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New Zeiss lenses at NAB 2009


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#1 georg lamshöft

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 04:37 AM

You propably already know it:
http://www.zeiss.com...1257590002976db

Most likely it's a low-cost lens set for 35mm-digital!?
High production volume could lower prices, but hopefully not too much, lens sets for under 10k$ will be limited in optical design, selection and mechanical quality and you don't need another "Zeiss"-series made by cosina based on 70/80s-optics...

Another interesting point of new lens-series:
The single-chip-cameras have a quite thick cover-glass in front of the sensor (IR/protection) which causes abberations. Some "digital"-lenses in the still-photography world are already designed with this cover glass in mind as part of the optical path (like Rodenstock HR/Schneider Digitar/Leica S). For use with film, you have to add a special rear element to "simulate" the cover glass.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 07:47 PM

Another interesting point of new lens-series:
The single-chip-cameras have a quite thick cover-glass in front of the sensor (IR/protection) which causes abberations. Some "digital"-lenses in the still-photography world are already designed with this cover glass in mind as part of the optical path (like Rodenstock HR/Schneider Digitar/Leica S). For use with film, you have to add a special rear element to "simulate" the cover glass.


I wonder which cameras have this IR block and which lenses need to compensate for it. I know RED, Nikon and Canon single chip DSLR-style sensor cameras are able to take most lenses with or without this rear lens element. I have been using some 70's Pentax lenses on my D90 with excellent results.
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#3 georg lamshöft

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 05:02 AM

That depends on the cover glass itself, microlenses and the optical design of the lens. Strong retrofocus lenses (wide image angle but long focal length = light hits the sensor from a very steep angle) tend to reduce the problems.
It's propably not a big problem with SLRs and small sensors, but some RED users already seem to wonder about strange aberrations from their lenses which they haven't seen on film - it's propably a result of the cover glass.
I don't know if Zeiss and the others really come up with such a lens design, it was just speculation, wondering what we can expect from new lenses!?
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#4 Matthew Rogers

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 11:03 PM

Just saw this posted over at Reduser by Michael Bravin from Band Pro Film & Digital:

Okay... so now I can talk about real lenses from a known reputable lens manufacturer, that we have in our posession.

At NAB #C10408 we will show a set of 7 Zeiss Compact Primes, prime lenses that cover over full frame 35mm from Zeiss in Oberkochen, Germany. Made in the very same factory where MasterPrimes, DigiPrimes & UltraPrimes are designed and manufactured.

We have a set in our facility and they look very nice, have excellent mechanics, and make beautiful pictures.

Oh and they are noticeably lightweight while being very robust.

They are true cine lenses. They feature front to back:
-T* coating
-Common front diameter 114mm
-Focus is smooth with accurate expanded scales and no backlash just like all Zeiss cine lenses
-Iris scales are expanded
-PL Mount
<30K Euro / $40K for a set of 7

Full sets will be available early July.

http://www.bandprodi....t/BPDstore.cgi


-----
So the race starts....it's the year of cine glass at NAB.

Matthew
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#5 Gus Sacks

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:41 AM

At T2.9?
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#6 Matthew Rogers

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 09:17 AM

Yeah, I got a lot less excited when other people noticed the T stops this morning. In fact, the t-stop down right sucks on the wide end. 18mm T3.8, 21mm T2.9, 25mm T 2.9, 28mmT2.1, 35mm T2.1, 50mm T1.5 85mm T1.5.

Personally, in my work I need wide and fast (I shoot hospital footage and other more non narrative stuff.) Looks like I am back looking at the RED lenses, the unknown German lenses, and the new super speed Lomo's.

Matthew
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#7 georg lamshöft

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 10:57 AM

They will really cover 24x36mm?

I know that everybody is waiting for a little wonder, newest optical designs with optics and mechanics manufactured to the highest standards - but cheaper, much cheaper just like flatscreens or digital cameras got cheaper...

But that simply is not going to happen. Lenses are wonders of manufacturing. It's not only the lens performance but also the consistence of perfomance, the mechanics and optics that demand very expensive processes which only a very few companies in the world are capable of - with experienced, well-trained staff. Even the calculation software (despite well-known mathmatics behind it) from Leica or Zeiss is self-developed and exclusive, even the top-notch lenses of these two high-end manufacturers have distinct characteristics.

Bigger production numbers can lower costs to a certain degree, but costs for this quality remain high. One simple example: They can't use lens grinding machines which polish several lens elements at once (used for C/N...) even if they would sell thousands of these sets but to keep tolerances every lens surface has to be mashined individually. That are not the cost-savings we know from other industries with mass-production (substitute metal with plastic...).

