Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Comparison Sony Cybershot Cameras...What is a Carl Ziess Lens? Do you need a Zeiss?

How to buy a Sony Camera. To Ziess or not to Ziess?

So, every blogger needs a camera. Personally, I already have a Canon Digital Rebel that I really like, but it's too big for carrying around. What I want is a nice digital camera that I can just slip into my pocket and take half decent pictures with.

So, I went to Future Shop and Best Buy today. I saw some slim little Camera's from Sony. There were some from Canon and Kodac that I liked, but I bought a Sony CyberShot for a friend of mine a few years back and it always really impressed me with the quality. So, as much as I hate Sony, and as much as those overpriced, proprietary little Sony Memory Sticks really piss me off, I still think I'm going to stick with the Sony Cybershot again.

Sony Cybershot DSCW120/B vs. the Sony Cybershot DSCS730

I was actually looking at two different cameras, the Sony Cybershot DSCW120/B 7.2MP (more expensive) and the Sony Cybershot DSCS730 7.2MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom (less expensive). Future Shit had the cheaper one for only $119, so I went to buy it but they were out of stock. Best Buy had it for $159, so that turned me off.

Who is Carl Zeiss? What is a Carl Ziess Lens?

The big thing about the more expensive DSCW120 is the fact that it has a 4x zoom, as opposed to the 3x soom (pretty much irrelevant, as far as I'm concered. Really, 3 or 4 times soom really isn't much of a difference.) The BIG difference between the two Sony Cybershot Digital Cameras was the fact tha the DSCW120/B had a Carl Zeiss lens. Now, I'm no expert, but I have been told that Carl Zeiss is the shizzle, and that was the reason for the 50 or 60 dollar delta between the two cameras. However, himself died in 1888, so it does make me wonder how a guy that died over 100 years ago could have anything good to do with lenses being made in 2008.

Carl Zeiss (September 11, 1816December 3, 1888) was an optician commonly known for the company he founded, Zeiss. Zeiss himself also made a few contributions to lens manufacturing that have aided the modern production of lenses. Raised in Weimar, Germany, he became a notable lens maker in the 1840s when he created high quality lenses that were "wide open", or in other words, had a very large aperture range that allowed for very clear images. He did this in the city of Jena at a self opened workshop, where he started his lens making career. At first his lenses were only used in the production of microscopes but when cameras were invented, his company (Zeiss) began manufacturing high quality lenses for cameras. He died in Jena.


One of the things I wanted to see was some kind of comparison between a Zeiss and an non-Zeiss lens. You know, like a set of pictures along the lines of the "Bonds before taking steroids picture and Bonds after taking Steroids pictures." Anyways, I couldn't find anything. All I could find was a bunch of people saying that zeiss was best because it was known to be the best. Sounds like a somewhat round-about argument if you ask me.


Now over 100 years old, Zeiss continues to be associated with expensive and high-quality optical lenses. Zeiss lenses are generally thought to be elegant and well-constructed, yielding high-quality images. Even old lens designs such as the Tessar demonstrate engineering elegance and in the modern age of plastic parts, many Zeiss lenses are still made with predominantly metal components.

Zeiss licenses its technology to be manufactured by third-party companies and indeed, many have done so. Notable names include Hasselblad, a famous name in medium format professional cameras. Rollei, Yashica, Sony, Logitech and Alpa amongst others, have used or manufactured lenses under Zeiss license. The Contax line of 35mm cameras, first produced by Yashica and subsequently Kyocera until 2005 are perhaps the most well-known to fit Zeiss lenses. Notably absent from this list are the Japanese companies Canon and Nikon, who by and large produce their own lenses. However on January 18, 2006 Zeiss announced that it planned to independently market a series of fixed focal length lenses designed primarily for Nikon film cameras.

On April 27, 2005 the company announced a collaboration with Nokia in the camera phone market. The first product to emerge out of this collaboration is the Nokia N90. Outside the world of cameras and imaging, Zeiss also produces spectacle lenses, particularly lenses made from high refractive index glass, allowing people whose prescriptions require high-dioptre spectacles to use thinner lenses. These are sold in many countries, though not in the United States.


Anyways, I'm not taking production print quality photographs here, I'm just taking quick shots for my blog. I'll use my Cannon Digital Rebel XT to do the really fine stuff. So, I think I'll go with the cheaper, non-Zeiss lenz, and see how that works for me. I'm sure it will be fine. If I can't find anyone that can show me the real difference, especially on a less than 10megapixel camera, then there really probably isn't that big of a difference.

File under Sony Camera CyberShot Karl Ziess Lens Comparison

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