I'm owning one (35mm F2), and I'll should keep it... The IQ difference is very noticeable. Not to mention the colour rendition... That should inspire other manufacturers...

Hmmm, not convinced on that. Whilst it may have some truth for cheap light weight lenses there are some pretty hefty elements out there being moved by AF.

Even if the groups are a bit heavier, that means the motors would need to be beefier.

Good be done, is a trade off - cost and bulk.  But I would gladly trade up certain lenses. I wish Canon would work with Zeiss to create a joint offer - premium quality lenses.  Of course, that would imply Canon can not do it themselves.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: cayenne on September 12, 2013, 03:13:10 PM
Before the days of accurate camera AF, AFMA, and precise AF mechanisms in lenses there was a niche for good manual focus lenses. Those days weren't so long ago either: about five years ago. But now with all those things the real need for manual focus lenses has all but evaporated.

It wouldn't surprise me if we did start to see some AF Zeiss for Canon in the near future.

There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I hope so....I just can't see well enough anymore for manual focus.

I can't see good enough close up with my contacts on....so, I rely on the AF when out and about shooting.

That's why my videos shot for my cooking vids all have me with my glasses on. I have to wear those so that it is quick and easy for me to pull them up and look with my VERY nearsighted eyes on live view and be able to manual focus there with the zoom feature.

But I rarely wear my glasses when out...so, I really can't do manual focus when out and shooting something requiring fast accurate focus from shot to shot.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Sporgon on September 12, 2013, 03:17:27 PM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)

You mean there's another way ?  :(
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Sporgon on September 12, 2013, 03:28:43 PM


I can't see good enough close up with my contacts on....so, I rely on the AF when out and about shooting.

That's why my videos shot for my cooking vids all have me with my glasses on. I have to wear those so that it is quick and easy for me to pull them up and look with my VERY nearsighted eyes on live view and be able to manual focus there with the zoom feature.

But I rarely wear my glasses when out...so, I really can't do manual focus when out and shooting something requiring fast accurate focus from shot to shot.

When I used to wear contacts they would mist the viewfinder so I couldn't see a darn thing anyway ! I use a dioptre view finder lens now: much better. But I was never really very good a manual focus, probably because of my eye sight. Give me good AF accuracy and BBF and I'm happy.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: neuroanatomist on September 12, 2013, 03:29:15 PM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)

You mean there's another way ?  :(

Get with the times...use a slide rule like everyone else!
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: 7enderbender on September 12, 2013, 04:05:52 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

I'm still bummed out by the fact that in order to go digital I had to go AF. Never wanted the EOS system because of the flimsiness that comes with anything AF. My dream camera remains a full frame digital version of the F1n with an updated range of FD lenses.

Here's one reason why I'm sticking with my 5DmkII for now. Its viewfinder isn't perfect for use with MF but the EF-S screen and AF confirmation are a great help.


That's a good point - if it works for you. I tried the EF-S screen and it didn't make enough of a difference for me to justify the degraded view when using my 24-105 f/4. So I've basically caved and given in to AF as the only viable alternative - except when messing around with my old FD 500 reflex lens with the Ed Mika adapter.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: 7enderbender on September 12, 2013, 04:07:10 PM
It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

You don't use live view for manual focus?

No. Never. I can't stand it. If live view was gone I wouldn't know it.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: 7enderbender on September 12, 2013, 04:11:59 PM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)


I suppose only in Massachusetts will you ever find the terms "taxes" and "pleasure" in one sentence ;-)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: mrsfotografie on September 12, 2013, 04:12:50 PM
It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

You don't use live view for manual focus?

No. Never. I can't stand it. If live view was gone I wouldn't know it.

