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April 7, 2012

Zeiss Rounds Out the CP.2 Primes and Adds a 15mm T/2.9 and 135mm T/2.1

Zeiss has officially updated it's CP.2 line of lenses, adding a cinema version of it's newly announced 15mm ZF and ZE still primes, as well as a very fast 135mm telephoto lens. Both lenses are incredible pieces of craftsmanship for the amount of money you're paying, and as always with the CP.2 lenses, they have interchangeable mounts which include PL, EF, F, MFT and E. Speaking of Swiss Army Knife lenses, if you can afford it, these are really the most compatible lenses out there, and the custom back mounts will do a much better job giving a solid hold than an adapter.

Here's the video partially introducing them for NAB 2012:

A little tidbit from their press release:

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).

It's actually impressive how long their press release is for the introduction of these two lenses - and they have some amazingly high-quality photos for both of these lenses there (that figures since they are a lens company, right?). Compared to a full frame camera like the 5D Mark III, the 15mm will look like a 22.5mm lens on a camera like the Sony FS100 (1.5x Crop at 1080p) and 24mm on a camera like the RED Scarlet (1.6x Crop at 4K). It's hard to find many lenses out there with this build quality, this focal length, and this speed - and the same goes for the 135mm. The 135mm lens at T/2.1 and with a 14 blade iris should provide for some beautiful bokeh.

Both lenses are coming in at $5700, which is a hefty price tag, but if you've already bought into the CP.2s, these should be color matched with the others. It's also always a great rental option if money allows, as this is one of the cheaper complete PL prime sets out there, from 15mm all the way to 135mm.

Link: Carl Zeiss Press Release: CP.2 15/T2.9 and 135/T2.1

[via AbelCine and Stefan Gier]

Your Comment

22 Comments

That video was terrible.
Didn't give much information and had some really ugly soft focus shots, which were too short too so we didn't even get a good look at the lenses.
They sound awesome though, can't wait to see footage from them.

April 7, 2012

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I'd personally trade some of the border-line overkill build quality for an f2.0 across the range. I like these lenses the little bit I've used them, but they're also enormous and heavy. I wonder if finding a used set of Zeiss Std (or even Super) Speeds would be a better option.

April 7, 2012

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agent55

I've been eyeing the 50mm or 50mm Makro that's been out for a while. I like the idea of an iris as opposed to aperture clicks. Of course the alternative is to mod a Nikon or Canon prime. These compact primes are designed for a matte box. Is it possible to not use a matte box? To shoot it as is on a DSLR? Are there screw-on filters in that size?

April 7, 2012

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animal264

I believe all the CP.2's are standardized for 95mm screw in filters... not a common size for still photography, but it is for cinema. You can use them without a mattebox, but I would suggest at least using a french flag to reduce flare.

April 7, 2012

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Angelo

You don't need a matte box. Its a wanky add-on that at the most is only needed to show clients that your camera now is better than theirs. For video there will be ZERO difference than a DLSR lens. Remember DSLR lenses are designed for greater than 5K photos. My D800 takes 7.4K stills so 2K or 4K video it doesn't matter what lens you use but I do believe the quality will be better from a DSLR lens.

May 2, 2012

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That's a slightly absurd statement, there are many legitimate uses for matte boxes - especially when it gets to that filter size. It's much easier with cine-style lenses to have a matte box and use large 4x4 or larger ND filters rather than having to screw them on - and it's especially helpful to use more than one. Ever heard of a grad filter? They are quite a bit harder to find - in fact I'm not sure if they exist as screw-on filters, but in a matte box - you can use a grad filter when you need the sky to be exposed much lower in a shot but the rest of the scene needs to stay the same.

As for what you're saying about DSLR lenses, yes, pretty much all of the pro lenses and newer designs should do 4K and above, but only the most expensive lenses stopped down a bit can really do 7K resolution justice. Either way, it can be hit-or-miss with DSLR lenses in terms of actual resolved resolution, as they tend to be much worse as you get away from the center of the lens, and usually need to be stopped down a bit to get full resolution. That is the difference between DSLR and real cine lenses - like the Ultra Primes and Master Primes. Masters or Ultras are in a whole other league compared to DSLR lenses, granted they are more expensive, but they deliver more resolution than DSLRs, across the ENTIRE frame, not just in the center. The new Super Speeds will definitely do 4K - not as well wide open, but stopped down once they should definitely be giving you that kind of resolution, if not more.

