Zeiss launched their Milvus line back in September of 2015 and has continued to add focal lengths over the past two years including the still-new 15mm, 18mm, and 135mm. Originally, the Milvus line was Zeiss’ answer to the long-in-the-tooth Classic line of primes which desperately needed an optical design overhaul. The initial line of Milvus primes included a brand new, fast 50mm and 85mm, but lacked a fan favorite; 35mm f/1.4. Until now…
The new 35mm f/1.4 Milvus is a high quality, manual focus prime lens that will match perfectly with the rest of the Zeiss Milvus line of primes. If you’ve used any of the other Milvus lenses, you’ll be familiar with the new 35mm. It features the same smooth, sleek design; smooth, consistent focus rotation; environmental sealing; and more. Compared to most of the other Milvus lenses, the 35mm f/1.4 will be a chunky little guy at 2.5lbs. Compared to the smaller models in the line, it’s a full pound heavier than most. As with the others, the 1.4/35 has a fully alloy body that provides a robust, solid construction.
Optically, we’re looking at floating element design comprised of fourteen elements in eleven groups with one aspherical element (rear) and several anomalous partial dispersion elements throughout. It will be available in the same ZE (Canon EF) and ZF.2 (Nikon F) lens mounts. The ZE model will have an electronic aperture control that requires an active EF mount camera to operate whereas the ZF.2 model will have a fully manual aperture movement and can easily be converted to a Canon EF mount by Duclos Lenses ($125).
Speaking of Duclos Lenses, you can bet the Cine-Mod and Cine-Mod PRO will be available for the 35mm Milvus, similar to the rest of the Milvus modifications from Duclos Lenses. The Cine-Mod PRO will feature an expanded, seamless focus gear, and an integrated 95mm front ring for use with most common matte boxes. The lens will cover a 35mm Full Frame sensor, suitable for just about everything out there by way of simple adapters, including RED 8K VV (pending further tests).
You can find all the spec sheets and MTF charts you could want over on Zeiss’ website >
So what does this mean for the rest of the Milvus line and even the new CP.3 line? It brings the Milvus family to a comprehensive TEN prime lenses ranging from 15mm all the way to 135mm. For the CP.3 line, the glass in this new Milvus design is sure to make it’s way into a CP.3 housing, most likely at a reduced T2.1 aperture to match the rest of the CP.3 family but more importantly, this now gives Zeiss a brand new optical design for 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm; or as I see it, the foundation for a new set of “Super Speeds”, similar to what they offered with the CP.2 “Super Speeds” but with vastly superior optical performance thanks to the new formulas.
Let us know what you think. Do you trade a few extra bucks for superb image quality, or do you save some dough and go with an inferior quality lens that simply gets the job done? Share your thoughts below! The Milvus 35mm f/1.4 is available to order immediately from Duclos Lenses and the Cine-Mod PRO will be coming soon.