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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 21 Nov 2017 (Tuesday) 21:29
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Does Zeiss give a "rip" ?

 
mdvaden
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Nov 21, 2017 21:29 |  #1

This phrase whether Zeiss gives a "rip" or gives a "crap" immediately came to mind after reading some blog comments. The context was a drop in some Zeiss lens prices following new Sigma art lenses. Some commented it was Zeiss reacting in concern to Sigma's lenses. Others suggested it was Zeiss lowering cost for some models to pave way for the new Milvus. I haven't followed Zeiss owners very closely. But what do you think?

To clarify, I don't mean doesn't give a rip about customers. But doesn't give a rip about feeling threatened.

If Zeiss built a following of photographers over the years, who have enjoyed those manual focus lenses of solid build, do you think that auto-focus sharp lenses would make them leave Zeiss? Do you feel that the preponderance of Zeiss users are a much different group?

Do you think Zeiss has been lazy about ignoring auto-focus or IS in their lenses? Or do you feel they've carved a reasonable niche that can last decades into the future?


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Naturalist
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Nov 21, 2017 21:44 |  #2

A little history...
Zeiss began their operations as a lens grinder. They designed and produced a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to measure X-Y-Z (left, right and height) locations of specific points on the lens to determine where additional grinding is required thereby consistently producing multiple lenses in nearly identical fashion.

Today's reality...
The bulk of Zeiss business sales is now in the CMM measurement metrology field.

In the past 40 years, when not working behind the camera, I work in the manufacturing quality assurance field. Zeiss coordinate measuring machines, and other Zeiss measurement systems are HUGE sources of income for Zeiss and they are DAMNED good quality. The Rolls Royce of the industry - but never breaking down LOL.

So, while I am sure their lens division has a customer satisfaction index to satisfy, overall the lens portion is a small(er) part of the Zeiss family products.


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jcothron
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Nov 21, 2017 22:00 |  #3

I shoot zeiss almost exclusively. I think sigma is doing great things lately from what I can tell, but I won't be giving up my zeiss lenses for them. From a practical standpoint I shoot landscape almost entirely so I am manual focusing anyway...and I doubt anything else has the feel of a zeiss focusing ring (anything modern anyway).

I think the prices came down when the milvus line came out. Same lenses really except for a little weather sealing. The exterior design is a lot "smoother" and they look like a piece of art almost. On the other hand I have read a couple of bad experiences regarding the rubber coated focus ring as compared with the knurled ring on the classic series.


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airfrogusmc
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Nov 21, 2017 22:23 |  #4

I think most rangefinder photographers prefer no IS and no auto focus. I know I do. Leica and Zeiss are alternatives to all the auto focus lenses already out there.




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BigAl007
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Nov 22, 2017 07:15 |  #5

IMO the major problem is that the electro mechanical requirements that are necessary to make a fast autofocus lens are pretty much the exact opposite of the human mechanical requirements for manual focus. The AF system wants a very coarse focus helicoid, so that minimum movement is required from MFD to infinity. This is fine because then the motor can move from one end to the other quickly. The motor control system is also capable of consistently making very accurate and repeatable very small movements, so that you can combine focus accuracy with speed. So on modern lenses you may well end up with quite small throw lengths, often down to less than ninety degrees of rotation. This can make them very hard to manually focus.

MF lenses on the other hand will use a very fine focus helicoid. This might mean that getting from MFD to infinity needs a lot of rotation, but thanks to the human element often the photographer will be adjusting the focus ring has they bring the camera to the eye, so that they are in the ball park already. That or an added couple of seconds won't make much difference to them. The fine helicoil means that there is a significant amount of throw required to make even a small change in focus, which again suits the human operator, as we are not nearly so capable of making very small repeatable adjustments.

So as far as I can see what we really want in a lens is dual focus helicoils. A coarse one for the AF system to use, so it can be quick in operation, just the way that people want. Then a second fine helicoil for the MF operation, so that us poor humans can actually make the necessary fine adjustments to the focus manually. Of course the added mechanical complexity this would require would add both considerable weight and cost to a lens. So I guess we will still have to have separate MF lenses if we want that perfect manual focusing experience. That or AF lenses with focus by wire systems for the "manual" focus option.

Alan


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JeffreyG
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Nov 22, 2017 07:46 |  #6

Naturalist wrote in post #18501513 (external link)
So, while I am sure their lens division has a customer satisfaction index to satisfy, overall the lens portion is a small(er) part of the Zeiss family products.

This doesn't matter though. My company is a large multinational that makes a well known brand of cars. We also make trucks, coaches, vans, and buses. We make more cars, and more money from cars than the other stuff.

But that doesn't mean the other stuff is a hobby. If a small sector is not hitting profit targets, corrections will be needed. If a company is in a sector of business, they are in it to make money. If 90% of your business is one thing, and profitable, and 10% of your business is in another thing, and losing money, then you get out of the other thing or you fix it. In fact, side business ventures are probably a lot more likely to be abandoned if they are losing money. Why work on a distraction from your main business unless there is a good profit.

