Photographers who shoot with the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 mirrorless cameras as well as videographers using the NEX-VG10 camcorder have something to be excited about. Sony has announced that they will provide full specifications of the brand new E-Mount lens mount to third party lens makers. As a result, aftermarket lens makes will be able to produce E-mount lenses without paying a licensing fee.
Sony is even encouraging lens adapter makers to produce adapters to fit various non-Sony lens to the NEX cameras.
Obviously, this will be welcome news to NEX shooters. When the brand new NEX models shipped last year, the only available lenses were the 16mm prime and the 18-55mmm zoom. The 18-200 zoom was announced but didn’t ship until a couple of months afterward.
Sony has promised more E-mount lenses, and showed several prototypes at Photokina. Still the E-mount lens line is fairly sparse, although Sony does offer an adapter to allow Sony Alpha A-mount lenses to be used on the cameras.
Offering the specifications to third party lens makers should ensure that the E-mount will thrive n the coming years. We should see many new lenses and adapters appear in the E-mount. In addition there is a chance there will be more inexpensive lenses offered as well.
The Sony press release carries endorsements by Carl Zeiss, Cosina, Sigma and Tamron. Of course endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean these companies will produce E-mount optics, but it is an indication they are considering it.
The specification will not be released until April, so it is doubtful any of these manufactures have even seen the specification. It will probably take months before aftermarket E-mount glass starts to trickle in to dealers. But Christmas is the big selling season for digital cameras, so I think some of these manufactures will do their best to provide new optics in time for the holidays.,
I find it interesting to see Carl Zeiss endorsement on the press release. Zeiss, of course, licenses some of their optical designs to Sony for the A-mount dSLR cameras. Some of Sony’s top-of-the-line A-mount lenses carry Zeiss optics but are sold under the Sony Alpha brand. Will Zeiss create their own line of E-mount lenses independent of Sony?
There are already several aftermarket lens adapters designed to attach various brands of lenses to the E-Mount cameras. Once the specification is released, adapter makers will have full reign to attach all manner of older film lenses to the NEX cameras. With only an 18mm flange to sensor offset, almost any lens will be able to focus at infinity when adapted to the NEX.
Provide the E-mount specifications without licensing fees. Smart move Sony!