updated 04:45 am EST, Tue February 8, 2011
Move forced by Zeiss, Schneider joining MFT?
Coming hot on the heels of news that Carl Zeiss and Schneider Kreuznach have signed up to make Micro Four Thirds lenses, Sony has announced that it has opened up the NEX's proprietary E-mount system to other lens makers. Moreover, in this instance Sony has opted not to charge a licence fee for the privilege, which given its history of pushing proprietary technologies at a fee is somewhat surprising. The NEX cameras compete in the same space as the Micro Four Thirds market of mirror-less compact-bodied cameras that aim to offer DSLR-like photo quality and interchangeable lens options.
With Zeiss and Schneider moving into manufacturing lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras, it is likely that Sony had little option but to give away the rights to E-mount specification so that its NEX range remains competitive with offerings from Olympus and Panasonic. Where the Sony approach differs is that it will likely remain the sole manufacturer of cameras compatible with E-mount-type lenses.
Sony currently offers three E-mount compatible cameras in the NEX-5 and NEX-3, as well as the NEX-VG10 camcorder.