(FT3) No plan to make m43 mount Zeiss lenses…


Yesterday Patrick from FujiRumors wrote that Zeiss will release the new Fuji X and Sony E mount lenses in April. He also sent me an email to say that Zeiss representatives that were displaying the lenses in NYC told him that there will be definitely no MFT version of these lenses in 2013. And it hasn’t yet been decided if they will ever be released in 2014.

I hope Zeiss will change their mind soon. Can you leave out the biggest Mirrorless System? They are missing a big chance to make money don’t they? So here is a poll to show Zeiss managers if the little MFT community on 43rumors would buy some of their three lenses. Important to know. These are High Quality Lenses with full AF and Aperture control and priced at 1000 Euro.

What lens would you buy for MFT?

View Results

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Comon Zeiss! We need you on board :)

  • Thanks a lot, I prefer Oly 45/1,8 at 1/4 price. Or Pana 42.5/1.2 at roughly the same price.

    The Zeiss brand is a bit overhyped, isn’t it?

    • MJr

      Well you’ll have to separate the compacts and smartphones with zeiss lenses from the real zeiss’s, and trust me with one of those you really do have ‘a zeiss’, and for a long long time if you choose well. But it’s one of those things, if you have to ask … you already know the answer. And for these people there are plenty more sensible options. ;)

    • Zeiss is certainly not overhyped. It makes fantastic optics, but they are mostly large, expensive and designed for 35mm or medium format. One thing to note, unlike many 4/3 and m4/3 lenses Zeiss glass is typically not at its best when used at maximum aperture. Stop it down a bit and you get the best quality there is.

      • MJr

        That’s more of a sensor-size perk than a lens ‘quality’ thing.

        And the reason their real stuff is so expensive is that when making a million phones, it’s a lot cheaper than very low-volume high-end lenses, for those people seeking to pay up to and above €1000 just for that last few % of extra quality closer to a full 100. Plus built quality and name and fame of course. ;)

        • It’s not just the sensor. The 50 and 85 Planars have a rather ugly ‘bokeh’ at f/1.4. At least this is my experience.

          • MJr

            That is exactly the Zeiss bokeh that people love (or hate). The 50mm especially looks best on Film. It’s just doesn’t do well with today’s very demanding sensors, but it has a lot of character for sure. Anwyway, they didn’t announce a new and improved Distagon 50/1.4 version for nothing, which will likely be much much better for digital.

      • So you ask me to stop down a lens for 1000 EUR in order to have excellent results instead of using 20/1.7, 45/1.8 etc. for third of price and usable even full open?

        Just for the feeling to have a Zeiss lens?!!!

        At least funny approach…

  • Anonymous

    And the Oly 12/2.0 instead of the Zeiss 12/2.8. I don’t see a need for these lenses in m4/3.

    • MJr

      Pointless indeed on m4/3, but a 12/2.8 and 32/1.8 as well is a completely different story on apsc. Surely very interesting and exciting for many people, including me. With this quality especially as both E and X mount were lacking some quality glass. I wasn’t interested in those systems before but now it’s at least an option.

      • MJr

        Well there is some nice glass, but not nearly enough choice like with MFT.

  • emde

    Those lenses are developed for a larger sensor. For Zeiss it does not make sense to sell compromises, i.e. a lens which would not deliver the optimum performance at a sensor for which it is not developed.
    For Zeiss it makes much more sense to develop lenses for the not so matrue systems like NEX and Fuji as there are much fewer lenses available, i.e. higher market potential for them. In MFT they would have to compete against the high grade lenses like 2/12, 1,8/17, 1,4/25, 1,2/42,5, 1,8/75, 2,8/150 which are all available or at least announced, and possibly at a lower price point.

    Nevertheless I would appreciate Zeiss’ entry in MFT very much and hope for some high level alternatives to the native offerings – competition is always welcome!

    • Anonymous

      I’d be happy to see M4/3 Zeiss lenses! I’d prefer their manual lenses to the AF lenses.

      One of the nice things about adapting lenses on M4/3 cameras is that with the marginally smaller image circle of M4/3 sensors, you’re really taking advantage of the center of the lens, where the image quality is highest and avoiding the often more challenged edges and corners of most lenses.

