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HOT!!! Also Carl Zeiss joins Micro Four Thirds!!!


The Panasonic GH1 with Zeiss Cp+ lenses shown at Photokina 2010 (Thanks Terry!)

After Schneider Kreuznach also Carl Zeiss AG joins the Micro Four Thirds System Standard Group! This is not a surprise, Zeiss already announced months ago that they would add an exchangeable m43 mount for the compact Prime CP.2 lenses (Click here to read our article). Those lenses are very expensive $3.900 each at eBay (Click here). Two anonymous sources also told us that Zeiss is taking into consideration to make a Micro Four Thirds version of the current 15.5-45mm f/2.6 Zoom lens. The lens could be available by mid 2011 (But keep in mind that those are rumors from unknown sources!).

Announced jointly by Olympus Imaging Corp. (President : Masaharu Okubo) and Panasonic Corporation in 2008, the Micro Four Thirds System standard has rapidly grown in popularity. Now, support for the standard is expanding with the decision of Carl Zeiss AG to join the Micro Four Thirds System standard, and the company is releasing lenses compliant with the standard.
For more than 160 years, the lenses of Carl Zeiss AG have been defining the state-of-the-art in optical technology. Now, as Carl Zeiss AG joins the Micro Four Thirds System group, ZEISS HD Video lenses will be available to users of Micro Four Thirds cameras, contributing to a vastly expanded product line and enhancing the joys of digital imaging with the Micro Four Thirds System.
As the originator of the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.

As you see the press release clearly mentions “ZEISS HD Video lenses“. It doesn’t sound like they are going to make “normal” m43 lenses (would love to see some zm-lenses for m43!).

Links to:
– Press release:
– CP+ lenses at BHphoto
– ZM lenses at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay

P.S: All good things come in three, so after Schneider and Zeiss…who is next?

  • Darren

    Great news to begin a week.

  • YeahYeah

    Wow… That’s amazing! How promising for the m4/3 standard!

  • shutterwill

    Guess they are not happy with the sales figure of Alpha mount.

  • Greg

    Sounds like adapted mounts of existing lenses though, not lenses designed from the ground up for m43. Anyway, I like it still. m43 has become a standard. Just hope one more camera manufacturer (as opposed to lens manufacturer) will hop in the bandwagon.

  • They mean Carl Zeiss CP.2 lensese will be available in m43 mount?

  • Great news, although we already knew about they were considering making m4/3 video lenses. So Voigtländer, Schneider and Zeiss are members of the system… I guess what Leica managers are thinking right now. :)

    • admin

      And I “believe” it will not stop here…

      • Your “believe” sounds raaather good… :)

        • admin

          I have FT2 rumors only but I might post them soon.

  • Tropical Yeti

    Considering price and heft, I am not really a customer for these lenses. But what makes me happy in this Olympus news message, is another commitment statement for 4/3 standard

    As the originator of the >>>Four Thirds System<<>>continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both<<< standards …


  • Panasonic has shown their G body with CP.2 Lens last time:

  • Professzore

    I’ve been using different Carl Zeiss lenses both for 35 mm and medium format photography. That’s a fact that all these lenses are extraordinary build and optical quality. And, of course, the price tag may be shocking for some users.

    That’s all is (or may be) a whisper of future (semi) pro-range of MFT system still and movie cameras. That’s what I’m looking for.

    By the way, just a guess, but… Sinar? PhaseOne?

    • Duarte Bruno

      My money is on Leica.

  • Carl Zeiss stated they will supply CP.2 lenses in MFT Mount:

  • GreyOwl

    The question on my mind is who else will join the m43 standard; will Leica who, lets not forget, were part of the 4/3rds system now join? And what about Sigma and Fuji also?

    • cL

      m4/3 and 4/3 are the same consortium. There are m4/3 lenses with Leica names already…. I think you mean if there will be Leica body in m4/3?

  • Voigtlander, Schneider and now Zeiss (albeit video only). Hmmm…
    Micro 4/3 seems to be gravitating towards the serious end of the small-camera market. Makes Oly’s “pro-m4/3” rather intriguing. Perhaps it won’t be just an E-P2 evolutionary offspring after all. Do I hear E-OM? (probably not.)

    • cL

      I think it’s a smart move. Since NEX is on the not-so-serious end of mirrorless spectrum. If they fought with Sony head-to-head, they may not win.

