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Manual Iris Control Offered on Zeiss ZE Canon Mount Lenses with the GL Optics Cinemod

08.27.12 @ 3:37PM Tags : , , ,

While I often recommend the Nikon mount version of almost any lens out there because of its compatibility with both Nikon and Canon, there is one potential drawback that makes Nikon lenses very difficult to work with for some people: they rotate in the opposite direction to Canon and cinema lenses. While this doesn’t bother me, since I almost exclusively use Nikon lenses or use a follow focus with a reversing gear, a lot of people need a lens to work the “correct” way from the start. The other reason I always recommend the Nikon version, is because often it’s the only version with a manual aperture ring, which increases adaptability — whereas the Canon EF mount variety of these lenses (namely Zeiss), do not have a manual aperture that lets you to physically select the f-stop. In a cinema setting, this is a necessity, which is why a Chinese company called GL Optics has developed a cinemod for the Zeiss ZE lenses that does everything a normal cinemod does, but also adds a manual iris ring.

Dan Chung over at DSLR News Shooter was in China at BIRTV and talked with GL Optics about the lens:

It’s definitely an interesting concept, because often cinemods don’t try to reinvent the wheel with their modifications. This particular modification, however, is actually adding the iris ring where a physical one did not exist before. Matthew Duclos probably has one of the more famous cinemods for still photography Zeiss lenses, but this is the first time I’ve seen anything below a CP.2 with a manual iris control as well as a native Canon mount. While $650 might be more than you’d spend on a brand new lens with a cinemod (not Zeiss, of course), it’s a relative bargain compared to going out and getting some CP.2s (which actually feature the exact same optics as the still Zeiss lenses — ZE and ZF).

As far as buying them outright with the cinemod, the price stated was around $2,500, which will probably vary based on the lens in question. This may actually be a better option for some people because the $650 price requires you to send the lenses to China and back, which is more than most people would like to do. Again, $2,500 might seem like a lot, but consider that Zeiss sells almost the exact same lens for about $4,000. A $1,500 savings per lens would go a long way for people that really need the cinemod but can’t afford to spend over $10,000 for three lenses.

There doesn’t seem to be a any real information on these lenses yet, but there is a GL Optics site with the Tokina cinemod mentioned in the video.

What do you guys think? Is this worth it to get a lens that focuses in the right direction but also features a Canon mount (and identical quality to the CP.2 lenses)?

Link: GL Cinemod Optical Service

[via DSLR News Shooter]


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Description image 15 COMMENTS

  • john jeffreys on 08.27.12 @ 3:59PM

    Cheap and well made cinema accessories on ebay (trusmt, lanparte, etc), the kineraw camera, and now this! Not to mention the burgeoning underground arts/photography scene in beijing (check out ren hang). I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords.

  • Peter Kelly on 08.27.12 @ 4:06PM

    Ha ha,

    For someone who has a full set of Zeiss ZE Primes this is VERY interesting. Time to get saving again

  • Two weeks ago, I would have said that for intricate filmmaking just cough up the money for the CP.2s yes the optics are the same but if you shooting narratives with racks and blocking, the breathing of photography lenses can take a viewer out of the story. But, after trying the Canon 24mm CN-E, a CP.2 has severely lost its apeal. The Canons are not simply rehoused, the optics are better, breathing is negligable, the lens is sharp even at f1.5. For zeiss either Ze or CP.2, theres awful purple chromatic aberation under f4 for high contrast shots. The canon has green edges in the same senario but not a purple halo, its much less noticable. The Canon Cine Primes are a little better in every way. Zeiss might have a bit more contrast, but the CN-E Primes are really what the indie crowd has been asking for from ownable lens set.

    • thadon calico on 08.27.12 @ 11:41PM

      but the price point from an indie perspective though?

      • No budget no, funded independent yes. If a feature has a budget, cp.2s are a minimum. Even low budget features shot on dslrs use high quality glass.

  • An important factor with the CP.2′s is the swappable mounting options (PL, EF, F, E and MFT mount). Being able to not only swap the mounts for your own projects BUT being able to swap them for rental opens up a much larger pool of potential earnings. If your in the market for affordable cine lenses for rental and not just personal use I think the CP.2′s make more sense.

    However that said I’m more than happy to see as many quality options on the market as possible.

  • Mher Hakobyan on 08.27.12 @ 6:44PM

    talk less stupid men!!!! do more COMPARATIVE tests, compare this new lens with canon 85 1.2L or Zeiss CP2, shoot more video and show more info like that way….. i hope you will understand, and will not carry on to be stupid

  • My overall advice with 3rd party modding is, don’t send your own equipment in for a mod. Buy the already-modded, in-stock, next-day-shipping unit with a tracking number on the shipment and an enforceable satisfaction guarantee in place (you might want to use PayPal or some other financial instrument that protects the buyer).

    When you get the merchandise thoroughly test it immediately. If you already have an unmodded one, test the value of the modification directly (they say it’s a Zeiss? Sure it’s not actually a Samyang in there?) against the unmodded one. If it is worth keeping in retrospect, sell your unmodded one to another party.

    I’ll skip ahead to Act 2b and say I told you so.

    • after the mod the top of the lens is still visible, just look at the lens, you’ll even see the serial that it is the same lens you gave them… so no need to be worried of getting samyangs back

  • I played around with these at that expo a bit and they seemed solid. This is the thing that made me most excited on that expo and I just changed my old Zeiss C/Ys to new ZEs and will most likely do this mod later. The lens inside is Zeiss ZE indeed and you can see the serial on it too to make sure the lens they used is the lens you provided. They said the turn around time for modifying a set is about a month. If you later want to go back to unmodded, you are out of luck, you need to buy a new one. I can imagine repairs to the internals will be quite hard if not impossible later. They don’t mod the macro lenses due to different internal design, with my broken chinese I got the impression that on macro lenses the aperture actually moves a bit when focusing elements move. I didn’t see the new 15mm already modded, they said it can be done but thinking that the lens hood is not removable on 15mm lens the result may look bit different. There are original filter threads on each modded lens but since on some of the mods the original lens is deep inside the housing it might be hard to screw on a filter… so you need to say bye bye on your fader NDs. They can’t be PL modded, but then again, if you are not in a budget for real PL primes, you are not probably going to need PL mount lenses either.. besides most of the cameras used FS100/700/F3/RED/Blackmagic have EOS mounts available.

  • As far as I know they are not able to mod the two macro lenses, 50mm f2.0 and 100mm f2.0, which has the best optical performance in the ZE line-up.

    • As i just wrote before you, they don’t mod the macro lenses due to the different internal design

  • I just don’t know why go with the ZE instead of the ZF (Nikon mount) and just use a good adapter for EF.

    Isn’t it better to natively have an IRIS ring and adapt the mount that the other way around?

    From the Nikon mount one can change to everything (EF, Sony, even Red), no? Can someone teach me this?