September 10, 2015
IBC 2015

New Zeiss Milvus Full-Frame Lens Family Has Canon or Nikon Mounts, Compatible with 8K+ Resolutions

Carl Zeiss Lenses - NEW Milvus lens family
Zeiss has just introduced a brand new full-frame lens family called Milvus, that takes design cues from Otus, but optically builds on the most recent ZE/ZF all-manual still lenses.

The old ZF and ZE lenses will be called Zeiss Classic, and while they will continue to sell certain lenses, it's pretty clear that this optical and physical design is meant to replace those lenses. Besides a $1,283 50mm f/2 and $1,843 100mm f/2 Macro, the new Milvus full-frame lens line will contain a $1,843 21mm f/2.8, $1,117 35mm f/2, $1,200 50mm f/1.4, and $1,800 85mm f/1.4.

Matthew Duclos just wrote about these lenses, and says they are able to resolve 50MP (which is a little over 8K), so these should work with anything out there. He also mentioned which lenses were getting cancelled:

So what happens to the “Classic” Zeiss ZF.2 and ZE primes? Well, they’re still great lenses and they’ll continue to be. The 50mm f/1.4 Classic and the 85mm f/1.4 Classic will be available in tandem with the newer, better Milvus primes but the Classic 21mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2.0, 50mm f/2.0 Makro, and 100mm f/2.0 Makro will be discontinued. All the other Classic focal lengths will continue to be available as well.

And more from his post:

Don’t expect Otus performance out of the new 50mm and 85mm Milvus – but do expect an improvement over the older, Classic versions. The 50mm features an all new design consisting of 10 elements in 9 groups – 4 elements using low dispersion glass and 1 aspheric element. The 85mm is also a brand new design comprised of 11 elements in 9 groups – 7 low dispersion elements.

These lenses are all manual focus just like the predecessors, and apparently have a longer focus throw. Another interesting feature is something they've got with some of their other models, which is a de-click feature on the Nikon F-Mount that lets you make the iris smooth by just using a small tool:

Zeiss Milvus De-Click

Here is more from Zeiss on the Milvus line:

The new ZEISS Milvus lenses enable high-quality film recordings with soft and cinematic bokeh. "With their extremely high contrast rendition, the lenses meet the latest 6K video standards and display uniform color characteristics," Casenave continues. All six ZEISS Milvus lenses have an exceptionally long rotation angles of the focus ring for precise focusing. The practical, rubber-covered focus ring features outstanding grip properties for optimal focusing. The 'de-click' function in the ZF.2 mount lenses allows filmmakers to adjust the aperture freely and smoothly, enabling professional results even in changing light conditions. 

We've got two video samples so far, the first from Jared Abrams at Wide Open Camera, and the second from David Clifford:

Specs:

  • EF Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Planar Optical Design
  • Floating Elements System
  • Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Manual Focus Design
  • Anodized Metal Barrel, Rubber Focus Ring
  • Weather-Sealed Construction

From B&H, here is a more detailed look at the specs for these lenses:

Zeiss Milvus Lens Line Specs

Here is a still image by Mathew Irving Photography taken with the 100mm f/2 (you can see the original here):

These lenses look incredibly sharp, and they will certainly be a step up from the previous all-manual lenses. Whether you'll really be able to see the difference between the versions of these Zeiss lenses is another story, but the differences will certainly become clearer as you shoot higher-resolution video like 4K. Like anything Zeiss, these aren't going to be cheap, as a complete set will run you just over $7,800 (a bit more if you bought all of them). There is no question, however, that they will be built well and will perform optically. 

You can find links to pre-order these lenses, which should be out in October.       

Your Comment

8 Comments

These lenses look particularly sexy.

September 10, 2015 at 2:11PM

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Benjamin Lebeau
Cinematographer, Colorist, Editor
349

The focus throw looks pretty much the same to me, at least from the pictures. I'm sure they changed it a bit, but not where it matters. Look at the 35mm for example, maybe the most used lens in the kit for videographers - look at the throw from 5' to 10' to infinity: If you've ever done focus pulling - you know that's a joke. It's ok for run and gun solo operators, but for extensive cinema use - it's the same pain in the ass as the old set. Same goes for 50mm f/2. I mean, people handle this, myself included, but to advertise this as key feature of the series seems like reaching.
I'm sure the glass is great, it's just that I, for one, was really waiting for this feature, only to be disappointed.

September 10, 2015 at 2:40PM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
250

I wouldn't judge too much based on the pictures. The pictures on B&H show different (and much better) focus scales on the close up images for the Nikon 35. I'd imagine that's more like what we can expect from the shipping lens, at least if they're bragging about the focus throw.

September 10, 2015 at 3:23PM

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Frankly, looks just the same to me. I'm wishing for more actual marks on the lens.

September 11, 2015 at 3:05AM, Edited September 11, 3:05AM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
250

Very nice looking lenses. I'm curious to see how much better these are wide open (or close to) than the classic versions. Hopefully less chromatic aberration...

September 10, 2015 at 4:14PM

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Dane
91

Doesn't this cannibalize the CP.2 lines. 8k of resolution has to be more than what the CP.2s resolve.

September 10, 2015 at 4:51PM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
896

Isn't Jarred Land RED's CEO?

September 10, 2015 at 5:36PM, Edited September 10, 5:36PM

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Rodrigo Prata
Director of Photography
190

I want these lenses :)
Btw, checkout my reaserch on influence of a lens and sensor on the vfx and compositing http://renderstory.com/30-of-magic/

September 10, 2015 at 6:48PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1217