Previous news story    Next news story

Carl Zeiss adds 15mm T/2.9 and 135 T/2.1 Compact Prime cine lenses at NAB

By dpreview staff on Apr 5, 2012 at 19:08 GMT

Carl Zeiss has announced two videography-orientated lenses to add to its CP.2 Compact Prime range, a 15mm and a 135mm. The lenses, to be unveiled at the NAB broadcast industry trade show in Las Vegas, are the CP.2 15mm T/2.9 and CP.2 135mm T/2.1. Both lenses are color-matched to allow consistency in footage shot with different lenses, and feature interchangeable mounts, allowing use with PL, EF, F, MFT and E mounts. The two lenses will be available in the fourth quarter of 2012 at an MSRP of €4,200 / US$5,700 (excluding VAT).

Press Release:

Two New Compact Prime CP.2 Lenses at NAB 2012

Carl Zeiss CP.2 135/T2.1

Carl Zeiss is expanding its Compact Prime CP.2 product range with 15mm and 135mm lenses

OBERKOCHEN/Germany, 05.04.2012.
During the NAB Trade Show in Las Vegas from April 16-19, 2012, Carl Zeiss will present two new cine prime lenses. Carl Zeiss is expanding its product range of the Compact Prime CP.2 series with two compact and uncommonly lightweight lenses. With new focal lengths of 15mm and 135mm, filmmakers can enhance their portfolios with these remarkable lenses.

The new focal lengths allow professionals to realize creative ideas by expanding the angle-of-view-coverage of the Compact Prime CP.2 series from super wide through telephoto. Thanks to interchangeable mount system, the lenses can be attached to all standard HDSLR models, as well as on professional PL-mount cine and HD video cameras, providing the highest possible versatility. One of the key features of the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses is the full-frame coverage on 36x24 sensors. In this way, the complete angle of view is fully employed and the lenses will remain compatible with future cameras employing this sensor size.

"The two new focal lengths round out our existing range of nine lenses between 18mm and 100mm at both ends of the spectrum”, says Michael Schiehlen, Sales Director of the Carl Zeiss Camera Lens Division. “We have expanded our product range with the two new focal lengths in accordance with our customer feedback and in the course of working with photographers and filmmakers. We can therefore offer professionals greater possibilities for their creative process and through a variety of different focal lengths and related accessories, provide everything they need."

Compact Prime CP.2 lenses are ideally used on film sets for shooting in small, confined spaces. Especially with the Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 the images appear more natural and can be realized without distortion of the image and editing tricks. Thanks to the cine-style housing, all current, standardized follow focus systems can be attached to the Compact Prime CP.2 lenses. The long standard focus rotation of 300° and smooth focus resistance provide excellent control for accurate follow focusing, especially with the shallow depth-of-field found with the large sensor cameras. The 14-blade aperture of all Compact Prime CP.2 lenses creates a round iris opening, resulting in a smooth and natural transition to the out of focus areas.

The Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 super wide angle lens provides a broad field of coverage and is perfect for use in confined spaces or to provide dramatic panoramas to help set the scene. Distortion is extremely well controlled and horizontal and vertical lines are accurately captured in architectural settings. The Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 incorporates two aspheric lenses and special types of glass material with abnormal partial dispersion to provide an extraordinary correction of chromatic aberration. Even on cameras with full-frame sensors, the image remains razor sharp out to the edges and details are recorded in the highest resolution. On cameras with smaller sensors the new Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 lens also provides a super wide angle of view. The Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 weighs only 900 grams (1.98lbs).

Carl Zeiss CP.2 15/T2.9

The Compact Prime CP.2 135/T2.1 lens is the longest lens ever added to the Compact Prime CP.2 product line. With its focal length of 135mm and the shallow depth-of-field that comes from using a telephoto, the cameraman can maintain a relatively long distance from the subject while also isolating the subject from the background area. This is especially important for scenes in which the main characters are the main focus and the camera needs to capture expansive movement throughout the scene. Due to the working distance and the long focal length, the captured image looks very natural. At 1.6kg (3.52lbs), the 135mm lens is very lightweight for this product class, and yet, as with all Compact Prime CP.2 lenses, it is sturdy and suited for use in rugged filming environments.

“For several years now the trend is towards the use of HDSLR and HD video cameras with accompanying accessories on the set, especially for independent filmmakers, as well as for blockbuster productions. The quality of the filming is approaching a level that just a few years ago was only attainable with professional movie cameras in a much higher price class,” explains Schiehlen. Carl Zeiss offers lenses for every budget – from SLR lenses up to professional cine lenses.

Another key advantage of the entire Compact Prime CP.2 series is the availability of inter- changeable mounts for PL, EF, F, MFT and E. The mounts can be dismantled easily interchanged by the owner using the instructions provided on the Carl Zeiss website (http://www.zeiss.com/cine/cp2). This broad range of all major mounts offers filmmakers greater flexibility in the choice of choice of cameras depending on their budget of the needs of the project. Filmmakers also benefit from interchangeable mounts when upgrading to other equipment classes, helping to protect their investment from the inevitable changes in digital technology. For example, as independent film- makers expand their repertoire after their initial success, they can continue to use Compact Prime CP.2 camera lenses thanks to the interchange- able mounts. Filmmakers can continue to use the professional lenses they are already familiar with, regardless of the mount type required by the camera and avoid the costs for expensive new lenses.