  • nobody

    Zeiss would have to design lenses specifically tailored for m4/3. It doesn’t make much sense to simply sell these DX lenses with a m4/3 mount.

  • Ryan S.

    It’s pretty obvious. If you love Zeiss, forget m4/3 and you have to choose either NEX or X series.

  • As much as I’d like to see Zeiss get involved in m4/3, I wouldn’t buy those lenses. We already have the Oly 45mm and 12mm which will most likely be cheaper to purchase. These aren’t exactly poor quality either. Zeiss need something a bit more special to enter the m4/3 market I think.

  • V

    Focal Length and maximum aperture are clearly studyed for APS-C sensors.. on MFT they don’t have much sense, there are good (also if not that good) and much cheaper options.. They should have studyed a completely new line of lenses and if they still haven’t plan it, they are late, because high-end target will be taken by S-K lenses.. waiting for that xenon.. :-)

  • For me to buy a zeiss lens for m43, it’d have to be designed especially for m43 rather than simply changing the mount.

    A super high grade 25mm f/1.2 AF with aperture ring, sophisticated auto/MF control with DOF scale, metal barrel, weather sealed. It’d have to be the sharpest lens possible to justify the price.

    Then I’d pay a premium.

  • Or a rectilinear 8mm f/2.8 that is optically perfect.

    • JF

      I want UWA f2.8 tack sharp prime (around 8 to 10 mm but I’d prefer 8 mm…), weathersealed would be very cool !

  • beautemps

    MFT has already high quality primes. Zeiss is a bit to late for that market!
    Thus it is consequent to develop for Sony first. :-)

  • Bronica

    A 9mm 2,8 would be great.

    Agree with others: there are already very good primes. Upcomung Zeiss Lenses should offere different apertures ore focal lenghts.

    Rebuilding of these APS-C lenses is not useful. There will be three new Schneider Kreuznach native M43 Lenses next year.

    • ph

      +1 for the UWA

  • André

    Why two choices with 32mm/1.8? :)

    • admin

      Error sorry. Corrected it.

  • Mittelschucher

    It’s not about the willingness of Zeiss, Tokina, whoever to join M43. It’s about the willingness of Pana and Oly consortium to let the others in. They simply don’t want anyone else here. That’s why they stick with strict licensing policies and M43 is still a closed standard.

    • Bronica

      Interesting information.

      Where are the sources?

    • Will

      It’s not exactly a closed standard, I mean there are SK coming in with ultra high quality lenses AND the biggest pay off, having both Oly AND Pana developing lenses, I would take that over having Sony and Zeiss developing for you. M43 has high qual lenses as is, i’m actually moving to Fuji X series and selling my M43, but the Zeiss lenses don’t attract me at all, I want the Fuji 35mm f1.4, the upcoming 23mm f1.4 and the kit zoom, possibly the 18mm F2. Zeiss should have made it f1.4 in my book, that’s such a killjoy having a 35mm f1.4 against a 32mm f1.8, even if it is slightly better optically, it’s more expensive, larger and slower….

    • > They simply don’t want anyone else here.

      The generalization is incorrect. 43 consortium in past showed that it doesn’t want to deal with small companies and start-ups.

      Otherwise, most large and established optical companies – with obvious exceptions – are already part of the consortium.


      • Actually Zeiss is part of that group!

        • Mittelschucher

          Guys, there is difference between 43 and M43. Four thirds IS an open standard while Micro 4/3 is NOT.

          • Esa Tuunanen

            Your head is full of scheisse.
            It’s Canon and Nikon who have closed proprietary systems and tolerate unauthorized copying of mount by Sigma, Tamron and Tokina only because stopping that through legal means would make competing systems more attractive for those basic kamera kit users.

            Open for other companies to join is different from open source where specifications are shared without limits to every one.

            Now accessory ports are obviously proprietary for Oly and Pana but that’s different from lens mount. (shame because I’m sure Panasonic users would like MAL-1 for macro work)

  • Jørgen

    I could not care less. I am not fond of Zeiss, I think they are expensive and good but not good enough for the price. I am no expert on them, so I could be really wrong. The reviews i read on the 24 mm f1.8 shows it to be too expensive in my view.