+1
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: TexasBadger on September 12, 2013, 05:14:08 PM
Canon would have to license their EF technology to Zeiss.  So far that hasn't happened.  Tamron and Sigma reverse engineer the AF.  That is why there can be compatibility problems with third party lenses.  Zeiss does work with Canon on the lens reporting to the camera body.  So far they have not come to an agreement on EF.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: ajfotofilmagem on September 12, 2013, 05:20:58 PM
I'm sure Zeiss makes great manual focus lenses. Perhaps the best lenses for DSLR Canon bayonet. Why do not they try to AF lenses? The answer is simpler than it seems. Lens with high quality optics "denounce" small errors of focus. The new Zeiss 55mm is a sharper lens that humans have ever made. However, the current electronic technology is not able to make an AF system on the same level of precision optics, and still focus quickly. Sounds like a joke, but if the new Zeiss 55mm had AF, there would be many complaints of "errors" of focus, simply because the ability to sharpness exceed the accuracy of the AF. :o I believe if forego speed AF, can greatly enhance the accuracy of focus. But how many people would be willing to pay a fortune for a lens with AF slow? ::)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: jcns on September 12, 2013, 05:38:53 PM
it's not unlike car transmissions.
Today there are plenty of options from excellent torque converter automatics, to dual clutch automated manuals, to single clutch automated manuals, to multi clutch plate autos.  They are all excellent and do the job really really well and often are faster changing than any human could dream of.  However, driving a manual transmission and getting it right, honing your skill is still an immense pleasure to many.  Zeiss provides the user with the pleasure of something mechanical that's incredibly well engineered, designed, and built and the opportunity for the user to get it right himself.
You propose Zeiss could clean up the high end market.  They already do.  They don't have much competition.  It's a small market.  Zeiss already sells every lens they make.  Sometimes it's not all about profit, sometimes it's about making more than enough, closing the doors for the day, go out and enjoy life.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Mr Bean on September 12, 2013, 06:56:25 PM
it's not unlike car transmissions.
Today there are plenty of options from excellent torque converter automatics, to dual clutch automated manuals, to single clutch automated manuals, to multi clutch plate autos.  They are all excellent and do the job really really well and often are faster changing than any human could dream of.  However, driving a manual transmission and getting it right, honing your skill is still an immense pleasure to many.  Zeiss provides the user with the pleasure of something mechanical that's incredibly well engineered, designed, and built and the opportunity for the user to get it right himself.
You propose Zeiss could clean up the high end market.  They already do.  They don't have much competition.  It's a small market.  Zeiss already sells every lens they make.  Sometimes it's not all about profit, sometimes it's about making more than enough, closing the doors for the day, go out and enjoy life.
+1

And as an owner of a Zeiss lens, I bought it for its excellent optics and mechanical robustness.

I grew up with manual focus lenses. My cupboard at home is the current resting place for half a dozen FD lenses, an A1, F1 and EF body. So, manual focus is not really an issue. In fact, compared to the FD lenses, the Zeiss is easier to focus because the camera body has a focus confirmation light. Won't find that in an F1 body ;)

Sure, the lens doesn't get used much. But that's simply the nature of the UWA lens I have. And besides, landscapes don't move much to demand AF :)
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: mrsfotografie on September 13, 2013, 01:32:28 AM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne


It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

I'm still bummed out by the fact that in order to go digital I had to go AF. Never wanted the EOS system because of the flimsiness that comes with anything AF. My dream camera remains a full frame digital version of the F1n with an updated range of FD lenses.

Here's one reason why I'm sticking with my 5DmkII for now. Its viewfinder isn't perfect for use with MF but the EF-S screen and AF confirmation are a great help.

That's a good point - if it works for you. I tried the EF-S screen and it didn't make enough of a difference for me to justify the degraded view when using my 24-105 f/4. So I've basically caved and given in to AF as the only viable alternative - except when messing around with my old FD 500 reflex lens with the Ed Mika adapter.

The viewfinder does get darker when used with slower lenses, but I don't find that to be a problem. It may be down to eyesight and personal preference though.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: RGomezPhotos on September 13, 2013, 03:12:37 AM
it's not unlike car transmissions.
Today there are plenty of options from excellent torque converter automatics, to dual clutch automated manuals, to single clutch automated manuals, to multi clutch plate autos.  They are all excellent and do the job really really well and often are faster changing than any human could dream of.  However, driving a manual transmission and getting it right, honing your skill is still an immense pleasure to many.  Zeiss provides the user with the pleasure of something mechanical that's incredibly well engineered, designed, and built and the opportunity for the user to get it right himself.
You propose Zeiss could clean up the high end market.  They already do.  They don't have much competition.  It's a small market.  Zeiss already sells every lens they make.  Sometimes it's not all about profit, sometimes it's about making more than enough, closing the doors for the day, go out and enjoy life.

