Zeiss Introduces New Anamorphics and a DSLR Lens at IBC

While there have been some rather large announcements at IBC, one of the companies that never fails to impress with something new and shiny is Carl Zeiss Lenses. They just recently announced new CP.2 lenses as well as a new CP.Z zoom lens. This year they've introduced a brand new DSLR lens, a 135mm f/2.0 Apo Sonnar T* at the show. They're also showing off what was simply a prototype at this year's NAB, and that's brand new anamorphic lenses. Since those will be even more expensive than even their $20K Master Primes, they will definitely be a rental option for many productions.

Introduction video for the 135mm f/2.0 Apo Sonnar T*:

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qFMhilBU7BU

The lens is going to run $2,000, which is a little pricy, but it's full frame, and at this speed, for this length, performance looks like it's going to be exceptional. The anamorphic lenses are looking like they will definitely live up to the Master Prime name -- priced out of this world with performance to match. A 50mm T/1.9 is simply remarkable, especially if it doesn't breathe and is sharp all around. Anamorphics are very difficult to get because of the way the glass is made. The one thing that will be interesting is if the effect is too sterile. Anamorphic flaws are one of the things people are looking for, so if Zeiss minimizes them too much, does it really defeat the purpose of an anamorphic lens?

Here is a little bit from the press release on those new lenses:

Seven high performance anamorphic primes (35 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm, 60 mm, 75 mm, 100 mm and 135 mm) comprise the lineup. The lenses are fast and compact, capable of shooting at T1.9, and most have a front diameter of 95 mm. The maximum lens weight is below 3 kg...Virtually no image breathing and no anamorphic mumps (fat face effect) are experienced. A com- pletely new focusing mechanism overcomes time-consuming mechanical readjustments on set; state-of-the-art lens barrels feature improved dust and water protection. Anamorphic imagery is famous for striking bokeh. With the Master Anamorphics this is further opti- mized with evenly illuminated oval out-of-focus highlights. Anamorphic blue streak lines are ren- dered in a fresh style with enhanced flares and reflections for additional artistic options.

Check out some more photos of the Anamorphic lens below, and a picture (thanks to Film and Digital Times) of it mounted on an Arri Alexa Studio at IBC (which is capable of 4:3 since these are 2X anamorphics).

What do you guys think?


[via Film and Digital Times & Photo Rumors]

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Your Comment


Are anamorphic lenses more difficult to make? Or is it just that they are high end cinema lenses? Is it possible to make cheap anamorphic lenses?

I imagine picture widths will get wider as displays get bigger. For example, I watch most web video at arms length from a 24" display. 16x9 is too big and in-your-face at this distance. Cinemascope on the other hand, is perfect. I suspect part of it is because we don't notice distortion on the sides as much as top and bottom. A case in point, if you take a super wide Tokina 11-16mm - a popular lens - and mask the top and bottom, it doesn't even look like a wide angle lens anymore, ie. we don't notice the distortion on the sides.

September 9, 2012 at 6:02AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'd like to know too, if anamorphic lenses are really more expensive to make (and if so, why) or if the reason for the high price is the small scale and affluence of their target market (film studios, rental houses)

Isn't there a gap to fill for a smaller company (i.e. Samyang) with some affordable anamorphic lens?

September 9, 2012 at 8:27AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Yea if it's not more expensive to make I would love to see Samyang take it on. I love how that company makes quality lenses at reasonable prices.

September 9, 2012 at 9:46AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I dont know about quality lol. Reasonably priced, sure. But I wouldn't want to see those lens' footage blown up on a cinema screen, yikes.

September 11, 2012 at 3:38AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

john jeffreys

Why not John? The Samyang 35mm for instance is very sharp, you would not be able to pick it out from a Compact Prime in a properly shot and graded film at a 2k or 4k screening. It's good enough for sharp 6k stills, I think it can manage 2k. Cine lenses are expensive more for their build quality, T stop tolerances and ease of use on shoots compared to stills lenses, not because they blow your head off with 'quality' when you project them.

September 11, 2012 at 7:07AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'd like to see a comparison vid. I'm super skeptical about these new cheap cine-style lenses. And build quality, you're right. Thats very important to me. I like my shit heavy and made of metal with smooth aperture/focus rings.

September 11, 2012 at 8:31AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

john jeffreys

Well then you'd like the Samyang 35mm as it has a smooth aperture and focus ring and that's not even the cine version. It's a sharp stills lens which is effectively cine modded, which means it will easily outresolve an Alexa's sensor, that's 'good' quality. Micro contrast, bokeh, colour etc etc are more subjective, less obvious and more malleable in post.

September 11, 2012 at 11:01AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


They are harder to make because at least some of the elements aren't a surface of revolution -- that is, they have different curvature in each axis. Ironically, really cheap and nasty anamorphics made from injection molded plastic wouldn't cost any more once the mold was made, but as I understand lens grinding, anamorphics are genuinely harder to make. The real reason for the huge price, though, is small volume -- they are only going to sell a small number of each lens, so they have to get their R&D back across a smaller number of units.

But, maybe someone like Samyang could be persuaded to go for it. We'd want something like 1.32:1 rather than 2:1, because that's what would make a 16:9 imager work at roughly 2.35:1 (cinemascope-ish). They would be more expensive than their existing lenses, but I think they would probably sell plenty of them even at twice the price. Interesting. We shall see!

September 9, 2012 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Designing and making a bad anamorphic lens is neither difficult nor expensive, it just takes a cylindrical element . There are many old Russian lenses of this type available and tey're not very expensive. But the image and build quality sucks, sadly...
The Zeiss Master Anamorphics are an entirely new design incorporating the anamorphic effect on several elements, as far as I understand it, these elements are a combination of spherical/aspherical and cylindric shape and therefore very difficult to manufacture/measure and align in the final system.
These lenses are propably very-well corrected and I don't see any chance on a less-experienced/skilled maker offering such a demanding design at a significantly lower price point, not even on larger scale.

September 9, 2012 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"Anamorphic flaws are one of the things people are looking for, so if Zeiss minimizes them too much, does it really defeat the purpose of an anamorphic lens?"

from the press release:

"they have lost none of desirable visual elements that have made the anamorphic look so enchanting and popular for the last 60 years. Among these are the unique blue streak lines, reflections and flares produced by anamorphic lenses, which are highly valued by cinematographers for their artistic effect and have been optimized in the Master Anamorphic series."

September 9, 2012 at 10:30AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I want that 135mm

September 9, 2012 at 1:00PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Those anamorphics look amazing. Can't wait to try them. Hopefully a lot more common at rental houses too.

September 9, 2012 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM



September 9, 2012 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

thadon calico

How much will the Anamorphic Cost?

those are sick

September 10, 2012 at 7:32PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Congratulations to Zeiss for heralding new anamorphics
for the digital age! I think these used with Alexa Studio are
the replacement for 35mm cine-cameras.

September 10, 2012 at 8:12PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

V. Anand

The price tag on the anamorphic lenses almost made me vomit. O.o
Truly dream crushing prices for 99% of the worlds population.

March 19, 2013 at 10:39PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Just another person

check out this short film I did with the master prime anamorphics this year!!

February 18, 2014 at 9:30AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM