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Zeiss zf.2 lenses

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#1 Jimmy Jib

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:11 AM

Anyone here using Zeiss zf.2 DSLR lenses for cinema? I'm about to order a whole set, 85mm, 50mm, 35mm, 21mm  and I have a Nikon 105mm lens for macro. I am on a budget and can't afford hiring or buying proper PL mount Zeiss Cinema lenses. The Zeiss prime set will be used to film mostly music videos for the web and some corporate work 720p. I will be travelling with these lenses to other countries too, so keeping costs down makes sense. This post is just to see what other users think of Zeiss primes for film / video, and whether they can deliver as well as they do for photography.


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#2 Travis Gray

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

From what I hear, the zf.2 has the same glass as the CP.2, just different housing and focus mechanics. Not sure about breathing. But I'm sure there are tests out there on youtube or vimeo.

 

So the one downside is you're getting different lens sizes which can be annoying for mattebox setups. With the CP.2s you're working with the same diameters and the Arri boxes are sized to fit their primes, so easy on. I have the CP.2s and love that I don't have to worry about the mattebox size (and go without rails if needbe)

 

 

But, really, from what I hear, glass is the same, so image quality will still be there.


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#3 Billy Jayne

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:44 PM

I own a set and can offer some advice:

 

Get in touch with Duclos lenses ~

 

Iris declicked

step up rings to 80mm so you have a uniform set that will fit a matte box

 

 

WARNING - These lenses only get good in my opinion at 4 to 5.6  On the other hand, CP.2s really are the same glass rehoused and not worth the money to have to stop down that much so the ZF.2 is the way to go EXCEPT you can do accurate focus pulls on the CP.2 and it is properly marked because it is in a cinema lens housing.  Trying to do a focus pull on the ZF.2 is nearly impossible as there is hardly any throw and not properly marked for film making.

 

Just some thoughts to share based on my experience

Good luck!


Edited by Billy Jayne, 14 December 2013 - 09:46 PM.

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#4 aapo lettinen

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 03:45 AM

 

 

WARNING - These lenses only get good in my opinion at 4 to 5.6  On the other hand, CP.2s really are the same glass rehoused and not worth the money to have to stop down that much so the ZF.2 is the way to go EXCEPT you can do accurate focus pulls on the CP.2 and it is properly marked because it is in a cinema lens housing.  Trying to do a focus pull on the ZF.2 is nearly impossible as there is hardly any throw and not properly marked for film making.

 

Plus the most of the CP2:s are the same outer diameters (especially length and gear position) , so you don't have to move the matte box and FF when changing lenses, this is a huge advantage in most situations despite the lenses are larger in size and somewhat heavier than the ZF counterparts. And most of the CP2:s don't breath noticeably...

 

CP2's also have the possibility of changing mounts quickly if needed, even on set. Just don't count on that the markings remain accurate if doing this on set, the ffd usually changes slightly and you would need to recalibrate which takes usually too much time.


Edited by aapo lettinen, 15 December 2013 - 03:46 AM.

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#5 Alexandre de Tolan

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 07:12 PM

Most have been said before but I will chime in since I have a set nearly identical to the one you want to buy and don't quite agree (respectfully), with some of the information posted above.

 

For the record, my set is comprised by: 3.5/18  2/25  2/35  1.4/50  1.4/85. Curiously I also kept a 105 Micro Nikkor and a 1.2/50 Nikkor as well when selling my Nikon glass to buy Zeiss (more on this later on).

 

Regarding ZF.2s compared with CP.2s. I've compared both extensively. Most have been said but I have to disagree with Billy on two aspects:

 

1st - When he says that the lenses "only get good in (…) at 4 to 5.6". I realize that he's giving his own opinion and therefore mine is that most of these lenses are truly useful from 2.8 on (obvious exception to 18mm which comparatively is also very good as soon as f/4.

 

Bear in mind that most 2/50 owners swear by them at f/2 and I've already read some articles stating that this lens is better at f/2 than the 1.4/50 at the same aperture. From 2.8 they are merely identical.

 

2nd - When he says that "Trying to do a focus pull on the ZF.2 is nearly impossible as there is hardly any throw…". Of course ZF.2s throw are much more limited than their CP.2s counterparts but they have one of the most longer throws for a photography lens type. Compared to it Nikon are a joke! The thing is that in some lenses most of the throw is done at near focus (this is very obvious on the 50mm lens for instance), but you can extend their throw with a simple Gini lens stud type gear. It not only makes your lenses all the same diameter for your follow focus as they are large enough to allow you to change lenses without moving your follow focus.

 

I also care to disagree with Aapo. These lenses breathe! As CP.2s do! If you ask me that is the real downside of CP.2s for their price tag. 

 

De-clicking is a simple job. I've done mine. Just bought Zeiss grease from their authorised dealer here and even for a novice is a 30 minute job/lens.

 

Mattebox fitting can easily be solved with standard sized rings. I have bought Shoot35 rings for their Mattebox. They are great and also let you keep the original lens cap.

 

Main differences between the two series IMHO are:

 

1st - Markings.

2nd - Markings position (cinema standard = lateral instead of upper marks). Having f-stops marked on the upper lens is really annoying.

3rd - Form factor. Your clients will see the difference even if they don't know nothing about lenses but that relates to your type of work.

 

I have to agree with Billy when he says they CP.2s don't worth the money. I also don't think they do. ZF.2s on the other hand are a bargain is you ask me. Forget about cheaper options like Rokinons because when you compare both at the cinema screen (I have), they are miles apart. No matter what MTF charts tells you.

 

That brings me to the one question for answer. Your Nikon glass. If you want to match Zeiss to your Micro Nikkor I'll tell you that you might but… If you really are an observer and a relatively good cinematographer you will notice it. They don't compare also. They are different kind of optics and you will see it on color rendition and bokeh mostly but sharpness will be different also. Your clients won't probably notice but if you are like me… Your Nikon glass will begin to collect dust on your shelves.


Edited by Alexandre de Tolan, 08 January 2014 - 07:16 PM.

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