When the Monday Post was created, the intent was to adress industry news. Things (meaning: writers) later digressed, even sometimes going completely off-topic, as some readers remarked. So it is time to go back to the MP roots: let’s talk news and gear!
News this week have been so stealthy as to fly below many a radar screen. They have to do with the release of 2 new lenses from China. The 7Artisan 60mm f:2.8 macro, and the Speedmaster 50mm f:0.95. In itself, they don’t mean that much, because Chineses lens manufacturers are now established on the photography landscape, including with “extreme” designs (ultra-fast, ultra-wide, ultra close).
Now, what I find interesting is that the Speedmaster (to be formally introduced at CP+ later this month) is available in FE mount, Z mount and RF mount, meaning for Sony, Nikon or Canon full-frame mirrorless. Similarly, the 7Artisan lens is available in Sony, Canon and Fuji APS/C mounts as well as Micro 4/3.
Similarly, Samyang from Korea have announced that they will release this spring Z and RF versions of existing lenses, presumably FE mount.
This has multiple implications. The first one is that Speedmaster didn’t bother with the L-mount (for Panasonic, Leica SL and Sigma), or weren’t able/permitted to do it. That could leave this “alliance” out in the cold when it comes to offering diverse lens choice. Though possibly this is of their own choosing, considering Leica SL lens prices and moted Panasonic S prices – also on the high side of the competition.
Then it shows that the FE, RF and Z mounts are close enough that they are compatible from the manufacturer’s point of view, which promises more third-party “native” lenses, as they can adress 3 markets rather than one. This is good news for us! Errrrr, sorry, not for Pascal, who has gone AWOL…:-)
It also shows that Nikon and Canon’s argument that the Sony FE mount was too narrow to accomodate fast lenses and thus inferior to the newer RF and Z mounts, is bunk. Who needs faster than 50mm f:095?
But most interestingly, it means this IMHO. That the Sony advantage of being a platform that could accomodate a vast variety of adapted lenses (pretty much anything except some rangefinder wides) will soon be countered by lenses that can adapt to any mirrorless platform in native form…. which could bootstrap Canon and Nikon sales early on for would-be buyers who are not keen to use adapters (more weight, more money, and a compatibility which is never quite 100%).
Informed DearSusan readers (apologies for the pleonasm) will remind me that multi-platform lenses are nothing new. Zeiss ZF/ZE/ZK existed in Nikon/Canon/Pentax mounts. Sigma offer interchangeable mounts on some of their lenses, among other possibilities. It remains to be seen whether Zeiss convert their highly desirable Loxia and Batis lines to accomodate Z and/or RF mounts, or if they remain exclusive to their historic partner, Sony.
But what this means is that the steady income stream that add-on lens sales generated for camera manufacturers is less secure than ever before, and this at a time when business is very tough. The recent introduction of the Canon EOS R-P at only $1299 (wow, it may not be the latest and greatest piece of kit, but what a price!) only means one thing. All-out war. On features, on price, on anything, until someone blinks (meaning exits the market, one way or another). And fewer lens sales, because they are captured by third-party manufacturers
For these manufacturers, multi-platform lenses are just as much bad news as they are good for us. In the last post of 2018, I forecast that 2019 would be an interesting year, with many mirrorless cameras, super-fast lenses and a war of attrition between camera manufacturers. So far, so good…
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