      Lots of people complained about Sony DSLR on Internet, but in real life, lots of people use Sony point and shoots (I was quite shocked by the percentage of people who use them in photo class, you’d think it’s a market dominated by Canon…). Never equate what you read in forums (which are most occupied by fans of a system) with real life market.

  • Jonathan

    @ admin: Carl Zeiss is not coming up with a new m43 version! the CP and LW lenses have user exchangeable mounts. Zeiss is simply adding another mount option to allow mounting the SAME lens to either Arriflex, Canon, Nikon or m43 cameras. This will spare users from buying an adapter, but that’s about it…


    ‘What distinguishes the LWZ.2 from other, EF-mount-only zooms is the interchangeable lens mount, which can be swapped out for an optional cinema-standard PL or Nikon F mount.’

    • admin

      Thanks Jonathan! Will correct the post!

  • Duarte Bruno

    This is great news but make no mistake, to Zeiss it’s only a tap into the AG-AF100 lens market. :(

    • admin


    • cL

      That’s very possible.

  • FT1 – probably fake rumor

    After two years of constant diminishing market shares of Nikon and Canon, Olympus and Panasonic took over the small resting Pro segment of the Canikons.
    The chief executive officers of Nikon and Canon declared that they made a fatal mistake not joining Micro Four Thirds in 2011: “We missed the opportunity to survive. We overestimated the loyalty of our Pro-Clientele. Now we have to admit that our customer base has shrinked two a few stupid bodybuilders in the Pro segment who did not realize that you can also achieve the same training effect for your muscles with micro four thirds lenses and cameras. It is only a question of “gear ratio”. If you pay regard to the fact that you have simply to stem two Olympus or Panasonic cameras and three fast prime MFT-lenses for one Nikon or Canon camera equipped with slow standard pancakes you will be on the safe side. As the saying goes: He who comes too late will be punished by life!”
    … FT1 – probably fake rumor: I’ m just kidding!

  • Wow! in a week 2 lens company joined M43. Its nice! Could this happen to be competitve each other and drive for the cheaper price for Cow Zeiss and Schneider Kreuznach lenses in future…?

    Will Panasonic continue to develop their own new lenses?

    • Stavros

      From what I know Panasonic has a lens manufacturing plant and they seem to have great success and a significant profit margin. I dont see why they would want to stop.

    • Archer

      Neither Schneider nor Zeiss have ever been price sensitive products. They won’t come down in price, but they do offer us proles something to lust after ;-).

  • Robbie

    Obviously they wanted a share of the very small AF-100 market. When I visited the DVXuser forum, gosh they are buying lenses like 14-35 and 12-60

    • cL

      Yes, that’s because those are very sharp lenses. :-) Zuiko 14-35mm cannot AF properly by the way. For professional video shooters, that’s not a problem, but optically, 14-35mm is really excellent (50-200mm is up there, but that’s not a very good focal length for video).

      But having Zeiss on board is nice. :-) I almost wanted to switch to Sony because of the lenses. :-)

  • 43photo

    Very interesting: m4/3 need to sell cameras in the first place before Zeiss, voigtlander, Schneider Kreuznach may be able to sell their lenses.
    Somehow Panasonic and Olympus must have sold loads of them, otherwise the lens makers would not join.

    It would be really fantastic if another camera maker joins micro 4/3. Pentax, sigma or … ?

  • George

    I doubt that serious photographers will invest couple of thousand dollars to m43… no way ….

    • Archer

      There are a number of very serious photographers/cinematographers who have done just that.

    • There’s a lot more to Micro Four Thirds than just silver-colored pocket cameras. The Panasonic AG AF-100 video camera is practically $5000. That’s already a serious investment.

  • Eric

    Does this mean they will also make photography m4/3’s lenses in addition to the cinema lenses? If not, then while a new partner is always welcome, it has zero bearing on me as a consumer.

    • spam

      Agree, new partners are good, high performance manual focus lenses are interesting, but 95% of the users (my guess) want AF-lenses. So, let’s hope that Zeiss and Schneider Kreuznach will do a bit more than slapping a mFT mount onto some existing manual focus lenses.

      • Eric

        While I prefer AF, I’d be ok with Zeiss manual focus lenses. I’d just like them to have electrical contacts so the camera knows when I’m focusing.

      • Voldenuit

        Cine users want MF, not AF.

        I’d like to have electrical contacts just so I get aperture info in EXIF, though – it can be hard to sort out all those f/0.0 pictures :p.

