Thoughts on Zeiss Ikon digital model
What I want to do is to discuss the prospects for a digital version of this camera. I know that I'm jumping the gun, as the film camera hasn't been delivered to any users yet.
I was talking with a friend of mine. He is big into digital. He went from Nikon film to Nikon DSLRs to a Canon 1DS to 1DSII to 20D and more recently sold all of the bodies and moved to the 5D.
I asked him about this, and he told me that he's purely an amateur. While he loved the image quality from the 1DS, he hated carrying the camera and a couple of lenses. He said the weight was unreasonable and found the size of the camera to be too much for simple things -- going on vacation, just having a walkaround camera. A digital Zeiss Ikon would almost be perfect for him, except for his occasional need for long telephotos (200mm+).
We also discussed full frame vs. sensor crop, and he's firmly in the camp that doesn't like a sensor crop. I'm on agreement here, especially when applied to rangefinder photography.
That got me to thinking about the oft-discussed digital version of the Zeiss Ikon. The brochure talks about any camera system being "only as strong as its weakest link." Clearly, at this time, Carl Zeiss AG doesn't feel that digital has reached that point. And as we discussed, Zeiss would never want to compete in the 18-month digital cycle. I would expect their approach would be to produce a product that would have some shelf life.
However, the brochure also says:
"When digital technology takes another leap or two, you can count on us to come up with high performance digital systems that will satisfy even the truly passionate. And your Carl Zeiss T* ZM-mount lenses will be ready."
OK, that last sentence was marketing hype, but the first part (to me) indicates that they have their ear to the ground and their eye on the market.
With Canon now in its third generation of full-frame digital, I wonder how close we are to that point that satisfies Zeiss.
My own musings:
1) I wonder if Zeiss would turn to Sony as a supplier for a full-frame sensor or if it would consider using Canon as a supplier -- clearly the only player at this time in full-frame 35mm digital sensors.
2) Would Zeiss wait for Sony to develop its own full-frame sensor? How many generations would it take to iron out all of the technical issues?
3) Or would Zeiss go a different route? Perhaps look to long-time partner Hasselblad and modify the Imacon sensors to fit a digital Zeiss Ikon?
In any case, I think the next couple of years will be very interesting for this system.