    We have Oly, Panny, Sigma, Samyang and Leica now. Schneider Kreuznach may be too (don’t care fr that brand too much either). Those are really enough.

  • Anonymous

    Zuiko are so good that I don’t need very expensive Zeiss primes. Only lenses dedicated for u43 have a sense. Samyang 7,5/3.5 fisheye is a very good and usefull lens, but Sigma 30/2.8 for u42 has no sense. Lenses created for APS or FF and changed for u43 are too big and have a strange point of view.

    Zeiss is expensive. The best option could be a cheap manual Samyang-macro. Much cheper then Oly 60/2.8, it can be slow (f/4 for example) and manual – for macro I don’t care about f/2.8 and autofocus.

  • Neo

    According to http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2864

    Please read their interview. I think that Zeiss explained obviously. Zeiss wants to focus on bigger sensors firstly.

  • Who needs zeiss when schneider is about to release high quality lenses for m4/3 ?

  • As many have already noted, getting zeiss into the m43 ecosystem would be great, but only if they show up with lenses specifically designed for it, not rehashed aps-c ones.

  • Hero

    It should have been the greatest news on the planet Earth, if Zeiss had joined m4/3. Nobody can reject formiddable Zeiss. Several Zeiss lens are considered to be on par with Leica glass. Some are believed to be better. 35/f2 ZM Distagon, for instance, is now a legendary!

  • AFAIC, the only potential added value in a m4/3 prime would come from weather sealing. Now, Zeiss has never addressed that aspect of optics even in its most expensive offerings (as opposed to SK). We have more than enough decent non-sealed lenses already in the wide-to-medium telephoto range.

  • Tropical Yeti

    > Can you leave out the biggest Mirrorless System?

    Sure you can, especially if the biggest system is abundant with lenses, which give same or similar bang for less buck.

  • Maczon

    If Zeiss would make m43 lenses they would not have aperture control. Only Fuji X-mount lenses will have that, NEX lenses dont have it.

  • Miroslav

    The poll says it all :) – these lenses are useless for m4/3.

  • Why, it’s official.

    Will the lenses also be available with Micro 4/3-bajonet (MFT)?

    We want to offer lenses of very high quality. The image quality of the system also hinges on sensor size. Therefore, we intend to concentrate initially on the biggest sensor size in this segment which is APS-C. It would be possible for us to make lenses for Micro 4/3-bajonet as well but we have not made a decision on that yet.
    If current APS-C lenses were also used for the Micro 4/3-bajonet, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the best tradeoff between lens size (weight), and image quality.


  • Nathan

    If I was a Canon shooter, I’d really want Zeiss glass. If I shot a larger format, I’d probably want it as well. However, since Olympus is doing such a smashing job at providing lenses perfectly balanced for the system, with the right apertures and excellent control of aberrations, why would I want a lens designed for an APS-C sensor hanging on the end of my right-sized camera?
    Well, I wouldn’t. I bought into 4/3 because it was the right size for me. I also shoot medium format, and my small format gear is intended to go with me, so I can shoot when I didn’t plan ahead for a photography day. m4/3 doesn’t get in my family’s way and it’s fast and light. On those days when I would like to shoot more professionally and really exercise control over my imaging, I shoot on a MUCH larger format. Even so, the Micro Four Thirds gear is perfectly adequate for my purposes. And the glass is always good. Now, if only Olympus would see fit to make something like my excellent 14-54 II on micro four thirds mount. The 35-100 F2 wouldn’t get much smaller, so that one can live on an adapter for now.

  • Ren Kockwell

    Zeiss won’t make lenses for m43 because they are in bed with Sony and Sony makes a competing mirrorless format. If Zeiss made m43 lenses then they will be in bed with the enemy and cheating on Sony.

    • Vlad

      What about Fuji then??

      • Anonymous

        Fuji is niche. M4/3 is much more mainstream. Don’t forget that Panasonic is a big Sony competitor in consumer electronics.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          And just at summer Panasonic and Sony announced cooperation for developing big OLED screens mass production ready and for manufacturing them…

          Also Zeiss is niche. And while that niche is sure religious they don’t see enough worshippers in m4/3 user base to pay their prices with competition from existing lenses.

