New redesigend Zeiss Distagon ZF 1.4/35 with floating element

I posted that on PhotoRumors already, but since many Nikon fans are expecting an updated 35mm f/1.4 lens from Nikon, here is a Zeiss rumor for you (you will  still get only manual focus with a Zeiss lenses, which you can also get with the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AI-S lens):

In his Leica M9 & Nikon D3x comparisson Erwin Puts wrote:

"Lenses used are the Summilux-M 1.4/35mm asph and a very new redesigend Zeiss Distagon 1.4/35 with Floating element."

The above sentence was removed from the article after it appeared on the FredMiranda forum.

Zeiss currently have a 35mm f/2.0 Distagon T* ZF lens (ZF models are for Nikon F mount).

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  • Phil

    What is a floating element?

    • “The lens usually is focused by adjusting the distance from the lens assembly to the image plane, or by moving elements of the lens assembly. To improve performance, some lenses have a cam system that adjusts the distance between the groups as the lens is focused. Manufacturers call this different things. Nikon calls it CRC (close range correction), while Hasselblad calls it FLE (floating lens element)”


      • regular

        In Zeiss lenses, the floating element is used to optimize sharpness on short distance focus. I understand why Nikon names it CLOSE RANGE correction.

  • Alex

    I have no idea of what this is about, but I agree ;o)

  • Zorro

    Affordable DX primes are needed – not exotic lenses like these.

    • Zorro

      Starting with a DX 28mm f2.8 for a light true standard lens

      • El Aura

        And you really think that a DX 28 mm f/2.8 (AF-S) would be noticeably smaller and lighter than the current 35 mm f/1.8 AF-S DX?

    • fetzie

      who the f wants DX primes. we need fx stuff.

      • Adam

        yup, sorry Zorro, but Im with fetzie. The FX prime segment has been neglected for far too long. We need fx stuff!

        • ed

          Ditto on FX

      • Neil

        There are >10x as many DX users as FX. Likely some want DX primes, too. FX primes could use some updating as well but that doesn’t mean DX primes aren’t needed.

        • Tomaocron

          If FX were in the DX price range I think we would see this statistic reversed (people with special needs of DX like desiring the crop feature would be the minority. My sense is that things are moving toward larger sensors and that will trickle down to consumer models. Designing more FX lenses now will serve more people in the long run.

          • Neil

            But if FX were in today’s DX price range now then DX would cost even less by the same proportion or more keeping the scale probably unchanged overall.

          • Adam

            yup, you got it right Tomaocron, eventually I think FX sensor will come down to D300 price and that for those who still want DX mode for the extra crop, can switch to the feature in camera and still get the extra reach 😀

        • ed

          There are a slew of fixed focal length primes, from 20-180, not too fast and all perfectly suited for the DX with the sweet spot accordingly situated for the smaller sensors..

      • Nj

        DX is for beginners and they use slow zooms, so yeah, more FX stuff.
        I shoot Canon though. 😉

  • MattiasK

    My Zeiss 35/2 is the best lens I have, to bad its MF though. If they were to imporove on that lens it would end up being stellar.

    The lens reviews on show how good it is

  • nikkor_2

    …and my Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF is the best lens in my possession. But, I use my Nikkors time-and-again, given the presence of AF.

    I’ll be interested to hear Lloyd Chambers comments on the new Zeiss 35mm f/1.4.

    • fetzie

      my 200 2 VR is the best lens in my possession. so what? : <

      • nikkor_2

        I was posting in reply to the prior post; I forgot to hit the ‘reply’ button, however.

  • I’m excited! Oh wait it costs a ton.. never mind!

  • dino

    Shame on me for not having posted it when I read it at the first time 🙁 I did the other evening when i was quite tired and I do confirm there was mention of the two lenses used (still kind of mention remains in the article when you see Nikon graphs taken at F/1.4 ! )… talk about eloquent silence !

    • you got the keep me informed man 🙂
      next time you see something suspicious, use the send tips link on the top menu

  • kristupa saragih

    How much it will cost? $ 2500?

  • Would it kill Zeiss to chip their ZF lenses? Their manufacturing partner, Cosina, does this with their SL II line of lenses for Nikon & Pentax and they sell for less than half the price of the Zeiss glass. I have all three lenses (20, 40, & 58mm) and am hoping for something in a fast 28mm and fast 85mm in the near future.

    • El Aura

      Maybe there are licensing issues. More likely, the started of with a let-s-keep-it-simple-in-the-beginning approach. By now, they have a range of eight lenses and some market presence and maybe it is just a question of waiting for a good moment to re-tool the production line.

    • ed

      I had the CV 20/3.5 and ultimately returned it because of the overexposure issue (also CA at the edges and a lack of sharpness until f/8 or smaller). Same chip issues arose with the 58. That’s a 66% failure rate for chipping F mount lenses. Maybe that’s why they don’t want to be bothered.

      • Worminator


        My 40/2 Ultron SLII was always spot on, I never figured out what the problem was with the 58/1.4. Seems like a simple calibration error in that the wide open lens let X light through, while the F2 setting did not let 1/2 X through. somewhat less in fact, though the rest of the F-stops were in ok. Remember that while the aperture diameter can be fine tuned, the wide open setting is fixed by the lens design.