The Compact Prime CP.2 lenses are color-matched throughout the series and can be mixed and matched without correcting for changes in post. The lenses are available for purchase individually or as part of a custom lens set at additional savings. An extensive range of accessories consists of lens cases, test chart, interchangeable mount sets, as well as adjustment shims are available. The lenses are compatible with camera rigs and follow-focus systems from most major suppliers.

The Compact Prime CP.2 15/T2.9 and Compact Prime CP.2 135/T2.1 will start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2012. The recommended retail price of each lens is €4,200 or US$5,700 (excluding VAT)*.

* Status: 5 April, 2012

Comments

Total comments: 105
Kwizzy
By Kwizzy (Dec 1, 2012)

The 15mm is fantastic optical. It has a nice wide-angle format. I shoot a lot of stock footage clips, and works well. http://www.onfootage.com

0 upvotes
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Apr 10, 2012)

Carl Zeiss is a legendary optics manufacture.

It was Zeiss who pioneered wide opened glasses not Leica.

It was Zeiss who created fastest lens manufactured ever. Despite the fact that Zeiss lens was not a "proper cine" one Stanley Kubrick was happy to deal with Zeiss lens for his lovely footage of Barry Lyndon.

Zeiss superachromat lenses are most advanced lenses manufactured ever.

The drawback is the cost of real Zeiss quality manufacturing makes Zeiss products applicable to industrial solutions primarily since mass-market consumers cannot afford uncompromised by cost-savings Zeiss quality.

Schneider is another company that was making superb lenses. They are in production still for large format cameras.

1 upvote
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 10, 2012)

Great post. Schneider still make awesome super precise large format glass filters in sizes like 6.6" square that cost like $700 each. Its important that these companies make this kind of stuff for us, and that there are people in the world that understand why.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 10, 2012)

Actually, it was Jena Zeiss that was the legendary, not Carl Zeiss. Quite a lot of the "legend" part is in their own heads, I would think. Just look at the so-called German cars. World's most troublesome automobiles, bar none, yet they are still peddling them at prices as if they were really something.

Re. the cost saving, some of the "German" C. Zeiss lenses are actually built in Japan, so they would really more like Japanese lenses and not German lenses, wouldn't they?

Highest quality optics for cinema use (on film & D-film cameras) are usually considered to be those manufactured by Panavision, also for primes those made by Cooke, and for zooms, those made by Angenieux.

0 upvotes
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Apr 10, 2012)

I agreed that Zeiss is not a well known cine lens manufacture except marriage ARRI with Zeiss maybe. But from optical design point of view their is no such thing as a "cine" glass except outer bells & whistles.

Optically Zeiss was making superb optics. Superachromats are the best. I am a Hassy guy so I know what I am talking about. I even can recall the glory look of MF department at B&H decade ago and Zeiss price tags over-there as well. And don't forget five grand a decade ago and five grand today have an absolutely different value.

To me these new "cine" lenses from Zeiss looks like the real Zeiss ones based on lenses price tags.

Regarding German quality there are many opinions no doubt. Better ask Red Dot guys they might explain it better :)

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 11, 2012)

@lxstorm, indeed. Nice summary.

@NDT0001 Technically, it's Zeiss who "still make awesome super precise large format glass filters". Schott AG, part of Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung, makes the clear glass, colors the batch, slices, polishes, and coats it, and delivers the filter blanks to Schneider who drops them into B+W mounts, and to Heliopan. Although Schneider does own Kaesman, so the awesome polarizers are truly Schneider.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 11, 2012)

From an optical design point of view, there really is such thing as "cine glass".

For example, it is very necessary that a lens's coverage does not change when focusing. (no "breathing"). Unit focusing prime lenses, like the Cosina Zeiss 50m f1.4 and 85mm f1.4, have that behavior naturally, so they were all ready to become the cine T1.5 lenses. But a couple of other "Zeiss" lenses, the Sony 85mm f1.4 and Contax N 85mm f1.4, use internal focusing designs that have a 10-15% coverage change as you focus in.

The Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II is a notoriously "heavy breather", with a coverage shift of about 30% across the focus range. The Zeiss (a real "Zeiss" Zeiss) master zooms have virtually no breathing.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 11, 2012)

It's also necessary that you have a color match across your entire line (better yet, sufficient color neutrality so you'll match other people's lines, too).

You do this at design time, by choosing optical glasses of known consistent neutrality or consistent color.

You do it at build time by measuring the color of batches of elements and then sorting or grading them. And by adjusting color coatings.

0 upvotes
georgla
By georgla (Apr 12, 2012)

Zeiss was relocated to Oberkochen (West Germany) in 1945 - And had to be brought back to Zeiss standards after the reunion and remains a relatively small part within Zeiss.

Zeiss dominates the cine market (although many DPs are fans of the unique look from Cooke, Elcan or Angenieux designs), sold over 500 sets of Ultra Primes, sets the current standard with the Master Primes (3 of the 5 cinematography nominees were shot with them and they got the Scientific Academy Award for them - unrivaled quality at f1.2!).
By the way, the even more demanding EULV optics for coming semiconductor production is only made by Zeiss in Oberkochen - former rivals Nikon and Canon cannot keep up anymore.