++1

You know, I've been a serious photographer for just over two years.  Possibly a fraction from what the average is on this group.  The only camera I used lots of before I got my DSLR was my beautiful Panasonic LX3.  Manual focus?

But soon after I discovered I wanted to be a fashion photographer, a colleague suggested I try Zeiss lenses.  I bought the Canon 28-135mm f3.5 lens that the guy who I bought my used Canon 50D from.  I had also rented a Canon 24-105 f4 L and Canon 35mm f1.4L  So this is where I started from.

The Zeiss was a revelation.  I found out that I love contrasty images.  Canon couldn't touch the bokeh of the Zeiss.  The sharpness from the 35mm f1.4 Zeiss was un-touchable.  Though in all fairness, the Zeiss is 50% more money than the Canon equivalent.  Still, it's a superior lens.

Auto Focus.  Never miss it.  It does come in handy when shooting in mid-upper telephoto range.  Which I rarely do.  Hell, I shoot dancing events in MF.  Works just fine. 

I can totally understand when someone with poor eyesight would love or need AF.  And that's okay.  I don't get into these arguments on what's better or worse.  What's important is what's best FOR YOU.  And maybe that's Zeiss's philosophy too.  They love what they do because they do it THEIR way.  And not what the market wants.  And that's how you should do your photography.  Isn't it?
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: RGF on September 13, 2013, 03:36:35 AM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)

You mean there's another way ?  :(

Get with the times...use a slide rule like everyone else!

slide rule - why so advanced (I still have and know how to use it)?  how about an abacus?
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: RGF on September 13, 2013, 03:38:11 AM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)

You mean there's another way ?  :(

can I do my taxes in hexidecimal?
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: aj1575 on September 13, 2013, 06:10:18 AM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.

As I read in other places, it is not possible for a company outside of Japan to build AF-Lenses for Nikon and Canon cameras, due to patent rights.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: cayenne on September 13, 2013, 10:36:00 AM
Can someone give a link for Zeiss lens rentals maybe?  Perhaps I could rent one and see how I do with it?

That 55mm sounds quite interesting. I'd been thinking of getting the Canon 50L f/1.2.....but would be neat to try a Zeiss and see how I did with my bad vision, and trying out maybe a diopter solution...?

Thanks in advance,

cayenne
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Halfrack on September 13, 2013, 01:41:41 PM
Can someone give a link for Zeiss lens rentals maybe?  Perhaps I could rent one and see how I do with it?

That 55mm sounds quite interesting. I'd been thinking of getting the Canon 50L f/1.2.....but would be neat to try a Zeiss and see how I did with my bad vision, and trying out maybe a diopter solution...?

Thanks in advance,

cayenne
http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon/lenses (http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon/lenses) Roger has them - 15mm to 135mm just not the 55mm (yet).  They also do a deal if you rent and buy a new one within 6 months.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: JohnDizzo15 on September 13, 2013, 02:39:36 PM
Several things to mention.

The method I use to manual focus on the 5d3 is a combo of things. When I can get away with it (which is most of the time), the ovf is just fine. But when I really need critical focus and want to be absolutely certain of it, I throw on the LCDVF and/or magnify further if need be and change my zoom button configuration. I use the Zeiss 50/2 Makro Planar a lot and find that focus confirmation works very well also. All that being said, I still reach for an AF lens if I am shooting things that aren't mostly static (or willing to be momentarily so).

While there is no actual production Zeiss lens that offers AF on a Canon body, there is the option of getting a Zeiss Contax N off eBay and getting it modded by Conurus. I have the 50mm 1.4 Contax N modded by them and the AF (accuracy and speed) is actually just about on par with my 50L. There is also AFMA built into the chip on the lens itself. In a much similar fashion to the new Sigma AFMA dock/lenses, the Conurus modded Zeiss lenses let you enter AFMA values for three separate distances.

