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| p.2 #8 · Next Zeiss lenses after 55mm 1.4 Distagon |
Zeiss won some awards for their new lenses...design awards rather than technical awards, to which they are more accustomed:
It is not necessarily a good thing to accentuate design as a separate area from usability, because once you develop an unhealthy attention to the perceptions of users and with making bold appearance statements, this trend can push other, more important aspects to the side in product development, a matter of priority.
Strong design statements also tie a product to a particular time period. Look at US cars from the 1960s and 70s - which sold purely on their appearance, despite them being total death traps in an accident. And bold designs rarely age well enough to become considered classics.
I am not sure the CZ designers are active photographers. Funnel shaped hoods occupy more space, not much perhaps, but it counts when stuffing the lens into a cylindrical bag, so it gets that much harder; when changing lens, the hand naturally grabs the lens with the hood at the back of the hand - this makes dropping it in cold/wet weather more likely, as the body is held facing downwards to minimise ingress of dust/moisture. Large hoods also intimidate subjects, as frequently noted here.
The lack of gnurling may not please nature photographers wearing gloves and its durability is unknown, being surface dependent rather than a physical gnurl.
The flashy new font might work on road signs in Germany, but few photographers need to read lens identifiers in the field, they know the lens by its size/shape. The same applies to aperture stops, which are in any case a VF display.
The new terminological expression of lens speed/focal length (e.g 1.4/55) is counter-intuitive (albeit technically preferable perhaps) as very few photogpraphers use as a lens's primary identifier anything other than focal length, and indeed this is the convention used for the cine lenses shown on this same page. These cine pieces bear large bold inscriptions of '70-200' and '50' very prominently, and dispense with lens speed in these identifiers entirely.
Perhaps the day glow yellow text on the new Distagon assists with very dense fog ;-) The lens has already acquired a glowing endorsement by a respondent in the comments section: 'I personally had the chance to hold the prototype of the Apo 1,4/55mm in my hands and I had a very good handsome feeling.' Handsome, while maybe being lost in translation, generally refers to appearance rather than haptics or ergonomics.
Anyway, the page has some very nice images of these exciting new optics. And I am sure they will be very successful as 'eye candy' in the counter displays around the world soon, and will assist in loosening the purse strings of buyers.