Nevertheless, the CP-lenses are "just" conventional designs. Cooke has a nice line of Panchro lenses with constant T-stop

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 13, 2012)

Not really. There was no 'West Germany" in 1945, only a Western sector. First came the DDR a couple of years later, and only then the BRD.

The "unification" meant that the West German Zeiss gobbled up the rather superior quality East German Zeiss, that was all there was to it, really. Just look what Germany's Daimler did to America's once high-flying Chrysler, phew....

When it comes to zoom optics, however, both Carl Zeiss and Cooke fade away fast. They are basically single focal lens makers. For zooms, I would go with Angie, Fujinon, even Canon's new XL-mount series. Or of course Panavision if you rent the gear.

0 upvotes
georgla
By georgla (Apr 16, 2012)

I forgot the word "Jena" in the first section of my post, Zeiss Jena had to be brought back to western Standards.
Politically, Jena was under the control of the Soviets, they claimed the rights for all resources, also Zeiss. Therefore, the US-American relocated the basis from Zeiss to it's new location in Oberkochen which officially became part of "BRD" shortly after but was already under control of western powers back then. "Carl Zeiss Jena" lenses from 1945-89 are hardly better than the designs from the 1930s. Why am I telling that? Some people try to sell overpriced Carl Zeiss Jena 1945-1989 and it's important to understand that the heart of Zeiss was no longer in Jena.

Zeiss has the "Master Zoom", the most advanced and best performing photographic zoom lens ever made, although Zeiss doesn't seem to be particulary interested in this business, their skills are second to none. I've heard their new anamorphic (shown to the press right now at NAB) lens setup includes zooms as well.

0 upvotes
GarageBoy
By GarageBoy (Apr 9, 2012)

I can't tell if half the comments here are sarcastic or ignorant

Cine glass is probably the premier glass out there. The microcontrast, the tonality, the overall rendition. Absolutely stunning.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 9, 2012)

The C. Zeiss CP.2 is not really "cine glass," Dear Garage. It is a photo glass masquerading as cine glass, more likely. If you really want and definitely need "cine glass," you might want to try these:

http://www.zgc.com/s/p/cooke_zgc5i.html

You see... price of admission starts at $21,200 and goes up from there. For one single single focal lens, that is. Just imagine what you can get in comparison with a CP.2 priced in the $3,000 to $5,700 range.
Zooms? Here is a nice 15-40mm zoom lens for $48,100.

http://www.zgc.com/s/p/cooke_cxxzoom.html

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 11, 2012)

"I can't tell if half the comments here are sarcastic or ignorant"

Those qualities are not mutually exclusive. I would go so far as to say ignorant people are generally more likely to attempt sarcasm than people with knowledge of the subject are.

1 upvote
GarageBoy
By GarageBoy (Apr 12, 2012)

Ah yes, Cooke

Don't forget Kinoptik either (do they still make lenses? they have a functional website, but not sure if its the same lenses theyve been making since forever)

I wanna see a Master Prime slapped on a NEX just for kicks and giggles

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (Apr 7, 2012)

80% of the posts here show that DPreview is not the right place to publish news about true professional gear like cine lenses.

50% of the posts about D800/5D3/X-Pro1 show the same thing.

over and out...

6 upvotes
Bernd M
By Bernd M (Apr 7, 2012)

I don't understand why I'll have to pay US$ 5.700 for a Zeiss 135mm F2.1 when I could buy a Zeiss Sonnar T 135mm F1.8 for US$ 1.800. What makes the Cine Lens so much more expensiv? Can anybody tell me?

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (Apr 7, 2012)

If you say "I do not understand why I'll have to pay US$ 5.700", it is quite likely that you are not among the potential customers for these lenses.

Reasons for high cost: Internal construction is much more precise. There can be absolutely no loose play in the focus and aperture settings. When focus is turned back and forth the image must not move at all and response must be instantaneous. This means all brass construction. Also the color transmission must match all other lenses in the same series exactly. As the manufacturing numbers of these lenses is really small (maybe a few hundred only), the unit costs are high. For the potential customers this does not matter much, as a set of these lenses will last for decades, and other cinema production costs are much higher anyway.

These "compact primes" are actually cheap compared to the real cinema lens series form Zeiss. They cost something like $15,000-45,000 apiece.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 7, 2012)

Bernd,
it is not F2.1, it is T2.1. There is big difference between F and T if there is significant light lost when the light is transmitted through each glass...
Just that, you know how precision are these lenses.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 7, 2012)

1. There is precious little real world difference between an F2.1 and and a T2.1 lens.

2. The Zeiss Compact Primes are basically their regular Sonnar photographic lenses, but with larger diameter focus ring barrels, which is quite helpful when you are measuring subject distance with a measuring tape and afterwards can set the distance using the lens barrel instead of looking through the VF or the monitor.

There are so many better and cheaper options for something like these lenses, however, that only the most die-heard Zeiss fans will be getting these single focal babies at these lofty prices.

