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Archive 2012 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider
  
 
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


Some question on the RX-1 thread about the involvement of Zeiss in the design and manufacture of Zeiss branded lenses by Sony.

Having worked with some prestigious brands with a long history before, it's rare that it's not a closely guarded and valued property. You can get in serious trouble and jeopardize the relationship by not following exact guidelines and passing their somewhat stringent quarterly German audits. That's not to say every brand is like this, just look at THX.

However, it's my belief that brands with a strong history and sense of tradition like Zeiss would be one of those somewhat more stringent brands.

Here's what they said in their Official Zeiss blog a few years ago:

ZEISS lenses for Sony digital cameras are developed by lens designers at the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen, Germany. This includes all required quality assurance measures (test methods, test criteria, test devices, test procedures, lens performance target values, etc.) The lenses are then made in a lens production facility jointly chosen by Sony and Carl Zeiss. Quality assurance specialists from the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen implement the ZEISS quality assurance system in the chosen facility. Many ZEISS optic measuring systems are installed. Carl Zeiss audits the lens production areas on a regular basis.

All these measures ensure that ZEISS lenses in
...Show more

I can't find it since they redesigned and re-architected their site but here is the original link:

http://www.zeiss.com/c12567a8003b58b9/Contents-Frame/c7fb960ed6f52805c125711e004ad17c

At the end of the day though, I've used a multitude of Sony/Minolta lenses and Zeiss ZA lenses. Only a completely unexperienced person could mistake the images from one or the other straight out of the camera. The look is very different.



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


Interesting wording. They say "develop", then include a whole lot of specifics about test criteria etc.

But nothing about "lens design" or "lens calculations".

I would say, based on that exact wording, it is possible that Sony-Zeiss lenses are designed by Sony engineers.


Edited on Oct 23, 2012 at 06:25 PM · View previous versions



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


But of course, Sony designs Zeiss lenses in Sony cameras, just like Kyocera designed Zeiss lenses for Contax, and Cosina designs the ZM/E/F


Oct 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


In English, when you say you develop something, that generally includes all aspects of designing it at least in product design.


Oct 23, 2012 at 06:28 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


alundeb wrote:
Interesting wording. They say "develop", then include a whole lot of specifics about test criteria etc.

But nothing about "lens design" or "lens calculations".

I would say, based on that exact wording, it is possible that Sony-Zeiss lenses are designed by Sony engineers.


That wouldn't be the first time. Leica has done it in the past with Minolta and I would be surprised if Sony engineers aren't involved. After all they have to design the AF mechanism and electronics. Zeiss has also bought a Sigma design for the 70-200 N and the 28-85 was jointly developed with Leica. What differentiates a Zeiss lens is that the design has to be meet Zeiss IQ criteria even if the designer is not a full time employee at Oberkochen, and the application of T* coatings.



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:28 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


FlyPenFly wrote:
In English, when you say you develop something, that generally includes all aspects of designing it at least in product design.


I agree. But since we have conflicting sources (ref the RX1 thread) I look specifically for ways the other source can be true.

I am a senior devolpment engineer in my company, and develop specialized electronics, both on the hardware and software side. I could outsource code writing or schematics drawing and still say that we developed it.



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:31 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


Certainly true.

But I think that also depends on the company you're at. I've worked for many companies as a consultant and strong brands would rather not release a product than one that will degrade their reputation. Well managed companies realize that monetarily it makes no sense to get a small bump in a quarter that you pay for by losing brand equity.



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:34 PM
curious80
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


alundeb wrote:
Interesting wording. They say "develop", then include a whole lot of specifics about test criteria etc.

But nothing about "lens design" or "lens calculations".

I would say, based on that exact wording, it is possible that Sony-Zeiss lenses are designed by Sony engineers.



