Zeiss slowly teases SLR photographers|
(Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 11:08 EST)
The Zeiss Germany website has been teasing site visitors about an upcoming product that will interest "SLR Photographers."
Until the morning of December 21, a simple graphic graced the front page: a photo of a pad of paper and a cup of coffee, as seen from above. Scrawled on the pad: "Millions of SLR Photographers Will Soon Discover a New Dimension in Photography." As of last night, after midnight in Germany, the site graphic changed to include a large file folder stamped "TOP SECRET" with a hand-scrawled tab including the letters "ZF." The coffee has been replaced with some cookies and a little chocolate wrapped in Santa foil.
The graphic is overlaid with "Carl Zeiss Presents ZF!" But of course they have presented nothing but two letters and a new graphic, along with a promise of "More on Wednesday, December 28."
Speculation is rampant that this represents a new player in the third party SLR lens market, with the first products being Nikon F-mount lenses. Given their unusual and frustrating announcement style, however, they could as easily be using "ZF" for its phonetic similarity to Canon's "EF" line of lenses.
With Canon's greater market share, launching an EF mount would make more sense. Add that more Nikon fans are in love with their Nikkor glass, and I think Zeiss would find a more interested market with an EF mount. Smarter still would be to announce compatibility across a range of camera brands.
Zeiss lost the only major market for its SLR lenses when Kyocera announced in April of this year that they were discontinuing their production of Contax cameras, thus killing the Contax name. Contax was launched in the 1930's by Zeiss Ikon to compete with Leica. Not likely, but certainly in the realm of possibility is that ZF is a next generation Contax camera system, though they'd be arrogant to suggest that such a development would affect "Millions of SLR Photographers." A new lens system makes more sense.
Whatever ZF turns out to be, Zeiss may have calculated this teaser just right, forcing interested hobbyists to hold off on lens purchases until after the holiday shopping season. Barring an all-too-common slip by some source on the Internet, we are all left to speculate through Christmas.
Click the Zeiss logo above or this line to visit the site mentioned. (Not all Zeiss sites have the teaser.)