Zeiss has an informative interview with Dr. Michale Pollmann about the Sony Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8, 25mm f/2, and 18mm f/2.8. I have selected a few excerpt below, but the entire interview is worth a read. Dr. Pollmann discusses everything from the development of their AF system and OLED display to the difficulties involved in designing the 18mm f/2.8 Batis.
Michael: Currently the mirrorless system segment is the most innovative one. When we thought about the right camera system to target, several aspects were taken into account:
– We wanted to choose a camera system with a large image sensor format. Even though there are very good camera systems with smaller sensor formats in the market, the potential for high image quality is the highest with larger formats.
– We wanted to develop an AF lens family. Therefore we looked for a system, where the camera manufacturer would be willing to share the needed information.
– Sony showed an immense pace in introducing new models. This showed us the priority and seriousness, which Sony puts in this system. Furthermore, new models clearly showed improved or new features, reassuring that this system is at least one of the most innovative ones.
– Last but not least: we have already a very strong cooperation with Sony in developing lenses. And by the way, this partnership reaches its 20thanniversary this year.
Michael: For the water resistance tests we have our own environmental test lab on site, for the dust resistance we use an external test lab. Both tests are done in quite harsh tests. The lenses are directly exposed to water (simulating rain) and dust. After the test, it is checked, whether any water or dust can be seen within the optics, whether the functionality is o.k. and whether any water reached electronic parts, which might lead to malfunction after later corrosion processes. For me personally the dust test was especially interesting. The “dust” used in the test is so extremely fine – I’d not expected, that a lens would pass this test. A grain of sand is huge in comparison to this dust. It’s more like fine powder. The lens sits in the test chamber and the powder swirls around the lens for hours. After the test is shut off, the powder settles and at the end the lens is totally covered in powder. I cannot think of any real life situation, which comes close to this test. Maybe a sand storm, but that’s probably not the typical situation, when you expose a lens to the environment… Nevertheless Batis lenses passed all the tests.
Michael: Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball showing the future. Therefore I can just give my personal and highly subjective opinion without any guarantee for correctness: I expect the majority of the cameras to be mirrorless. Even though I think, that the differentiation between mirror and mirrorless should or will disappear. It’s more a technical description of the camera concept, less an application or customer benefit. Do I get automatically better images, if I’m using a mirrorless camera? Or do I care, whether it’s an optical or electronical viewfinder (in case they show the same performance)? Mirrorless has gained a lot of attention, especially because of the prospect of smaller system size. It is true for mirrorless cameras, yes, but lenses (unfortunately) have to follow the same physical rules. The size of the average system is for me less a question of mirror/mirrorless but customers focus. In first approximation image quality comes along with a larger size. If image quality is clearly the key, the mirrorless system size gets closer to today’s DSLR systems. If size has priority, the average system size will be smaller.
You can read the rest of the interview at Zeiss.