Resolved resolution of lenses is a very complicated subject, and I would suggest that you learn how to read MTF charts and go seek out these numbers for yourself, as the situation becomes very clear when you start looking at the numbers for DSLRs vs. Cinema lenses. DxO Mark does MTF for many still lenses out there. Let's also not forget that breathing is a big deal in motion, and cine lens do NOT breathe compared to DSLR lenses.

May 2, 2012

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avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

CP.2’s are great lenses. They are the least expensive cinema lens you can buy but the quality and build are really nice. One big plus is they are light for a cine lens. I don’t need to use lens support for the AF-100. Looking forward to the rumored 70-200 next.

April 8, 2012

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Do these Cine lenses exhibit focus breathing, and if so, how much? What Cine lenses do and don't if you happen to know?

The elimination of focus breathing (a mild zooming effect when focusing which is somewhat nausea-inducing) is a good part of justifying the price hike over standard photography lenses, which these may be a repackaging of. Eliminating it requires the remaking of a prime into a zoom I understand. And buying big follow focus rings for all your lenses to enable quick swapping, plus peaking monitors for your focus puller, may be considerably less expensive than the price difference for these. Even throw in declicking manual aperture controls if you like that.

It's important we insist on value for money to keep manufacturers honest. Gear-competitive egomaniacs are counter-productive...even for their own advancement.

April 8, 2012

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Peter Jensen

I have yet to see a lens without any focus breathing. Do they exist at all? Isn't it a natural phenomenon that when you pull focus, glass shifts back-n-forth inside the barrel?

April 8, 2012

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And even if you have slight breathing, I guess you could counter this in post easily... It'll only change the FoV slightly, so a digital zoom could counter it.

April 8, 2012

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The canon 50mm 1.8 II (yes, I understand it is foolish to be mentioning a 100 dollar plastic bodied still lens in a Zeiss thread) breathes pretty heavily

April 8, 2012

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John Jeffreys

the breathing of the cp.2s are much less than the ze or zf glass, yes it is the same lens elements but the free room for elements to move while focusing is much less.

April 8, 2012

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Ryan

Peter I have rented other Zeiss CP lenses (the 50mm macro and 100mm) and I noticed very little breathing. If you really want to eliminate it, Cooke and Schneider (PL mount) lenses have none that I could notice - I loved the skin tones of the Cooke but the bokeh and lack of breathing on the Schneiders was awesome. Schneiders are very under-rated imo.

Both Lensrentals and borrowlenses have plenty of options at great prices.

Take care.

April 8, 2012

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Jordan Carr

Hey guys,

I was hoping to get your opinion on a discussion I had with a colleague about lenses. Anybody who knows me is aware that I use my Nikon AI lenses for EVERYTHING, and I had mentioned that I'd like to try them on the Scarlet (via nikon to eos adapter). He said these lenses wouldn't be able to resolve 4k levels of detail.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but 35mm still film, which these lenses were designed for, is pretty detailed. I've heard negative film has anywhere from 6 to 14 megapixels equivalent resolution. HD is only 2 megapixels so I imagine that my nikons would resolve it just fine.

Am I crazy? I know the Red One could have a Nikon mount, so I'm fairly sure RED wouldn't bother to do that if the lenses couldn't resolve the detail.

What to y'all think?

April 8, 2012

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Kevin

There are lot of RED owner/operators using Nikkor AI and/or AIS lenses, they will absolutely perform (and perform well!) on a 4K camera. Some Nikkor's are sharper than others of course, but other than the typical deficiencies of using a still lens for motion, a good set of Nikkor's can perform optically as well as many PL primes.

April 8, 2012

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agent55

That's what I thought. I figured getting them cinemoded was the way to go. I love the cool look of the nikkors.