Let me preface this next statement by saying that these are my personal experiences as well as a few other people I know. Many will take offense by assuming that I am making a blanket statement. Let me just make it clear, I am NOT. We (as in my buddies and I) have all found that AF on third party lenses has not been up to the standard that we want/need. My most recent experience being two separate copies of the Sigma 35 Art paired with my 5d3. This is not to say that many people don't have flawlessly working copies with whatever body they are using. Just saying it didn't work for me as well as several others I know. I have actually spoken with a Sigma rep who explained that the AF on all third party lenses is backwards engineered from respective OEM manufacturers which is why speed and/or accuracy are not always necessarily as good. Although as stated by AJ previously in the thread that the reason Zeiss doesn't do it is due to patent issues, I would imagine the same issues would be present.

Again, before anyone says it, I am fully aware and accept that there are many people out there that are perfectly happy with their third party lenses and how they perform for them. I just can't say that I have ever been one of those people.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: StepBack on September 13, 2013, 05:03:48 PM
It's cheaper to build them manual only and it sounds  more sophisticated like what' with this expensive object? It must be from another planet for which only the greatest photographers have the gift from the heavens to use it. Yes I will pay exorbitant prices and I will vow to sell the idea to any and every person I speak to within earshot that it is the single most important technology thus far in human history. That's why it's manual. They're just too cheap to change.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on September 13, 2013, 09:10:50 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.



+1
 
This is the correct answer, the others are just guessing.  Zeiss does not wish to reverse engineer a lens and end up with a poorly focusing one like some other third party lenses.  They do have a agreement with Sony, and make AF lenses designs for Sony.  They don't actually make the Sony lenses, just license their design and their name.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: RGF on September 15, 2013, 03:23:07 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.



+1
 
This is the correct answer, the others are just guessing.  Zeiss does not wish to reverse engineer a lens and end up with a poorly focusing one like some other third party lenses.  They do have a agreement with Sony, and make AF lenses designs for Sony.  They don't actually make the Sony lenses, just license their design and their name.

How does Tamaron, Sigma, etc make AF lens for Canon and Nikon?
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on September 15, 2013, 05:48:24 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.



+1
 
This is the correct answer, the others are just guessing.  Zeiss does not wish to reverse engineer a lens and end up with a poorly focusing one like some other third party lenses.  They do have a agreement with Sony, and make AF lenses designs for Sony.  They don't actually make the Sony lenses, just license their design and their name.

How does Tamaron, Sigma, etc make AF lens for Canon and Nikon?

Third party lens makers have reverse engineered the signals that go to lens from camera and back from lens to camera in a attempt to design a system that will work without violating Canon patents.  They may also have cross licensing agreements on patents, which is very common in Japan.  Since the basic EF patents are long expired, they can get away with using some of the older interface methods.  The third party lenses all send a code to the camera identifying the lens as a Canon lens, one with similar operating characteristics (we hope)
.
 
Those who have used Sigma may remember how painful it was to have all the Sigma EOS compatible lenses stop working on their early Canon DSLR's even though they worked fine on Canon EOS film cameras.  Canon had to reduce current on DSLR's due to battery limitations.  Canon lens aperture motors worked fine on reduced current, but the Sigma ones locked up due to firmware, not due to the actual physical part.  As soon as that was fixed, the lenses stopped working again on the next new Canon DSLR model, again due to incorrect reverse engineering.  Tamron has had issues with AF due to identifying their lens as a old out of production Canon lens that had limitations which the camera implemented when the old lens was mounted.
 
 
There are issues with autofocus accuracy, lenses tend to work differently on different bodies.  Canon DSLR's have a internal table that tells the camera the operating characteristics of each canon lens when mounted on that camera.  This makes it very difficult for a third party lens maker to make a lens that is optimized on each camera model.  Sigma has come out with a dock which can optimize a lens to focus accurately on a particular camera by writing the corrections into memory in the lens.  Its a reasonable workaround, but, if you use the lens on more than one camera body, it might make things worse on the 2nd body.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: AvTvM on September 16, 2013, 03:56:24 AM
Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.

+1
 
This is the correct answer, the others are just guessing.  Zeiss does not wish to reverse engineer a lens and end up with a poorly focusing one like some other third party lenses.  They do have a agreement with Sony, and make AF lenses designs for Sony.  They don't actually make the Sony lenses, just license their design and their name.