C. Zeiss obviously knows a thing or two about single focal photographic lenses, and even single focal cine-style lenses. Too bad they cannot seem to transfer this knowledge to that other amazing new invention: the ZOOM lens. I think C. Zeiss altogether has maybe 2 or 3 different zoom lenses, and that's that.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 8, 2012)

The difference between T stop and F stop in motion picture industry is extremely important, even though it is only a difference of 0.5 or 1 stop.
TTL metering is extremely uncommon in motion picture industry. If the aperture scale on the lens is diverging from the measurement of light intensity, then the outcome may be terrible. Consider a single shot may involve several hundred thousand dollars' investment.
Who can bear the lost for an inaccurate aperture scale?
Further considerations may involve legal impact and employment security due to such failure. So, the impact is really serious.

0 upvotes
bluelemmy
By bluelemmy (Apr 8, 2012)

Some of the comments here just illustrate the massive gulf between amateur and professional photography.
Zeiss are producing these lenses to the highest standards, tailored to the needs of professional film makers. These lenses have little value to an amateur. Their precision manufacture and imaging is important to a professional and that is what they will be paying for.
What a fool you would be to make a twenty million dollar movie and quibble over a few thousand for a lens!

3 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

@ Edmond: There is not all that much "motion picture industry" that is being left, really -- when even notable ASC member cinematographers are shooting with HDSLRs and other cheap digital camera jobs.

No matter whether you calculate maximum aperture in T-stops or F-stops, the optic itself is the same exact thing. The rating chosen is just a man-made, arbitrary number on a made-up scale.

Diff between T-stop and F-stop is less than 0.5 f-stop with a good quality lens. Now, when film cameras and also increasingly digital cameras have 12 F-stops of latitude and even more, why fret over over whether to set your aperture at f/8 or f8.3, huh? This is a tempest in a teapot. really. You would be much better of allocating time for measuring exact subject distance with a measuring tape, rather than worrying about the intricacies between T-stop and F-stop on a lens.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

@ bluelemmy: No truly professional filmmaker would be caught dead with these relatively cheap Compact Prime CP.2 series Zeiss glass, which are, optically speaking, photographic lenses with oversized focus rings/barrels for more witness markings and easier focus pulling, that's all.

I am not sure about a $20,000,000 movie because I cannot count up that high, but I would probably not use these CP.2-series lenses even if I am shooting a low-budget $3,000,000 film or television production. There are other single focal C. Zeiss optics that are much better overall than these entry-level CP.2 series glasses are.

0 upvotes
idahodoc
By idahodoc (Apr 8, 2012)

As others have said, the manufacture, color accuracy and durability are all important.

But probably a little bit less so as the world has moved to digital. They may be looking at either a shrinking high end pro market, or a rising lower end market, where a few thousand bucks might actually make a difference.

The issues with color balance and T-stop were much more important in the film era when a screwed up shot would be very expensive. Digital is better that way, seeing what's "in the can" in real time. But subtle color corrections are still a hassle and costly of data processing, but not deal breakers.

0 upvotes
Richard
By Richard (Apr 9, 2012)

If you have Canon gear, you can buy an even faster lens 135 2.0 for 1000 to $1100 which is every bit as good and one of Canons sharpest lens. If you need it, you get it, for everyone else get what you can afford, Even the people who want and need these can't explain why.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 9, 2012)

"The issues with color balance and T-stop were much more important in the film era when a screwed up shot would be very expensive. Digital is better that way..."

Obviously some folks have little understanding about shooting on film. Even a total moron could get reasonable results with a film camera, since film as a medium is so very forgiving. Now with digital, sometimes you are lucky to ace one out of every 10 shots. If anything can go wrong -- with the digital workflow, chances are good that it will.

0 upvotes
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 10, 2012)

>>>>>> There is little real difference between an F2.1 and T2.1 lens.

Theres a big difference when you shoot multicam and the different cameras dont match after the DP has called 2.8

>>>>>The Zeiss are Sonnar photographic lenses, but with larger diameter focus ring barrels, which is quite helpful when you are measuring..

Theres so much more to it than that. Try using a matte box with with a set of lenses that all have different front diameters, its painfully slow,. Try hooking up focus motor to anything but a cine lens, where the focus gears are all in a different place and you have to move the motor every time you do a lens change. I could go on and on....

>>>There are so many better and cheaper options for something like these lenses,

No there really is nothing else in the price range except maybe RED pro primes, and they suck. The next price tier are cooke s4's or Ultra primes, around 12k per lens, and sorry to say these beauties are pretty much industry standard.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 10, 2012)

These C. Zeiss CP.2 glasses are not real cine glasses, much more like photographic lenses masquerading as cine glasses. For those who definitely want and also can afford cine-style lenses, maybe try some of these:

http://www.zgc.com/s/p/cooke_zgc5i.html

Price of admission starts at $21,200 and goes up from there. For one single focal lens, that is. Just imagine what you can get by way of overall optical quality in comparison with a C. Zeiss CP.2 priced in the $3,000 to $5,700 range.

Since C. Zeiss cine-style zoom lenses are few and far between, and not at all too good, here is a nice 15-40mm zoom lens for $48,100.

http://www.zgc.com/s/p/cooke_cxxzoom.html

Also, most of the Panavision primes and zooms are at least as good, and oftentimes better, than anything C. Zeiss can deliver at any price.

"Red Pro Primes" -- they don't rate much of anything on anybody's quality scale, AFAIK.

