Is the Sony 85mm f/2.8 SAM a Zeiss Design?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by MAubrey, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    So...I'm wondering if all three of these are actually the same lens...

    I've actually been confident for some time that the Zeiss lenses are the same lens in different packaging (I have the Contax G version). The designs are effectively identical. The rear lens element in the Contax G version are recessed enough to make up for the difference in register distance. And the MTF of the two Zeiss versions are effectively identical. Also note that the measured focal length of the two are within 2.4mm of each other.

    But I only recently did some searching for reviews of the Sony 85mm f/2.8 for my A7 and did some searching for reviews and came across this one:

    The moment I saw the box with the optical design on it, I immediately recognized that organization of lens elements. Sony's MTF's are theoretical, not measure, so that's not relevant, but I'm wondering what everyone things about this. Do you think they're all the same lens? That this Sony 85mm is actually the Zeiss design?

  2. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Yes, they are same designs as you posted. Most probably coatings are different. Sony uses Zeiss designs/name as Yashica did with Contax...
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  3. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    Who cares if it is a Zeiss design if the lens performs well ?

    In case you don't know Sony acquired the camera operations of Konica Minolta back in 2006 and many of the Alpha lenses for DSLR/SLT cameras are actually older Minolta designs. This particular lens was introduced after the purchase and is of unknown source in design.
    Since it is unclear if Minolta also sold the whole lens making operations ( Konica Minolta still need lenses for their photocopiers, measuring instruments and planetariums ), my guess is they still collaborate or sub-contract with Sony on some designs/manufacturing. The G lenses in the Alpha series are all of very apparent Minolta heritage and have characteristics that distinguish them from the Zeiss line at what is often a more affordable price.

    I have this lens and it is a super sharp at all apertures (easy since it starts of at F2.8) but its materials and finish will make you think this is cheaply made. At the price it sells for, this is a bargain lens !

    Mine is actually for sale since i also have 2 f1.4 85mm lenses for my Alpha's and 1 MC Rokkor for my a7r. I am in Canada ( Montreal )
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I care? I'm a curious person who likes facts and history. What I can say?

    If I had a copy of LAE4, I'd seriously consider that. It's on the list.
  5. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Michael is exactly right. I have this lens with the LA-EA4 adaptor and it's an outstanding performer. I am, however, awaiting a Loxia 85mm. Are you listening, Zeiss?

    If you're thinking of buying one, I talked about this lens on my blog:
  6. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    I wonder who is going to design the first FE 85mm? Zeiss is mostly pushing planars (double Gauss) lately vs Sony is the one going for the Sonnar designs or some variations...

    More from wikipedia:

    Also here is the evolution of history that follows from Triplet to Sonnar:
    Ref & more info:

    From same link, sonnar 85mm f2 design which is very similar to Sonnar 50mm 1.5:

    Interestingly the 85mm f2.8 versions are closer to Ernostar 100mm f2 designs eg there is no double triplets like in the original Sonnar. The design was copied by Japanese/Russian manufacturers after WW II. Here is the Nikon 85mm f2 rf Sonnar lens design which made the Nikon famous in the Western world w/ Life photographers using them in the Korean War:

    Olympus OM 85mm f2, which looks like same as the Contax 85mm f2.8 except reversed back elements:

    Pentax SMC 85mm f2 (1977-1984) which is similar to OM 85mm and its variations in the link below:

    These look like more universal Sonnar design vs newer Sony designs. Here is the interview with Sony 55mm 1.8 designer and his explanation of why Sonnar:

    More on 35mm lens type history:
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
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