Even the new WA-Summilux-lenses (which are mass-production by cine.standards with way more than 500 pieces) from Leica cost 7k$ each.

Many new brand-names will show up and try to enter an entirely new-market (prosumer 35mm-cine) of mostly unexperienced RED-users with lower and lower prices, new cool names and marketing... But I've seen what the Russians did to East German production facilities, what their standards are - they didn't invest anything into quality and technology for decades (that why Zeiss moved to West-Germany) and their skills in manufacturing and design of lenses is at least 20 years behind. Don't expect any wonders from there...

I know Carl Zeiss and their quality-standards (I'm not talking about every lens with their brand-name on it...). When they're not able to design a great-quality WA for this price beyond T3.8 nobody can and no sales or marketing person can overrule their engineers. They rather produce a great T3.8 than a not-so-good T2.1 which becomes usable at T3.8 but that sells ten times as good...
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#8 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:37 PM

I saw Che on the big screen _shot on RED and with what I assume where Zeiss or similar high-end fast lenses and printed on 35 mm widescreen. There were no artifacts or aberrations clearly caused by the lenses that I could see. The RED images were razor sharp, too sharp I would say. Part of this is obviously the fact that it was shot on video, even RAW video which has its own distinctive look, but the lenses played no small part in that "too sharp" look. The point that I am making is that clearly, current top notch cine lenses are more than adequate for this type of work, as far as I am concerned. Personally, I would like to see glass that is not so sharp for this type of narrative film making.

So ultimately I think all this is relative. One can spend upwards of a $100K buying a set of top of the line Zeiss 35mm glass, but is it justified by the jobs they will be used for? Not necessarily. I mean, does every industrial video need to be shot on a 35mm sized sensor with lenses designed to capture images that will be displayed on 50' screens?

The same goes for some features, especially indie low budget movies shot on RED / prosumer 35 mm (like the term BTW!) cameras by not so experienced DP's. Yes, they all would love to be picked up for distribution, but the sad reality is that most won't. That is not to say that one should not strive for the best image quality. Personally, I find that the lenses and shooting format are project dependent. Take The Wrestler, for example, shot on S-16 with quality glass, digitally blown up to 35mm and looking every bit the part.

When every high school kid is able to buy a Scarlet of similar HD / RAW motion picture camera with above average glass on it, the question will be: do the director, DP and crew have talent and artistic command to churn out top-notch quality entertainment? Every aspiring film maker out there wants a 35mm sized sensor camera with razor sharp lenses to go with it, but is it best format and lenses for their purposes?

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 15 April 2009 - 12:41 PM.

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#9 Matthew Rogers

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 10:27 PM

I saw Che on the big screen _shot on RED and with what I assume where Zeiss or similar high-end fast lenses and printed on 35 mm widescreen. There were no artifacts or aberrations clearly caused by the lenses that I could see. The RED images were razor sharp, too sharp I would say. Part of this is obviously the fact that it was shot on video, even RAW video which has its own distinctive look, but the lenses played no small part in that "too sharp" look. The point that I am making is that clearly, current top notch cine lenses are more than adequate for this type of work, as far as I am concerned. Personally, I would like to see glass that is not so sharp for this type of narrative film making.


I believe the 2d part was shot with the RED 18-50 (which is a pretty sharp lens). The first part (which was actually shot 2d) was shot with anamorphic lenses--which also means there was less resolution since the RED is native 16:9.

I find it interesting that you found the RED images too sharp. Unless you add sharping in post, the default for the RED has sharping at 0%, which makes for a very sharp, but more "creamy film" type sharpness. Did you see Che projected digitally or off a film print? Not sure if projectors are designed to add sharping...

Matthew
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#10 Gus Sacks

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 11:18 PM

The point that I am making is that clearly, current top notch cine lenses are more than adequate for this type of work, as far as I am concerned. Personally, I would like to see glass that is not so sharp for this type of narrative film making.


I'm very satisfied with how a set of Cookes looked on a recent RED short :)
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#11 Rich Steel

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 05:18 AM

<30K Euro / $40K for a set of 7

Full sets will be available early July.

http://www.bandprodi....t/BPDstore.cgi


$40K..!!! Wouldn't you be better sinking your cash into a couple of Brand New Arri Masters Primes (T1.3)? or even better buying 4 possibly 5 second hand Ultra Primes.

I've got a complete set of ZF lenses and on any given day I'm maybe using 3 lenses out of the complete set. If I had 40K to spend on lenses I'd look at the second hand market first. I think Zeiss have missed a trick here. Shame really.