        • ed

          The 40 appears immune to these issues from what I hear.

    • ed

      I had the CV 20/3.5 and ultimately returned it because of the overexposure issue (also CA at the edges and a lack of sharpness until f/8 or smaller). Same chip issues arose with the 58. That’s a 66% failure rate for chipping F mount lenses. Maybe that’s why they don’t want to be bothered.

    • I guess Cosina figures if you can affort its CZ range, you can afford a Dx00 that will meter with AiS…

  • Chris P

    If the new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 is even better than the 35 f2, then I will be cashing in some of my pension to buy it and the 85 f1.4 next year

  • Bwyan

    I hear much talk about how good zeiss is, and people always says it’s their best lenses. But how much better are they? Does anyone know any test sites or so where one could see the same picture taken with different lenses from different producers. That sort of comparison would be interesting!

    • ed

      For a comprehensive review of the entire Zeiss ZF series, i strongly recommend Lloyd Chamber’s exhaustive evaluation at; there’s a subscription but it’s worth it.

      • bwyan

        Thanks for the tip ed, that does indeed seem like a good an thorough read. However it only deals with different Zeiss lenses. I was more looking for a test comparing Zeiss with equivalents from say Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, whatever. Seeing how they perform on pictures shot under equal conditions. How much better pictures do you get for the extra cash a Zeiss usually cost?

        • ed

          He does that in the individual reviews. For example, he compares the 28 and 35 to their Nikkor equivalents (f/2 and 1.4, respectively).

          • Bwyan

            Dang! Not really cheap his point of view, u can get a lot of good books for that money. The search goes on;) thanx for the intel though:)

    • MattiasK is the best comparative lens review site imo

  • calbot

    Seriously, if Tam/Sig/Tok can chip why can’t Zeiss?

    As a former Canon guy, why are there no 1.2 lenses? I’d imagine the market might be small (high cost & heavy) but who wouldn’t love an AF-S 50 1.2?

    • ed

      The Canon mount is wider and affords greater possibilities for big-assed rear elements. Only three f/1.2 Nikkors were ever made; all were designed in the 1970’s when film was slow (50/1.2, 55/1.2, 58/1.2) and only the 50 remains in limited production by special order only. Nikon probably (and unfortunately) reckons that the cost & technical challenges of an f/1.2 in an F mount won’t pay itself off. I respectfully disagree with them because it’s a prestige item, like a low-production sports car that increases the repute of the whole line.

      • The mount size is a tired excuse, and total BS. More likely it didn’t make sense without an AF system that could do it justice (which I feel Canon still doesn’t have, but I haven’t tried the mkiii series yet).

        In fact, I’ma make a prediction now: something new will come to AF with the next gen Nikons. cam3500 is good…but it could still be better. Especially for FX.

        • ed

          You may be right. And it is a sorry excuse about no f/1.2 primes (or 1.4). With their neglect of fast primes, Nikon has all but ignored the Pro and advanced amateur market. They’d rather focus on all the point and shoots, leaving the better stuff to Canon. And i also agree that Canon’s AF is technologically inferior compared to Nikon. All the more the shame about the primes.

          • malvenko


            I see that somewhat from the business perspectve. You need $$ for R&D. Entry level DSLRs and amateurish zooms are Nikon’s big cash cow. Without that cash, there’d be no future for Nikon.

    • calbot

      Thanks for the info, I’d heard the mount reason before. Question for me is… if the AI-S 1.2 mounts and works on DX and FX, what is the real limitation?

      Although I could not afford a new Nikkor AF-S N 1.2 anything right now, I could at least live vicariously through NR and the internets. 🙂

      • ed

        Limitation of will on the part of Nikon. I guess their business plan is focused on improving the breed of zooms. Rumors abound about an new 85 and a 35/1.4 AF but these have been percolating for years. Time will tell.

  • ed

    The notion of a 35/1.4 makes little sense in a Nikon mount.
    The ZF 35/2 is a superb performer; far less prone to CA than others in the Zeiss family, is without the curvature of field seen in the 25 & 28 or focus shift of the 85. Must have been a typo; a re-worked Zeiss ZM makes more sense. Unless Zeiss is coming out with an even higher-end line of glass, say, containing apochromatic glass and/or aspherical elements and this represents the first, I wouldn’t give much credence to this rumor.

    • calbot

      I personally would love a 35 1.4. Perfect for candids. The new 1.8 is nice, but I am more tempted to use a normal 2.8 zoom. Two full stops and the ability to go full frame would be worth an extra $200 to me. Have considered the Sigma 30 …

  • Jay,

    No doubt it will be a fantastic piece of glass, with manual focus. And it will also cost as much as a new D700 body, maybe more. Too rich for my blood, I’ll pick one up off of Ebay for a C note in 20 years.

  • getanalogue

    has anyone an idea whether the the new Zeiss 35/1.4 will have chip or not?

    • There have been nine ZF lenses so far, and not one has a chip. So, smart money would say…

      • calbot

        Hey do these even have AF motors or assemblies? I don’t know much about Zeiss lenses.

        • ed

          Fully manual. Only the Canon versions (ZF) are chipped but remain manual focus.

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