How can Sony improve its lens design?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by twinwood, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. twinwood

    twinwood New to TalkEmount

    Sep 6, 2011
    Panasonic works with Leica and Samsung works with Schneider Kreuznach. Don't know whether these connections improve their respective lens design and quality control, but both are developing good lenses for their mirrorless cameras.

    Sony has a relationship with Zeiss, but thus far only one E-mount zeiss lens that is both larger and more expensive than expected, with performance not expected to be much better than the compact and cheaper integrated lens in the Fuji X100. Of the current E-mount lenses, the 16mm, while small, is not great; and the 30mm macro and the 55-210 zoom lens are both disappointingly larger and slower than expected. Can Sony match the competitors in lens design and manufacturing? Did the lens design capability from old Minolta not pan out?

    The NEX series cameras are great thus far, so there is still time for Sony to catch up in lenses; but thus far it's slow and disappointing. In the longer term, can Sony deliver lenses that delight its customers in terms of size/price/performance, like Samsung's 30/f2 and 16/f2.4, Panasonic's 20/f1.7 and X 14-42 pancake zoom, and Olympus's 12/f2?
  2. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 8, 2011
    Although I would have liked a 30mm or 35mm standard prime with f/1.4 or 1.8 aperture, the 30mm f/3.5 macro is not with precedence. As an Olympus DSLR user I can tell you Oly has a very good (and physically larger) 35mm f/3.5 macro.

    I think Sony was initially responding to some NEX user complaints that there was no macro capability with native NEX lenses. I think that Sony has been taken by surprise by the large number of "serious" photographers who want to use the NEX as a true DSLR alternative system rather than just a simple step up from a compact point and shoot. As a result, we're only now starting to get new "serious" lenses announced and rumored in development on the roadmap.
  3. olli

    olli TalkEmount Veteran

    Aug 16, 2011
    Washington DC
    Real Name:
    Hi twinwood. You're making a lot of assertions there. I think you need to preface most of it with 'in my opinion'.

    Regarding the speed at which Sony is producing lenses I refer you to an earlier post of mine comparing Sony, Panasonic and Olympus at similar stages in the development of their CSCs.
  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Real Name:
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I reckon Sony is playing it safe by taking it (painfully) slow in releasing lenses and instead concentrating on bodies, design, and innovative technologies. I would hazard a guess at Sony’s general strategy is to ‘test out the waters’ with their products e.g. release a product…..see how will the market and competitors react…..and based on the reaction plan their next move, rather than release a product with a specific growth road map already in mind.

    Developing and producing high quality lenses is good for us the users, however it isn’t always the case with the Sony the supplier who is probably (imho) relying on third party lens makers to make lenses for the NEX system (e.g. Noktor, Samyang, Zeiss, etc..)

    Sony took a risk with the NEX and while its still too early to tell, it seems that the risk has paid off. However it is still more economically viable to have a third party lens maker to undertake the risk and spend the money in developing and producing lenses for a system that might could be discontinued in a couple years, This move can even be seen with Sony allowing other lens makers to make lenses for their proprietary E-mount system free from any licence fee.

    Perhaps Sony is taking the history of Konica Minolta quite seriously, the company whose legacy has been inherited by Sony.

    Konica and Minolta were great camera companies and were one of the biggest companies back in the hey day of film photography, they were also brilliant lens makers in their own right with Konica and its Hexanons and Minolta with its Rokkors, however even with it’s great lenses, poor sales performance of their camera bodies have contributed to the companies being merged, acquired, and dissolved.

    To further validate this line of reasoning Hexanons and Rokkor lenses are up to this day held in high regard, often traded, sold, bought, and reviewed. We can see them attached to M43s, RFs, DSLRs, and NEX systems. When was the last time we saw someone shoot with an RD-175? or a Dimage Z1?

    Just my 2 cents.