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Zeiss Ultra Prime vs Super Speed MKIII Lenses


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#1 rashed zaman

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 11:39 PM

Hello Everyone,

I just joined this forum and this is my first posting. Please forgive my mistakes.

I am a cinematographer, working in Bangladesh. I came to USA three days ago to buy a camera package and set of lenses. I am little confused about the lenses. I need your suggestions. Please help.

I have two options:

Option 01 : A set of superspeed MKIII lenses. 18-24-35-50-85 mm . Total 5 lenses. They are USED but in a very good condition. T 1.3
Price is $44,500

Option 02: A set of brand new ULTRA prime lenses. 16-24-32-50-85 mm. T 1.9
Price is approx. $60,000



I spoke to a very experienced lens expert here. He told me that Ultra primes and Superspeeds are exactly same optically. They produce the same quality of image. Only difference is the housing.

I thought Ultra prime would produce better quality since they came after superspeed.

I am very confused. I want to know which set of lens I should purchase.

I would really appreciate if you please let me know your opinions.

Best Regards,

Rashed Zaman

( how do I get in touch with Mr. David Mullen? I really need his suggestions)
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#2 georg lamshöft

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:32 AM

I spoke to a very experienced lens expert here. He told me that Ultra primes and Superspeeds are exactly same optically. They produce the same quality of image. Only difference is the housing.


The Ultra Primes and Superspeeds are decades apart! They don't share any similarities with the Superspeeds, neither in mechanical or optical design.

The Ultra Primes are modern lenses, they are sharp and contrasty even wide open, while the Superspeeds show typical aberrations of old, fast lens designs (softer, less contrast, coma...). Even stopped down to T1.9 they will be softer and less contrasty than the Ultra Primes at the same (open) aperture.

I cannot tell you much about the differences in handling, but I guess the Ultra Primes are the overall superior choice. The Superspeeds are better if you want the distinctive "look" - but not as an universal lens.
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#3 Phil Soheili

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 07:06 AM

the distinctive "look" - but not a universal lens


Hello Georg,
would you be so kind as to specify this little further.
I am about to buy a set of superspeeds mkIII as well but what you just said made me a little nervous...
Thank you.
Phil
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 11:38 AM

Hello Georg,
would you be so kind as to specify this little further.
I am about to buy a set of superspeeds mkIII as well but what you just said made me a little nervous...
Thank you.
Phil


Stopped down T2.8/4 split they are pretty sharp. Not sure I would want to buy a set for anything like todays prices. Arri could not sell the ones left over & ended up selling sets for 1/2 price, with a new 235.
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#5 georg lamshöft

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 09:28 AM

@Phil
Sorry, just found your question.

Older designs like the Superspeeds show more aberrations (coma, chromatic aberrations), especially in difficult situations (open aperture, edges on wideangles...), also contrast and sharpness is lower. Some people like these flaws/aberrations and use it to create a distinctive "look" (just like the blue flares and distortion became a trademark for anamorphics).
New designs like the Ultra Primes show less aberrations, they have an overall "cleaner" and "perfect" look. Sharpness and contrast is higher (usually more noticeable at open apertures, especially when considering using the Superspeed beyond the capabilities of the Ultra Primes - <T1.9), less prone to flare...
I don't think the Superspeeds are bad lenses, they were state-of-the-art in the 1970s and many cinematographers relied on them. But when (for whatever reason) these old lenses are sold for very high prices, I would seriously rethink buying them. Despite the sometimes pleasant and welcome "look" the technical superior lenses like Ultra Primes are usually the better choice because adding a distinctive "look" to them (with filters e.g.) is much easier then getting rid of the particular "look" of the Superspeeds.

But this is about optical performance, I'm not sure how relevant the mechanical advancements of the Ultra Primes are.

Hope that makes sense!?
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#6 rashed zaman

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:45 AM

I like to thank everyone for your feedback. Finally I bought Ultra Prime Lens set from Abel Cinetech at Burbank.
Zeiss superspeed lenses are really really over priced.
Thank you friends.

Best Regards,

Rashed Zaman
cinematographer,
Bangladesh.
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 12:50 AM

Zeiss superspeed lenses are really really over priced.

Yeah, $44,500 for 5 Super Speeds is ridiculous. Good thing you already figured that out.
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