No, it is not "the correct answer". At least it is by no means "a complete answer". :-)

Zeiss manual lenses for Canon EF mount feature "focus confirmation, metering/operation with all modes (Av, Tv, M, P...) except A-DEP, lens data transmitted to EXIF, distance reporting for E-TTL II". This is not feasible without access to the lens protocol of the Canon EF mount.

Obviously there are hidden "non-competition agreements" between the various players in the camera market ... and Zeiss is playing along by those and refrains from bringing AF lenses for both Canon EF/EF-S and Nikon F mount to market ...  while quoting "technical/patent" reasons in public.

Also, at least some of the (original) patents on Canon EF mount and the electrical mount protocol must have expired some time ago [1987 -> 20 or 25 years thereafter -> 2007/2012?].

Similar to the expiration of patents on the Leica M-mount by the end of 1998.   
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: NWPhil on September 17, 2013, 11:03:20 AM
Before the days of accurate camera AF, AFMA, and precise AF mechanisms in lenses there was a niche for good manual focus lenses. Those days weren't so long ago either: about five years ago. But now with all those things the real need for manual focus lenses has all but evaporated.

It wouldn't surprise me if we did start to see some AF Zeiss for Canon in the near future.

There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I sort of agree with that statement for BIF and any shooting requiring tracking for instance, but for macro (read 1: 1 and above), landscaping and even portraits, MF works fine, if not better, as the focus can be fine tuned, and then left alone.
(not sure about the precise AF mechanisms - so many complains and issues and not all related to the bodies)
Yes, there are work-arounds with AF, but it's not the same.
Besides, makes you slow dow, taking the time to set the shot, and enjoy the moment  8)

Sony does that - or should I say, Zeiss makes a line just for Sony
Probably they would need to move away from full-metal jacket, to make it easier on the motor; don't care for the weight reduction and better yet, degrade on construction quality; so Zeiss EF is not in my wish list.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on September 17, 2013, 11:13:32 AM
Here is the real reason why Zeiss does not make AF-Lenses for Canon and Nikon:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html  (http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissTouit/ZeissTouit-overview-optics.html)
From the Zeiss Q&A:
Because of the patent situation, it is not currently possible to offer a ZEISS AF lens for the other camera systems with EF and F mounts
And also:
In its collaboration with Canon and Nikon, ZEISS currently is not even licensed to use the autofocus interface on the camera.

+1
 
This is the correct answer, the others are just guessing.  Zeiss does not wish to reverse engineer a lens and end up with a poorly focusing one like some other third party lenses.  They do have a agreement with Sony, and make AF lenses designs for Sony.  They don't actually make the Sony lenses, just license their design and their name.

No, it is not "the correct answer". At least it is by no means "a complete answer". :-)

Zeiss manual lenses for Canon EF mount feature "focus confirmation, metering/operation with all modes (Av, Tv, M, P...) except A-DEP, lens data transmitted to EXIF, distance reporting for E-TTL II". This is not feasible without access to the lens protocol of the Canon EF mount.

Obviously there are hidden "non-competition agreements" between the various players in the camera market ... and Zeiss is playing along by those and refrains from bringing AF lenses for both Canon EF/EF-S and Nikon F mount to market ...  while quoting "technical/patent" reasons in public.

Also, at least some of the (original) patents on Canon EF mount and the electrical mount protocol must have expired some time ago [1987 -> 20 or 25 years thereafter -> 2007/2012?].

Similar to the expiration of patents on the Leica M-mount by the end of 1998.   

So, you have inside information about Zeiss Decisions, and they are liars? 
 
 
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: And-Rew on September 17, 2013, 11:46:58 AM
There will always be those few who want a proper manual focus for the pleasure of using it, but they are few and far between.

I wonder if there are people who use an abacus to calculate their tax forms, just for the pleasure of it?  ::)

Maybe i'm just old school - but i like full control of my camera inc. shutter, aperture, ISO and focus. Thankfully, the AF on the 5D2 is bad enough to make manual focus an equal option. I'm told that Canon DSLR's have a mode that make it as easy as an iPhone to take a picture, one day i might look it up in the manual, until then...

