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| p.2 #5 · Zeiss 15mm support group? |
I want a quality lens, so better they get it right than to ship out something not up to par.
In industries where delivery dates have zero flexibility, quality inevitably suffers. Yes, you can design everything right, but after you manufacture a prototype you'll find all kinds of problems that you didn't expect. The glue you used might outgas, you may find the ergonomics suboptimal, you may find that you got the mount all right on paper and then in the end find that you still have some wobble and have to do some improvising yourself. Improvise and then you find that your focus is off. Fix that and you find some ergonomic problem. Rinse and repeat.
In the Canon and Nikon world, you just get it over with, do your best, and ship. 70% of your lenses are decent, 20% are utter crap, and 10% are absolutely perfect by luck. For the average consumer, for whom price matters to some degree, and can deal with occasional warranty repairs, as well as reading reviews to find out which products are most suitable, this works, and that's also exactly what they're targeting.
In the Zeiss world, if your product isn't absolutely perfect, you don't ship. Period. Instead, you delay, do your research, build N more prototypes until you have a masterpiece of engineering and a masterpiece of production work. For the scientific and medical industries, equipment costs are seldom a limiting factor, so they'd rather shell out the extra dollars for a company that does everything to this last detail. You can basically trust any Zeiss product in a mission-critical situation. Yes, there are some Zeiss lenses that are better than others, but they are all decent performers, and none are going to fail easily or have significant sample variation. That's precisely why research industries put so much trust into Zeiss, Hamamatsu, and various other companies along these lines. The fact that you can basically at least trust any product from these companies saves a lot of time, lives, and wasted effort of highly-skilled people who should be spending time on other aspects of their work than fixing things. Guess which company I'm going to trust for the doctor's equipment if I'm the one getting surgery? Guess which company a scientist is going to trust for a lunar expedition? Or a feature film that can't afford to deal with a crappy focus ring in the middle of an aerial stunt? And for Zeiss who builds much of their product line for these kinds of clients, if they find that their prototypes are not up to par the day before the ship date, it's better to delay than to pollute that product line with something that doesn't live to its spec. These customers don't generally read product reviews, nor do they care about a couple thousand dollars here and there. Instead, they know exactly what they want, in numbers, they read your spec sheets, and your product better live up to them.
Neither is wrong; they are just targeting different consumers with different expectations.