0 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Apr 12, 2012)

I counted seven Zeiss zooms on their website, so I guess you didn't do much fact checking for your claim of 2-3.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 13, 2012)

@ Ilkka: You were looking for quantity of quality? Like I said, C. Zeiss cine-style zoom lenses are few and far between, and not at all too good. I am not sure where you had seen the seven different current production Carl Zeiss PL-mount cine lenses?

And you perhaps are not too sure, either, which might explain the lack of a simply URL link to verify your heady claim.

0 upvotes
electric eel
By electric eel (Apr 7, 2012)

Will Zeiss produce the 135mm in Nikon and Canon mounts, would love to have this for a D800 at a substantially reduced price although it would look cool as it is.

2 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Apr 6, 2012)

I want to see the glass.

0 upvotes
jskrill
By jskrill (Apr 6, 2012)

Can you please define PL, EF, F, MFT and E mounts.

0 upvotes
drwho9437
By drwho9437 (Apr 6, 2012)

I didn't know what PL was; presumably http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arri_PL

EF -> Canon
F -> Nikon
MFT -> micro four thirds (Panasonic/Olympus).
E -> Sony

1 upvote
kshitijnagar
By kshitijnagar (Apr 6, 2012)

PL is Arri's mount.
Stands for Positive Lock.

1 upvote
millerfilm
By millerfilm (Apr 7, 2012)

Given how expensive that lens is, I would definitely want a Positive Lock on it!

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

Of course, you need to but the extra lens mounts for it and hope all is well w. your back-focus when you change out one mount for another mount yourself at home. Otherwise, into the lens hospital she needs to go for the procedure and proper calibration.

Keep in mind that all C. Zeiss CP.2 lens series consists of single focals (primes), so if you are shooting for example an action flick or need fast focus changes during takes or in-between, these babies will not work.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Apr 6, 2012)

Well that's two excellent E-mount lenses. Pitty I can't afford them ;)

0 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Apr 7, 2012)

What for would you use that in E-mount. That would be as large as a SLR lens.

0 upvotes
MadsR
By MadsR (Apr 7, 2012)

All E-Mount lenses are as large as SLR lenses, they are good for the video cameras (VG10 or FS700), the still cameras are not any good.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Apr 7, 2012)

Most of the point of NEX is being able to use *any* lens thanks to the short flange distance, I care much less that it's small. That said, that 135mm T2.1 looks smaller than the 135mm f/1.8 I use on my NEX now and I'm sure it's optically better... but my lens cost only $150 (an old Spiratone via eBay). The Zeiss A-mount 135mm f/1.8 can be adapted, but is even bigger than my lens.

As for NEX stills not being any good, I assume you're kidding or talking about use for video only -- where they're better than most still cameras but not wonderful. Pretty much the whole NEX line gives the best IQ in it's class and the NEX-7 is arguably the highest IQ APS-C still camera ever built.

The point of my post is that I wish Zeiss would make a few $800-$1,200 lenses as native E-mount... which they are starting to do, but these two are not that. :(

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Enginel
By Enginel (Apr 8, 2012)

Umm, NEX's 16/2.8 is small and this full-frame Zeiss 15/2.8 is huge

0 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Apr 9, 2012)

True, the 16mm f/2.8 is as comparatively tiny as the price tag. :)
Honestly, the 15mm f/2.8 doesn't seem very exciting for APS-C.
Anyway, at $5K+ I'm not buying either of these Zeiss lenses. :(

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 6, 2012)

Excellent lenses.
These are real optical instruments, not toys.

7 upvotes
bergat
By bergat (Apr 6, 2012)

I agree. I do not undestand why Nikon and Canon continue to buy at high price lenses made of plastic and with no mechanic control, when may years ago they built like zeiss.

5 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 6, 2012)

Profit, profit, profit.
This is the only reason.
They need to report to the shareholders with good results every year and every quarter. So, cutting the costs is one of their tools to increase profit.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Michael B 66
By Michael B 66 (Apr 6, 2012)

I don't like plastic, but it has its advantages: elastic deformation of an outer plastic shell reduces the forces to internal elements and reduces the chances for some misalignment of lens elements.

The Zeiss cine lenses are designed for controlled environments and "encaged" into a movie camera setup. Most (D)SLR lenses are used in harsh environments where they must survive some bumps without affecting the sensible adjustments of optical parts.

So I see some advantages for plastics - except for haptic experience!

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 6, 2012)

Nikon and Canon pro FX lenses are definitely not plastic, but Canon EF lenses have never had aperture rings, and Nikon latest G lenses also do not have mechanical aperture ring. While I'm a fan of mechanical aperture, an aperture controllable by the camera body has the advantage allowing 1/3 stop adjustments.

1 upvote
Everlast66
By Everlast66 (Apr 6, 2012)

@marike6
Don't quite agree, Zeiss glass aperture rings usually give you 1/3 stop adjustment. and actually because it's a physical control directly connected to the blades you can literary open the aperture to whatever intermediate position you wish, even if there is no click/indentation. There is only one reason to remove the aperture ring from a lens - savings, driven by competition/profits. The vast majority of the customers are driven by the price and would prefer to pay cheap and get plastic and save the aperture ring cost. The problem is that Canon/Nikon are selling the cheap stuff in such insane amounts, that they can not be bothered to produce anything with premium finish. This market is occupied by Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Pentax Limited series. Pentax appears to be the only manufacturer with A/F premium lenses though.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Apr 6, 2012)

...and no visible focus breathing, which can be very critical for video.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Apr 6, 2012)

You can also slightly mod regular Zeiss lens and have stepless aperture ring. Similar can be done with Contax RTS or Leica R lens (most likely with Leica M too).

