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Master Primes


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#1 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 03:03 PM

I recently shot a commercial with the Zeiss Master Primes and got to see a 35mm print of our rushes. Needless to say I was quite impressed. Already when we were checking out the lenses, we put them on a projector and at T1.3 they were sharper than Ultra Primes at T2.8. The lenses have the same 'look' as the Ultra Primes in as much as they are very sharp with very clean focus fall-off.

However they are also incredibly flare resistant. We shot straight into a 6K and they just didn't flare! I for one like the texture that flares add, but if one wants that with the Master Primes, one would have to add a filter. Another side effect of this is that since they do not bloom around highlights one needs to be very careful with blowing out things that one doesn't want to see. In the print we could still see the scissorlift outside a window, even though the 6K was shining straight at the lens. The Dop was very surprised by this, as on any other lens this window would have completely blown out. So we had to fix this in the DI.

What I like most about the lenses is that no matter what the stop, the bokeh is always perfectely round. We had lots of specular highlights in our shots and they looked very nice and organic. Also they do not breathe at all, as one of the first things I tried when we had them on the camera was to pull focus from infinity to minimum focus. On one hand the look of these lenses is very close to how the eye sees, since they do not introduce optical articfacts (flares, breathing, out-of-focus highlights that have the shape of the iris), but on the other hand they can look a bit too clean or clinical because of this. I suppose it's a matter of taste whether one likes that or not. VFX people will ldo for sure. I for one prefer lenses that are very sharp, since good contrast is also a matter of lighting and you can use filters more to change the look.
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:05 PM

Their sharp, but that's also the propblem with them. They have a far less organic feel than the older T1.3's. And because they're so sharp, they feel like they have more depth of field rather than less compared to the older ones. They're also bloody huge and heavy, which can be hard work.

I will use them again for the right project - for instance a low level, available light night shoot or candle light scene. But if I can light, then I don't see the point in burdening a budget with these expensive lenses.
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 03:49 AM

If they're too sharp for your taste, you can always diffuse them. And as someone who's shot anamorphic, I don't find these lenses too heavy really. They are about the size of spherical Primos, aren't they?
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#4 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 08:25 AM

If they're too sharp for your taste, you can always diffuse them. And as someone who's shot anamorphic, I don't find these lenses too heavy really. They are about the size of spherical Primos, aren't they?


The spherical Primos are bulky, but not very heavy compared to a lot of the Zeiss lenses.
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#5 coolbreeze

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 06:37 AM

The spherical Primos are bulky, but not very heavy compared to a lot of the Zeiss lenses.



The master primes are a lot larger then Primos/S4's/Ultra Primes and about 1 1/2 times the weight - comparable to C-series anamorphics. Ive been flying them on my Steadicam for the past few weeks on a feature with no weight/size problems.
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#6 808_Bass

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Posted 26 April 2006 - 01:43 AM

Ha ha, do one film with Primo Anamorphics and the Master Primes will feel like old Zeiss standards!

Now they're some hunks of glass!
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