I've just worked out you can buy a Brand New 28mm (T1.9), 50mm (T1.9), 85mm (T1.9) and 100mm (T1.9) Arri Ultra Prime set for $42,000 and those are RRP prices. You could probably work a discount from ARRI direct if you were guaranteeing a sale of $40,000 (US). I know what I'd be buying if given the choice between the new compacts or some ultras.
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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:33 AM

These sound rather like the Zeiss SLR lens optical design being used in new cine mechanics (which will make them more expensive) and being made in Germany.

http://www.zeiss.com/photo
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#13 Rich Steel

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:13 AM

These sound rather like the Zeiss SLR lens optical design being used in new cine mechanics (which will make them more expensive) and being made in Germany.

http://www.zeiss.com/photo


I think they are pretty much based on the ZF Range of Still lenses. I can't fathom out why Zeiss have done this. I don't think there's a market for them (personally). Maybe if you were paying $20K (US) for a set of 7 then yes I can see them filling a gap in the market but at $40K that's just crazy talk.
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#14 Mike Brennan

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 07:43 PM

Most likely it's a low-cost lens set for 35mm-digital!?.....


Very good question!
Could there be other film camera related reasons for 24mm x 36mm coverage?

Rebirth of vistavision?

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#15 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 10:27 PM

I find it interesting that you found the RED images too sharp. Unless you add sharping in post, the default for the RED has sharping at 0%, which makes for a very sharp, but more "creamy film" type sharpness. Did you see Che projected digitally or off a film print? Not sure if projectors are designed to add sharping...

Matthew


It was a 35mm print.

S
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#16 georg lamshöft

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:16 AM

"Too sharp"-lenses don't exist, you can always lower the resolution/contrast of any high performing lens in several ways. But you can't save information that was lost during shooting. Using lenses because of certain subjective aspects like bokeh or flare handling is something different.
Bayer-filtered and interpolated images need sharpening, especially when they're low-pass filtered. And every sharpening can look artificial, especially on moving pictures.

By the way, who is manufacturing/designing the Red Pro Primes?
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#17 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 10:50 AM

"Too sharp"-lenses don't exist, you can always lower the resolution/contrast of any high performing lens in several ways. But you can't save information that was lost during shooting. Using lenses because of certain subjective aspects like bokeh or flare handling is something different.
Bayer-filtered and interpolated images need sharpening, especially when they're low-pass filtered. And every sharpening can look artificial, especially on moving pictures.


Well, this is a matter of personal taste. While the sharpness of a lens can be scientifically measured, their effect of pictures shot with them is completely subjective. Even if Bayer sensor images need sharpening, I personally think that when paired with a sharper lens their look is ungodly crisp and shallow. Cinematographers can always reduce the resolution of a given lens, but on most RED projects out there, they choose not to, I don't know why. As far as I am concerned, this reduces the impact of the images 9 out of 10 times.
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#18 georg lamshöft

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:36 PM

After reading the official statement, I'll have to say that I'm a little bit less enthusiastic now.
I know the ZF-lenses and they're really good performers (especially newer designs like the 2/28) but they don't represent state-of-the-art technology Carl Zeiss is known for. Their designs are limited to lower costs and to allow production by Cosina (- no complex aspherical designs... but the compact primes are made in Oberkochen) and in critical situations they are visibly below new Leica Asph/Apo-designs and propably their own cine-lenses (Ultra/Master primes). It would be interesting to see the differences in performance caused by tighter tolerances in comparison to the cosina-made lenses but I don't think that their performance is as unreachable to others as the Master Primes.
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#19 Fred Salaff

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:57 AM

After reading the official statement, I'll have to say that I'm a little bit less enthusiastic now.
I know the ZF-lenses and they're really good performers (especially newer designs like the 2/28) but they don't represent state-of-the-art technology Carl Zeiss is known for. Their designs are limited to lower costs and to allow production by Cosina (- no complex aspherical designs... but the compact primes are made in Oberkochen) and in critical situations they are visibly below new Leica Asph/Apo-designs and propably their own cine-lenses (Ultra/Master primes). It would be interesting to see the differences in performance caused by tighter tolerances in comparison to the cosina-made lenses but I don't think that their performance is as unreachable to others as the Master Primes.


The "Lomo" lenses which are called Super 35 Illuminas...from Luma Tech of Florida are going to keep their prices below $30K for a full set of 5 lenses: 18mm - 85mm...all T1.3. The protptypes shown at NAB are very promising and full production sets are dues in Sept-Oct.
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