  • ObZerver

    This is interesting to say the least:

    “As the originator of the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for BOTH standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.”

    BOTH standards?

  • twoomy

    The only thing that can kill MicroFourThirds at this point will be Pany and Oly not responding to demand!

    The Pany M43 flagship camera GH2 is still not readily available five months after its announcement. I was lucky enough to get a GH2, but I can’t even get a spare battery for it!

    And Oly keeps releasing the same old low-end mini camera. They need to offer a high-end camera as well and I hope the rumors of an announcement are correct.

    • Henrik

      My guess is that Admin knows quite abit about this pro-end from m4/3 ;).

    • Guest

      I’m a very happy GF1 user, I’ve been spending my money on glass rather than upgrade to these silly low-end cameras that keep coming out. I can’t wait for Olympus to release a pro m43 camera. I want to try out my 25mm Nokton on something with higher ISO and image stabilisation!

  • Tomtom

    Please help me out: What does “T2,1” mean in the name “ZEISS Compact Prime CP.2 T2,1/50 T”. It obviously can’t be the aperture :-/


    • Esa Tuunanen

      It’s “T like transmission”.
      Think it as aperture value taking into account how much of the light gathered by front element actually gets through whole objective. (every lens/surface absorbts/reflects little)

  • compositor20

    its transmission light values because a f2 lens might not transmit f2 light but something like f2.2 or f2.5 its important in cinema where they need the same amount of ligh by changing lens

    my canon FD f1.4 lens is just a f1.7 lens in light transmission or shutter speed ability….

  • kai

    if i had the money for zeiss optics, i’d have the money for a 5dmII and the MFT mounts wouldnt matter anymore.

    • Ark-kun

      >if i had the money for zeiss optics, i’d have the money for a 5dmII and the MFT mounts wouldnt matter anymore.
      Why would you pay more for inferior video quility?

    • kai

      full frame sensor, better iso quality, electrical contacts to the lenses i currently adapt to my mft camera.

  • wow!
    Zeiss too!!

  • cL

    Now this is something interesting. :-) Zeiss for m4/3. What’s the point of using Sony now? BTW, I heard Zeiss lens for Sony is actually made by Cosina. Can anybody confirm that?

  • SRF

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again: M43 is no longer a still photography format. It is a hybrid format serving both photographers and cinematographers. Surprising, since the manufacturers seem to understand that the world is changing more than the consumers. Some sample comments:

    Example #1: “The Pany M43 flagship camera GH2….” Not exactly. The GH2 is Panasonic’s “flagship” stills camera. The AF-100 is its true flagship M43 camera — it costs 5x more and is made by their professional division.

    Example #2: “if i had the money for zeiss optics, i’d have the money for a 5dmII and the MFT mounts wouldnt matter anymore.” While that may be true for you, you’d be wrong if you’re shooting video. A GH2 or a AF-100 offer (arguably) considerably better video than a 5DmII.

    Example #3: “Please help me out: What does “T2,1″ mean in the name “ZEISS Compact Prime CP.2 T2,1/50 T”. It obviously can’t be the aperture :-/” Obviously? Are you sure? Actually, yes, it has to do with aperture; t-stops are commonly used instead of f-stops on cinema lenses. Read more here:

    • kai

      again: fullframe sensor, iso quality, electrical contacts. not even the af-100 has these over the 5dm2 (for reference, phillip bloom said the 5dmark2’s iso quality was better).

      • Chris

        If you were shooting a production movie, you’d have lighting rigged up, so high iso would be a moot point. Also, it’s been stated before by the video users on this site that professional videography is done with manual focus lenses. So, unless I’m missing something, the electrical contacts argument doesn’t hold weight, either.

        • Jonathan

          Maybe that’s just a bit too authoritative and definite – there are many ways to shoot video… news reportage and documentary would definitely make good use of autofocus and low light capabilities. You may be missing something after all.

        • Jonathan

          Even in ‘classic’ movie production – from Kubrick and his famous Zeiss Planar f0.7, to Terrence Malick to French nouvelle vague – many directors and DPs rely on nothing but natural light to light scenes.

          A scene looks and feels different when the actors are under strong studio lights, this is why there are so many candle-lit (even a few match /cigarette-lit) scenes in films. Film makes have always been striving to push the boundaries of what is possible. Saying ‘you don’t need that in movie production’ simply doesn’t hold.

        • kai

          you are missing something: not everyone uses their videocamera to shoot production movies. in fact, i’d wager most people dont.

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