There’s been a lot of scuttlebut on forums that Zeiss will introduce the Manual Focus line of lenses in Sony/Minolta A-Mount in a few weeks. This is not to be confused with the just announced Cine primes which will be compatible with Alphas. These are the same manual focus ZE/ZF lenses Zeiss have been rolling out for Canon/Nikon users in the past year. I’m of the opinion that these lenses won’t eat too much into Sony’s ZA primes for a few reasons.
1. People like autofocus. The general user will usually not pony up money for a manual focus lens unless it is really, really necessary for a specific use.
2. People like auto-aperture. We don’t know if the ZM primes will have auto apertures. They should, but if they don’t, this’ll be another mark against them.
3. They may not be better than the existing ZA primes at all.
With that said, the perfect way to keep people from buying these primes is to introduce more ZA primes. With the introduction of the 24 f/2 ZA SSM, I think Sony’s filled the worst of the gaps. At this point, Sony’s new lens introductions for primes will probably replace old lenses instead of filling gaps. Here’s ones I think they should do, in a particular order. This is purely speculation on my part and in no way indicate any lenses about to be released or in development. Don’t cite this.
18-21 f/2.something ZA SSM – An ultrawide prime with better performance than the 16-35 ZA on the wider end. I know guys who would use this, but it’d have to be a real upgrade over the Sony/Minolta 20 f/2.8. Triple points if it’s a perspective correction lens, which the A-Mount sorely needs.
100mm f/2 ZA Makro-Planar SSM – This would replace the (aging) Minolta 100mm Macro design which lives on as the Sony 100mm macro. Give it some more speed and an SSM motor and you could realistically charge $800-$1,000 for it.
35mm f/1.4 ZA Distagon SSM – A replacement for the 35 G. The 35 G is more of a specialist optic, which gives a “dreamy” picture wide open. For those after a more traditional look, this’d be right up their alley.
50mm f/1.4/2 ZA Planar SSM – Something to improve and replace the existing Sony 50mm f/1.4. Making it an f/1.2 will make it really expensive, but also allow the existing (very good) 50mm to remain in the lineup as a more affordable option.
180mm f/3.5 Tele-Macro SSM – This could be either a G or a Zeiss lens. But it is a hole that needs filling given the rareness of the old Minolta 200 f/4 Telemacro.