    • Llamaman

      Hmm. I can see why you’d think that, but don’t forget;

      a. Sony now own 10% of Olympus, so have an interest in Olympus being a success
      b. Fuji-X is also a competing mirrorless system, but Zeiss are making lenses for them too.

      So I doubt that is the reason.

      The most likely explanation is that Zeiss have realised they can’t produce a lens for MFT with the right balance of size/weight/IQ and turn a profit. But for NEX with it’s poor lens selection and Fuji X which is still immature, they can get in early and make a killing by charging a premium with little competition.

      But they’re hardly likely to admit that in a press release, are they?

      • Ren Kockwell

        I think you’re right. Now I wonder if Leica will start making lenses for Fuji and Nex too.

        • MJr

          Lol, why, what would be different than using a adapter. They’d be doing the same thing except it’d be glued on so to say. ;)

          And i’m quite certain they won’t be making the same quality lenses ONLY compatible with APSC, any time in this century. :p

  • Ulli

    with a m43 body and not allergic against manual focus lenses, you can choose from many old Zeiss optics…i am very interested in getting the last of the full metal barrel/focusring series of the CZJ Sonnar 180mm 2.8… if you look around patiently, those can be bought for decent prices

    • Bronica

      I use such a Sonnar 2,8 180 for the Prentacaon Six – there it is a wonderful lens.

      But: It is not as sharp than modern constructions for smaller formats.

      For MFT I use the Leitz Elmarit 2,8 180mm (2nd version). I don’t know, how Leitz did it: This lens has only 5 elements. But it’s very sharp. A test of the Color Foto Magazin showed, that it reaches the level (while a bit stopped down) of the Apo Telyt 3,4 180. Surpassing Nikon ED, Zeiss 180 (West Germany) and Olympus Zuiko. There was also the east german Sonnar 2,8 200mm in this test – it was the weakest lens. But still good.

  • Please, guys, I think the really good approach would be cheap, but decent build quality and optically high lenses at affordable price.

    Ultimately we want to make good photos instead of delecting of lovely built, massive lenses…

  • Arnold

    This will make me reconsider my investment in m4/3. I like Zeiss glass a lot.

    • kesztio

      As I understand the Z e i s s combination of letters is crucially important to you. Otherwise you would be happy with the same — or even better — quality from other manufacturers…

    • The Real Stig


      You want us to believe you got involved with m4/3 in the hope that one day Zeiss would join the party?

      Yeah, right.

      Olympus can make lenses as well as Zeiss can – have done so in the past and and are doing so now. 75mm f1.8 and 60mm f2.8 macro being examples. Several OM Zuikos were up there with anything made by anyone.

  • I would love to get Zeiss lenses for MFT.

    But the ones that they have announced now are not interesting for MFT. They are good for APS-C. No MFT photographer really needs a 12/2.8 that covers APS-C circle, or a 32/1.8. And there is a cool 60/2.8 Macro from Olympus, so who will ever buy a 50 Macro from Zeiss? They should better make a super high quality 9/2.8, a 17/1.4, a 25/1.2, and a LONG macro, e.g. 100 mm! These are lenses that no one else offers in MFT.

  • Anonymous

    Not everyone is a cheapskate. But most m43 users are. Zeiss have done their research. Poverty stricken m43 users would send Zeiss m43 production line broke! So APS-C it is. Sorry m43. Better hope for the best from Tamron and Sigma. They’re cheap as chips!

    • Anonymous

      Sure, thats why relatively expensive lenses like the 75/1.8 or 12-35 and 35-100/2.8 sell.’

      • Anonymous

        “Most m43 are”. There are always some willing to pay higher price for products that suit them. And that is part of my point. Camera companies need people to buy the higher end products too. If everyone wants cheap, then everything is made cheap and becomes cheap. Long term, it becomes a race to the bottom.

        The sales of Panasonic 20/1.7, 14/2.5 and Olympus 45/1.8 far outnumber those of Olympus 75/1.8 and Panasonic 2.8 zooms and will continue to do so based on affordability and value for money considerations. The much more expensive lenses need to be justified with high quality. If 75/1.8 was poor optically, very few would buy it and production will go the scrapheap. Or the price would drop considerably making it more affordable for the less cheap cheapskates!