As for Taxes in the UK - even HRMC that designed the forms don't know how to fill them in, so whether you use and abacus, slide rule or KRAY Super Computer - the form will require a group of similar ability as that originally hired at Parc Alto to create the first networked PC to complete. Sticking with manual seems to be the way to go  ;D
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: thedman on September 17, 2013, 11:48:24 AM
It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

You don't use live view for manual focus?

No. Never. I can't stand it. If live view was gone I wouldn't know it.

+1

As a landscape shooter I use live view/MF almost exclusively. I even set my autofocus lenses to manual and use them just as I use my Zeiss. I want absolute precision. Can't just hear a beep and hope it's correct.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: CarlTN on September 17, 2013, 01:41:49 PM
I hear about the great Zeiss lenses, and read the great reviews on them.

My question is, why do they ONLY seem to do manual focus lenses? Could they not really clean up on the high end market by making them work with the Canon/Nikon AF systems???

Thanks in advance,

cayenne

Zeiss don't make AF lenses for Canon / Nikon because they are in league with Sony.  Most or all of their ZF/ZE mount lenses are made in Japan.  So Zeiss want you to choose the Sony system if you want their lenses that can autofocus.  It's a similar reason Leica aligned themselves with the micro 4/3 system (Panasonic and Olympus)...because Leica's M mount lenses can be made to work on those smaller-sensored cameras...where they can't work on "full frame" or even aps-c DSLR's (none I'm aware of, anyway...the M mount might work on the EOS-M though...coincidence?).
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: amewzing on October 08, 2013, 03:04:06 PM
Once you get use to using MF on a lens built for MF it's really not that much of a problem. The throw on the focus ring allows you make super fine adjustments very quickly. I've shot a variety of things from landscapes to fast pace roller derby with them. I also like being able to compose an image exactly how I want to and then focus, verses focusing and then composing an image. Overall I'd say the compromise is worth it, once you learn how to use it.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: cayenne on October 08, 2013, 04:44:33 PM
Once you get use to using MF on a lens built for MF it's really not that much of a problem. The throw on the focus ring allows you make super fine adjustments very quickly. I've shot a variety of things from landscapes to fast pace roller derby with them. I also like being able to compose an image exactly how I want to and then focus, verses focusing and then composing an image. Overall I'd say the compromise is worth it, once you learn how to use it.

Well, I could use it for video, where I have the camera on a tripod, and using liveview and can zoom in...but with my eyesight, I can't really do it right for stills on the fly with the viewfinder.
:(

I guess manual lenses get a little less attractive as you age and sight goes a bit.
:(

C
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: dgatwood on October 08, 2013, 09:26:19 PM
Zeiss manual lenses for Canon EF mount feature "focus confirmation, metering/operation with all modes (Av, Tv, M, P...) except A-DEP, lens data transmitted to EXIF, distance reporting for E-TTL II". This is not feasible without access to the lens protocol of the Canon EF mount.

Most of it, anyway.  Autofocus is a bit more complex, requiring the ability to compute how far the lens needs to move.  That's not quite as trivial as the other things on your list.


Also, at least some of the (original) patents on Canon EF mount and the electrical mount protocol must have expired some time ago [1987 -> 20 or 25 years thereafter -> 2007/2012?].

For patents that old, it's either 17 years from the date of issue or 20 years from the application date, whichever is longer, so theoretically some of those patents could still be valid if they got tied up in arguments with the USPTO for a decade or more.  It's doubtful, though.
Title: Re: Why are Zeiss lenses manual?
Post by: Zv on October 08, 2013, 09:35:12 PM
It would change the way they provide such high mechanical quality. Dare I say that for me it's really the other way round: why doesn't Canon provide any digital full frame body that works reliably as a full time manual focus camera only? Answer: very few people would be buying something like this in this day and age. But I'd still prefer it.

You don't use live view for manual focus?

No. Never. I can't stand it. If live view was gone I wouldn't know it.

+1

As a landscape shooter I use live view/MF almost exclusively. I even set my autofocus lenses to manual and use them just as I use my Zeiss. I want absolute precision. Can't just hear a beep and hope it's correct.

What's wrong with Live View? Why wouldn't you use it with the x5 & x10 zoom view? You must have immaculate eyesight if you can get focus bang on with viewfinder alone.