I think the statements are not that ambiguous:

"ZEISS lenses for Sony digital cameras are developed by lens designers at the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen, Germany"

"The lenses are then made in a lens production facility jointly chosen by Sony and Carl Zeiss"

This clearly means that the lenses are designed at zeiss and manufactured at Sony facilities. Also along with the lens design, the testing/quality assurance procedures are also developed at zeiss and these are then implemented by Sony factories. Of course the fact that they are designed at Zeiss, does not mean that Sony engineers are not involved. They could be present at Zeiss facilities to be part of the design team



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:34 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


In the RX1 thread, Phillip Reeve wrote:
I am pretty sure that this info is not correct. All Sony-Zeiss Lenses are developed by Sony and have to fulfill certain criteria as defined by Zeiss.

My sources: A thread in a german forum in german as translated by google translate.

Some quotes: (the autor, Stephan Kölliker had some direct contacts to Sony before he withdraw from the Sony system after it was obvious that they would no longer develop OVF-cameras):
"Die Zeiss ZA-Optiken werden von Sony gerechnet, allerdings nach Kriterien von Zeiss. Interessant ist, dass die Konstrukteure - die eigentlich wissen müssen, was sie rechnen
...Show more



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:38 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


One question: if the designer made the drawings at his desk in Cologne instead of Oberkochen, would that make it a lesser lens? What if the designer was Japanese, or Swedish, and not German, is it still a Zeiss?


Oct 23, 2012 at 06:38 PM
 

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alundeb
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


I cross quoted the other source for recerence.

@cusious80, I would say the contradictiong source is much clearer. But it is a question of crdibility.



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


edwardkaraa wrote:
One question: if the designer made the drawings at his desk in Cologne instead of Oberkochen, would that make it a lesser lens? What if the designer was Japanese, or Swedish, and not German, is it still a Zeiss?


Hi Edward, i was waiting for you when this came up, since you have experience with Sony Zeiss lenses, and were saying something about how they differ from the classical Zeiss rendering. If you knew that the lenses were designed by Sony engineers, could that explain how the ZA lenses have more "modern rendering" or whatever you call it. Pardon my inaccuricies, but I hope you remember what i am talking about



Oct 23, 2012 at 06:45 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


I've shot with the ZA 24-70, 85 1.4, and 24/1.8 quite a lot as well as Zeiss's older C/y and ContaxG lenses. The rendering of those lenses are the classic Zeiss look of high global and high micro contrat.

The Sony Zeiss 85 1.4 renders extremely differently than the Minolta design. The 24-70 is a bit more saturated than the 35-70 C/Y but in the mid range they cary a very similar high contrast look that's wildly different than any other zoom I've used including high grade Olympus lenses.



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:08 PM
philber
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


One interesting parameter that the Zeiss text leaves out is "who specifies the design?" Zeiss might well do all the development, if it is to a Sony specification, the end result could well be quite different than a "pure" Zeiss design. Then, let's not forget that a Sony-Zeiss lens needs to give a profit to 2 companies rather than one. So the price target assigned to the design team might well factor in a higher GM to accommodate for that. This, again, could impact how we rate the end result...


Oct 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


alundeb wrote:
Hi Edward, i was waiting for you when this came up, since you have experience with Sony Zeiss lenses, and were saying something about how they differ from the classical Zeiss rendering. If you knew that the lenses were designed by Sony engineers, could that explain how the ZA lenses have more "modern rendering" or whatever you call it. Pardon my inaccuricies, but I hope you remember what i am talking about


Of course I remember

I think there are 2 issues here. The first one is that Zeiss is gradually introducing lenses with the new modern look. They started with the ZA but followed with the ZE as well. In the ZA, I would include the 16-35, 135/1.8 and 24/2 as having the modern look. The ZE 35/1.4, 25/2 and the new 135/2 will fall in the same category.

The second issue is that the contrast curve of the A900 was somewhat anti-Zeiss look. I have used extensively the ZS 25/2.8, 35/2, and 50/1.4, all known for their classic Zeiss rendering. But somehow they failed to produce the same pop as the guys with Nikon and Canon bodies were producing.

So I don't think the ZA are designed by Sony engineers, it's just the new design direction by Zeiss to cope with high resolution sensors and contemporary taste.


Edited on Oct 23, 2012 at 07:25 PM · View previous versions



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:24 PM
RickPerry
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


Lots of words here gentlemen - but no photos?

