Canon Expands Compact-Servo Line with 70-200mm Tele-Zoom

A favorite focal length of still photographers, and naturally of hybrid cinematographers bridging the gap between the worlds of still photography and motion picture, the new 70-200mm Compact-Servo is sure to be an ideal choice for the ultra-light documentary shooter. Canon’s 18-80mm Compact-Servo was announced about the same time last year, just ahead of NAB 2016. If you’re unfamiliar with the Compact-Servo line, imagine all the camera operators in the world using Canon’s L series still lenses. Now imagine half of them called Canon and complained that their L series lens doesn’t hold focus through the zoom and it doesn’t have integrated gears, and the focus isn’t reliable or repeatable… Then imagine Canon going to their engineers and explaining this – and that’s where we get the Compact-Servo zooms.  Continue reading Canon Expands Compact-Servo Line with 70-200mm Tele-Zoom

The Future of Zeiss DSLR Lenses

zeiss55_4

I’ve been on a bit of a Zeiss kick here lately, partly because I genuinely appreciate their products, but mostly because they continue to innovate and provide new glass for their customers. Earlier this week we took delivery of the Zeiss 135mm T2.1 CP.2 which marked the first time Zeiss released a lens as a CP.2 before releasing it as a ZF.2 or ZE. I’ll be sure to put some tests of the 135mm up soon, it’s an impressive tele-prime to say the least. This brings me to todays topic. The ZF.2 lenses that the CP.2 primes are based on are still being produced in quantity and Zeiss continues to add focal lengths and updates older designs on a regular basis. There’s certainly no sign of them slowing down. However, if you pay attention to the inter-webs, you’d have noticed rumors and results of their new 55mm Distagon floating around.  Continue reading The Future of Zeiss DSLR Lenses

Zeiss CP.2 & CZ.2 Video Showcase

A lot of folks want to see actual footage instead of just numbers when it comes to the practical look and feel of a particular lens. And as usual, Zeiss delivered. Here is a small collection of short videos that feature different primes and even a few zooms that Zeiss currently offers. The first video is a “Sizzle Reel” with a lot of quick takes from different scenes using different lenses. Zeiss used a range of focal lengths including the 15mm T2.1, 21mm T2.9, 25mm T2.1, 28mm T2.1, 35mm T2.1, 50mm T2.1, 85mm T2.1, 100mm T2.1 CF, 135mm T2.1, and lastly the 70-200mm T2.9 and shot a nice panning shot and a static rotating shot with each focal length. Take a look and gather all you can from this collection of results.

CP.2 Sizzle Reel – © 2012 Carl Zeiss AG

Continue reading Zeiss CP.2 & CZ.2 Video Showcase

Zeiss CP.2 vs. ZF.2

Zeiss released their CP.2 (Compact Primes) cinema lenses about a year ago, not long after they dropped their original Compact Primes on the market. There has been a lot of debate about the value of the Compact Primes. With an influx of new primes with a range of price tags, there is no shortage of choices for the budding cinematographer or even the veteran looking to invest in some glass. At $3,900 a piece, or a set of five lenses just shy of $20k, the Compact Primes are some of the cheapest options out there for what I would consider professional cinema lenses. However, a lot of cinematographers are opting for the ultra budget conscious still photo lenses with Cine-Mods to bring them up to cinema spec. But what makes the Compact Primes so much more expensive than, say, a Zeiss ZF.2? After all, they are in fact the exact same glass but in a different housing, right? Sort of… There are quite a few features that really separate the two lenses no matter how similar their heritage is. The ZF.2s are Zeiss’ latest all manual still photo lenses. They just happen to make very pretty images when mounted to a motion picture camera as well as a still photo camera. The Compact Primes take it a step beyond pretty images and provide a professional set of features that can be very valuable to a cinematographer and his/her crew. I’ll start with the optics. Zeiss says that the CP.2 lenses use hand-picked elements that really increase the consistency and accuracy of the lenses. I can’t attest to this as I haven’t seen any difference in the glass or the test results produced by the Compact Primes, but it looks good on a brochure.

It may not be obvious, but these two 85mm primes are share the exact same optical design.

Continue reading Zeiss CP.2 vs. ZF.2

Lens Image Circle Database

I say database… But it’s really just a list trying to sound official.

So basically, RED has given the world a great deal of technology at a great price. But they also induced many a headache with different sensor sizes, resolutions, specs, and names. To make things a little easier, I’m compiling a list of lenses that pass through the shop and recording their image circle, or the diameter that they will cover without vignetting. This list will simply show you what the lenses are capable of. Feel free to comment on this post if you see any discrepancies or want a specific lens added. I want this to be as accurate as possible. Also note that the sensor/format sizes are generalized. There are a ton of different industry standards. There are several dozen formats that fall under 4 perf 35mm film alone.  Continue reading Lens Image Circle Database