  • mahler

    As Leica, Zeiss fails again to recognize what good potential the m4/3 market has. Leica should have made its own m4/3 body already (not sure, why they are willing to rebrand superzooms and compacts and still no m4/3) and misses big opportunities to develop lenses for this mount. Zeiss’ stubbornness in this regard is not understandable as well.

  • Dannecus

    If they re-designed the lenses from the ground up to work with the smaller sensor of M43, then there is an outside chance I would buy one. But just putting an APS-C sized lens on a M43 mount would not tempt me at all.

    • Anonymous

      I much prefer adapting bigger, heavier 135 format lenses on my GH2. ;-)

  • Do

    Olympus prime lenses (with the exception of the 17mm/f2.8) are offering a better price/quality ratio than Nex und XPro prime lenses, so it’s easier for Zeiss selling lenses with a premium price tag for these systems. Just compare Olyympus 45mm/f1.8 with Sony/Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 – similar optical quality, but the Zeis is fout times as expensive.

    • Similar optical quality? The Zeiss lenses surely don’t rely on software correction.

      • Anonymous

        The Oly 45mm is PLASTIC, not metal.

        • SO WHAT?!! As I understand you want to make a collection of expensive metal objects rather of taking good photos…

          • It’s totally wrong to compare a 24/1.8 with a 45/1.8. Come on, the first is a wideangle and the second a portrait telephoto lens. We ALL KNOW that quality portrait telephotos are easier to make and quality wideangles are really complex.

            The right comparison is 45/1.8 vs. 50/1.8 for NEX. Similar price, similar quality. I have the 45/1.8 myself and love it on my E-M5 but I have also tried the 50/1.8 NEX on a NEX-7 and can safely say it’s really at least as good as the 45. A really good lens.

            There is no MFT lens that equals the 24/1.8 Zeiss yet. Olympus has announced the 17/1.8. And it will surely be considerably more expensive than the 45/1.8, because it’s a wideangle.


            • Do

              First, you are right, you can’t compare a “normal wide” lens with a portrait lens, i get confused about numbers and crop factors and there is just this one Zeiss lens for Sony Nex.
              Second, please go to slrgear.com an compare reviews between Nex and MFT prime lenses – the Nex primes don’t even come near to the MFT primes.
              For your example:
              If you can’t see the difference between these lenses under real life conditions (I guess, I also wouldn’t) you also wouldn’t see the difference to a Zeiss or Leica lens.

      • I’m already tired of explaining why optics relying on software correction doesn’t mean necessarily lower quality…

      • Anonymous

        +1. It’s a shame Olympus ever got bullied into accepting this “standard”. Leica and Zeiss would not accept such drastic measures. Of course, Panasonic fanboys/apologists love their computer corrected lenses.

      • Anonymous

        The 45/1.8 doesn’t need much correction but the 12/2 certainly does. “Rather disappointing”, as photozone puts it! The 45 has 1.0% pincushion and the 12 has 5.45% barrel distortion. Hope the 17/1.8 will be better (less correction needed) or else, it would be “very disappointing!” Can’t wait for photozone review of 75/1.8, 60/2.8 macro and 17/1.8. I hope they all get Highly Recommended award and the big green photozone thumbs up! Just like 12 and 45 did. :)

      • Do

        The 45mm isn’t corrected (unlike other Olympus primes)

  • Do

    Meant: Four times as expensive.

  • Esa Tuunanen

    Here’s review of one Zeiss lens used with adapter if you think that brand is automatic guarantee for some ultimate quality:
    Nothing to crave about in that kind resolution performance outside center.

    • …and it’s not F1.4 or even F1.8. It’s F2!

  • Seriously, we dont need those lenses rebadged… If they want to make a stellar 9/10mm f2 or f2.8 or they want to give us a 100mm f2… you know, something that isnt already covered six ways…

    m43rds has a superb lens selection, that is why Zeiss wont manufacture here… Samyang may be the company to produce the 10mm f2.8 and I would get one :) or maybe sigma or maybe Olympus, or panasonic, or Tamron, or VL… with all these guys working in this space there isnt room for a bigg un like Zeiss. So they are hoping the NEX/Hasselblad/Fuji premium is the place to be.

