A press release from Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany, this morning confirms that Zeiss will discontinue its ZK line of manual-focus lenses for Pentax K mount. The time frame is "Fall 2010," a.k.a., imminently.
Zeiss says, "Based on the market situation, the division will focus on SLR lenses from the ZE [Canon] and ZF.2 [Nikon] series in the future." The move makes a certain amount of sense, considering the Zeiss Z[x] lenses cover 24x36 and Pentax doesn't have a full-frame body—and considering that Pentax has an excellent lineup of AF primes that match its bodies.
Amazon still lists the ZK lenses as available, sometimes with a shipping delay—which is not necessarily a guarantee that your order will be filled. B&H has them, but goes on extended hiatus for the Jewish religious holiday at 1 p.m. today. Orders placed during the break will be processed when it reopens.
Anyway, if you want one, better buy soon or trust to the used market.
Zeiss also says that there has been "fantastic response" for its CP.2 or "compact prime" line of cine lenses (complete with T-stops instead of F-stops), recently made available in Canon EF and Nikon F mount and soon to be available in Micro 4/3 and Sony A mount as well. Another sign of the convergence.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Edd Fuller: "I suppose as a longtime Pentax user I should be saddened by this news, but the fact is I would probably never buy a Zeiss lens anyway. I have given up on the notion that I can purchase 'magic' to improve my photography and the Pentax lenses that I own more than match my abilities."
Featured Comment by Semilog: "It's not as though any of the Zeiss lenses are better than the 31 Limited!"
Featured [partial] Comment by Pak-Ming Wan: I think the real shame about this news is for those of us who prefer the manual versions of Pentax lenses. I just bought an ME Super second-hand and mounted a 50/1.4 M (from the late '70s) then a 50/1.4 FA (current AF). No contest—the old 50/1.4 is just a joy to use compared to the modern version (although the new version does have a larger aperture ring—but the click stops aren't as defined). I suppose that if I preferred using manual controls on Pentax lenses, I would definitely want these Zeiss lenses to hang around. But I guess that market is incredibly small...(and only getting smaller as Pentax migrates everyone off to digital)."