Eager to show their engineering prowess, Zeiss has released a whole new line of SLR lenses they’re calling the Milvus. The new lenses include a 21mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2.0, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, 50mm f/2.0 Makro, and 100mm f/2.0 Makro. If you’re a Zeiss fan and these focal lengths all sound familiar to you, there’s a good reason for that – some of the previous ZF.2 lenses, which are now considered “classic” were based on relatively old optical designs.
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.
To sum up the new ZF.2 and ZE mount product line:
|Focal Length / Speed||Series||Price|
|25mm f/2.8 (ZF.2 only)||Classic||$1,004|
The new Milvus lenses have a housing style that started with the Touit series way back when and has carried through the Otus line. Another feature that the Milvus primes benefit from, also inherited from the Touit and Loxia primes, is their blue rubber weather seal at the rear of the lenses. Zeiss says these new primes will be dust and splash resistant which is a massive improvement over the Classic primes.
This is all great and we expect nothing less than a proper, robust housing from Zeiss. But what about the optics? I haven’t had a chance to test these out just yet – but the 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 Classic were long overdue for an update. Zeiss designed the new Milvus primes with sensors up to 50mp in mind which means that there will be absolutely no problem using these on 8K+ sensors for cinema work. There are improvements in the control of ghosting and flaring throughout the entire focus range and color matching to boot. 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.
For motion picture work, the new Milvus lenses should work quite well. Duclos Lenses will be offering their standard Cine-Mod which will include a common 80mm front ring (77mm filter thread), a seamless 32-pitch focus gear, and our Canon EF mount conversion for those who want the manual aperture ring of the ZF.2 model on their Canon EF mount camera. The de-clicking won’t be necessary as Zeiss have included another innovation that first showed up in the Loxia line – a user de-click option. The click-stops can be enabled or disabled quickly and easily with the use of a small “key”.
It’s no surprise that Zeiss had been working on a replacement for some of the older ZF.2 and ZE lenses which had optical designs dating back several decades. If there’s anything that Zeiss has proven in the recent past, it’s that they are listening to their customers and providing the industry with the tools to make absolutely stunning images. I’ll have a much more in-depth review once I get by hands on these bad boys. If you’re local and want to come check out the new Milvus lenses, head on over to www.DuclosLenses.com and schedule a demo!