April 8, 2012

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Kevin

I'm actually in the process of collecting a set of AI's for my Scarlet right now too, one of, if not the best option for a prime lens-set for motion cameras... particularly for the price :)

April 8, 2012

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agent55

Very interesting to, actually, hear (read) someone say this.
I've often wondered if cine lenses provided more in terms of actual image quality.
It seems to me, all things being equal, if a lens is sharp and covers the sensor area, you will have an image as good as it gets. Am I wrong about that?

I have a good collection of Nikkors from my stills shooting on film days and have used them with good result on my F3. But, always wondering if I was missing something other than the mechanical advantages and color consistency of cine lenses.

In the stills world, the lens makers, within the last few years, released lenses designed particularly for the digital sensor. Is it the Canon 'L' series that claims to do this? It is said they are better at focusing the wavelengths of light all on the same plane rather than the way film lenses focus light at different depths to accommodate the different layers in the film emulsion. I've understood this could, possibly, account for some color-fringing when using older lenses or lenses not designed for digital acquisition.
Anybody know this to be true or if modern cine lens makers are taking this into account for digital cinema cameras?

April 8, 2012

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I suppose sharpness may be where the issue lies. I'm reasonably sure that cine lenses are made with the best optics and are therefore sharper and will resolve detail better than a $200 dollar lens that was made to be mass produced.

As for the color fringing, I would agree on the layering issue. Digital sensors are flat and have the bayer array, so companies probably design their newer lenses with this in mind as opposed to the layers of emulsion.

Either way, I think that after a cinemod, these old lenses are amazing to work with. The older Nikons are better with their distance marks than my canon lenses and having that declicked manual aperture is a godsend. Yes there are issues with breathing, but considering the crap we put up with from some of our cameras, I think this is a minor issue.

Besides, at this price-point, you don't get better.

April 8, 2012

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Kevin

@ dixter

I wouldn't claim to be a pixel-peeper, only someone who looks at the image on set, in grading to some degree and finally the finished product well after shooting it. What you've described about modern still primes being designed for digital acquisition makes sense. My experience with older Nikkor's compared to more modern primes for motion work usually doesn't come down to dramatic sharpness differences as much as contrast and saturation, that's to say I find the older glass to usually be less-contrasty and less saturated, more of "vintage look" it's been said :) I don't mind that since both contrast and saturation can be reeled-in during grading, particularly on a camera like a Scarlet. If there were no cost difference to purchase new vs. old, I may choose newer options, but good-condition vintage Nikkor's can be had so cheaply and perform so well, There the wat to go for me.

On my last post I forgot to note Nikkor's are one of "the best STILL prime lens-sets options for motion...". I'd still take a set of Ultra Primes or Super Speeds if I could :) Both designed firstly for S35 film cameras I might add.

April 8, 2012

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Agent55

Are modern lenses TOO contrasty?

Interesting point on the contrast thing.
Makes me wonder how much effect, then, does a lens have in the 'look' of a particular camera.
We already know, pretty much any particular lens 'bakes' in a 'look'. The Cookes, quite often, are praised for their signature warmth and very pleasing look. But, could a lens have enough contrast to alter dynamic range. If a lens is really contrasty, would you see less detail in the shadows and highlights?

I've always heard, lens makers strived to produce lenses with high contrast but, this seems counter-productive for modern film or video. In the quest for infinite dynamic range, shouldn't we be shooting with low contrast lenses?

Perhaps the idea of a contrasty lens comes from bygone days when film makers didn't have the luxury of adjusting contrast in post. They weren't able to grade their images in DaVinci, Baselight, Color or, even, tweak the color wheels in FCP for a touch more black in the shadows. They needed extra contrast to keep thier films from having a soft and washed out look from shooting on the low contrast filmstocks available at the time.

Now, maybe using these 'low-contrast' Nikkors (or any other brand you care to mention) isn't a bad idea, at all. Maybe it's what we SHOULD be doing.

Or, does 'high contrast' in the modern world just translate to sharper pictures? Anybody?

April 10, 2012

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dixter

DSLR lenses are designed for greater than 5K photos. My D800 takes 7.4K stills so 2K or 4K video it doesn’t matter what lens you use but I do believe the quality will be better from a DSLR lens.

May 2, 2012

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