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Zeiss Announces $3000 15mm F/2.8 for Nikon and Canon Mounts

03.16.12 @ 4:48PM Tags : , , ,

Zeiss has never been a company to disappoint. They consistently make fantastic manual focus lenses, and they now make lenses with just about every popular lens mount. Today they announced a new, ultra-expensive lens, the 15mm F/2.8 in ZF and ZE mounts. The internal design seems to be an improvement over the original Zeiss 15mm f/2.8, which was made for Zeiss Ikon and Leica M cameras. That lens, at $4600, makes this lens look like a bargain.

Here’s the announcement video from Zeiss:


It’s a beautiful piece of engineering, but the price is sure going to scare quite a few people away. This isn’t necessarily a lens that filmmakers should save up hard-earned money for. On full frame it’s a specialty lens – one step away from a Fish-eye. On APS-C, it’s going to look like a 24mm lens would on full frame – which at f/2.8 is slow for the amount of money you’d be paying. This is really going to be a lens that you’re going to rent when you need it, unless you have a lot of money to blow – then by all means it looks to be one of the best performing 15mm still lenses ever made, and distortion is low considering just how wide this lens is. If you’re trying to put together a cinema set of primes, then this is the best performing and fastest prime you’re going to find from Zeiss for Super 35mm sized sensors.

Here’s a quote from the always insightful genius of lenses, Matthew Duclos:

The price is kind of a sore subject. Previously the 100mm f/2.0 macro, 21mm f/2.8, and the newer 35mm f/1.4 were the caps of the ZF/ ZE group at just under $2,000. But this new 15mm makes all of them seem cheap with a hefty price tag of approximately $3,000. That brings me to the next question… What about the CP.2? Zeiss has successfully transformed almost every ZE/ZF.2 lens into a cinema friendly and very capable CP.2 and the 15mm will likely be no exception. However, it’s price tag will likely be exceptional if the past is any indication. Another draw back to the ZF/ZE 15mm is the very large front hood.

It will be interesting to see if they introduce a CP.2 version of this lens. That’s really the market that I see being interested in this lens – cinema people looking for a wide PL lens at a decent speed for a lot less money than many other PL lenses. I’m still waiting for a 24mm f/1.4 or a 28mm f/1.4 from Zeiss in the ZF or ZE mount. That will be a serious performer and a sweet spot for wides on full frame cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800.

[via Matthew Duclos' Circle of Confusion]

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  • I have the 14mm 2.8 from Sigma. Have tested it out on fullframe with 5DMKII sometimes and its and incredible lens wich gives room for much creativite, very sharp and 2.8 for such a wideangle is very rare! A perfect musicvideo-lens I think!
    And by the way I dont see the point of having lower than 2.8 on such a wideangle as the picture would only look more dreamy and soft instead of sharp.
    And it built construction in iron or something very solid makes it nearly indesctrutable. This I know after it droped on the ground once.
    Very very smooth focus ring!
    Apart from the heavy weight (wich I don’t care so much about).
    The downsides are an enormous and colorfull lens flare when shooting close to the sun or with studio-lamps and maybe som softness in the edges. Another thing is that there are needed some speacial made filter adapater because of the unsual front part of it.
    And for the record iknow this article was all about the zeiss version and that they have some other glasses and optics in their lenses.
    But I really wanted to share my experiences with it !
    Once again! 14 or 15mm on fullframe is amazing ! Musicvideos, landscapes, cities and heli-shots is awesome !
    btw I am a 18 year old media student from Norway so sorry for some writing mistakes along, been following this blog for about half a year and I have learned so much and I am really inspired !

  • Zeiss definitely makes a good product. It’s interesting to see how strong this lens holds linear proportions at such a wide angle. For me I actually like and want a little bit of that distortion right around 15-18… I guess they’re changing what to expect from such wide angle glass.

  • John Jeffreys on 03.16.12 @ 7:40PM

    I am thinking of selling off my current EF lenses and converting to a full set of Zeiss glass, but cant decide if I want cine modded ZF.2 nikon mounts (w/ adapter), and dealing with the backwards focus, or just going for the ZE’s.

  • So what are the approximate rental rates for this type of lens?

    • Well it’s not really out yet, but probably around $75-$100 a day. That’s about what similarly priced lenses go for. Though it could go for less, it will really depend on the market.