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 6, 2012)

The thing the whiners always neglect in discussions of G lenses loss of an aperture ring is what they gained: weather seals. Maybe it's possible to have an aperture ring and a rubber gasket at the rear, but I'm not sure how. As someone who's had water get into a camera from the mount and destroy it, I'm a convert. Bring me more G lenses with rubber mount seals!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

"The Zeiss cine lenses are designed for controlled environments."

Of course, Mike. ALL motion pictures ever shot using cameras with Carl Zeiss optics on them were filmed on air conditioned sound stages. Outdoors and in tougher environments, they used Canikon lenses instead. :-))

0 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Apr 9, 2012)

marike6... "While I'm a fan of mechanical aperture, an aperture controllable by the camera body has the advantage allowing 1/3 stop adjustments."

You technically not only have 1/3 increments with a mechanical aperture ring, but also an infinite amount of settings between each stop as well, because you can move an aperture ring smoothly anywhere you choose between the "stop" detents just like back in the film days.

Additionally, my Nikon "D" lenses with the aperture ring (a feature I definitely prefer over not having the aperture ring) can be stopped in 1/3 increments as well from the camera, just like my "G" lenses... I can also use the "D" lenses on other brands of cameras using a simple adapter- it is far more expensive (relatively speaking) to do so with the "G" lenses.

0 upvotes
trungthu
By trungthu (Apr 6, 2012)

I think, the differences is very little in quality between the "normal lenses" and these Zeiss lenses.
Because, the resolution of motion picture is only 2K (about 2Mp), and all the lenses of the camera's maker can adapte this clearity, even the kit lens.
But, the problem maybe only is in the conviniences, and the posibility of making money of the film maker, so the price is "no problem".

0 upvotes
Michael B 66
By Michael B 66 (Apr 6, 2012)

The future will bring us higher resolution formats which might be current standard in cinematography. Im no expert but 4k is more or less standard meaning 4000 px image width (and the corresponding height) - so the investment is future proof.

Add robustness and the standard focus "ring" ...

And ... look at the prices for the canon cine lenses with similar specs!

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Apr 6, 2012)

'Sharpness' is only one of many factors. Nobody who buys these lenses will ask if it is sharp because obviously it is.

1 upvote
kikiriki
By kikiriki (Apr 6, 2012)

cine lenses are of completely different design compared to photo lenses. For example, cine lenses don't breathe while focusing, all photo lenses breathe while focusing...

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 6, 2012)

There is no such think as future proof. Only more or less resistant.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

@ trungthu: you are excused from the Carl Zeiss lens waiting list. :~)

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Apr 5, 2012)

Why do they waste their money on this stuff when they could just use normal lenses.

1 upvote
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Apr 5, 2012)

What do you consider a "normal" lens?

1 upvote
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 5, 2012)

Some peoples ignorance is simply frightening.

11 upvotes
MaikeruN
By MaikeruN (Apr 6, 2012)

Because "normal" lenses can't do what cine lenses can do?

2 upvotes
ScottieC
By ScottieC (Apr 6, 2012)

This must be Sarcasm...

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 6, 2012)

Because, when you're shooting a movie at $2-200 million, or a commercial at $300,000 for a 30 second spot, you can't afford to have the stuff that "normal" lenses do, like...

Images that jump 2mm to the left as you shift from focusing inward to focusing outward, because the focusing helicoids have extra backlash to allow for a relatively low-power AF motor.

Images that shift position when you focus or zoom because a lens element is improperly centered.

Noticeable color shifts when you switch from one lens to another because the coatings or glass compositions don't match.

Strange aperture shapes because the "leaf shutter" style aperture mechanism is prone to let one or two blades open just a little more than the other 5 or 6.

Even infrequent mechanical failures.

So, you have the elements of basic $500-2,000 lenses assemble, by hand, into $4,000 mechanical mounts with $300 12 blade irises for the aperture.

6 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 6, 2012)

@NDT0001, IcyVines doesn't have "frightening" ignorance. It takes a lot of intelligence to pretend to be stupid in a way that offends so many people.

What he doesn't have is common sense or empathy,

2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Apr 6, 2012)

Excellent summary Joseph. For a number of practical reasons not just cost (friction is one) a lot of modern lenses are put together very loosely. There are engineering considerations they simply ignore, like consistency of resistance of the manual focus and iris action (and zoom, on other such lenses) throughout the range.

In the movie business focus, iris, etc are pulled by hand - nowadays usually by means of a wireless servo that a separate crew member wears around his-her neck. That way the camera, however huge, isn't bumped when these controls are being operated (sometimes vigorously). That's what those white rings are for - they have pencil marks on them for various target values for the present take. Actors observe blocking and all distances are tape-measured. Focus and iris (and manner of transition between points) are utterly deliberate. So these lenses' distance scale is consistent to within a tiny fraction of a percent - not teens of percents as with reg photo lenses.

1 upvote
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Apr 7, 2012)

For my computational photography research, I've tested over 100 lenses. Not a single old manual-focus lens I've tested has had any measurable decentering, while most autofocus ones do. The color matching was also better on, for example, old Minolta Rokkors. There are good reasons video people love old lenses....

