It started with the "Ultras."  What is beyond ultra? Well, Master, of course. It stayed that way for a long time, with the Zeiss Master Primes representing the peak of cinema lens design. However, as sensors are growing beyond the Super35mm size, Zeiss has to keep up and has announced a new line of lenses designed to cover larger formats. They are called the Supreme Primes. 

With a 46.2mm image circle, they compare favorably with the popular Sigma Cine Primes, though they are still less than the monster 60mm covered by the Leica Thalias.  Most impressive, however, beyond just giving Zeiss quality on full frame sensors, is the focus on a light weight, coming in at roughly 1600 grams, or between three and four pounds, for most of the lineup. This is huge, since as much as cinematographers loved Master Primes, they were notoriously heavily and not loved by the Steadicam and gimbal operators who had to keep them afloat. For comparison, the lightest Master was 4.8lbs, and they regularly got above six and even eight pounds.  A lens design that gives Zeiss quality, while being small enough to fly, is a dynamite combination. 

Screen_shot_2018-05-30_at_7Credit: Zeiss

Of course, this being Zeiss, the lenses won't come cheap, with the base set of six (25, 29, 35, 50, 85 and 100) running $108,000. While we can go over tech specs ad nauseum (and we will!), the proof of lenses is in the images they create. To put that to the test, Zeiss has commissioned four short films that are all shot on the new Primes to demonstrate their versatility on RED Monstro and Sony VENICE cameras. 

Continuing a recent industry trend, these lenses were not available to be seen at NAB in April and will be first publicly shown at CineGear this weekend in LA. We'll be there, so if you see us say hello. After CineGear you can check them out at Broadcast Asia in later June and the first glass will be available August 1st.  Check out the Zeiss site for more info.

  • 46.2 mm image circle
  • 25mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm available at launch
  • 15mm and 150mm open to T1.8, 200mm to T2.1., the rest to T1.5
  • eXtended Data Technology
  • Consistent 95mm front element
  • PL, LPL and EF Mount
  • Each lens weighs around 1600 grams (3.5 pounds)