So once one concludes that you are in business, all sectors, with the intention of making a profit, then of course it follows that a company has to understand the market, the competition, and how to position and sell their product. That does not mean you yank prices around willy-nilly in response to competitor moves. You have to have a strategy. But for sure Zeiss is probably aware of all products they believe they compete against.


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Hokie ­ Jim
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Post has been last edited 2 months ago by Hokie Jim. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 22, 2017 08:18 |  #7

I can't speak for every Zeiss owner, but I just went through this process myself. I have "modern" IS and AF lenses too, but for me, a Zeiss was a natural choice for a fast prime.

I was a long-time user of a Zeiss 50/1.4 on a Contax SLR, so I was used to the experience of manual focus. Most of what I shoot with a 50mm is either stationary or doable with the lens set at hyperfocal distance where focusing doesn't matter anyway.

I also drive a manual transmission, too, so my choices in man-machine interfaces may be a little off kilter from the norm (at least in the US, I know that the rest of the world drives a lot more three-pedaled vehicles) ;-)a


The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
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Hokie ­ Jim
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Nov 22, 2017 08:19 |  #8

JeffreyG wrote in post #18501689 (external link)
If 90% of your business is one thing, and profitable, and 10% of your business is in another thing, and losing money, then you get out of the other thing or you fix it. In fact, side business ventures are probably a lot more likely to be abandoned if they are losing money. Why work on a distraction from your main business unless there is a good profit.

The joke was that Sears was a financing company that also ran department stores on the side  :p


The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Canon 6D | 16-35 f/4L IS | Zeiss Milvus 50 f/1.4 | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II | 580EXII | Gitzo 1410MK2/RRS BH-55

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airfrogusmc
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Oak Park, Illinois
Nov 22, 2017 08:47 |  #9

Hokie Jim wrote in post #18501711 (external link)
I can't speak for every Zeiss owner, but I just went through this process myself. I have "modern" IS and AF lenses too, but for me, a Zeiss was a natural choice for a fast prime.

I was a long-time user of a Zeiss 50/1.4 on a Contax SLR, so I was used to the experience of manual focus. Most of what I shoot with a 50mm is either stationary or doable with the lens set at hyperfocal distance where focusing doesn't matter anyway.

I also drive a manual transmission, too, so my choices in man-machine interfaces may be a little off kilter from the norm (at least in the US, I know that the rest of the world drives a lot more three-pedaled vehicles) ;-)a

Jim most folks that shoot Leica, Zeiss and rangefinders are probably not in the norm. I prefer lenses with usable DoF scales. I shoot a lot of very fast paced subjects in both my pro life and for more personal work and there is no auto focus on the world faster than being pre focused. I prefer to control everything when it comes to photograph. I have been shooting all manual for over 4 decades and no auto exposure in the world is better for me getting the exposures I need for the way I need my work to look than my experience. It is also that way with auto focus. Most DSLRs are not really made to shoot manual focus so I never was able to master it with them, even with the appropriate screen. I have no problem with focus using rangefinders. Nice to have choices today.




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kf095
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Post has been edited 2 months ago by kf095.
Nov 22, 2017 09:25 |  #10

In rangefinders and wannabes with A7 :) world Zeiss is second to Leica. And I see the reason why clearly. On the pictures.
In DSLR world, including original POTN, modern Cosina made Zeiss was on pair if not better than L series. Also clearly and not so disputable.

But I don't think Zeiss gives a RIP about something like small Sigma. The difference is too big. On the pictures and on the market share :).


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TooManyShots
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Nov 25, 2017 20:14 |  #11

For Nikon and Canon, with only manual Carl Zeiss lenses, the product line would always be a niche market. I once owned a 21mm f2.8 and paying over $1500. Back I was shooting with a Canon 1dmarkIII. So the lens was never meant to be used as intended....a wide angle lens. I sold it. I switched to Nikon DX crop body. Never considering Zeiss at all...since they don't make crop lenses and I shoot sports mainly. AF is essential.


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mdvaden
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Post has been last edited 1 month ago by mdvaden. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 26, 2017 10:36 |  #12

Just over a week ago, I was looking for ultra wide angle, and maybe Zeiss. Then focused only on Zeiss. But I recalled that portraiture seems to be my stronger genres, so I reviewed the Zeiss Milvus 85mm 1.4 and ordered one. It arrives in a few days.

Apparently I will learn within a few months whether I become one of the Zeiss following.


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jcothron
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Nov 26, 2017 10:43 |  #13

Some of what draws people to zeiss is the rendering etc, but there is another aspect that I think is important as well. A significant part of it for me is just how it feels to work with them. The focus rings, etc. frankly they are a joy to use. Heavy? Yes you bet...but the build and operation exudes quality.


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mdvaden
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Nov 29, 2017 18:54 |  #14

1st portrait with the new Milvus 85mm ... EXIF is right about camera and settings ...

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Alveric
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Post has been edited 1 month ago by Alveric.
Nov 29, 2017 20:01 |  #15

Zeiss is not lazy nor ignoring autofocus, they simply can't make lenses with AF for Canon/Nikon cameras due to patents.


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Does Zeiss give a "rip" ?
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