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

Quick, DP Review stalwarts, somebody here please compile a comprehensive list of all NORMAL lenses priced at US$99.95 and under for our normal friend IcyVeins here. Thank you! :-))

0 upvotes
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (Apr 5, 2012)

4 lens = a car

5 upvotes
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 5, 2012)

This is a professional system, 4 lenses will help buy you a car. A nice one.

8 upvotes
MaikeruN
By MaikeruN (Apr 6, 2012)

Can also help you buy a house. Oh and also a career.

6 upvotes
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (Apr 6, 2012)

Or bankruptcy and a suicide. Who knows the widow earn money selling the story to a filmmaker.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 6, 2012)

im surprised that you, a professional musician would not get that top quality professional (not hobby) equipment comes at a cost. All my pro glass has been paid off by my clients. oh, nice music by the way, i hope you didnt spend too much on your instruments!

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 6, 2012)

Musicians don't need expensive gear to make money these days. In fact, neither do photographers or videographers. They just need creativity.

As a non-professional musician, I'll take my scrap parts guitar that I hand assembled in high school over anything in any store--new or old. The best gear for the job isn't always the most expensive. A recording musician has the best sounding gear. A gigging musician has the most reliable thing that he can afford two of.

Heck, I'm seriously contemplating CCTV lenses and a Pentax Q for video. The results look better than a lot of the HD cam crap I see other wedding videogs churning out!

Even in stills photography, most clients don't know about gear and don't care. You only need medium format for older established clients who have already "educated" (read:ruined) by their experience. (You don't need 40mp for a half sheet catalogue!)

Is the pro video world that different?

2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Apr 6, 2012)

If a pilot about to fly you, or a doctor about to operate on you, displayed a cavalier attitude about natural abilities v. tools etc., even if they made a valid point not dissimilar to what you expressed, most people would become worried. The reason I listed these two professions is because it is intuitively clear the predictability of the outcome is IMPORTANT.

In pro video and movie making, there is accountability to people paying hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars. Even a small business owner who pays $10K NEEDS the commercial to succeed does not have that money just kicking around spare. These people worry and worry a LOT - if I get their business the least I can do is treat it with professional accountability and respect.

2 upvotes
regia
By regia (Apr 7, 2012)

I agree with you Micahmedia, I think the best instruments is you. And those best instruments that they offered, only to assure you that you are the best. And by the end of the day, people will not asking what instrument that you used, but who made this piece of masterpiece. Its just like Steven Spielberg movies.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

If you don't have the money for new, cutting-edge, pricey gear and instruments, you can always just use that old high school gear/instruments, or whatever you had just found in grandma's old attic. And then pass yourself off as the person who does not need or care about that pricey, fancy stuff. That may also work in some instances.

0 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Apr 10, 2012)

I have a car, a fairly decent one it cost about £24k a few years back. I would probably get £6-7k for it now. It has never earned me a penny. I would happily spend the money on decent gear that will earn money for many years rather than another £24k on a car.
Cars are the biggest waste of money going. 4 decent lenses for the price of a car, take the lenses it's a much better deal.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 10, 2012)

These C. Zeiss CP.2 lenses are cheap, all right -- it's just they really do not have the quality for high-end images. Those lenses start at $20,000 for single focals and around $33,000 for zooms.

Re. the motor vehicle analogy, your car had probably made you more money already, since it gets you to various work sites (studios, locations, whatnot) than otherwise you might have great difficulty getting to on time and in comfort. Most folks have a car or automobile to get to/from work, in other words. And leisure use is also pretty important for those who go to work but also like to get away for a splendid weekend in the country someplace.

0 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Apr 5, 2012)

I would prefer my Helios-40 for filming.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Marek Rucinski
By Marek Rucinski (Apr 5, 2012)

Which, interestingly, is a copy of Zeiss Biotar :)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Apr 6, 2012)

First of all Helios 44 is Biotar copy, not Helios-40
Secondly - why not bye a perfect copy for just 50$?
http://youtu.be/tSQfbJ2sF8s?t=2m45s
Here is Helios-44, which I love as Helios-40

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Marek Rucinski
By Marek Rucinski (Apr 9, 2012)

> Helios 44 is Biotar copy, not Helios-40
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_%28lens_brand%29
Computer says "no"...

I regularly use a few Soviet lenses myself, but I think I'd swap them for the Zeisses they were "derived" from instantly.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 5, 2012)

F mount? Check. How great would a set of these matched primes be with the D800? Beyond great. I've seen footage from the other Zeiss PL primes and it was out of this world, beautiful. Why can't all lenses have 14-blade apertures? Bokehlicious.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 6, 2012)

Because it takes a lot of physical work to move either an old-fashioned "iris diaphragm" aperture mechanism (which these Zeiss lenses have) with any number of blades, even 5 or 6. It also takes a lot of physical work to move a "leaf shutter" mechanism that current cameras use Nikon, Pentax, and Sony mount lenses have, if you go much past 6 blades, which is why lens makers seldom exceed 7, and when they get to 9 they start bragging.

SLRs have to move their apertures quickly, so they're driven by mechanisms built for speed, not power, and they can't move hefty aperture mechanisms.