Early this year I switched from ZE lenses on a 5DII to ZA lenses on an A900 - mostly because I was tired of missing fast moving shots with the manual focus - not because I did not like the IQ.

Here are a few shots taken with ZA lenses - keep in mind these are not even primes - but zooms with auto focus. As far as I am concerned - the ZA's hold the values of the ZE's enough for me to call them Zeiss!




24-70 ZA

  DSLR-A900    45mm    f/10.0    1/10s    100 ISO    -1.0 EV  






24-70 ZA

  DSLR-A900    24mm    f/9.0    -26843545s    100 ISO  






16-35 ZA

  DSLR-A900    16mm    f/9.0    -26843545s    100 ISO  



Edited on Oct 23, 2012 at 07:36 PM · View previous versions



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Phillip Reeve
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


Okay since i started the discussion by disagreeing with douglas13 and only translated a small part of the discussion on mi-fo.de i think i should explain some things.

In 2010 Stephan Kölliker aka stevemark wrote "Das Sony Alpha Vollformat-System", which is an extensive book about the Alpha-Fullframe-System. He got some financial support from Sony and as it seems also some direct contacts to Sony's lens designers.

Based on the contact with these guys he claims this (direct link):
"Die Zeiss ZA-Optiken werden von Sony gerechnet, allerdings nach Kriterien von Zeiss. Interessant ist, dass die Konstrukteure - die eigentlich wissen müssen, was sie rechnen - den eigenen "G"-Standard als besser als die Zeiss-Vorgaben betrachten. Sony-Zeiss-Optiken werden nicht in einem einzigen Werk gebaut, sondern teils in Sony-eigenen Werken und teils ausgelagert (ich spreche da von den Vollformat-Optiken; dass etwas dubiose ZA 16-80mm sei mal aussen vor gelasssen). Zudem ist aus den Objektiv-Querschnitten z. B. des MinAF 3.5/17-35mm G (Minolta), des MinAF 2.8-4/17-35mm D (Tamron) und des Sony-Zeiss ZA 2.8/16-35mm eine enge Verwandtschaft der Konstruktionen ersichtlich - was die Aussagen von D. Klipatrick natürlich stützt."

my attempt of fixing the google translation:
"The Zeiss ZA-optics are calculated by Sony, but after criteria from Zeiss. Interestingly, the designers - who actually need to know what they do - regard their own "G" standard as better than the Zeiss specifications. Sony Zeiss optics are not built in a single work, but partly in Sony's plants and partly outsourced (I speak here of the full-frame optics, disregarding that somewhat dubious ZA 16-80mm ). In addition, from the cross-sections of eg. the MinAF 3.5/17-35mm G (Minolta), the MinAF 2.8-4/17-35mm D (Tamron) and the Sony Zeiss ZA 2.8/16-35mm you can see a close relationship between the constructions - naturally this supports D. Klipatricks statement.

mathhiaspaul stays sceptic about stevemarks claims for most of the discussion and is only convinced when some Zeiss guy at photokina basicly confirms what stevemark said earlier: direct link
"Zeiss hat mir, auf dieses Thema angesprochen, auf der photokina explizit gesagt, daß die ZA-Objektive von Sony entwickelt und durch Sony in Japan produziert werden. Zeiss' Anteil in dieser Kooperation ist es, die Einhaltung bestimmter von Zeiss vorgegebener Kriterien zu überprüfen, bevor ein Sony-Objektiv das Zeiss-Label tragen darf. "

my translation:
"When i asked them at photokina, Zeiss explicedly told me that the ZA lenses are developed by Sony and produced by Sony in Japan. Zeiss' share in this co-operation is to verify compliance with certain criteria specified by Zeiss, before a Sony lens may carry the Zeiss label."

Another fact to support that the ZA lenses are developed by Sony:
The Za 24-70/2.8 is patented by Sony, no mention of Zeiss!
link to the discussion on mi-fo.de the patent

What is unknow is whether Zeiss provided the coatings for the ZA lenses.