    • I also hope for Samyang to make a 10mm with a m4/3 mount. Samyang and other oriental makers have the potential to show how overpriced German lens makers are, since they have good technology and lesser manpower costs.

      I am all for making m4/3 an affordable system as Pentax and even Nikon were compared to Leica in 1950s. Discussing gear as if it were personal jewelry is really negative and destroys photography, which should be about content, composition, and other concepts which can be developed with honest lenses.

      m4/3 is also a unique format. Take it or leave it. Third parties usually go for the conventional 2:3 ratio which is an inheritance of 135mm, so one should accept that the main drive will come from O&P. OTH our main advantage is that lenses have less problems at the edges, especially legacy ones like CV.

      The only area where m4/3 might need some help is UWA, because of the 2x factor, but that is exactly where Samyang might step in. SLRMagic might also give a hand. Teles might be much more easy to adapt. Sigma perhaps might provide some.

      On the whole, for a young system, there is already a lot of choice. The bottleneck was always the sensor, not the lenses. Most of ILS customers never buy more than 2 lenses anyway.

  • explorer76

    First it is good that Zeiss is not going Sigma route by designing lenses for APS-C and then just re-using them for m43. The APS-C lenses are too big for m43 for no good reason.

    Assuming zeiss designs version of these lenses optimized for m43:

    12mm 2.8 is interesting but Olympus already has a high-grade 12mm f2 lens. so no need to have a duplicate from zeiss (unless it is cheaper which will not happen)

    32mm 1.8 is a good normal lens for APS-C but a somewhat odd focal length for m43. if zeiss designs a normal lens for m43 it will likely not be 32mm. But then we already have Leica 25mm 1.4 available so again not much motivation to have the zeiss version

    • Sam Waldron

      Yes – especially when its a stop slower, $300 more expensive and 3 times the size.

      Also unlikely it would visibly out-perform the 12mm F2 either.

  • Pete

    why should i bye a zeiss lens? just for the name? i prefer smaller and cheaper lenses with stellar quality, like my oly 45mm
    zeiss do what you want, we don’t need you

  • Hey, you snooze you lose. i think with their name recognition they wouldn’t have trouble selling mft lenses, but maybe they have their plate full as it is. The industry as a whole is probably trying to sort out the winners and losers amongst the various formats, so maybe it’s their contention that mft will eventually be one of the latter.

  • Zeiss specifically for M43 would be nice but not really required – Pana-Leica and Zuiko seem to not have any issue producing top quality, really compact primes.

    How much better would a Zeiss perform than the 75 1.8 or the 25 1.4? Not at all I’d suggest.

    Great options for Sony and Fuji though.

  • st3v4nt

    Zeiss refusal to make and design lens for MFT is another way of saying that they’re not capable to design better lens than what Oly and Panasonic and other current MFT lens maker do :-)

    • Anonymous

      It’s their refusal to hand their lenses over to a computer programmer to correct the 7% distortion required to meet the MFT “standards”.

    • Or maybe Zeiss believes making lenses for m4/3 would mean pearls before swine. ;-)

  • Euri

    Sour grape.


    • Next time, try posting a halfway complete sentence, if you want people to understand what you are trying to say.

  • Its a good job they make good camera lenses because their eye glass lenses are a load of old cods wallop and what one tries to avoid stepping into in a cow field.
    They bought out an Australian company a couple of years ago and put their own lenses in as the ‘ones’ I have reverted to my old ones and several people I know, like me, are never going to buy them again. They are total rubbish. If you can hear me down in Adelaide hang your heads in shame.

  • Georgios

    Am using Zeiss ZM 21/4,5 and ZM 50/1,5 via Novoflex adapters on my GF1 with great results…It would be nice for them not only to offer their optics directly to the MFT mount, mainly to cover the gap on the wide angle side by designing optics aimed for the MFT sensor. Dont know if they are bound by some sort of contract to Sony though….

  • arief

    i don’t think everybody going to need zeiss lens since we already have zuiko lens that produce stunning image infact we still have Panasonic-Leica collaboration and recently we have rumour about the Schneider Kreuznach is also joining the 4/3 consortium not to mention voightlander. i believe the lens form Zeiss is good but so is the price tag, not everybody going to buy it..

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