Manual Iris Control Offered on Zeiss ZE Canon Mount Lenses with the GL Optics Cinemod
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.
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/48297936
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)?
[via DSLR News Shooter]