Edited on Oct 23, 2012 at 07:44 PM · View previous versions



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


As far as patents go, I know when product companies hire an engineering consultancy to assist in a new product, the parent hiring companies usually retain the patents of any new design.


Oct 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


That's true, but FWIW in EU legislation there's a writing about reasonable compensation for the patentee(s) (actual people). So any person with a significant contribution to a (huge) market success should get fair compensation. So it's not a sole ownership, the named inventors count.

I assume this goes for US Patents as well.



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Phillip Reeve
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sony :: Zeiss - Panasonic :: Leica - Samsung :: Schneider


FlyPenFly wrote:
The Sony Zeiss 85 1.4 renders extremely differently than the Minolta design.

regarding the ZA 85/1.4 stevemark wrote:
"Schau Dir mal den Übergang vom MinAF 1.4/85 zum ZA 1.4/85mm an: Die grossen Frontlinsen wurden leicht "entspannt", dh ihre Radien sind grösser, um ua die sphärischen Aberrationen zu reduzieren - dazu musste ein (noch) höher brechendes Glas eingesetzt werden als beim MinAF 1.4/85mm. Zusätzlich "entspannt" hat man das ZA 1.4/85mm dadurch, dass man die zwei Rücklinsen des MinAF durch drei Linsen ersetzt hat - auch das ein einfacher Trick, um sphärischen Aberrationen zu reduzieren. Die Grundkonstruktion beider Objektive ist aber sehr ähnlich. Mit diesen kleinen Anpassungen (und der weniger aufwändigen Floating-Mechanik!) erfüllte das MinAF 1.4/85mm neu als ZA 1.4/85mm auch die Zeiss-Kriterien. Die ganze Konstruktion des MinAF/ZA 1.4/85mm unterscheidet sich deutlich von der traditionellen Zeiss-Philosophie, die im Zeiss C/Y 1.4/85mm und im ZE/ZF 1.4/85mm zum Tragen kommt - nur sechs Linsen. Das moderne Zeiss 1.4/85mm für die Contax N hingegen war eine wilde Rechnung mit 10 Linsen und Innenfokusierung. Beide Konstruktionen unterscheiden sich stark von der MinAF/Sony ZA 1.4/85mm. Es dürfte im übrigen kaum ein Zufall sein, dass man auf der Zeiss-Site sehr detaillierte Informationen zu allen Zeiss-Objektiven für HaBla-, ZM, ZE, ZF, C/Y, Contax-N, Contax-G usw. usf. findet - NICHT aber zu "Zeiss" ZA: Klickt man sie an, wird man direkt auf die Sony-Homepage umgeleitet ... "

again my google translate supported translation (i would have though that it would take so much time to translate a technical text)
"And take a look at the transition from 1.4/85mm MinAF tp ZA 1.4/85 : The large front lenses were "relaxed" slightly, so their radii are larger to reduce the spherical aberrations - glass with a (even) higher index than that of the MinAF 1.4/85mm. The ZA was even more "relaxed" by replacing the two rear-lenses of the MinAF with three lenses - also an easy trick to reduce spherical aberations. The basic construction of both lenses is quite similar. With those small adjustments (and the less sophisticated floating-technique!) the MinAF 1.4/85mm now as ZA 1.4/85 fulfilled the zeiss criteria.
The whole construction of the MinAF / ZA 1.4/85mm differs significantly from the traditional Zeiss philosophy that the Zeiss C/Y 1.4/85mm and the ZE / ZF 1.4/85mm incorporated - only six lenses. The modern Zeiss 1.4/85mm for the Contax N , however, was a wild calculation with 10 elements and internal focusing. Both designs are very different from the 1.4/85mm MinAF / Sony ZA. It would, moreover, hardly be a coincidence that one finds on the Zeiss site very detailed information on all Zeiss lenses for Habla, ZM, ZE, ZF, C / Y, Contax N, Contax G, etc - but NOT on "Zeiss" ZA: If you click on it, you will be redirected directly to the Sony website ... "



Oct 23, 2012 at 07:57 PM
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