Now, as far as the "Bokehlicious" comment. Shape only has a minor effect on bokeh, the major effect is controlled by the optical design of the lens, most particularly, its spherical aberration characteristic. A 50mm f2.8 Tessar with a 5 blade aperture would have prettier bokeh than a 50mm f1.4 Zeiss planar with a 12 blade aperture.

4 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 11, 2012)

I'm going to have to disagree about how uncommon 9 blades are--most of the pro level Nikon glass has em.

And they are of great importance to bokeh--the other day I had some shots that were nearly ruined by my 35/2's rather straight blades. Popped on my 9 round blade 17-55 and the same shots looked better. It's point lights that you really see it with.

A lot of Leica lenses have odd bokeh stopped down because of odd blade shapes. They're an acquired taste. Anyway, yeah, it usually doesn't matter if you're dealing with low contrast backgrounds, but when you get lights involved and you're closed down a bit, straight blades can really stand out.

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Apr 5, 2012)

Somebody tell them that in 21 century the lens MUST have AF.

4 upvotes
nelsonal
By nelsonal (Apr 5, 2012)

Video lenses are manual focus to the highest levels. These are designed for film type applications where the Cameraman or 1st AC is going to be pulling focus.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
23 upvotes
julieng
By julieng (Apr 5, 2012)

professional videographers would never be caught dead showing AF hunting in their work.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
21 upvotes
valentin_neda
By valentin_neda (Apr 5, 2012)

Z.. you are kiding... right?

3 upvotes
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (Apr 5, 2012)

That do not means that autofocus is worthless. Who do not use it switch it off.

3 upvotes
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (Apr 5, 2012)

I wonder how they can pull focus in fast moving scenes!

0 upvotes
NDT0001
By NDT0001 (Apr 5, 2012)

Thats why motion picture shoots have 'focus pullers'. They pull focus, fast or slow. You know all those movies hollywood has been making since day 1? ALL the pictures are kept in focus by a human being, not an autofocus system.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 5, 2012)

Focus pullers don't usually focus by eye, the block everything, actors, city shots, whatever, and they use the DOF scale on the lens and calculate down to the mm. They then mark the white disc around the follow focus, and hit the marks when they need to change focus. These focus pullers are amazing professionals that know their jobs inside out. None of this point, and push an AF button nonsense that you think is 21st century marvel.

5 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 6, 2012)

There is still technical problems to design a reliable auto focus system for the motion picture cameras.
One of the problems is how to overcome the flickers during the mirror shutter is running.
Up to now, manual focus is still the most efficient and effective way for film making.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 6, 2012)

@Edmond, there are no "technical problems", at all. These are people who could afford IR laser rangefinders if they wanted pinpoint accurate AF.

It's an artistic issue. Ever seen a nice cross-focused dialogue, where focus is shifting back and forth between two people based on which is talking?

The focus puller rehearses the scene just like the actors do. OK, we're at 31:10, pull to mark 3, wait for him to say "It can't be done", that gets us to 33:20, pull to mark 4, wait for her to say "Oh yes it can!"

1 upvote
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 6, 2012)

Joseph, I know that's the typical working process in the studio.
But, I think there are some other critical situations where AF can help the cameraman and save some production cost.
Consider the situation where the object of 2m in diameter is flying at more than 50mph in a random direction at the distance more than 50m away from the camera; if the cameraman is required to capture crystal clear images of the flying object on the 35mm or 70mm film by using a telephoto lens, then it will be a real tough job if there is no high-speed / high-accuracy AF system.
For a still camera, it is not difficult to achieve that, but for a 35mm or 70mm motion picture camera, it is a real challenge.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Bob Howland
By Bob Howland (Apr 6, 2012)

I tend to agree with you but that's probably because I watch too many documentaries, including home improvement how-to shows, and not enough feature films. I can't imagine anything on H&G TV using a focus puller. And how about photographing a skateboarder from a low angle while the cameraman is also on a skateboard.

Joe's "artistic issue" comment may be true but, based on the automatic follow focus capability built into my $700 Panasonic camcorder, not to mention the Canon 1Dx, I question how much longer it'll be relevant.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Apr 6, 2012)

This isn't still photography where you pick an AF point on the subject or lock focus and recompose.

In motion picture, the focus and the manner of focus transition between points is a part of the visual vocabulary - not some technical hurdle to be automated.

On close indoor shots it has to be at the exact deliberate point to within a millimeter and it has to slow down a particular way arriving at that point. Do I need to say "no overshooting and back-tracking!" ??? :-) :-)

Some days cameras will have off-board machine visions systems, powered by lasers or holography or ultrasound or whatever, that observe the scene in real time from a couple of vantage points (not merely through the lens) and anticipate the right cues for actor motion and compare it to the pre-scripted notation in regards to focus iris and (where applicable) zoom objectives. These systems, eventually, will be as good as humans at pulling focus for motion picture production.

I hope this clarifies the "AF" relevance

1 upvote
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 7, 2012)

We have talked too much about the dreams of AF in motion picture industry.
The reality is it doesn't happen in the real world.
In the real world, even the simple TTL metering is not common in motion picture industry, not to mention the further technologies in AF.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 8, 2012)

"Hey, what's that cutie pie ring on this lens with all those numbers, huh?"

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Apr 5, 2012)

Yes please.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 105