Digital Zeiss Ikon under development?

drf Aug 13, 2009

Freshly minted rumor site ZeissRumors has some information pertaining to the long awaited (desired)  digital version of the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder system. When Leica launched it’s M8 digital rangefinder in 2006, many users (myself included) wondered if Zeiss would be far behind in producing a digital version of its M-mount based rangefinder. The folks at Oberkochen stated that they would not produce a digital rangefinder until certain technical obstacles were overcome. ZEISS Ikon

According to this blog post, Zeiss has partnered with Sony and is planning on using the new Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor that Sony announced back in June of 2008. This means that the Digital Ikon (Daikon? Ikon-D?) will have a full-frame, 18 Mpx CMOS sensor with 2x the ISO sensitivity of current CMOS designs. (The full frame & 18 Mpx value are both wild-assed speculation on my part based on some rumored specs of Sony Alphas due out this fall. I cannot see Sony custom-designing/building an Exmor R CMOS sensor just for Zeiss, but hey, they said that digital M cameras were impossible too…)

RIcmos With the full-frame Leica M9 due to be announced in less than a month, I, along with a whole bunch of other rangefinder users, are hoping that Zeiss and Sony manage to pull this off for way less than the $7700USD price tag that Leica is expected to hang on the M9.

For that matter, if the α950 has the kind of ISO performance of my Nikon D700 and the same resolution of α900, I may be jumping ship to Sony/Zeiss if the price is right.